April 5, 2018 // Diocese

Memorial of Blessed Solanus Casey to be observed in diocese

Permission to celebrate is extraordinary

FORT WAYNE — At Masses in South Bend and Fort Wayne on March 26 and 27 at which the sacred Chrism was blessed and priests of the diocese renewed their promises of ordination, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades made a special announcement regarding another priest, who had lived part of his life in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend: the recently beatified Father Solanus Casey.

“At last year’s Chrism Mass, I held up as an example for our priests the American priest and martyr, Blessed Stanley Rother. This year, I hold up to our priests the example of another American priest who was beatified just four months ago, Capuchin Father Solanus Casey,” Bishop Rhoades told those in attendance.

“Most of you probably know that Father Solanus Casey lived in our diocese for 10 years, near the end of his life, from 1946 to 1956 at St. Felix Friary in Huntington. During those years, many of the faithful of our diocese were touched by his humble ministry, by his wise counsel and his example of trust in God. In January, I wrote to the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship for permission to celebrate his feast day as an optional memorial in our diocese.


Read Bishop Rhoades’ homily here.

Shortly before Holy Week began, the good news that the request had been granted was received.

“Here in our diocese, perhaps the only diocese in the United States besides the archdiocese of Detroit, we will be able to celebrate the memorial of Blessed Solanus on July 30,” the bishop announced at the Chrism Masses.

Despite being a simplex priest, or one that is not allowed to preach homilies or hear confessions, Father Solanus was an effective priest because he was a man of deep prayer and devotion, who was dedicated to the people he served, and loved by them, the bishop explained.

“He was renowned for his holiness and many miracles of healing. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Father Solanus as he brought glad tidings to so many who were poor, who were hurting, who were in spiritual or material need. This holy priest said: ‘I have two loves, the sick and the poor.’ Every priest should have these two loves: the sick and the poor!”

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, concelebrates the beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey Nov. 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. At least 60,000 attended the beatification of the Capuchin Franciscan friar. (CNS photo/Jeff Kowalsky, courtesy Michigan Catholic)

In 1954, Father Solanus celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination at St. Mary Church in Huntington. “During his residence at the St. Felix Friary, a strong devotion to him developed throughout the diocese, and particularly in the communities surrounding Huntington. He was known to visit the homes of the sick and the dying, and he often celebrated Mass and delivered talks for the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters in Huntington.

During that time, he became known throughout the area as “The Holy Priest.” Local Catholic families have recounted that dozens of people would often wait in line to seek his counsel at St. Felix Friary, and many tell details of miracles owing to his intercession. In addition, visitors traveled to the diocese from other states to see Father Solanus. Sometimes busloads would arrive from major cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York.

“Blessed Solanus Casey is an example for all of us of the Church’s preferential option for the poor and the suffering,” Bishop Rhoades proclaimed at the Chrism Masses.

“Father Solanus Casey intercede for us, for our priests, and for all the faithful of our diocese!”

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