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MARQUETTE — A world premiere of an installment of “They Might Be Saints: Bishop Frederic Baraga” from EWTN featuring the life of Bishop Frederic Baraga will be held Jan. 19 at St. Peter Cathedral.
The 30-minute program shot on location in the U.P. will be a highlight of a two-day celebration of the life and commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Venerable Baraga who is under consideration by the Vatican for sainthood.
Len McKeen, executive director of the Baraga Association, said she is “thrilled that the program to be aired on the Eternal Word Television Network will bring national, and even international attention to the first bishop of the Upper Peninsula Catholic diocese.”
Anyone familiar with the U.P. is familiar with the name Baraga. Born in a castle in Slovenia in 1797, Frederic Baraga came to the United States in 1830 as a missionary, eventually becoming known as the “Snowshoe Priest” for his winter travels by foot across the Upper Great Lakes wilderness.
Already trained as a lawyer in Austria and studied in six languages, his love for the native people encouraged the young priest to pen the Grammar of the Ojibway (Chippewa) Language. This became the foundation of Indian literature and his monumental work: A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language, which is still in use today.
He died Jan. 19, 1868 in his home in Marquette, which is being restored by the Baraga Association.
The Jan. 19-20 celebration will begin on Friday with a Solemn Mass for the Dead at 5:30 p.m. Following that will be a meal, the world premiere and then Michael O’Neill, “The Miracle Hunter,” will give a presentation.
Highlights of the Saturday events include a presentation at St. Peter Cathedral by Curtis Chambers who has snowshoed more than 1,000 miles in Bishop Baraga’s footsteps. He will then lead a snowshoe walk at Holy Cross Cemetery in Marquette. A presentation by Father Corey
Litzner on Bishop Baraga’s first pastoral letter will take place in the afternoon. Family activities will take place throughout the day. The event will conclude with 4 p.m. Mass at St. Peter Cathedral and a ticketed dinner.
The event will also launch a self-guided pilgrimage throughout the areas of Bishop Baraga’s ministry that lead to St. Peter Cathedral. Venerable Baraga’s remains are in a chapel dedicated to him at the cathedral.
The pilgrimage is based loosely on the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James that leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.
“Bishop Baraga’s zeal to bring people to Jesus led to a ministry that had great impact across the Upper Great Lakes,” said McKeen. This pilgrimage will have points in 26 dioceses that lead through Baraga’s mission field to his tomb, but ultimately to Jesus in His Church.”
Preregistration is required for meals and activities. Visit the Bishop Baraga Association website for full details at www.bishopbaraga.org.