Diocese of Marquette raising funds for the Venerable Bishop Baraga

The Diocese of Marquette is holding a fundraiser this weekend for a special chapel at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Marquette.

The new structure will replace the old tomb and house the remains of the Upper Peninsula’s first bishop, Frederic Baraga, who was declared “venerable” by Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year.

“They don’t just make anybody venerable. They wouldn’t make you or I venerable. You can’t. You have to do something special in your area. For us, the thing that Bishop Baraga did was he was the Bishop of our Diocese. He actually established the Diocese. He went amongst the people, Native Americans and the early settlers of the Upper Peninsula, and the biggest thing about Bishop Baraga was he didn’t have a car. He didn’t have a motorcycle. He didn’t have any of these things. He went by foot,” explained Father Ben Paris, St. Louis the King in Harvey.

One special car, a 1993 red corvette, will be raffled off at the fundraiser Saturday afternoon to help raise money for the initiative. The campaign spearheaded by Archbishop Sample led to Bishop Baraga’s venerable distinction and could go even higher.

“So now, we’re hoping for beatification. That’s a very important step on the way to Sainthood. Once he achieves Sainthood, then we’ll say Saint Frederic Baraga. He’s a Saint from right here. Even though he’s from Slovenia, he’s still a big part of us,” Father Paris added.

You can help contribute to the cause this Saturday at noon at the Bishop Baraga Association office in Marquette where a member of the church will match donations.