The Diocese of Providence has announced that the body of Bishop Thomas Hendricken, the first bishop of Providence will be re-entombed in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul on December 8th. Music from Bishop Hendricken’s funeral Mass will be performed.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence today announced that Friday, December 8, 2006 at 12 Noon in the Cathedral SS. Peter and Paul, One Cathedral Square in Providence will mark the solemn return of the body of Bishop Thomas Hendricken, the first Bishop of Providence, to the Cathedral and his re-entombment to a new, dignified resting place. December 8 is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation. Public and media are invited to attend the Mass.

“As the founding Bishop of Providence, Bishop Hendricken was a leader of historic proportions for the Catholic Church in New England,” said Bishop Thomas J. Tobin. “He made the establishment of our present Cathedral his personal and ardent goal – a goal that he would never live to see as the first Mass celebrated in the Cathedral was his funeral. The celebration of the return of Bishop Hendricken, which is significant in itself, is also an opportunity to recall the wonderful history of our Diocesan Church, and to remember with gratitude all those – bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity – who have gone before us in faith.”

Bishop Hendricken was ordained the first Bishop of Providence in 1872 by Pope Pius IX. He was born in born in County Kilkenney, Ireland and emigrated to United States as a missionary. Bishop Hendricken served as shepherd for the Diocese of Providence until his death in 1886, with his Funeral Mass the first Mass said in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul – the Cathedral he built, but never lived to see final completion.

Six bishops were buried separately in a tomb located in the lower area of the Cathedral. The remains of Bishop Tyler, the first bishop of Hartford, were returned to the Archdiocese of Hartford earlier this year. The remaining bishops were interred with fellow priests in the clergy section at St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston. The remains of Bishop Hendricken will be re-entombed in a sarcophagus located to the right of the altar along the interior wall of the Cathedral.

The sarcophagus is candeas green Brazilian granite and was obtained from Quality Granite in Pawtucket. Ten men carried the 2,100 pound sarcophagus into the Cathedral. The Bordeaux granite nameplate above the sarcophagus is also from Brazil. Louis Sciolto of Sciolto Memorials was the general contractor for the project. Fr. Anthony Verdelotti, director of Catholic Cemeteries, designed the sarcophagus.

“As we honor Bishop Hendricken, let us thank God for his faithful and devoted service that has resulted in so much good for the Church and community in Providence,” added Bishop Tobin. Catholic school students and representatives from each of the diocese’s 152 parishes are expected to attend this special Mass. Music from the original Funeral Mass will be performed by members of the Gregorian Concert Choir and Orchestra.

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