Venerable Bishop Baraga sainthood cause may advance soon

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula’s ‘snowshoe priest’ may be about to take one step closer to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

A Diocese of Marquette committee investigated a possible miracle of Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga in 2011. It then went to the Vatican. The Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints meets at the Vatican Thursday of next week to review it.

“What that means is, they will be reviewing the miracle to see if there’s an absence of medical intervention,” Bishop Baraga Association associate director Len McKeen said. “An absence of medical intervention would mean a very favorable outcome.”

If the medical commission gives the OK, the Congregation’s theological commission will review the miracle, followed by the Congregation’s cardinal members.

After clearing those steps, the miracle would go to Pope Francis, who could then declare Venerable Bishop Baraga to be ‘blessed’.

“We will wait patiently to get a response from them,” McKeen said. “What happens then is, if it’s received favorably and he is indeed beatified, then we would obviously be able to have a wonderful celebration here in his home diocese of Marquette.”

For Bishop Baraga to be declared a saint, another miracle would have to happen after he’s declared ‘blessed’. The second miracle would then have to go through the same verification steps at the Vatican.