A special ceremony for Divine Providence

The saying “everything happens for a reason” came to life for one priest and funeral director in Biloxi this week.

Divine providence: that’s how Father Colten Symmes described his Monday afternoon. “Well, I opened the door and there was a box sitting there and so I read it and the note said something to the effect that ‘these are my father’s ashes and I have held onto them for many years. I didn’t know what to do to them and hopefully you will give them the respect that I couldn’t.”

Anonymous ashes were left at the doorsteps of his church. Father Colten wasn’t sure what his next move should be, but he decided to call his friend Jeff O’Keefe for guidance. “He had asked if I had left yet because my car was still there at the church. Then we just kind of assessed the situation and the note that was left with the urn and from there we just kind of had to decide how do we handle this from here.”

Ultimately their decision was to give this person a proper burial which in the Catholic faith is a very important part of life. “We believe, especially as Catholic Christians, that God created the body as good and so we want to respect the human body. It’s very sacred, very holy. But also too we have the hope of resurrection of the body and so to give someone that proper respect and that proper burial is just part of our Catholic Christian faith and so I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to be of service.”

The irony of it all is just shortly before finding the ashes Father Colten and O’Keefe were discussing how God always guides all creation toward its ultimate perfection by divine providence. “I definitely thought it was a moment of divine providence where God put me in that position at that particular moment and then also Jeff O’Keefe as well to be able to help me do that . I mean the puzzle just all fit together.”

Their hope is that this person finds peace with the Lord as well as the family who trusted the church would do exactly what was done.

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