Beatification Mass of Father Solanus Casey to take place at Ford Field

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 30, 2017

DETROIT — The Detroit community is uniting to honor one of the community’s most beloved figures: Father Solanus Casey.

Casey will be beatified by the Catholic Church at a special Mass at Ford Field on Saturday, Nov. 18.

“Beatification means that a person who has already been declared ‘venerable’ because of their life of virtue now has had that virtue verified by a miracle,” explained Father David Preuss, the head of the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit, who is helping to organize the Mass. “Beatification puts the blessed on the liturgical calendar of the local church with his or her own feast day.”

The unusual location was chosen due to the historic significance of the event and the need to accommodate as many people as possible.

“Not unlike the Silverdome Mass celebrated by St. John Paul, this too will be a history-making liturgy,” said Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron in a press release. “The beatification of Father Solanus Casey is an incomparable grace for the church in the Archdiocese of Detroit and for the whole community. He is an inspiration to Catholics — and to all — of the power of grace to transform one’s life.”

The Mass will begin at 4 p.m., and the doors will open two hours earlier. More than 60,000 tickets will be available for the Mass. The tickets are free and will become available at or through certain parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese. They will become available on Monday, Oct. 9.

During the Mass, there will be a formal declaration made by Cardinal Angelo Amato, the pope’s representative, stating that Casey has been declared “blessed” by the Roman Catholic Church. 

Casey served in the St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit between 1924 and his death in 1957. During that time, he helped found the city’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen and became well-known for the compassion and advice he would provide to those who came seeking help. 

Only the second American-born man to be beatified, it was a life lived in the example of Jesus Christ that Preuss said made Casey worthy of veneration by the church.

“Solanus is special because of the effectiveness of his intercessory prayer and his great love for the sick and the poor,” he said. “Detroit has had a long history with many struggles; Solanus was a man who knew that God makes his presence evident in the midst of our human need. He was a man who embraced the poor and the sick; Detroiters appreciate those who love strongly in tough situations. People need to know that real holiness always connects prayer and service.”

Beatification also is the final step before a person can be declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

“(Once officially beatified), blessed Solanus will have a feast day and special Mass prayers that will be used in the United States and in Capuchin-Franciscan friaries and parishes; canonization would mean that he goes on to the worldwide calendar of the church,” said Preuss. “For that to happen, there needs to be a second miracle approved by Rome.”

Preuss said the local Capuchins and Franciscans are proud to count Casey among their number and said that such an event had to happen in Detroit, the city affected so deeply by Casey’s kindness.

“Ford Field is the largest indoor facility in Detroit,” said Preuss. “We wanted it in this city where Father Solanus lived and is now buried. There will be a heartfelt celebration of a great and holy man, and his example continues to inspire prayer and service in this community and around the world.”