Chelsea, MI – On Sunday February 24, 2013, a packed church at St. Mary Parish in Chelsea, MI joined the Bishop of Lansing at 10:00 a.m. Mass to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the visit of St. Louis Guanella to the United States in 1913. The Most Rev. Bishop Earl Boyea presided over the Mass attended by 400 people, along with five priests from the local Guanellian community at St. Louis Center, and Rev. William J. Turner, Pastor of St. Mary Church. Forty St. Louis residents and staff members were in attendance, along with many families from the St. Louis Guanella Council of the Knights of Columbus. The Cardinal O’Hara 4th Degree Assembly provided the Color Corps for the Mass.
During his homily, Bishop Boyea spoke of the significance of St. Louis Guanella’s outreach to America, and the contribution of the Guanellian congregation of priests to the Diocese of Lansing. At the end of Mass, Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC., presented Bishop Boyea with a gift of a relic of St. Louis Guanella in a new reliquary. The relic was a bone fragment of St. Guanella, which according to Catholic teaching, is worthy of veneration by the faithful.
After Mass, nearly 200 people remained for an “Italian Breakfast” that consisted of deli meats, bread, cheese, fruit, and yogurt. Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, Provincial Treasurer, spoke about the history of Fr. Guanella’s visit (December 15, 1912 – Feb. 8, 1913), the crowd was treated to a short film about the life of Fr. Guanella, State Deputy Michael Malinowski of the Michigan Knights of Columbus spoke of the importance of caring for persons with developmental disabilities, and Bishop Boyea gave a final blessing to everyone at the end of the program.
Fr. Louis Guanella was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church on October 23, 2011 at Vatican Square in Rome, and founded the Servants of Charity congregation of priests in 1908. He made it his mission in life to care for the “poorest of the poor,” especially persons with developmental disabilities.