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Diocese of Portland Names Director of Cemeteries

PORTLAND---The Diocese of Portland is pleased to announce that John Fencik has been named the new director of cemeteries. Most recently, Fencik was the director for Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services (CFCS) for the Diocese of Spokane in Washington from 2014 to 2017.

CFCS is a division of Catholic Management Services (CMS), a nonprofit organization specializing in providing strategic business planning and professional services to revitalize cemetery operations. The Diocese of Portland signed a management services contract with CMS in July.

The Diocese of Portland currently owns and operates two diocesan cemeteries (St. Peter’s Cemetery in Lewiston and Calvary Cemetery in South Portland) and collaborates with parishes in the operation of more than 75 parish cemeteries. All cemeteries will continue to be owned by the diocese, and cemetery staff will remain employees of the diocese but will be under the supervision of CMS.

“The diocese’s partnership with Catholic Management Services is already bearing fruit,” said David Twomey, the chief financial officer for the diocese.  “Our dedicated staff members are benefiting from the expertise and resources of CMS, and I’m certain that John’s appointment as cemetery director will allow us to discover new ways to better serve the Catholic community through our cemetery ministry.”

“I’m looking forward to familiarizing myself with the cemeteries and introducing myself to the local pastors and cemetery personnel,” said Fencik. “One of my initial goals will be to highlight this work as a true ministry of the Church which reflects our call to bury the dead and comfort the sorrowful.”

While serving in the Diocese of Spokane, Fencik oversaw the daily operations of three diocesan cemeteries and advised parishes on administrative practices, effective training, and other special projects. From 2008 to 2014, he was the director of faith formation services/ecumenical officer for the Diocese of Helena, Montana. In that role, he was responsible for all religious education and adult formation programs in the diocese.  He has also served as principal and headmaster at schools in Greenville, North Carolina, and Merry Hill, North Carolina, respectively.

“I grew up on Long Island, New York, and my three children and first grandchild all live on the East Coast,” said Fencik. “The opportunity to move back east, particularly to a beautiful place like Maine, was important to my wife and me.”

Fencik earned master’s degrees in Biblical studies from Fordham University in Bronx, New York, and a master’s of divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Cathedral College in Douglaston, New York.