A Detroit priest who focused his ministry on the poor and needy has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church, a key step toward sainthood.

The Rev. Solanus Casey was known as Father Solanus, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan order of priests. He died in 1957.

Tens of thousands of people attended the beatification Mass Saturday at a Detroit stadium. Italian Cardinal Angelo Amato read a letter from Pope Francis, who described Father Solanus as a "humble, faithful disciple of Christ." He was given the title of "blessed."

Father Solanus is credited with interceding to cure a Panamanian woman of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012. She attended the Mass.

He can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him.