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Bishop Behind Cathedral's Construction to Be Entombed There

The St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is one of Covington's most iconic structures, a project that began in 1894 and ended in 1915.

One of the driving forces behind the minor basilica's construction was the third bishop of the Diocese of Covington, Camillus Paul Maes. He died in 1915 after thirty years as leader of the diocese, the longest tenure of any bishop here.

On Saturday, Maes's remains will be moved from St. Mary's Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell to the Cathedral in Covington. Maes was exhumed in September.

Bishop Roger J. Foys will preside over a solemn entombment and funeral mass on Saturday, October 26 at 10 a.m.

The Cathedral historian will give a walking historical tour of the Cathedral afterwards.

In a news release from the Diocese of Covington, it was stated that letters, correspondence, and photographs of Maes from the Cathedral's planning and construction highlighted his desire to give the city "a token of his affection and a monument to speak for centuries to come of the love of Christ." “Indeed, the message of the Cathedral is the message of Christ,” Maes was quoted as saying.

A new tomb for Maes features a sarcophagus of white and green marble that matches that of the Cathedral's marble work. The lid of the sarcophagus features a hand-carved white marble effigy depicting Maes lying in repose. The vaulted ceiling of the crypt features golden stars on a deep blue background.

The former baptistery beneath the choir loft will house the new tomb for the remains of Bishop Maes that were exhumed late in September.

A native of Courtrai, West Flanders, Belgium, Camillus Paul Maes was born on March 13, 1846. Father Maes was ordained on December 19, 1868, in Belgium. He arrived in the United States on May 9, 1869, and began his ministry in the Diocese of Detroit. Father Maes was officially appointed Bishop of Covington on October 1, 1884, the first diocesan priest in Detroit to be elevated to that rank. Archbishop William Elder of Cincinnati performed the consecration on January 25, 1885, at St. Mary Cathedral in Covington. 

-Staff report