Barney Casey became one of
Detroit’s best-known priests even though he was not allowed to preach formally
or to hear confessions! Barney came from a large family in Oak Grove,
Wisconsin. At the age of 21, and after he had worked as a logger, a hospital
orderly, a streetcar
operator and a prison guard, he entered St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee—where
he found the studies difficult. He left there and, in 1896, joined the Capuchins
in Detroit, taking the name Solanus. His studies for the priesthood were again
On July 24, 1904, he was ordained, but because his knowledge of
theology was judged to be weak, Father Solanus was not given permission to hear
confessions or to preach. A Franciscan Capuchin who knew him well said this
annoying restriction "brought forth in him a greatness and a holiness that might
never have been realized in any other way." During his 14 years as porter and
sacristan in Yonkers, New York, the people there recognized him as a fine
speaker. "For, though he was forbidden to deliver doctrinal sermons," writes his
biographer, James Derum, "he could give inspirational talks,
or feverinos, as the Capuchins termed them" (18:96). His spiritual fire
deeply impressed his listeners.
Father Solanus served at parishes in
Manhattan and Harlem before returning to Detroit, where he was porter and
sacristan for 20 years at St. Bonaventure Monastery. Every Wednesday afternoon
he conducted well-attended services for the sick. A co-worker estimates that on
the average day 150 to 200 people came to see Father Solanus in the front
office. Most of them came to receive his blessing; 40 to 50 came for
consultation. Many people considered him instrumental in cures and other
blessings they received.
Father Solanus’ sense of God’s providence inspired
many of his visitors. "Blessed be God in all his designs" was one of his
The many friends of Father Solanus helped the Capuchins
begin a soup kitchen during the Depression. Capuchins are still feeding the
hungry there today.
In 1946 in failing health, he was transferred to the
Capuchin novitiate in Huntington, Indiana, where he lived until 1956 when he was
hospitalized in Detroit. He died on July 31, 1957. An estimated 20,000 people
passed by his coffin before his burial in St. Bonaventure Church in
At the funeral Mass, the provincial Father Gerald said: "His was a
life of service and love for people like me and you. When he was not himself
sick, he nevertheless suffered with and for you that were sick. When he was not
physically hungry, he hungered with people like you. He had a divine love for
people. He loved people for what he could do for them—and for God, through
In 1960 a Father Solanus Guild was formed in Detroit to aid Capuchin
seminarians. By 1967 the guild had 5,000 members—many of them grateful
recipients of his practical advice and his comforting assurance that God would
not abandon them in their trials. He was declared Venerable in 1995.
Father Maurice Casey,
a brother of Father Solanus, was once in a sanitarium near Baltimore and was
annoyed at the priest-chaplain there. Father Solanus wrote his brother: "God
could have established his Church under supervision of angels that have no
faults or weaknesses. But who can doubt that as it stands today, consisting of
and under the supervision of poor sinners—successors to the ‘poor fishermen of
Galilee’ #151; the Church is a more outstanding miracle than any other
Lives, Lessons and
By Leonard Foley,
O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
God is with me, but more,
God is within me, giving me
Let me dwell for a moment on
God's life-giving presence
in my body, my mind, my
and in the whole of my
It is so easy to get caught
with the trappings of wealth in
Grant, O Lord, that I may be
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things
in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and
I exist in a web of
relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving
thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or
broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of
acceptance and forgiveness.
The Word of
My beloved, obedient as you have always been,
not only when I am present
but all the more now when I am absent,
work out your salvation with fear and
For God is the one who, for his good purpose,
works in you both
to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of
so that my boast for the day of Christ may be
that I did not run in
vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation
sacrificial service of your faith,
I rejoice and share my joy with all of
In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the
loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is
my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit
down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to
finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began
to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching
into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with
twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”
What is stirring in me as I
pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or
sitting at my side, and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to
the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is
now and ever shall be, world without end.
out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians
31st Week in Ordinary
Talk about mixed messages!
Isn’t this the same Paul who, in the very same letter, confidently told the
Philippians, “the one who began a good work in you will complete it”
(Philippians 1:6)? Doesn’t today’s reading contradict that message, as if we
might be in danger at any moment of losing our place in heaven? Should we be
worried, or not?
It’s important to understand
that there is an essential difference between the kind of fear that we feel as
fragile, fallible human beings and the awe and anticipation that we feel as we
contemplate the salvation that Jesus has won for us. The Bible refers to both as
“fear,” but one cripples us with doubt, while the other energizes us to live in
confidence and joyful hope.
Imagine your life in Christ as
a strong, sturdy foundation—as though you were standing on a wide rock in the
middle of the ocean. Jesus has already redeemed you, so you don’t have to earn
your place on that rock! In fact, you couldn’t earn it, even if you wanted to.
The cross is the only thing powerful enough to bring about your redemption, and
Jesus has already offered himself on it. So if you feel anxious that you are
undeserving of his love or that you haven’t done enough, don’t worry. God isn’t
interested in what you haven’t done. He only wants to know what you will do now
that he has redeemed you!
The “fear and trembling” that
Paul speaks of is not the quivering of a mouse hiding from a cat! It’s the
readiness of an athlete waiting for the starting gun. God wants his great gift
of redemption to impel you every day, to move you into the world with the great
good news of his love.
So imitate Paul. Move beyond
your imperfections, and press forward with the goal of building the kingdom.
