Jodi Marlin
March 7, 2017 // Special

Ground broken for Divine Mercy Funeral Home

Jodi Marlin

‘The focus on Divine Mercy will bring consolation’

Click here for more photos from the event.

The first Catholic funeral home in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend took a public step toward reality at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 28, with a groundbreaking event and a blessing of the site on which it is to be constructed.

Dignitaries of the diocese and the city of Fort Wayne were present and participated in the ceremony, which took place on the grounds of Catholic Cemetery, 3500 Lake Ave.

Preceding the initial, ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, sprinkled holy water on the ground and imparted a Prayer of Blessing on the exercise of a ministry of consolation, “guided by a profound trust in Divine Mercy” that will take place within the finished facility.

He continued by noting that burial of the dead is an important work of mercy.

Dignitaries of the city of Fort Wayne, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Catholic Cemetery Association break ground Feb. 28 on Divine Mercy Funeral Home, a funeral provider with a Catholic identity that will be located on the grounds of Catholic Cemetery, 3500 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne. From left are Bruce Buchanan, president of Buchanan Group and Flanner & Buchanan Mortuaries, advisors to the project; Karen Lohergan, Divine Mercy Funeral Home director of pre-planning services; Casey Miller, Catholic Cemetery Association executive director; Bob Jesch, Divine Mercy Funeral Home director; The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend; Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry; Fort Wayne City Council member Tom Didier; and Scott Guerrero, Catholic Cemetery Association director of maintenance. Not pictured is Bill Hoot, president, Catholic Cemetery Association board of directors.

“The focus on Divine Mercy will bring consolation to those who are grieving, as we entrust the souls of the faithful departed to the mercy of God,” the bishop stated previously. “I am hopeful that this new ministry of the Catholic Cemetery Association will bear much good fruit in serving the Church’s mission of mercy.

“We know the familiar words of the psalm: ‘If the Lord does not build a house, in vain do its builders labor.’ Let us, therefore, pray for His help through this celebration, that God will bring the construction of this new funeral home to successful completion, and that His protection will keep those who work on it safe from injury,” he said Tuesday.

Interest on the part of the Catholic Cemetery Association Inc. board of directors in creating a Catholic funeral home surfaced a couple of times between 2001 and 2012. In 2015 Executive Director Casey Miller — whose managerial background includes both cemeteries and funeral homes — joined the organization, researched the possibility and approached Bishop Rhoades with a proposal. He was granted permission to move forward on Aug. 12, 2016. “Bishop really had a vision for the project,” Miller said.

Divine Mercy Funeral Home will be owned by the diocese and will provide funeral services for Catholics and those of other faiths, as well as those not planning to be buried in Catholic Cemetery. The interior of the facility will feature a strong Catholic presence in look and feel, however, achieved under the direction of Father Daniel Scheidt.

The facility will house two visitation rooms, each with a personal family room; a crematorium and embalming facility; and the offices of Catholic Cemetery.

Construction of the funeral home began March 1. An open house for the 14,000-square-foot facility is planned for late September or early October.


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