Honoring Bishop Lennon

This fall, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland collectively mourned the loss of Bishop Richard Lennon. Bishop Lennon was the 10th Bishop to serve the Diocese of Cleveland. Throughout his life, Bishop Lennon was known for his deep dedication to serving the Catholic community and keeping constant the values of the Catholic faith. After ten years of faithful service to the Diocese, Bishop Lennon petitioned for early retirement in 2016 due to health concerns. He passed away on October 29, 2019.

The Catholic Cemeteries Association was called soon after Bishop Lennon’s passing and was asked to perform his entombment at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland. The CCA was also asked to engrave Bishop Lennon’s crypt front. We considered this task a great honor, and an opportunity to pay our final respects to Bishop Lennon. Creating his crypt front required special attention to detail and both modern and traditional forms of artistry.

Bishop Lennon instructed before his passing that he be laid to rest inside the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, along with other Bishops of the Diocese of Cleveland. Their crypt fronts date back to the 1800’s, with the most recent entombment occurring in the 1980’s. This posed a challenge to our engraving team, as they were tasked with matching the design of the historic crypt fronts.

The first step was to visit the existing crypts to get rubbings and photos for reference.

A crypt front rubbing that the CCA team used for reference.

Next, our team scanned these images into our system. Once in the system, each letter and symbol was redrawn and fine-tuned to match the historic style. The small imperfections found on the older crypt fronts were kept intact so that all crypt fronts would match and have the same feel.

After the image was fully designed within our software, a vinyl stencil was printed. After cutting out the details of the stencil, the stone was then prepared for sandblasting.

Sandblasting is what actually engraves the stone. The pressure of the sand determines how deep the inscription goes into the stone. After a few rounds of sandblasting, some finishing touches were made by hand.

The prepped stencil ready to be sandblasted.

Once all the finishing touches were made, the stone was carefully packaged and delivered to the Cathedral where CCA staff was ready to lay Bishop Lennon to rest and install the crypt front.

The CCA is humbled by our involvement in honoring Bishop Lennon’s life and legacy. May we never forget his dedication to the Diocese of Cleveland, and the positive impact he made on our Catholic community.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

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