New York Churches Mark Beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey

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Parishioners and visitors were given the opportunity to watch the Beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey, O.F.M. Cap., in a place he once called home at Our Lady of Sorrows Church on Manhattan’s Lower East Side Nov. 18.

Blessed Solanus served at Our Lady of Sorrows, 1918-1921.

Our Lady of Sorrows is one of six parishes in the archdiocese run by Capuchin priests, and all six parishes recognized Blessed Solanus on the day he was beatified. He was assigned to three parishes in the archdiocese from 1904 to 1924, serving at Sacred Heart in Yonkers, Our Lady Queens of Angels in East Harlem and Our Lady of Sorrows.

An estimated 120 people at Our Lady of Sorrows watched a live stream of the Beatification Mass attended by 60,000 people at Ford Field in Detroit.

“It was a beautiful day. It was an amazing day of activity and excitement with a lot of expression of faith,’’ Father Thomas McNamara, O.F.M. Cap., pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, told CNY.

Father McNamara said the lights in the church were turned on to distribute Communion as it was being given in Detroit. Following Mass, anointing of the sick was offered and a medallion was given to those who attended. Copies of pictures of Blessed Solanus from his days at Our Lady of Sorrows and Sacred Heart in Yonkers were on the walls, with his story written in English and Spanish.

Father McNamara celebrated a Spanish Mass early Saturday evening where he spoke of Blessed Solanus in his homily.

“He exercised the talent and gift he had, which was to love the poor and the sick. I extenuated that point in my homily,’’ Father McNamara said.

Anointing of the sick also followed the Spanish Mass.

At St. Joseph Church in New Paltz, a banner outside and a portrait of Blessed Solanus on the altar welcomed Mass-goers. Father Ernie Bedard, O.F.M, Cap., delivered a homily where he summarized the message of the Gospel and shared the story of Blessed Solanus.

“I wanted to give people an understanding why the Church is celebrating this man on such a large scale and why is it so important for the universal Church to celebrate the life of this man,’’ Father Bedard said.

“What made him special was the fact he was so selfless and compassionate and caring to each person who came to see him to the point some of the friars that he lived with would get a little concerned with how much time in the day he devoted to people, but that was him.’’

Father Sal Cordaro, O.F.M. Cap., the pastor, gave a blessing to Franciscans attending the Mass and moments later they brought the offertory gifts, including a Capuchin habit, to the altar. Father Cordaro led a prayer for the canonization of Blessed Casey near the end of Mass, and anointing of the sick followed Mass.

“Here at the parish I want to do more throughout the next couple of years to highlight Solanus because a big part of what we do here at the parish is to highlight our Franciscan spirit and this ties in beautifully with that,’’ Father Cordaro said. “So this is not the only time we’re going to remember Solanus. There will be opportunities to do that throughout the years to make him better known and better loved.’’

Sherry Conklin, a parishioner of St. Joseph, shared the message she received at Mass.

“It’s wonderful we are doing this for him and that he made it to this point. I don’t even think that’s the important part. We have to look at his life and what he did. That’s the most important thing, that we can follow in his footsteps,’’ she said.

“We all need to do like he did and care about people and help them no matter where they come from or what they have going on in their life.’’

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