John and Mary Weisert, members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, Indianapolis, can be seen in this undated photo. John was killed during the April 15, 2021 mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. The couple planned to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later that year. CNS Photo / St. Luke the Evangelist Parish via The Criterion
When John and Mary Weisert looked forward to their 50th wedding anniversary later that year, they did so out of the foundations of love and faith that still had deeply marked their marriage.
Members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, the couple seemed to be at each other’s side at all times, from faithfully attending Mass together to attending monthly meetings of the senior ward social group.
The college darlings who met at the University of Minnesota even shared a preference to be known by their middle names. John was Steve to those who knew him best, and Mary was known as Carol.
When the late night of April 15th turned into the early morning of April 16th and Steve still hadn’t returned from his part-time job as a package handler at the FedEx Ground Plainfield Operations Center in Indianapolis, Carol naturally worried.
And her worry turned to devastation and heartbreak in the hours to come when she learned that her 74-year-old husband was one of the eight people shot at the FedEx center before the 19-year-old shooter took his own life.
In the days following the mass shootings, Diane Schafer – St. Luke’s Director of Spiritual Life and Education Ministries – was in regular contact with Carol. The two women had a bond before the tragedy, but it has deepened in recent days after Diane suffered the loss of her own husband Kevin last year.
Diane noticed how difficult this time is for Carol and said, “She’s doing it the best she can. There is a feeling that she knows that God will take care of everything. You lost a baby (earlier in their marriage). She’s been talking about how she knows Steve is with her son now. “
This belief reflects how deeply the couple – the parents of three children – have lived their Catholic faith over the years, especially as longtime members of Saint Luke.
“You have always been faithful. You have always been here. They always made it to mass ”, said Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, pastor of the parish of St. Luke. “And he was a founding member of our St. Luke Council of the Knights of Columbus.”
In a letter to St. Luke parishioners, Msgr. Schaedel said of Steve, “He had some walking problems, which made me admire him even more. He made it to his bank slowly but surely every weekend.
“Both volunteered with Conner Prairie in Fishers and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. They were also train fans and volunteered for the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, ”the priest wrote.
Schäfer recalled the joy the Weiserts found in being part of the senior community’s social group.
“They were very much a part of our group,” she told The Criterion, Archdiocese newspaper of Indianapolis. “When he wasn’t working, they were always here. We meet every first Friday. We go to mass together and have lunch. Carol always brought a cake or a tart. And Steve was so proud of her. He would always make sure that I save a piece. “
Schafer noted that Carol had received “a lot of support” not only from the community, but also from people across the country and around the world.
“She is grateful for all the people who made an effort,” says Schäfer. “She is really grateful.”
Schafer shares another thought about the couple.
“You have been loving and caring. You really haven’t seen anyone without the other. They were wonderful together. “
Shaughnessy is assistant editor of The Criterion, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
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