Fr. Solanus Casey: An Icon of the Gospel Unleashed
Transferred to Detroit in 1924, Fr. Solanus headed back to St. Bonaventure where he had entered the Capuchin order some 28 years earlier. Here his evangelical charity was manifested through the ministry of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen which he helped found in 1929. He brought with him the joyful devotion to God and God’s people that marked his life in New York. He also brought a keen sense of God’s love for all peoples and a heart for sharing God’s love with each person he encountered. The movement of his life was kerygmatic; he lived the very essence of the Good News in his words and deeds. His was a voice for the kerygma, the heartbeat of the gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) Fr. Solanus understood that God had a plan for every person he met, that sin and all the despair humanity experiences can blind people to God’s love, that Jesus was sent to break through our blindness, and that with an encouraging word, Fr. Solanus could help people to trust in God and respond to God’s love with ever greater faith. Fr. Solanus would tell those who came to him asking for help to “thank God ahead of time.” This practice of gratitude helped to fight against discouragement and inspired great faith and confidence in God’s providence .Filled with a zeal for the Catholic faith and the spreading of the gospel, when people who longed to give Fr. Solanus something in gratitude for how God had touched them through his help, he would simply ask them to love and support the missions. How beautiful! Here, the porter at St. Bonaventure, sharing the love of Jesus with one person at a time as they would come to him, was also mindful and supportive of the efforts of the Church throughout the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After four decades of priestly service, and with incredibly large numbers of people seeking God’s loving care through Fr. Solanus every week, his superiors transferred him to a more quiet location at a friary in Huntington, Indiana. However, when people discovered his location, they came to see him by the busload. Fr. Solanus continued to pray for his visitors and, in the opportunities provided by God, to encourage people in their relationship with Him! – God bless! Fr. Patrick