DETROIT-Cardinal Adam Maida and other dignitaries will dedicate the $13-million Father Solanus Casey Center Saturday. The Mt. Elliott facility, which opens to the public Monday, will serve as a pilgrimage center for visitors to experience the life and work of Casey.

Planning, fundraising and construction of the 40,000-sf project has taken seven years.

Casey was instrumental in founding the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and could become the first American-born male elevated to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

“Father Solanus is a true example of a simple man who touched many lives by putting his faith into action,” says Father Larry Abler, project director.

Solanus, who died at age 87 in 1957, was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II.

Each year, more than 55,000 people from across the nation visited the former Solanus Center–a makeshift collection of exhibits set-up in a small auditorium.

The new 40,000-sf center features many new additions and improvements such as reflection and meditation gardens and exhibits.

Visitor turnout is expected to increase dramatically, to nearly 180,000 people per year, with the opening of the new center and potential declaration of sainthood.

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