Heart

The heart is an amazing part of our body in both the physical and metaphysical. In the physical, the heart sustains life in every beat, and in the metaphysical, it is compassionate and feels the pain of loss. It is both a muscle and an emotion. Without the heart, the body fails and life cannot be sustained. When considering the miracle of the human heart, one cannot deny the miracle of God’s intent. He created each of us and gave us a heart that sustains us physically and drives our emotional connection to each other and by extension the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and it is the physical heart, wounded by the spear meant to end His life, and the heart wounded emotionally through the intense love for each of us. We must allow ourselves to focus on the Sacred Heart and accept that connection to His divinity. God sent us His Son, our Savior, and gave Him a physical heart that sustained Him as He delivered the message of redemption.  The duality of His heart can be seen in His passionate love for every one of us. It does not matter to the Son of God if you are the Samaritan woman at the well, the tax collector or the thief seeking forgiveness. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is connected to every person sent by God and entrusted to a mother and father through the miracle of conception and that connection remains intact as we find ourselves traversing the boundary between this world and the next. 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by love, is God’s gift to humanity. It is the wounded heart of Jesus that brings God closer to our human emotions and the pain we feel when a loved one dies. Through the Sacred Heart, we are connected to God emotionally and it is in our relationship with Him that our pain can find some relief. God sent His only Son to open the gates to paradise and all we need to do is accept Him into our hearts. As modernists seek to replace God and try to convince us that Heaven is merely the creation of the human mind, we understand that God is real and through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the path to paradise is clear. Heaven is real and it is up to each of us to follow the path to eternal happiness with the ones we love. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Making Time for Faith, Hope, Remembrance, and Love

The month of June is full of opportunities for celebrations and socializing. Graduations, weddings, and family gatherings are scheduled into our busy summer calendar. It is important during this busy time to make time for faith, hope, remembrance, and love. The liturgical season of Ordinary Time is a time of growth and new life in the Church, reflected in the green of the liturgical vestments. It is the time when we are called to “go out to all the world and tell the good news.” Focusing on renewing our faith when times are ordinary means that when times are difficult, such as when we suffer the loss of a loved one, and we need our relationship with God to lift us and give us strength- it’s there for us as solid support.

June also marks celebrating the feasts of Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The feast of Trinity Sunday calls us to look at the relationship between God, the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. We relate to God who is above us, Jesus, who is always beside us, and the Holy Spirit who lives within us. We find hope being in this symbiotic relationship. Our faith relationship is always developing and never-ending because God is, was, and always will be-He is eternal and His love for us is unwavering, and we only need to call upon Him to strengthen us throughout our lives, during the ordinary times, the great times and especially during the times when we suffer. Corpus Christi, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, reminds us of the Redemption of Jesus Christ and the victory over death and hope in eternal life given to us. Losing our loved ones is never easy, however, our faith tells us, and especially during the celebration of these important feast days, that we always have hope in eternal life.

The additional feast days in June allow us to reflect on the ways that we are called to be like the saints- to be witnesses to God’s love, like the apostles and martyrs, and to let the Heart of Jesus ignite the flame within our own hearts to spread His message of love. Make the time for renewing your faith. Have the hope of eternal life that His blood shed for us on the Cross gives. Remember those you love who have died. Honor their memories and lives with your full heart and know that we are called to be saints and to live holy lives so that ultimately, we may be where they are- with our Lord in Heaven. Finally, spread your love to all those whose hearts you can touch. Let the Sacred Heart of Jesus inflame and set your heart afire so that you may, in turn, set the world on fire with His love.

Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Written by,

Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan

Marketing & Communications Manager

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

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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