A November ceremony will celebrate the beatification of Father Solanus Casey.

Relics of Father Solanus Casey’s remains — bone and tissue removed from his arm when his tomb was opened in August — will be enshrined and displayed after the Catholic Church declares him Blessed in a beatification ceremony Saturday at Ford Field.

The fragments of Casey’s human remains are called relics by the Catholic Church. They represent a way “to be in contact with the holy,” says Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

 “People want to touch God,” explains Vigneron, the leader of 1.3 million Catholics in the six-county Archdiocese of Detroit.

The relics from Casey’s body will be enshrined in special displays in metro Detroit. St. Bonaventure Monastery, where Casey once ministered as the church’s door porter, will display the relic in a small cove in the back of its church sanctuary. Another display will be at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the seat of the Detroit archdiocese.

Vigneron said there also will be a traveling display, so Casey’s relics can be brought to other parishes.

During the beatification ceremony, Casey’s remains will be carried in a wooden box shaped like a cross. Carrying the relics will be Paula Medina Zarate, a retired schoolteacher from the Central American nation of Panama. Pope Francis has decreed that a miracle occurred when Zarate’s skin disease was cured in 2012 after she prayed at Casey’s tomb in Detroit.

Retrieving relics is a required and, often considered strange, part of the Catholic saint-making process. It involves exhuming the remains of a possible candidate for sainthood and inspecting the remains.


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