Editor’s note: This article was originally written for Blssd. Solanus’s beatification in 2017. Ave Maria Radio was in attendance and covered the celebration in the days leading up and following. We share this today for his feast.
DETROIT — A humble priest and porter, Fr. Solanus Casey thanked God daily for the gift of those who came to his door in his small corner of the world.
On Nov. 18, tens of thousands of those whom he touched gathered to thank God in return for the gift of the holy Capuchin’s life.
“Others, above all the poor, were seen by him not as a weight or obstacle to his climb to perfection, but as a way to the light of the splendor of God,” Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told the estimated 65,000 people gathered at Detroit’s Ford Field for Blessed Solanus’ beatification Mass.
A congregation of almost 65,000 — young, old, clergy and laity, those of all races and ethnicities — flooded into Ford Field for the Mass, with tens of thousands more watching live on TV or the Internet. Countless others visited the Solanus Casey Center and St. Bonaventure Monastery over the weekend to pray and leave prayer intentions at the tomb of a saintly friar known for miraculous healings, intercessions and a compassionate listening ear.
True to Blessed Solanus’ spirituality, a special VIP section of the main floor was set aside for those with illness and disabilities.
Capuchin Fr. Michael Sullivan, provincial minister of the Detroit-based Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, welcomed those in attendance, “especially those whom Fr. Solanus so loved – the sick and the poor.”
“We gather in gratitude for all of God’s blessings and for all the ways in which God moves in our lives,” Fr. Sullivan said. “What a witness was our beloved brother Solanus! He opened his heart to each person he met, he prayed with them, appreciated and loved them, and through him God moved powerfully again and again. Thanks be to God!”
Cardinal Amato was the main celebrant for the beatification Mass, joined by Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron; Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop emeritus of Detroit; Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Capuchin archbishop of Boston; Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Detroit native and archbishop of Newark; and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, among others.
About 35 bishops, 400 priests and deacons and more than 200 Capuchins joined together in praise with 300 members of the Casey family, members of the Father Solanus Guild and thousands of faithful during the Mass.
Read more at Diocese of Lansing