Historic Memory

Historic Memory on the Journey of Hope, a Saint to be is in our Midst

By Br. Anthony Kote-Witah, OFM Cap

Blessed Solanus Casey’s beatification a year ago is an undying memory in the Heart of Detroit Michigan, American and the entire Catholic and non-Catholic world. Blessed Solanus Casey is a humble simple servant. His was a man of unity, love and a man of the people.  It’s a great blessing that you and I were part of the remarkable historical moment. His beatification brought about a first ever gathering of Capuchins friars (brothers) from all the five provinces of the United States. Many representatives from outside the country were also represented. These include the Capuchin General Minister, his council members and the Papal delegate with several cardinals from Rome. The various staffs of Solanus Casey Center were tirelessly on board to control pilgrim’s influx. It was stunning that over 70,000 thousand people attended the beatification at the   stadium. The entire stadium was pack, and yet so calm and peaceful. The stadium was orderly sensitive to the present of God at the event, and everybody was on the same team contrary to other events that occur in most stadiums’ activities.

At Ford field, a Free Press journalist asked me: now that the entire stadium is filled with people, this could be an opportunity for catholic evangelization. My replied was that might be true; however, I asked her to look around the stadium, it wasn’t only catholic. Solanus was a man of the people and so this is an icon of “recovery Detroit.”

Shortly after the beatification ceremony some of the friars went to a restaurant to eat.  It happened that the football game was on TV, as the brothers watched and waited for their meal with much excitement. A lady noticed their excitement, walked to them and asked what team were they supporting?  One of the friars gazed straight to her eyes with love and said, “We are on Blessed Solanus team!” Upon hearing that, the entire restaurant burst into a delightful flame of laughter. That is so true because Solanus’ team is God’s team where all of us belong.

Rightfully so, from the get-go of beatification there has being an overflows of pilgrims influx from all over the world to Solanus Center. I recall while serving God’s people at the BSC two ladies were very appreciative of the happening and said to me: finally we thank God for the beatification of Solanus. However, I honored them for their efforts of persistence prayers and financial contribution unceasingly to enable it to happen. At this point the two ladies burst into tears of joy that they are part of this astonishing historic event of hope because hope does not disappoint (Rom5:5).

I am blessed to be part of this historical magnificent episode of hope. My deepest appreciation to our Holy Father Pope Francis who was able to affirmed the beatification. The good news is we no longer troop to Rome but rather, here in Detroit. So together through God’s grace we can make saints and become saint by doing our simple acts of compassionate works of mercy and embracing God’s graces on our journey of hope.