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“A Mass I Will Never Forget”

Seminarian shares his experience of serving at the beatification Mass of Blessed Solanus Casey.

by Derik Peterman

During the week leading up to the November 18, 2017 beatification Mass of Fr. Solanus Casey at Ford Field, I was filled with the excitement and anticipation that I believe we all had. There was to be a blessed, right here in Detroit! But I also had a unique anticipation, as I was asked to serve for the beatification Mass itself.

Along with three other seminarians for the Archdiocese of Detroit, I arrived at the stadium early. We had a brief rehearsal and then helped with last minute preparations. We scurried back and forth from a back room to the field, having our arms filled with hosts for the Mass. Each time I returned to the field, I noticed more people had arrived to fill the stands.

When the procession began from the tunnel, the stadium filled with the sound of the orchestra and the voices of thousands. It was an extraordinary experience to lead that procession of cardinals and bishops and to be a part of this inspiring event. From my experience of the beatification Mass, there were a few particular things that struck me.

by Derik Peterman

The first was the presence of Cardinal Angelo Amato. As the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, he was the official representative of Pope Francis. His presence here in Detroit meant this was not simply a local event. Rather, the beatification was connected to the whole Church; and the whole Church, in some way, was connected to us in that stadium.

The second moving moment for me occurred during the Gloria. As we were singing praise to God, I looked out among the stands from my place on the field. There were a section of people singing in sign language. It brought me so much joy to see them and the other very diverse groups of people participating in the liturgy. This experience reminded me to really pray the Mass as I served. While they were praying with their hands in sign language, my role was to pray as my hands prepared the incense.

Serving at this Mass as a seminarian was incredible. It inspired me to live out my faith in a deeper way, following the example of Blessed Solanus. For that, I am so thankful. And I continue to "thank God ahead of time" for the blessings He will pour upon us!

Derik Peterman

Derik Peterman is a graduate seminarian for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.