SOUTH BEND – He was a mentor and a friend, a man many people looked up to.
Hundreds paid their respects to the late Bishop John D'Arcy in South Bend on Wednesday.
The long-time former leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese died on Sunday from cancer.
"He's a dear friend, like a third grandfather to me," said Megan Swaim.
Swaim worked for D'Arcy and the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese right out of college.
Swaim, like many people, considered Bishop D'Arcy a mentor and friend.
"I've been sad today, but up until this point I’ve been joyful," Swaim said. "What could you hope more for your friend than the eternal reward of heaven, especially after his illness."
His battle with cancer was a struggle, but his faith never failed him. He pushed on and prayed.
Current Bishop Kevin Rhoades said it’s our time to pray.
"We give thanks to God for Bishop's extraordinary life and his ministry, and we pray for him," said Rhoades.
Today's service begins 3 days of prayer to honor him and his legacy that he leaves behind.
Part of that legacy is the lasting impression he's had on children, teenagers, young ones who may have lost their way.
"He's had a pretty big impact in my life," said Neal Eakins, a Marian High School senior, "I lost my father in 8th grade. He was always there."
He became a constant in many lives, guiding them through tough life decisions and always bringing them home to the Catholic Church.
"He offered me a job right before I graduated, and I came back to the diocese and started working for him in 2008," Swain said.
Some say he'll forever be missed, but they rejoice in knowing he's now in God's hands.
"He's at a happy place now, no more pain and suffering," Eakins said.
"We'll long for the day when we will meet him again," Swaim said.
There's a visitation in Fort Wayne on Thursday. The funeral Friday is at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, starting at noon.