BIDDEFORD---For years, individuals and families looking to purchase a burial plot at St. Joseph Cemetery in Biddeford would need to head to the unlikely destination of the basement at the Good Shepherd Parish offices in Saco.
“There was nowhere to work in the cemetery. After the meeting in Saco, everyone would have to drive to Biddeford. Our family service advisors were working out of their cars,” said Jessica Letendre, director of Maine Catholic Cemeteries. “Our motto is ‘Family First’, and this situation was challenging to carrying out our mission in the community.”
At long last, the solution has come in the form of a new office at the cemetery which was blessed by Bishop Robert Deeley at a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 26 (many additional pictures below). The office features two wide desk areas, a meeting room, a restroom, and other amenities.
“We are called to respect each other in life and in death, and the cemetery needs to be a place where that respect and the treasuring of human life is exhibited. This office is a fit place to show that respect to people and give them the hope that death is not the end,” said Bishop Deeley during the ceremony. “Burying someone in a place of beauty and honor underlines how important our faith is. We can be grateful for the way this adds to the community.”
Several people who were instrumental in the construction of the office were in attendance on Wednesday, including Ken Greenleaf and Jim Boulet of Maine Catholic Cemeteries and Monsignor René Mathieu, the former pastor of Good Shepherd Parish who approved the plans to build the office. It was a celebration of pride and gratitude as Maine Catholic Cemeteries personnel can now more easily fulfill their mission: ensuring the needs of those burying a loved one or pre-planning their own funeral arrangements are met.
“We have elevated the level of professionalism, the level of service, and our team’s ability to serve,” said Jessica. “Being mission focused is not only what defines us and sets Maine Catholic cemeteries apart, but it is what gives us clarity of purpose and vision.”
For more information about cemeteries and funerals in the Diocese of Portland, contact Jessica Letendre at (207) 773-6471.