What you should know about grave settling

School supplies are on sale, the air is getting cooler, and grocery stores are already selling Halloween candy. That’s right—Autumn is fast approaching! With any change in the seasons, we here at the Catholic Cemeteries Association are placed with the very important task of maintaining our graves, both old and new. Some common questions we hear involve how long it takes for a grave to settle, what the process entails, and the procedure surrounding new burials. You might be surprised by some of the answers! Keep reading to learn what you should know about grave settling.

1. What is grave settling?

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

2. 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.

3. 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 at the Catholic Cemeteries Association 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.


Fun times at the FEST 2017

The Catholic Cemeteries Association was very excited to return to the FEST this year! Having sponsored the event for over 15 years, the Catholic Cemeteries Association is known for our delicious snow cones, so much so that our tent was attracting visitors as early as 9:30am! One of our CCA  volunteers snapped a quick picture before the events began saying: “the calm before the storm.” Boy was he right!


“The calm before the storm”



As the day progressed, the line for CCA snow cones grew longer and longer. Luckily for us, we had an amazing team comprised of our Catholic Cemeteries Association employees and their families. With everyone’s help, we were able to keep the line moving quickly while having a great time!



Look at that line! 




Our snow cone machine hard at work! 


After being open for nearly 5 hours, we were able to pass out over 3,000 snow cones, which served as a nice cool down for all of those people sitting out in the sun. It was an amazing way to spend a Sunday afternoon- complete with faith-filled music, a holy atmosphere, and great people. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, as your Catholic Cemeteries Association, we are very happy to be an active member of the Catholic faith community. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Do you have a favorite FEST memory? Let us know in the comments!


Post written by Katie Karpinski

What you need to know about disposing of an American flag



As our country celebrates the great patriotic holidays of the summer months, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, it is the great honor of the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries to facilitate the placement of American flags on the graves of those who have served this country. Hundreds of flags are displayed each holiday, and it is truly inspiring to see just how many dedicated American citizens served their country. However, many people don’t realize what the process is for disposing of these American flags displayed at our cemeteries:


The flags are collected by our groundskeepers and placed inside well protected tarps or otherwise acceptable and protected containers. They are then stored until proper disposal can be arranged. At no point does any flag face any sort of damage or disrespect. Once all flags are collected and ready for disposal, they are shipped to one of our cemetery locations to be burned with dignity, which is the most commonly accepted and encouraged method of flag disposal. The ashes are then buried in keeping with proper public teaching on the disposal of the American flag.


Catholic Cemeteries Association considers the disposal of American flags as an honor and a privilege, and we are humbled that we are able to perform this service with the very upmost standards


Post written by Katie Karpinski

Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.

Fr. McCann celebrates Cemetery Sunday Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron

Fr. McCann celebrates Cemetery Sunday Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron.

My Broken Heart

The first thing I think of when I hear “February” is a heart.  The Christmas decorations have been replaced with St. Valentine decorations. Hearts and roses in various pink and red hues are hung from windows and front doors, filling grocery and drug store aisles.  These decorations and declarations of love evoke a comforting feeling in me, that I am blessed and I am loved. 

I cannot ignore the fact that my heart has also been broken several times.  How can this little, yet vital, 10 ounce organ evoke such pain and sadness? After the death of a loved one, so many people tell me, “My heart is broken.  I have never felt so much physical and emotional pain.”  There is no quick fix for a broken heart.  It takes time, effort and a deep faith in God. 

Our beloved Mother Mary is no stranger to a broken heart.  We have recently heard from Luke’s Gospel Simeon’s prophecy: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed” (Luke 2:35).  Although Mary experienced intense pain and sorrow throughout her life, she never lost faith in the Lord and continued to do his will daily.

There is comfort in the arms of our Father; he knows the depth and intensity of the pain of our broken hearts.  One of the most beautiful and comforting prayers is to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: 

“O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I fly, I come to Thee, throwing myself into the arms of Thy tender mercy. Thou art my sure refuge, my unfailing and only hope. Thou has a remedy for all my evils, relief for all my miseries, reparation for all my faults, Thou canst supply for what is wanting in me in order to obtain fully the graces that I ask for myself and others. Thou art for me, and for us all, the infallible, inexhaustible source of light, of strength, of perseverance, peace and consolation. I am certain that my importunity will never weary Thee; certain, too, that Thou wilt never cease to aid, to protect, to love me, because Thy love for me, O Divine Heart, is infinite. Have mercy on me then, O Heart of Jesus, and on all that I recommend to Thee, according to Thy own mercy, and do with us, for us, and in us, whatsoever Thou will, for we abandon ourselves to Thee with the full, entire confidence and conviction that Thou will never abandon us either in time or eternity. Amen”

            In this cold month of February, I find warmth in the comfort of God’s love. Not only do I offer him my prayers of thanksgiving and forgiveness, but I offer him my broken heart.  Sometimes a broken heart allows God to enter into our lives more easily. 

            If there is anything Catholic Cemeteries can do for you during this difficult time, do not hesitate to contact us.

Nancy Janesz-Romaine, LSW, MPA

Bereavement Coordinator, Catholic Cemeteries Association

Diocese of Cleveland


When Is Free Really Free?

Free. You see the word everywhere. However, the question you must answer is “When is free really free?”

Pre-planning your cemetery needs leads to better informed decisions that alleviate one’s family from the burden during a period of sorrow. When it comes to making cemetery arrangements in advance, you must carefully consider the concept of “free.”

The concept of a “free grave” is misleading and should prompt you to ask several questions. First, ask about the location of the free grave. The free grave could be located in an undesirable area of the cemetery. Second, inquire about the restrictions such as “One Per Household” or up to a particular dollar amount. This would require you to purchase an additional grave for your spouse, or pay more to upgrade. Finally, determine what additional services or fees are required to “earn” the free grave. Some cemeteries require pre-planning funeral arrangements at their affiliated funeral home.

Catholic Cemeteries Association is driven by its mission to provide a dignified Catholic burial for the people of the Diocese of Cleveland. Through this Corporal Work of Mercy Catholic cemeteries provide a spiritual and loving setting where faith is awakened and strengthened. As a self-sustaining entity, Catholic Cemeteries Association assures everyone a dignified Catholic burial. Our Family Service Representatives are readily available to explain the ministry and services available at Catholic cemeteries.

S. Caper, Director of Family Services