VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- During a May 10, 2012 meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, Pope Benedict signed 17 decrees furthering the sainthood causes of dozens of individuals, including Bishop Baraga. The decrees for the U.S. candidate for canonization recognize that he heroically lived the Christian virtues and is considered "venerable." Before he can be beatified, the Vatican must recognize that a miracle has occurred through their intercession. Father Baraga was ordained a priest in Slovenia in 1823 but left for America in the early 1830s to serve among the Ojibwa and Ottawa in Michigan. Beginning in 1835 he worked in the Upper Peninsula, where his constant travels to Indian villages even in the harsh winter months earned him the nickname "Snowshoe Priest." He was named the first bishop of Upper Michigan in 1857. In 1866, two years before his death, he moved the headquarters of the diocese from Sault Ste. Marie on the eastern end of the peninsula to centrally located Marquette, where it remains today. Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The national Bishop Baraga Association was formed in the 1930’s in the basement of the St. Stephen church. When the parish was moved to the Slovenian Catholic Mission, this organization moved its headquarters to the SCC/SKC. Its archives are housed in the SCC. The organization was formed to promote the canonization of Bishop Frederic Baraga, the first bishop of Marquette, Michigan who is known as the Snowshoe Priest and the Apostle to the Ojibway Indians. The national office is now staffed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, Michigan and the offices are located there. The Bishop Baraga Association has meetings in the Slovenian Catholic-Cultural Center. It sponsors a benefit dinner on the second Sunday of January whose proceeds are donated to the National Bishop Baraga Association to defray costs of the canonization process. The local chapter also organizes the annual pilgrimage to the National Bishop Baraga Days.