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Bishop’s Memorial Fund

Bishop’s Memorial Fund

Using memorial funds given in the name of the late Bishop Peter Muhich, the diocese has platted space for bishops and priests at St. Martin Cemetery, adjacent to Terra Sancta Retreat Center in Rapid City. The St. Martin Benedictine Sisters rezoned the cemetery to the Diocese of Rapid City in March 2023.

Msgr. William O’Connell, who passed away in 2015, was the only clergy member buried at the St. Martin Cemetery. His grave, located to the north and separate from the sister’s grave sites, was recently found to be over the property line. As a result, it was necessary to relocate his resting remains to the new rezoned space.

According to Sr. Christine Hernandez, SCTJM, chancellor for the Diocese of Rapid City, “Architectural drawings were quickly drawn up upon Bishop Peter’s passing in February. The site is currently platted for 30 burial spaces. Of the 30 spaces, six are designated for bishops and Bishop Peter is in one of them; there are five left.  Of the other 24 spaces, Msgr. O’Connell has been moved to one and there are 23 left.” She concluded, “We are blessed to have a designated place to bury our bishops and priests.”

Diocesan Administrator, Fr. Dan Juelfs, agreed, “Basically, it gives priests an option to be buried in a place that is designated as a religious site. For some, their only option would be to be buried either in a parish cemetery, or to be buried in a cemetery where their family is buried. These choices are still available for the priests, but this allows them to be buried with their ‘religious’ family — the other priests they have served with. There is a priest section in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Rapid City, where some of the earlier priests are buried, but that space is limited.  Since we own this land, we have another opportunity.”

There is an ongoing fundraising effort for Bishop Muhich’s Memorial. This initiative aims to honor the late Bishop Peter Muhich and his contributions to the diocese.