5 Things to Remember When Visiting a Cemetery

Visiting a cemetery can be an uncomfortable experience for some. Confronting the concept of death and grieving the loss of dearly departed loved ones brings a plethora of complex emotions. As hard as this can be, working through these complex emotions is the key to greater spiritual and emotional healing. While comfort levels will depend on each individual and their situation, there are some things to keep in mind when visiting a cemetery that can help make the experience more peaceful. Keep reading to learn more.

Visitation Blog
Photo Credit: Kim Giamo

There are no expectations

While movies, TV shows, and even those closest to us may talk about the emotional experience of visiting a cemetery, remember that how you handle the experience is entirely up to you. While some people may feel comfortable crying at the grave site, you may not– and that’s okay. Displaying (or not displaying) emotion is not an indication of how you felt for your loved one. For some, decorating the grave site might derive the most comfort. For others, simply sitting in silence is what’s best. It’s important to find what works for you. Don’t feel like you must act a certain way or do a certain activity when visiting. Just like your relationship with your loved one, each person will have a unique connection and way of communicating love and loss.

You are on sacred ground

Remember that cemeteries are sacred places. Catholic cemeteries are specifically blessed and are considered to be an extension of the church itself. While there’s no need to dress a certain way or say a specific prayer, use the sacredness of the grounds to enter into a meditative and spiritual mindset. While you’re loved ones may not be here physically to connect with, you can still maintain relationships with them through prayer.

You are in an open space

One important thing to remember when visiting a cemetery is that you’re likely not the only one visiting their loved ones. While it’s good to express yourself in a way that you feel comfortable, it’s also courteous to remember those around you. Playing loud music, shouting, or otherwise being disruptive may make visitation hard for others.

You will (most likely) be outdoors

Most burial choices (aside from those who choose to be interred in a mausoleum) will be outside. Plan ahead to make sure you’re wearing weather appropriate clothing. Also, due to the forces of nature and other outdoor elements, make sure to read safety signs. If you feel a path is dangerous for you to attempt, don’t. Check to see if the cemetery office provides escorts- they will be able to guide you to the burial site safely.

Take it all in

Sometimes visits can seem more like a chore than a genuine experience. It’s important when visiting to take a few moments to truly meditate and spend spiritual time with your loved one. Think about their life and the lasting impact they left on yours. Treasure the quiet time together and brief separation from the rest of the world.

Some people find consolation in praying near the grave site. A common prayer is:

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

However, prayer doesn’t need to be formal or rehearsed. Simply spending time in meditation can be healing on its own.

What do you find most helpful and comforting when visiting your loved ones? Let us know in the comments below.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

A Statement on Dandelion Control from the Catholic Cemeteries Association

The Catholic Cemeteries Association has received some complaints recently regarding the upkeep of our Catholic cemeteries. The appearance of our cemeteries is something we hold in very high regard, as we strive to honor those who have passed before us by maintaining grave sites and providing families with a proper place for remembrance. It’s important to remember that there are several factors that tie into weed control, some of which we have no control over. We have an expansive weed control program that spans over 1500 acres of turf managed by the Catholic Cemeteries Association.

Our weed control program consists of 2 applications per year.

Crabgrass control

Crabgrass control is applied first and must be completed around April 15th depending on the temperature. The ground must be thawed and without snow. We had a late start on that application this year, as the long winter kept ground temperatures too cold to apply at the normal time (which would have been early March).

Broad leaf control

Normally, when temperatures rise gradually, the dandelion outbreak is not as severe or noticeable. However, this year we experienced below-average temperatures in April that led well into the beginning of May. Then, the temperature warmed significantly in a short period of time. There are also certain limitations to applying broad leaf weed control, as it can only be applied when it is not raining and when winds are below 15mph. These factors altogether hindered our ability to properly protect against dandelions. We are currently starting broad leaf weed control, albeit three weeks behind our typical seasonal schedule.

The Catholic Cemeteries Association works hard to ensure our cemeteries are places of prayerful remembrance, and we apologize if the recent weed situation has hindered that ability. We are not offering excuses for the weeds, but many factors have impeded us from achieving the quick results we all want. Our crews are out spraying and will have made the rounds at all 19 cemeteries soon.  If you have further questions or concerns, we encourage you to send them to email@clecem.org.

 

Updated: May 22, 2019

All Saints, All Souls, and Cemetery Sunday: What are the differences?

While many of us “cradle Catholics” have grown up with the expectation of attending Mass the day after Halloween in observance of All Saints Day, I’m sure that there are some of us, myself included, that never really stopped to ask why All Saints Day was a holy day of obligation. Even more so, I was never aware that there are two other major Catholic observances in the month of November: All Souls Day and Cemetery Sunday. While all related, these three days are actually quite different, and each offers its own special intention. Keep reading to learn more about these three holy days, how they’re different, and how you can celebrate them.

