Remember

We welcome the month of May because it is an amazing month in so many ways. In our hemisphere, spring is in full bloom and we are witnessing again the miracle of the change of seasons. This is also the month of our Blessed Mother, with the first three weeks in Easter and the latter in Ordinary Time. Liturgical colors inform the faithful and we watch the transformation from white to green, with the former symbolizing the light that has brought joy, purity, and innocence into the world and the latter, the symbol of new life.

May brings renewal and opportunities for families to gather and remember loved ones. We celebrate First Communions and Confirmations, we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day and at the end of the month on Memorial Day, we remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice. It is often on these occasions as we celebrate with the people we love, that we remember those who made the journey with us and who were called ahead of us to their eternal home.  

God has provided each of us with the wonderous opportunity to enjoy our time together, regardless of the amount we are given. Sometimes that life may only last the months in the womb of a mom and in others, a lifetime of experiences that can last a century. In either case, God gifts that life to a mother and a father and asks them to honor the gift He has given. God trusts us to live our lives by loving Him with all our hearts and minds and to love each other as we love ourselves and when this journey draws to a close, His promise of the next journey is there for each of us.

When we remember those whose earthy journey has ended, we must also remember that the new journey has just begun. Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new life, and the path to that life, through Christ, is simply LOVE.

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

“Pray” It Forward

Written By, Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan May 12, 2022

In our world of constant information overload, we are bombarded with opportunities to be on the giving or receiving end of information and ideas. If we think about it, we are the potential recipients of so much information- the good info that helps us learn, the bad info that can distract us or lead us away from our goals, and lastly, the ugly information that can lead us astray toward sin. Lately, it seems that the world has gone a bit crazy and in the past few years, we have had an awful lot to deal with. Today, we can use technology and the information it provides us as a positive tool to help us  draw closer to Christ.

Let’s take movies as one form of technology that can be utilized to help draw us closer to Christ. Recently, my husband and I, along with my mother, saw the movie “Fr. Stu”. It was about a young man who was a former high school football player, boxer, and longtime agnostic, who after surviving a motorcycle accident and questioning his purpose in life, realizes he was given a second chance in life to serve others, and ultimately believes that he’s meant to be a Catholic priest.  His life as a priest focused on serving others. He channeled the suffering and challenges faced with his debilitating disease as a way to draw closer to Christ by offering his sufferings as Christ did and using his life to glorify God. He was a “witness of suffering”, which we can exemplify in our own lives when we go through any trial or even a loss of a loved one. If we carry our crosses and sufferings as Christ did, we will feel God’s love and His strength will see us through our times of suffering and loss.

Fr. Stu followed the way of St. Therese, the Little Flower, in seeing that “it’s all in the little things”. It’s the day-to-day sacrifices, not the big things. Pope Francis has said, “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.” And Fr. Stu asked ‘What can I do this moment, that’s small and simple to make me a saint and to help me help other people see that they should be called to sainthood?’”  We are all called to be saints. How then, should we live our lives in pursuit of being saintly? Prayer is a common theme seen throughout the lives of the saints. If we take a minute each day to “Pray it Forward” and simply pray for someone who may be needing God’s grace and strength more than us, we are in essence, living our faith and generously sharing our love as Christians.

Talking technology again, actor Mark Wahlberg who portrayed Fr. Stu in the movie, has recently been promoting the Hallow App- A Catholic prayer and meditation app. How encouraging it is to see technology being used in a way that helps us deepen our relationship with Christ. Using technology to help us keep a prayer routine is great.  “Pray” it Forward is a term where we can consciously pray for someone other than ourselves, to serve others and ultimately help us grow in our spiritual lives. Those who are suffering from the loss of a loved one might feel a sense of purpose by serving others in prayer. Praying is one of the simple things we can all do to pull us even closer to God. And, instead of focusing on praying for our own needs, we can “pray it forward” and focus on praying for others.

This past month, we at Catholic Cemeteries Association have used technology to promote a strong prayer routine in praying the Rosary. With our CCAirwaves podcasts, you can pray the Rosary along with us at any time of the day or night. Praying the full Rosary step by step usually takes about 15 – 25 minutes, but remember, you can simply pray one decade (an Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, a Glory Be) if that’s all the time you have. Soon, the CCAirwaves library will have podcast recordings of all the Mysteries of the Rosary so that you can pray along each day of the week with the appropriate mysteries.

If you’re looking to “Pray it Forward” by adding the Rosary to your prayer routine, consider the following times for prayer:

  • If you take daily walks, consider adding the Rosary to your routine. You can say the prayers with the Hallow App, or listen to CCAirwaves and carry your rosary beads as you walk.
  • Pray the Rosary on your commute; listen and pray along as you start or end your day at work.
  • Pray as you prepare dinner.
  • Set aside quiet time and pray as you get ready for the day or prepare to fall asleep.

