Father Benjamín Piovan, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Saltillo, Mexico, traveled to Mississippi recently to talk with Bishop Joseph Latino about a movement among the people of Saltillo to have a Mississippi priest declared a saint.
The priest, Father Quinn, 66, died of a heart attack in Saltillo on Jan. 9, 1997. He had been pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish since January 1969.
Bishop Latino said Father Piovan asked his approval to print a prayer card asking God to eventually declare Father Quinn a saint.
The bishop told Father Piovan he doesn’t have any problem encouraging the people of the Diocese of Jackson to pray for Father Quinn. But, Bishop Latino said, according to Canon Law seeking sainthood for an individual is requested by the local ordinary, the bishop of the Diocese of Saltillo, José Raul Vera López.
Father Piovan also informed Bishop Latino of documentation he has obtained about a miracle attributed to Father Quinn.
On Nov. 21, 2009, the Diocese of Saltillo celebrated a Mass to observe the 40th anniversary of the coming of Father Quinn to Saltillo. During Mass, Bishop Francisco Villalobos, who was the Bishop of Saltillo during Father Quinn’s years there, spoke about the sanctity of the priest.
And this year, on Jan. 7, Father Piovan celebrated a Mass at St. Michael Church in Saltillo to mark the 13th anniversary of Father Quinn’s death. During Mass, several people gave testimonies about cures they credited to his intersession.
The grounds where the Diocese of Saltillo plans to build a new St. Michael Church in memory of Father Quinn were blessed the same day. An altar in the church, that will have a capacity to seat 400 people, will be dedicated in Father Quinn’s honor. This altar will contain the names of all those who contribute to the construction of the new church.
Mexican journalist Jesús Salas Cortés is writing a book about Father Quinn’s life and ministry in Saltillo and is planning to publish it later this year.
During his ministry in Saltillo, Father Quinn built 15 chapels of which seven are now parishes.
Following Father Quinn’s death, the diocesan mission, sponsored by the Diocese of Jackson and the Diocese of Biloxi, moved its base-mission from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish to St. Michael Parish.
Printed with permission from Mississippi Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Jackson.