Faith-filled Marquette, MI, Catholics and others from near and far gathered September 26-27, 2009 for Bishop Baraga Days celebrating Frederick Baraga, the first bishop of the Diocese of Marquette (1853-1868). Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were among the crowd who enjoyed not only Slovene Singers but learned a song Ninxhawendaagoz (translated ‘I am Blessed’ in Ojibwa).
At the festive liturgies of the Eucharist, pilgrims made devoted pleas for intercession to God that Bishop Baraga may be canonized a saint while remembering his life, works and virtues. At the Sunday banquet, Bishop Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette, and Bishop Emeritus of Marquette, James H. Garland, Executive Director of the Bishop Baraga Association, reported on the actual progress of making this hope a reality.
- first of many Slovenian missionaries to come to the United States to help build up the American Catholic Church
- for 37 years traveled the length and breath of the Great Lake area to minister to the Ottawa na Chippewa Indians
- wrote seven Slovenian prayer books and authored 20 Native American book which includes his monumental Grammar and Dictionary of the Chippewa Language still in use today
- ministered to the immigrants who came to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to work in the iron and copper mines of the regions
- walked on snowshoes for 24 hours in succession because he knew if he stopped he would freeze to death (talk about heroic virtue?!)