For those of us who are suffering the loss of a loved one, struggling with grief, or carrying other crosses in our lives, placing our intentions on serving others and “Praying it Forward”, will allow us to strengthen our faith and be saintly examples of Christ’s love alive in our world.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

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By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio – articles – email ) | Apr 12, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

Promise

Promise is a word used often in our daily interactions, and many of us rely on it to make very important decisions.  A promise builds trust and allows us to look to one another when we need each other most.  A kept promise means we can move forward knowing that we can rely on a person’s word, and we all know what it means when a promise is not kept. 

Every day we wake up to news that seems to be worse than the day before.  Anxiety about the future can be overwhelming.  It seems that uncertainty is the new normal.  Will we have food on our shelves or fuel to move through our daily lives?  In this uncertainty, so many of us are also faced with the recent death of someone we love and all of us grieve loved ones lost even though it may be decades ago.  How do we move forward when it may seem that everything is falling apart?  Where do we turn when uncertainty becomes overwhelming? 

The promise of paradise was made for us on Calvary through the death of Jesus.  He promised us that in Him is our salvation.  This promise is one we can all rely on and in it we will find our refuge from the uncertainty that surrounds us.  Through His promise, our relationship with our loved ones continues.  When placing your hand on the place where your loved one is interred, allow the promise made by Christ to wash over you.  Allow the joy of His promise to wash away your tears and smile because the path to paradise is there for each of us if we are willing to follow it. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

We Are the Easter People

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

– Saint Pope John Paul II

As we journey through this Holy Week, we reflect on the unconditional, unselfish, and overwhelming love poured out to us as Jesus suffered at Calvary so that we might have eternal life. I feel the utter pain and suffering of Christ, during this Lent, especially. We are living through a time where the invasion of Ukraine has brought global despair and uncertainty to a level that threatens to overshadow the promise of hope. It is easy to lose sight of the promises bestowed upon us at Easter when we are witnessing evil in the world every day. We are humans and we have a connection to others by nature.

We are the Easter people, and the world needs us to act on our faith and share the joy of Easter with all those we meet. When we see the suffering of those who have died in a war or those who are suffering from physical pain or disease, mental illnesses, or when we mourn the death of those whom we love deeply, we feel helplessness and despair.  It is at these exact times that our faith gives us strength and allows our hope in humanity to be renewed.

As Easter people, we can live our lives with a stronger sense of purpose and see beyond despair. We learn to see the goodness that overshadows the evil. We see it in the determination of a people defending their country and we see it in a neighbor or friend who does a kind act of service to those who are grieving.

I reflect on these times, and I realize that we have seen despair before.  Often hope seems to be gone when a loved one dies. However, as Catholics or Christians, we journey through the despair of Holy Week each year, and in the Resurrection, we learn that love has conquered death. Let us allow the Lenten journey and the promise of Easter Sunday to enlighten us and allow us to really see and appreciate the deep love that Jesus has for us. When a loved one dies, let us remember Easter’s promise of eternal life and the words of Saint Pope John Paul II: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

May this Easter bring hope and peace to all and let us remember to be the Easter People each day.

In Peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager

kmckiernan@clecem.org

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Fatherhood

During the month of March, the Catholic church focuses on the person of St. Joseph, husband of our Blessed Mother and foster father to Jesus.  St. Joseph entered the state of fatherhood when he accepted his role of foster father and took on the responsibility of being there for Jesus.  We find in St. Joseph the true meaning of fatherhood.  We see it in the patience he showed raising Jesus, and in his kindness and understanding.  God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His son, just as God chooses each of us when He entrusts us with the responsibility of fatherhood.  

The responsibility of fatherhood comes in many forms: paternity, adoption, spiritual and simply being an example to those we connect with in our daily lives.  Fatherhood is a calling to serve those entrusted to our care, to be present, to be an example of God’s love.  It is in the role of father that we feel intense love for the child entrusted to us by God, and this love has no limitation nor condition.  It is because of this intense love that we feel an almost unbearable heartbreak when death severs our earthly relationship. 

When a family experiences death, the emotional burden for the father is overwhelming because of the need to be strong for those left broken by the loss.  A father will feel that he must rise above the pain and become the rock for everyone else.  I am certain that Joseph felt the need to become the rock for Mary and for those suffering the death of Jesus.  In those hours between His death and resurrection, Joseph became the messenger of God’s love.  Fatherhood is a great responsibility, and it comes with God’s unlimited support and the love of Jesus for any man accepting that duty.  A father is the messenger of God’s love and compassion for His children. 

The gift of fatherhood is the responsibility of teaching faith in God and guiding those entrusted to our care to our Heavenly home.  The hour of our separation is not known but God’s gift is the opportunity to be an example of His love and to help guide His children home.  Heartbreak is the natural and human response to death, but the pain is mitigated by the knowledge that we did our best to be an example to our family.  God’s promise to every father is that the separation is temporary, and the path is clear because Jesus, loved by His earthly father, paved the way. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries