Last Saturday, in Detroit, Michigan, Father Solanus Casey who died in 1957 was beatified and declared as “Blessed Solanus” in front of thousands of Detroit Catholics. We reached out to Father Michael Depcik in Michigan who attended the beatification.
First of all, where are you right now?
(Location: St John Deaf Center)
Michael: I’m here in St. John’s Deaf Center in Roseville Michigan.
What is St John’s Deaf Center?
Michael: The center provides services for Deaf Catholics in metro Detroit. We here at the center are responsible for Deaf Catholics.
Thank you! So, tell us what happened the day of this honor.
Michael: On November 9th, Catholics from the area gathered for this event of beatification, which was a landmark mass for Father Solanus Casey.
So you and who else attended?
Michael: Us Deaf members all went together as a group...I would guess the group was about 45 people. We all took a bus to get there.
Was there accessibility for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing?
Michael: Yes, there were gigantic screens on either side of the cathedral (right word for that?) with interpreters working the entire ceremony. It was wonderful, there were 6 to 7,000 people all looking up to see it. It was good PR for us.
Why is Blessed Solanus important to some Deaf people?
Michael: Some deaf people in this area have grown up learning stories about Father Solanus. And these stories are coming from their parents, their grandparents, who have met him and asked for his prayers and God answered those prayers, which helped them. So that became the legend being passed down through generations. Plus, many Deaf people look up to him because Blessed Solanus Casey is from here, Detroit. This is the first time Detroit has had someone become blessed. And it’s very possible he could become a saint in the future. This is a very rare thing. In all of America, we only have, I believe 12 American saints and that’s it.
Please tell us about how Blessed Solanus came to be beatified.
Michael: One woman from Panama had a very grim skin disease. It looked like there were scales all over her body. She was in a lot of pain. Then, somebody suggested she visit Father Solanus’s grave to ask for his prayers, in hopes that God would answer her prayers for good health. So she kneeled at his grave and this strange sensation came over her. She heard a voice asking, “what can we do?” The woman stood up and started feeling disoriented, eventually heading back to her room to rest. She got into bed and started feeling a warm sensation once again. And just like that, the scales on her skin began falling off, one by one, leaving a pile of scales on her bed. The woman now had skin as new as a baby’s. Her doctors were in disbelief, they thought it was impossible! But she said, it’s possible, I prayed for one hour and now I’m healed. That’s what the Catholic church has recognized as Father Solanus being in heaven, which is why he received his Blessed title. The church says he needs one more miracle for Blessed Solanus to enter Sainthood.
Thank you! More than 300 of Casey’s relatives as well as 500 priests were at the mass accompanied by Paula. Now that he is blessed, his image can be included in paintings or statues inside churches throughout southeastern Michigan. His teachings can be used in church prayers and rituals.