 

cemetery sunday

 

All Saints Day (November 1st)

As I mentioned, All Saints Day (officially named Solemnity of All Saints) is the most well-known of the three November observances. All Saints Day is meant to be a celebration of the souls that are currently in Heaven. These souls include both known saints recognized by the church, and those that are unknown. Being a Holy Day of Obligation, All Saints Day is celebrated with a special Mass.

All Souls Day (November 2nd)

Not to be confused with All Saints Day, All Souls Day is a day dedicated to souls who are not in Heaven. This day is a chance for those of us here on Earth to offer prayers and intentions for those souls in purgatory– that they may find eternal peace and rest in the Kingdom of Heaven. While not a holy day of obligation, All Souls Day is an opportunity for all Catholics to pray for our departed brothers and sisters.

Cemetery Sunday (First Sunday in November)

Cemetery Sunday, while closely related to All Saints and All Souls Day, is rather unique. Proposed by the National Catholic Cemetery Conference in 1978, the day focuses on the physical location where souls are laid to rest: the cemetery. Catholic cemeteries are sacred ground, as they are blessed upon their founding, and they are treated as an extension of the Church itself. Therefore, Cemetery Sunday is a day dedicated to those buried in a Catholic cemetery. The day is normally celebrated with a special Mass on cemetery grounds. Cemetery Sunday is a spiritual way to honor family members who have passed, and provides families with a special opportunity to visit the graves of their dearly departed loved ones.

The Catholic Cemeteries Association will be celebrating Cemetery Sunday on November 3rd, 2019.  Mass will be said at 3pm. Click here for more information: https://www.clecem.org/Events/CemeterySunday.aspx

 

For more information, please email Rhonda Abrams at rabrams@clecem.org

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Preplanning: What it is, Why it’s important, and how you can get started!

No one enjoys thinking about their own death. In fact, many people go to great lengths to avoid the subject entirely, choosing to ignore the matter of death altogether. While this may ease some worry in the short-term, in the long-term avoiding the topic of death, especially your own, can be unhealthy and lead to added stress, emotional turmoil, and financial struggles. As Catholics we realize that death is only the transition into a world that is much greater than we can even imagine. Instead of ignoring death or trying to outsmart it, embracing your mortality and planning ahead will actually bring you more peace of mind. The Catholic Cemeteries Association is here to provide our Catholic community with the knowledge and resources they need to preplan their final arrangements. Keep reading to learn more about preplanning: what it is, why it’s important, and how you can get started.

 

 What is it?

Preplanning is the process of planning your burial arrangements in advance. This process normally includes selecting your place of burial, what type of burial you prefer (traditional or cremation), memorials and monuments, and basic principles and guidelines regarding your burial to leave your loved ones following your death. Preplanning is all done with the help of a knowledgeable and compassionate Family Service Representative, who will assist you through each stage of the process.

 

Why is it important?

Preplanning is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones. Losing someone close to you is a traumatic experience, leaving family members distraught, confused, and unbelievably stressed. By planning your burial arrangements in advance, you save your loved ones the stress of making quick decisions regarding your final resting place. It is also a good way to save your family from the financial stress of burying a loved one. Another major advantage to preplanning is that it assures your final wishes will be carried out according to your own specific preferences. By starting early, you have time to research all of your options and come to the decision that best suits you and your specific situation.

How can you get started? 

Begin preplanning today by calling 855-85-2PLAN, or by visiting https://www.clecem.org/Information/BeginPrePlanning.aspx. One of our Family Service Representatives will be waiting for your call!

What you should know about grave settling

Maintaining graves is a very important task for our staff.  Some common questions we hear involve how long it takes for a grave to settle, what the process entails, and when grass will be planted. Keep reading to learn more.

CCC FALL 2 Katie

What is grave settling?  Grave settling is the process of the earth (soil, clay, etc.) surrounding the burial readjusting.

How long does is take a grave to settle?  The duration of time it takes for a grave to settle varies greatly on the season, type of burial, and other external factors. However, on average its takes about a year for a grave to fully settle.

 What is the process of leveling a grave?  Directly after the burial, the vault is surrounded by filler. While many cemeteries use only soil, we use fill sand to the top of the vault and then soil from the vault to the top of the grave.  Sand is much more durable against water and therefore speeds and assists in the settling process.  As the grave settles throughout the year, additional soil is added.

 When will grass be planted?  Grass will be planted on a grave before the grave has settled completely.  Typically, the first seed application will occur within a few months of the burial, depending on the season.  As the grave continues to settle throughout the year, more soil and seed are applied until the grave is level and the grass has grown in fully.  Please keep in mind that grass seed cannot be planted during summer and winter months as the seeds will not germinate.  We understand that leveling and seeding can cause distress to a family and we ask for your patience during the process.

 When can a memorial or monument be placed?  This answer varies depending on the individual situation.  Many memorials can be set soon after the burial, weather permitting.  The type of memorial (flush or above ground) will also affect how quickly it can be placed on a grave. It is also important to consider the production time of the memorial and if a poured cement foundation is required. Generally, memorials are not able to be set during late fall through early spring.

Edited by Joe Marques