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

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

To learn more about our ministry or the services we provide, visit https://www.clecem.org.

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Family

Family is such a unique and all-encompassing word. We use it to refer to immediate and extended family, adopted family and sometimes friends become family.  Ultimately, we are all a part of the human family.  This greater family tends to reinforce the idea that each of us is only separated from everyone on the planet by a mere six degrees and if you live in northeast Ohio, the separation is probably no more than three degrees. 

During this month dedicated to the Holy Family, we are reminded of the sacrifices we make for family and how much our love can bring joy,and in the same way, heartbreak.  Joseph had to decide to be a husband to a wife carrying a son not his own, and to be a father to that son.  Mary found herself unable to keep her son from going off into the world and ultimately watched His life brutally taken from Him.  We often forget that despite the miracles, this family was subjected to unimaginable suffering.  While we honor them as the Holy Family, we should never forget that in their humanity, they were a mom, dad, and son.

It is in this humanity that they are connected to us and suffer with us when tragedy strikes a member of our family.  We turn to the Holy Family because they lived a very human existence and suffered the death of their child. 

Each of us at the Catholic Cemeteries Association look to those we serve as members of our extended family.  Our hearts break when death brings a family to one of our Catholic cemeteries.  We understand that it is our responsibility to guide the family through the quagmire of their suffering and assist them with some difficult decisions.  It is impossible for us not to offer a piece of ourselves to that family and to carry a bit of the burden for them.  It is in this moment that we become family and, in our ministry, offer their suffering to God with the knowledge that Heaven is real, and Christ is the map to the new Eden.

God Bless each of you during this month dedicated to the Holy Family.     

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

February – A Month Dedicated to The Holy Family

holy family « nelson mcbs –

During this month of February, as we contemplate the cold and snowy weather, and sometimes feel the isolation that winter brings, let us reflect on the example of family love shared in the everyday lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. At this moment in time, there has arguably never been a more important need for the strength, unity and grounding that a strong family, rooted in faith provides.

Families are often our first exposure to prayer and faith. As “small domestic churches”, our homes introduce us to unconditional love, to prayer, and to living out Gospel values. We learn to share our faith by celebrating Mass in our greater family- the Church. Receiving the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, brings Jesus not only to us, but within us, where we then become witnesses to His love and can share in the hope and promise of eternal life. Actively living our lives as Christians, in an often hostile world, is taught to us- first by our heavenly Holy Family, and then by our earthly family. Pandemics, politics, tough economic hardship and trials of illness are all part of the earthly challenges that we may endure. Knowing that Jesus and His family endured even greater earthly challenges gives us reason to have hope.

Through times of grief and hardship, as experienced in the death of loved ones, we turn to our families and we become extended families for all who are suffering or in need of hope during their darkest times. The burden of grief can be lessened when we have that strong foundation of love and support, as exemplified in the Holy Family. We, at Catholic Cemeteries Association, extend our familial love to all who need support during their time of need. Let us all remember to use whatever difficult times that may loom ahead of us to draw upon the love of the Holy Family and our own families- and to be that supportive beacon of Christ’s light to anyone who we can help. In that way, we provide hope to all.

For more information on our ministry and the services we provide visit http://www.clecem.org.

In peace,

Kathleen G. McKiernan

Marketing and Communications Manager