Performing a Just Spirituality A Liturgical Case Study

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Edward Foley


This article explores worship as an act of public theology.  The focus is the beatification liturgy of Solanus Casey on 18 November 2017.  Stage in a football arena in Detroit before 71,000 people and live streamed to approximately 240 million viewers, the challenge was to craft a liturgical event that was not only participatory and met the key criteria for post-conciliar worship, but that also respected the spirit and ministry of Solanus Casey.  A simple friar who was ordained a simplex priest and served as a porter for decades, Solanus served the poor by feeding them literally and spiritually.   This article introduces the life and spirit of Solanus and traces the cult that developed around him.  Particular attention is given to the Solanus Casey Center built in 2003, that rehearsed many of the aesthetic principles that came to bear in the beatification liturgy.  Consideration of that liturgy is achieved through reflection on the people, music and environment that framed the worship.  The contention is that the worship yet stayed true to the spirit of Solanus and his Franciscan tradition, publicly announcing inclusivity, simplicity and justice at the heart of the worship.

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