Holy Family Center memorial complete

A statue of the Holy Family completes a memorial to the Holy Family Center near the entrance of Ascension Cemetery in Wichita. The wall at the left is one of four with names and images of those associated with the center. (Advance photo)


A statue of the Holy Family has been installed near the entrance of Ascension Cemetery in Wichita in memory of those associated with the former Holy Family Center.

Bishop Carroll helped found the center

Mike Wescott said the memorial honors the Holy Family Center that was established in 1965 by the Diocese of Wichita for children with disabilities. Bishop Mark K. Carroll, Sr. Veronice Born, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Fathers Eugene J. Gerber and Ronald Gilmore (both who later were named bishops) were integral in the founding of the ministry.

Wescott, the director of the Office of Development and Planned Giving, said donors to a Holy Family Center legacy fund were remembered on a large wall of names installed several years ago.

Holy Family Center closed; names were stored

“When the Holy Family Center was closed, those names had to come down because we sold the building and the property. They were just stored for years,” he said.

Tom Racunas, a former director of the Ministry With Persons With Disabilities, conceived the idea of a memorial, Wescott said. “He and I worked together to create that memorial at Ascension Cemetery. It’s really beautiful with names and a picture collage engraved into granite.”

A statue of the Holy Family was always part of the vision for the memorial but was deferred because of the overall cost, he said.

Myra Jacobs inspired to complete memorial

Racunas’ successor, Myra Jacobs, who recently retired, was inspired to complete the memorial with the statue, Wescott said. He added that with the help of a few generous donors, enough was raised to commission a statue of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

“It’s a very nice completion to the space in honor of the Holy Family and in honor of the many donors who have supported this organization for years.”

The statue will be dedicated in a private ceremony early next month.