A Swiss guard figurine, prestigious awards and papal gifts offer a silent but reflective look at the varied life the eighth bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend just six months after he had a short but fatal battle with cancer.
Two baseballs and a fielder’s glove speak of Bishop John M. D’Arcy’s lifelong love of the game and his unyielding loyalty to the Boston Red Sox; one of the balls is from the 100th World Series played in 2004 between Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals, which the Sox won in four straight games.
Eventually, the hand that wore the glove would wear a bishop’s ring, which is also on display near two pectoral crosses, the official ornament of episcopacy since the 17th century. One is a gift from Pope Paul VI and two are from Pope John Paul II.
Standing alone among jewels, fabrics, photos and sacramentals as the preeminent symbol of a life dedicated to God is the chalice used in his home chapel. One wonders how often it was raised in thanksgiving and joy, supplication, grief and fear, worry and wonder, but always in that timeless bond which unites some men to the Son of man and who are allowed to say, “This is My body, this is My blood.”
The Most Reverend John Michael D’Arcy, who served the Lord 57 years a priest and 38 of them as bishop, led the faithful of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for 28 years, a period second only to Archbishop John F. Noll, who served for 32 years. He is remembered by many as that charming Bostonian with swift Irish wit and a kind heart for street people who knew him and a soft touch.
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