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At Our Lady of Peace Cemetery in Indianapolis, a new statue is now watching over the circle of priests who have been laid to rest there.
On July 16, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop and vicar general, dedicated a new bronze statue of Our Lady of Einsiedeln that was installed at the priest’s circle in the cemetery.
Father Joseph Newton, who led the project, was among those in attendance, along with Beth and Dave Martin, members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington and the parents of Father Justin Martin, who is buried at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery.
A member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, where Father Newton is the associate pastor, funded the project.
“A generous, anonymous parishioner came to me one day and wanted to do something for the archdiocese in thanksgiving for the service of priests,” Father Newton said. “The parishioners [at St. Luke] have a great dedication to their former priests.”
Three priests who ministered at St. Luke are buried at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery—Father Paul Courtney, Msgr. Francis Tuohy and Father Martin.
Father Newton consulted several other priests about the project, and they collectively decided to establish a monument dedicated to the priests buried at Our Lady of Peace.
Our Lady of Einsiedeln was chosen because the cemetery is Marian-themed, and “since the priest section was already named after Our Lady of Einsiedeln, it seemed the most appropriate tribute,” Father Newton said.
There are deep connections between many priests who have ministered in central and southern Indiana over the past 150 years and Our Lady of Einsiedeln.
Over that time, many archdiocesan priests went to seminary at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad.
This seminary is operated by the Benedictine monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a daughter house of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland.
The shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedeln at that historic Swiss abbey has been a prominent pilgrimage site for more than 1,000 years. Devotion to her was brought to southern Indiana by the monks who founded Saint Meinrad.
July 16, the day on which the statue was dedicated, is celebrated in the universal Church as the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In Einsiedeln and Saint Meinrad, however, it is marked as the Feast of Our Lady of Einsiedeln.
The image of Our Lady of Einsiedeln is that of a black Madonna holding the Christ child in one hand and a scepter in the other. The dark color of the original statue was the result of candle soot collecting on the image for many years.
The statue was crafted in Ortisei, Italy, by the same sculptors who make wooden statues of Our Lady of Einsiedeln for the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland. †