3 Things to Keep in Mind if you or a Loved one may be Battling Depression

Nearly one in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, and depression is one of the most common. With the considerable rise of depression rates due to COVID-19, mental health awareness is becoming increasingly imperative. It’s important to be able to understand and recognize the symptoms of depression and know where to turn for help. Also, it can be helpful to be aware that depression may not look the same in everyone.  

1. Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Depression

Whether you or a loved one may be battling depression, being familiar with the warning signs is a necessary step in the right direction to recovery. Although depression looks different in everyone, some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Feelings of prolonged sadness and emptiness
  • Being easily frustrated or irritable
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Extreme lack of energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of interest in most activities, especially those you used to enjoy
  • Trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent suicidal thoughts

It’s important to note that experiencing some of these symptoms now and then doesn’t necessarily correlate to a mental illness. Determining a diagnosis depends on the severity and duration of these symptoms, as well as how much they interfere with daily activities. If you or a loved one thinks they are depressed, it may be beneficial to consult a professional.

2. Be Aware that Depression Looks Different in Everyone

Depression is a tricky disease. It doesn’t look the same in everyone, and some depressed people are more functional than others. Since some symptoms may be more severe than others, you shouldn’t compare one person’s mental illness to another. You may never know that a loved one is struggling with depression just by looking at them. Some don’t even know that they, themselves, are struggling with depression. In fact, it is common for people to try to convince themselves that they aren’t depressed, or that the way they feel is normal and they are overreacting. This is normal for people battling with mental illness: they may be in denial. But, the first step in recovering from a mental illness is recognizing and accepting it. The next step is reaching out for help.  

3. Know Where to Turn for Help

Turning to someone for help is one of the most significant things you can do while battling a mental illness. Most importantly, if you think you are going to hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately for help. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. If you think you might be struggling with depression, make an appointment to see your doctor or a mental health professional as soon as possible. It may be hard to reach out for help, but it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. You do not need to go through this alone, and there are people who care about you and support you. If you aren’t comfortable seeking treatment or professional advice right away, consider talking to a friend, a loved one, a faith leader, or someone else you trust. Recovering from depression can be a demanding commitment, but once you choose hope, anything is possible.  

Post written by Jill Bosela

Renewal during Ordinary Time… In the midst of not so ordinary times…

“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)


The season of summer, which follows spring’s bursting forth of new life and growth, brings to mind nature’s strength. July is filled with warm sunny days (except in northeast Ohio), summer fun, family vacations and camp. Graduation parties are winding down and thoughts of the new school year are slowly making their way into the conversation.  As these events come and go, those who are suffering a loss are reminded that life continues regardless of the broken heart they carry along the way. 

The renewal and strength that is associated with summer can also bring hope. Let us try to accept the responsibility of bringing that hope to our neighbors. As we continue the steady march toward some level of normalcy, we are called to renew relationships and to open our hearts to each other. As we renew our relationships, let us place an emphasis on renewing our relationship and devotion to Jesus.  Our Lord and Savior became Man to renew our relationship with God, and with the shedding of his Precious Blood, He opened the door once closed. Jesus willingly gave Himself over to shed His blood in a supreme act of love. This love He has for each of us, most evident as we celebrate the sacraments, is the true roadmap we use to find Him in paradise. 
 
Throughout the season of summer, while we slowly return to the ordinary lives we enjoyed pre-pandemic, we find ourselves reconnecting with friends and loved ones. We realize that many will be dealing with the pain of loss. At those summer parties, we smile despite the pain from the death of a loved one, but it is in the Precious Blood, shed for us, that our relationship with God is renewed and the path to paradise established. By accepting that His death and the shedding of His Precious Blood renews our relationship with God, we gain the gift of hope and the peace of knowing that paradise is within reach. 

God bless, 

Andrej Lah 

New Beginnings…Faith, Hope and Remembrance

Blog written: June 15, 2021

June 2021 will be remembered as a special time in our lives. Over a year has passed since our world was besieged by the Covid-19 Global Pandemic and the resulting lockdown and isolation that ensued.

June is also a time of new beginnings and renewed life. Spring has sprung and flowers are in bloom. The world and our communities are re-opening. Returning to a sense of normalcy with the opening of restaurants, venues and most importantly, a return to our Church’s in-person liturgical celebrations, brings a renewed sense of hope. June brings me, full circle, back to my Catholic roots. I am honored to be the newly appointed Marketing and Communications Manager at Catholic Cemeteries Association.

I am excited to begin my new marketing role at Catholic Cemeteries Association. Pulling into the entrance of the corporate offices gave me a sense of coming full circle. My grandparents, Frank and Mildred Gallagher, along with other relatives, are buried here, at Calvary Cemetery. Up until two years ago, I had only been here as a young girl when my grandparents were buried. In the summer of 2019, I was at a burial of my friend’s father. I knew my grandparents were buried here and I had just discovered the CCA app for locating burial plots at any of the 19 CCA cemeteries. Unbelievable as it might seem, I put in their names and their burial location was on the same hillside as the burial site of my friend’s father. Using the GPS feature, I found their headstones and felt so happy to be able to say a prayer at their graveside. Little did I know that two years later, I would be working here, looking out on the grounds of Calvary where they are resting. 

