Acting on recommendations brought forward by the task force committees charged with advising Archbishop Allen Vigneron on the financial and organizational restructuring of the Archdiocese of Detroit, changes have been made to the management structure of the Archdiocesan Catholic Cemeteries.
While the Detroit archdiocese will retain ownership of the properties, StoneMor Partners L.P., a leading full-service cemetery corporation, will now assist with the day-to-day management and operations of the three cemeteries: Holy Sepulchre in Southfield, Our Lady of Hope in Southgate, and Holy Cross in Detroit. The company has named George Horattas and Diane Travelbee, formerly of southeast Michigan's Mt. Elliot Cemetery Association, as associate directors of family services. In 2009, there were 2200 interments in the archdiocesan-owned cemeteries.
Archbishop Vigneron has appointed an operating committee to oversee the on-site managers and ministries of the cemeteries. Named to the committee are: Fr. Timothy Babcock, a Detroit priest; Beverly DeVriendt, president of Power Equipment Distributors, Richmond, Mich.; and Lawrence Sloane, president of L.F. Sloane Consulting Group, Albany, N.Y.
Additionally, an advisory board of local funeral directors has been appointed to help guide the operating committee on matters of policy and practices. Named to the board are: Terry Desmond of A. J. Desmond & Sons; John Martenson of Martenson Funeral Homes; Tim Schramm of Howe-Peterson Funeral Home; Jerry Yono of Southfield Funeral Home; and Mark Ziegler of Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home.
StoneMor operates over 250 cemeteries in the United States, including 13 in Michigan. With the company's management assistance, Holy Sepulchre, Our Lady of Hope, and Holy Cross cemeteries will be making adjustments to improve the quality of all operations and services for the families they serve. StoneMor's involvement will also allow the archdiocese to better focus its resources on developing and implementing programs regarding end-of-life issues, Catholic funeral and burial rites, and an appreciation of the unique resources and support provided by the archdiocesan cemeteries.