When a family chooses a CCA cemetery for the interment of a deceased loved one, they have an expectation that their loved one is entrusted to an institution whose mission is the corporal work of mercy of burying the dead. This expectation and trust extends to the level of care and maintenance of their cemetery. Each year brings many new challenges in our continued effort to maintain your cemeteries and to continue making improvements, we are determined to meet those challenges and live up to the expectations of our families.
As part of this ongoing commitment to our families, the CCA has reassessed the methods used for cutting and trimming the grass at some of our smaller cemeteries. Due to ongoing dissatisfaction with our outside vendors, the CCA has terminated its’ relationship with all outside lawn care providers. Management has proceeded with the establishment of an in-house cutting crew. It was evident that the quality of care provided by the outside contractors had diminished over the last several years and with the expiration of the contract term, the CCA moved forward with plans to bring this process in-house. Management is confident that our new service will exceed expectations and that families will be pleased with the care provided at their cemeteries.
The CCA continues to work diligently to improve your Catholic cemeteries and continuously invests the income generated through the sale of graves, crypts, memorials, vaults and other items into your sacred places. Each year the CCA uses the resources provided by our families to make necessary infrastructure repairs and improve the overall appearance of each of our Catholic cemeteries. Trees have been planted, streams created, new ponds dug, buildings repaired and roads paved. While much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. CCA management is careful with the income generated from the sale of interment rights and other products and services and due to the size of our organization, is limited in the number of projects it can complete annually.
Many families with loved ones interred in a CCA cemetery may not realize that their Catholic cemeteries stand on their own, they are self-sustaining. The term self-sustaining is defined in the Webster Merriam Dictionary as 1: maintaining or able to maintain oneself or itself by independent effort <a self–sustaining community> 2: maintaining or able to maintain itself once commenced <a self–sustaining nuclear reaction>.
I am often surprised to discover how many families are not aware that their cemetery is self-sustaining. Few understand the financial separation between the Diocese of Cleveland and the CCA and assume that the CCA receives financial support from the Diocese. As a Catholic institution, the CCA is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cleveland and serves as an integral part of Diocesan life. While the Diocese recognizes the needs of our Catholic cemeteries and oversees our fiscal viability, it does not absolve us from being responsible for our own financial obligations. Furthermore, the CCA does not pay an assessment to the Diocese.
The CCA manages eighteen of the forty Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese of Cleveland. The CCA employs over 170 full time employees who maintain approximately 1900 acres of cemetery land, 34 miles of roads, over 60 buildings, including maintenance facilities, office buildings and mausoleums. As an organization, the CCA is responsible to 750,000 families with loved ones interred in a CCA cemetery. Every dollar generated through the sale of interment space, granite memorials, vaults and other items is spent taking care of our cemeteries for our families.
As a self-sustaining institution, we rely on our families to purchase their interment and memorialization needs from us. The more income that is generated, the more we can invest and improve your cemeteries and ensure the future of your sacred places.
Andrej Lah, Director of Catholic Cemeteries Association