June is also a significant month for a few other reasons. On June 11th and throughout the month, we focus on The Sacred Heart of Jesus. One of my first social media posts for CCA included the painting that I have had in our home throughout our marriage and raising our family. This is significant to me personally, because my grandfather was a leader and active member of Cleveland’s Sacred Heart of Jesus organization. His devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus influenced his 10 children and eventually, their children (all 50+ cousins of mine) to keep our faith alive and to “live” our faith. Displaying the Picture of The Sacred Heart of Jesus in our homes, throughout my life, to this day, is a daily reminder to try to dedicate our day to His work and serving others. 

This Sunday, June 20th, we celebrate Father’s Day. It is a bittersweet time for those of us who have lost our own fathers. My father passed away on June 24th, 18 years ago, this year. He passed two years after, to the day, as my maternal grandmother. This past weekend, I traveled to Pennsylvania and visited the gravesite of my maternal grandparents, John and Julia Sheredy. It was on my grandfather’s birthday, June 12th.  You can see that June has been a time of remembrance for me and it has also brought me full circle, as I start this new role at CCA. To remember our loved ones is bittersweet, yes. It is also hopeful. The legacy of faith that our loved ones have shared is a gift. In living their faith, they have instilled within us, the hope that keeping the love of Christ alive within us brings. The beautiful part of our faith is the hope of eternal life to come.  I am grateful for our fathers and for the time in June where we are called to remember their legacy of hope and faith. I am grateful for coming full circle and look forward to serving here at Catholic Cemeteries Association.

In peace,

Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan, BEE, MBA

Marketing and Communications Manager

Catholic Cemeteries Association

Honoring Bishop Lennon

This fall, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland collectively mourned the loss of Bishop Richard Lennon. Bishop Lennon was the 10th Bishop to serve the Diocese of Cleveland. Throughout his life, Bishop Lennon was known for his deep dedication to serving the Catholic community and keeping constant the values of the Catholic faith. After ten years of faithful service to the Diocese, Bishop Lennon petitioned for early retirement in 2016 due to health concerns. He passed away on October 29, 2019.

The Catholic Cemeteries Association was called soon after Bishop Lennon’s passing and was asked to perform his entombment at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland. The CCA was also asked to engrave Bishop Lennon’s crypt front. We considered this task a great honor, and an opportunity to pay our final respects to Bishop Lennon. Creating his crypt front required special attention to detail and both modern and traditional forms of artistry.

Bishop Lennon instructed before his passing that he be laid to rest inside the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, along with other Bishops of the Diocese of Cleveland. Their crypt fronts date back to the 1800’s, with the most recent entombment occurring in the 1980’s. This posed a challenge to our engraving team, as they were tasked with matching the design of the historic crypt fronts.

The first step was to visit the existing crypts to get rubbings and photos for reference.

A crypt front rubbing that the CCA team used for reference.

Next, our team scanned these images into our system. Once in the system, each letter and symbol was redrawn and fine-tuned to match the historic style. The small imperfections found on the older crypt fronts were kept intact so that all crypt fronts would match and have the same feel.

After the image was fully designed within our software, a vinyl stencil was printed. After cutting out the details of the stencil, the stone was then prepared for sandblasting.

Sandblasting is what actually engraves the stone. The pressure of the sand determines how deep the inscription goes into the stone. After a few rounds of sandblasting, some finishing touches were made by hand.

The prepped stencil ready to be sandblasted.

Once all the finishing touches were made, the stone was carefully packaged and delivered to the Cathedral where CCA staff was ready to lay Bishop Lennon to rest and install the crypt front.

The CCA is humbled by our involvement in honoring Bishop Lennon’s life and legacy. May we never forget his dedication to the Diocese of Cleveland, and the positive impact he made on our Catholic community.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

NDCL Students Serve Those in Need at Calvary Cemetery

This past week, the Catholic Cemeteries Association welcomed two Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School (NDCL) students, Brendan Boland and Nathan Lah, to Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland to participate in a rather unique service opportunity. Boland and Lah both volunteered their time to be pallbearers as part of the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Society at NDCL. In short, the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Society is a program that connects students with local Catholic cemeteries. Cemeteries can call upon students to serve as pallbearers for those who pass away without family members or friends to do so themselves. As part of their service, Boland and Lah assisted in carrying a community member to their final resting place, and also took part in a prayer service at the grave site.

Participating in the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Society is a remarkable way for young people to live their faith by performing the Corporal Work of Mercy of burying the dead, and the Spiritual Work of Mercy of praying for the dead. The CCA is continually grateful to partner with schools such as NDCL as part of our ongoing mission bury the dead with dignity and grace.

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Nathan Lah (left) and Brendan Boland (right) acting as pallbearers during a recent burial at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland.

Post written by Katie Karpinski