He’s in charge of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
That’s a big deal.
But if you were to ask Archbishop Allen Vigneron to measure his excitement at being able to assist the Capuchin Franciscan Order of St. Joseph in Detroit with its preparations for the Beatification Mass of Father Solanus Casey, on a scale of one to 10 he would say, “Eleven!”
“I’ve never been so engaged in an event such as this,” said Vigneron, during a phone interview from his Detroit offices, where several teams have been working diligently in anticipation of the ceremony at Detroit’s Ford Field Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. Tickets have been sold out for months, including the extra ones that were squeezed out of the venue for a special drawing, and an estimated 65,000 people are planning to attend.
“I am indeed — looking forward to it,” Vigneron said.
All of the hoopla began this past May, when Pope Francis announced that Casey would be elevated to Blessed, moving him one step closer to becoming a saint.
During the Mass, the Beatification of Casey will be decreed in an Apostolic letter read by his Eminence Angelo Cardinal Amato from Rome, Italy, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. After the Rite of Beatification, the relics of Casey will be presented for veneration. The cherry wood altar that will be used for the beatification was created originally for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Pontiac Silverdome and designed to reflect the tranquil beauty of Michigan’s natural resources.
The Beatification Mass marks another step in the canonization process for Casey.
It also honors the humble friar, credited with a miraculous cure, years of service to the area’s poor, and a beloved Detroiter that many people knew, and even met as children in need of healing or parents in need of blessings.
After being ordained in 1904, he spent 20 years as the porter or doorkeeper at St. Bonaventure in Detroit. It was there within the neighborhoods surrounding an industrial town that the soft-spoken friar earned a reputation for being a wise and patient counsel with an unwavering belief in the power of prayer. Over the years and long after his death (July 31,1957), Casey has been credited with intercessions that resulted in miraculous cures of body and mind by many people, many of whom are attending the event.
“I’m going with my wife and a friend,” said John Dickson, choir director and parishioner at St. Peter Catholic Church in Mount Clemens, which has 201 people going including, 47 taking a bus. “Everybody is excited about it. When I was a kid, my mother had a picture of him on the mantel. We always made a point of visiting the monastery and praying to Fr. Solanus.”
So many people are talking about it, Dickson expects the 4 p.m. Masses at many churches to be empty since everybody is going to Ford Field.
“The Beatification is a wonderful moment and a testament to the work that Father Solanus Casey did for our city and those throughout the world,” said Father Michael Sullivan, OFM Capuchin and Provincial Minister of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph.
The event starts at 4 p.m.
Among the special guests coming to Detroit is Paula Medina Zarate, the woman whose miracle was attributed to the intercession of Casey and her Archbishop from Panama. Also expected are clergy from around the world and 350 members of Casey’s family including some from their ancestral country of Ireland. In addition, 240 of Casey’s fellow Capuchins and a choir of 300 representing parish choirs across metropolitan Detroit will be in attendance.
Among the young people in attendance will be a group of students from Milwaukee, Wisc., who attend the seminary college that Casey attended prior to joining the Capuchins.
For those who cannot attend in person, the liturgy will be broadcast live on EWTN Global, Catholic Television Network (CTN) and CTN of Detroit and Canada’s Salt + Light Television.
It will also be carried on WDEO-AM 990 (Ava Maria Radio), and livestreamed on the Capuchins site solanuscasey.org and the Archdiocese of Detroit aod.org.
“On behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit, I am grateful to the tens of thousands of people who will be traveling from near and far to celebrate – this wonderful event in the life of the Church and Detroit,” Vigneron said. “Father Solanus Casey is an inspiration to all of us. He was a humble, compassionate and generous man who dedicated so much of himself to our community.”
The Detroit Capuchins continue their ministry to the poor and the sick. They operate the Solanus Casey Center, which attracts 250,000 visitors a year and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen founded by Casey, which frequently serves 2,000 meals a day to Detroit’s hungry. Casey is only the second American-born male to be beatified by the Catholic Church. After the ceremony, the vice-postulator in charge of investigating miracles attributed to Casey will continue working with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican to verify a second miracle attributed to him. If there is, he will be canonized.
For more information about the event at Ford Field visit beatification.visitdetroit.com
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