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Former Catholic priest sells affordable caskets, urns

July 14, 2018

HIBBING, Minn. (AP) — A former priest is building pine caskets and urns in a century-old church in Minnesota with a goal of making funerals more affordable to his customers.

Mark Coen’s company, Simple Pine Box, sells handmade caskets for $650. He also sells handmade pine urns for $125, KARE-TV reported.

Coen learned how to create the caskets by studying YouTube videos. He spends between 20-30 hours a week on each casket at Hibbing’s Grace Lutheran church, where he also lives.

“Kind of fitting,” the former Catholic priest said.

Coen said his father’s funeral showed him the need, after his family was charged $1,000 just to rent a casket prior to cremation.

Coen, who was ordained as a priest in the Duluth diocese, left priesthood after feeling stressed and isolated.

“Sometimes I wished the phone wouldn’t ring and sometimes I looked at my desk full of papers and just want to go take a walk,” Coen said. “I began to know this wasn’t going to get any better.”

Cohen said he’s found another calling and doesn’t regret being a priest for two decades or his decision to leave.

“I didn’t go away from being a man of faith or serving the Lord, I just decided I better take a little different way,” Coen said.

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Information from: KARE-TV, http://www.kare11.com

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