“Work out” your salvation every day by letting the joy of your salvation work
its way out of your heart and into the world.
“Lord, I am in awe that you have rescued
me from sin and welcomed me into your kingdom. Fill me with zeal for your ways.
Show me how I can honor you as I give my life to you!”
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14; Luke
Oh how God
speaks! His Word is awesome isn't it? Yesterday I asked you for a reply at the
end of my 2 cents. I got none. I got one from someone that had not been
receiving reflections for about a month, but none for my request to you to
consider who the message was for! What's the deal? LOL. Yet, I am still
amazed. Last night we had a pastoral and finance council meeting in our parish,
and I was the only one that showed up (for the pastoral side) until way later
another finally showed up. What's going on? I'll tell you what's going on, the
cross is being left behind, that which is "too much". Only one had a valid
excuse, he couldn't walk and is facing hip surgery this week or so. The
others? No call-No show. But the call was made, because I made a robotic call
to dial up everyone's phone and 16 of 19 answered the message LIVE and alive. I
see the statistics. And so we couldn't formally meet. Yet I'm still amazed
with God. As the informal meeting went on, I am seemingly the ONLY ONE fighting
for a youth building/gym/family activity center. I have no backup, where are
the ones called to help? No Show. Where are God's angels? And I've been at
this fight for nearly 10 years, no surprise...often alone. This is my (our)
cross...my (our) sufferings for the Church. Temptations arise to drop the
cross occur more often than it should. Today's 5 minutos reads: (allow me to
"They say a man one day said to Jesus:- "Lord: I am tired of
carrying the same cross on my shoulder, it is too heavy and too big for my
stature". Jesus said amicably-"If you believe it is too much for you, go into
that room and choose the cross that best adapts (fits) to you", the man entered
and saw a small cross, but it was too heavy and dug into his shoulder and it
hurt, so he looked for another but it was too big and too light and it bothered
him, he took another but it was made of a material that scratched him, he sought
another, and another...until he found one he felt was adapted to him. He came
out really happy and said to Him -"Lord, I've found the one that bests fits me,
thank you very much for the change you allowed". Jesus smiling looks at him and
said "You have nothing to be thankful for, you have taken the exact same cross
you had, your name is written on it. My Father does not allow more than you can
handle because He loves you and has a perfect plan for your life". Many times
we complain about difficulties that we have in life and we even question God's
will, but He allows what happens because it is for our good and something is
taught through it. God doesn't give us more than we can handle and we remember
that after the storm the calm comes and one splendid day that we see the Glory
of God. Following Jesus is something serious. It entails renunciations and
carrying the cross and postponing other values that are very liked."
shut your yapping and trust GOD! (no grumbling/no questioning-see today's 1st
Scripture) We tend to complain though, but for Heaven's Sake, don't let go of
that cross. I was asked to give the Piety talk at the cursillo last month. I
began by saying things that were not scripted, it was the Holy Spirit taking
over, which is good because even I was like "where did that come from?". I
asked for a show of hands of how many men come home from work and gather the
family to pray the rosary? Not a single hand went up. I said to imagine that
is our cross, and none of us lift a finger to do so. The cross of Jesus is the
burden of the world and the will of the Father. God is asking us to do the
impossible with Him who says everything is possible...Jesus. In the case of the
church gym/clasrrooms that I say we need in our parish, the preliminary figures
are about 2.2 million dollars, and we've been in debt until a year or two ago,
so we don't have the 1.1 million dollars the diocese is exacting from us to help
with the other half. You look at me like all those men and one woman all older
than me except one, as they asked me what I thought because I was biting my
tongue when I saw they had whipped up a smaller building figure without a gym.
I said "Let's continue to work, and pray about it, we don't fit in this building
and that little figure is a cheap figure, we need to fit everyone, but let's
keeep seeing what we can do". And I was talking to people that were saying we
have no money, we have no help, we have no real will to take on a purchase we
can't seemingly handle. This would appear as a devastating blow to any regular
joe shmoe, but for your little bro, NAHHH. I love turning tables on nay
sayers. I will MAKE YOU A BELIEVER by my beliefs and God working through. As I
drove home I spoke to God, "Lord, if you want this for us, you will make it
happen, it's not what we all say, it's what YOU say!" Because in the end, He
has the resources as stated by His own words in today's Holy Gospel. Our task
is to be children of light, children of God, those children that depend on God
for everything. Don't go by your own feeble minds and means. Don't go by what
you have, go by what God has. We are a parish of hundreds of families facing a
2.2 million dollar challenge. The Carmelite Monk was requesting 3 million for
his monastery church this year. They are not even 12 people in that monastery,
yet somehow, God has provided for their funds, already some Methodists are
pledging to help make that church a reality. It's not what we have, it's what
God has. The Monk/abbot/founder Fr. Fabian said "it's not their money, it's
God's money" as he said softly from a chair recovering from surgery on his head
earlier that week. That's the attitude JESUS wants us to have. FAITH. My
sensation, intuition of the spirit is telling me that right now, what God wants
in our parish(es) is to focus more on Him than the building. The rest just
happens. FAITH. Depend On God. Make that huge building of the Spirit, and the
materialistic building will come in due time as He sees fit. Our loving of the
cross is the message, the loving of God's will, our obedience, our humility,
charity, our being of Christ the light in a world hungry for truth and Jesus Is