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Friar's remains exhumed, relics collected ahead of beatification Mass


  • Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron and Capuchin Father Michael Sullivan pray May 4 at the tomb of Father Solanus Casey before the announcement of the friar's beatification at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. (CNS photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Detroit)
  • The tomb of Venerable Father. Solanus Casey is pictured in 2015 at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. On Aug. 1, archdiocesan and Capuchin Franciscan officials presided over the exhumation of Father Solanus' remains to verify the body and collect relics as part of canonical procedures carried out ahead of his beatification Mass this fall. (CNS photo/Mike Stechschulte, Michigan Catholic)
  • Capuchins gather with Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, in black vestments, near the tomb of Father Solanus Casey during the May 4 beatification announcement. (CNS photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Detroit)

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DETROIT (CNS) -- The remains of Father Solanus Casey were exhumed Aug. 1 as part of the canonical process that precedes the saintly Capuchin Franciscan friar's beatification Mass in November.

The purpose of the exhumation, according to the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Detroit, was to both officially identify the body and to collect relics that will be used to venerate Father Casey after he is beatified Nov. 18.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron presided over the private exhumation service, which was limited to a handful of individuals, including three medical professionals who were on hand to examine the remains and report on the condition of the body.

"Presiding at the process for opening the tomb of Father Solanus and confirming the identity of his earthly remains was a time of significant personal prayer for me," Archbishop Vigneron said afterward. "I especially give the Lord Jesus thanks for the gift of Father's service to our community, above all to the least among us, and for his example of loving our neighbor with nothing less than the sacrificial charity of Christ himself.

"This day is a clear milestone on our path to Nov. 18 and Father Solanus' beatification at the Mass to be offered in Ford Field," he said. The stadium in downtown Detroit will be configured to accommodate 60,000 people for the ceremony.

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