Beatification of Father Solanus Casey,OFM Cap.
This November 18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan the Beatification of Father Solanus Casey, OFM Cap will take place. Father Anthony Fox, OFM Conv., a Campus Minister at the Catholic Campus Ministry Gabriel Richard Newman Center located in Dearborn, Michigan shared the following words:
"Fr. Solanus was born in Wisconsin but spent most of his Priestly Ministry and religious life in Detroit. He was a very knock about kind of a guy from leaving school at an early age to the several jobs he had before feeling the call to the priesthood first to the Diocesan Priesthood and was sent home because he was considered to not have the capabilities to study at that time. His call to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin brought him to the city of Detroit for his initial formation and then having been ordained a “simplex priest” which meant he could not hear confessions or preach a doctrinal sermon his only permission was to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which he accepted in complete obedience and humility. The superiors at the time felt that this was an option for him as he was not good with languages especially Latin. He was given the task and the duty of being the Porter for St. Bonaventure Friary at Mount Elliott in Detroit. He would answer the door to those seeking assistance. He would listen to the people’s needs and give counsel. It was during the time of Great Depression and beyond that Solanus became the “go to guy” for the sick, poor, afflicted, the discouraged, the destitute, the unemployed and for relatives that seeking prayer for all kinds of needs for their families especially those who had fallen away from the faith. So the reputation of this humble and sincere Friar spread throughout the whole of Detroit and so he became an adopted son of the people of Detroit.
There is pitch fever here in Detroit about the beatification of Fr. Solanus. The free tickets which were first distributed among the Parishes and Ministries of the Archdiocese went as quickly as hot cakes. Many Parishes had lotteries to choose those in Parishes who were seeking tickets and the same for the Ministries. I know I sought 50 tickets for our Campus Ministry and I had them allocated before they arrived for distribution. I think the saying of Fr. Solanus epitomizes his ministry as a Friar and a priest: “Thank God ahead of time” . The simplicity of his reliance on God in all things is totally Franciscan. Many people both Catholic and Non Catholic just because he spent so much of his Priesthood and ministry in Detroit he has been claimed as one of our own.
I think is a wonderful time of grace for the Church in the United States and for the local Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit and a special time of Blessing for the Capuchin Franciscan Friars. Fr. Solanus has so much to teach the Church about reaching out to the poor and marginalized of society by his simplicity and compassion imitating Jesus for the world. His life was extraordinary and yet ordinary in the way he lived the Gospel. He gives us the practical means to witness to the Gospel and of how to evangelize. He is a great model to implement the Archdiocesan Plan to Unleash the Gospel by Encounter with the Risen Jesus by Growing in our relationship with Jesus and by authentically witnessing to the reality of Jesus in our lives by taking it to all who will listen and even to those who wont. Fr. Solanus used the opportunities he was given to share the Gospel with the people he encountered. Every Catholic is also challenged by our Baptismal Call to witness by our lives and to answer the call to speak boldly and opening about Jesus and to people grow in their faith. Fr. Solanus also demonstrates that the call to the Ordained Priesthood is not a call to power, it is a call to incredibly humble service to all.
As a Franciscan it is an awesome privilege to know another Friar is to be beatified for simply living the Gospel according to the Franciscan way of life. The Conventuals and Capuchins have always had a close relationship ever since they were founded during the Reformation. Many saintly men living the Capuchin Franciscan Charism have been beatified and canonized. I think the other aspect is that he is a man of our own time and age. Many people here in Detroit have had relatives who were touched personally by the ministry of Fr. Solanus so it makes him a “real” person rather than a plaster statue. People here in Detroit have a strong connection to him and since coming here and learning about his life and ministry I feel that is true for me. As a Franciscan he is a member of the family and that is a wonderful feeling. The Franciscan charism of humility is abundantly clear by the example of his way of life and of course his accessibility to people all the time is another Franciscan value I identify with him in. A simple Monastery door keeper allowed him to effect the lives of so many who came seeking a place of refuge and found a man of gentle compassion no matter what background, religion or ethnic background you came from. It is a proud moment not only for the Archdiocese of Detroit or the Capuchins but for the whole Franciscan Order and for the Church at large. Ford Field will in a sense become a huge gathering of the Church on the 18th November with crowd already at 70,000 it will be a Faith event to rival any Football or Sports event that has taken place there or will take place in the future. All this to give, praise, thanks and worship to god for this compassionate Friar and holy intercessor."
This is not Friar Anthony's first Beatification he has participated in. He was present for the Beatification of Mother Mary of the Cross ( Mary MacKillop) foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus who is the first Beatified and now canonized Saint of Australia. The Beatification Mass and Ceremony took place at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney as it was the biggest venue the city had like Detroit with Ford Field.
For more information on the Beautification visit: https://beatification.visitdetroit.com/
Photos courtesy of: http://www.solanuscenter.org/about-us/get-to-know-fr-solanus