Fatherhood

During the month of March, the Catholic church focuses on the person of St. Joseph, husband of our Blessed Mother and foster father to Jesus.  St. Joseph entered the state of fatherhood when he accepted his role of foster father and took on the responsibility of being there for Jesus.  We find in St. Joseph the true meaning of fatherhood.  We see it in the patience he showed raising Jesus, and in his kindness and understanding.  God chose Joseph to be the earthly father of His son, just as God chooses each of us when He entrusts us with the responsibility of fatherhood.  

The responsibility of fatherhood comes in many forms: paternity, adoption, spiritual and simply being an example to those we connect with in our daily lives.  Fatherhood is a calling to serve those entrusted to our care, to be present, to be an example of God’s love.  It is in the role of father that we feel intense love for the child entrusted to us by God, and this love has no limitation nor condition.  It is because of this intense love that we feel an almost unbearable heartbreak when death severs our earthly relationship. 

When a family experiences death, the emotional burden for the father is overwhelming because of the need to be strong for those left broken by the loss.  A father will feel that he must rise above the pain and become the rock for everyone else.  I am certain that Joseph felt the need to become the rock for Mary and for those suffering the death of Jesus.  In those hours between His death and resurrection, Joseph became the messenger of God’s love.  Fatherhood is a great responsibility, and it comes with God’s unlimited support and the love of Jesus for any man accepting that duty.  A father is the messenger of God’s love and compassion for His children. 

The gift of fatherhood is the responsibility of teaching faith in God and guiding those entrusted to our care to our Heavenly home.  The hour of our separation is not known but God’s gift is the opportunity to be an example of His love and to help guide His children home.  Heartbreak is the natural and human response to death, but the pain is mitigated by the knowledge that we did our best to be an example to our family.  God’s promise to every father is that the separation is temporary, and the path is clear because Jesus, loved by His earthly father, paved the way. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Renewal

As January begins, our celebration of the coming into this world of Christ continues and we also honor Mary, Mother of God.  We are connected to her because she is a mom beginning her journey of raising a son.  We find ourselves intimately participating in the life of the Holy Family through the Epiphany and finally we find ourselves at the Jordan River, where Christ accepted his humanity through baptism.  Christ’s purpose is to become one of us, to experience the joys and tribulations of life and to present to us the path to paradise.  This is the beginning of Christ’s journey to the cross and His sacrifice that will open the door for the faithful. 

Death is such an ominous word, and it evokes such difficult emotions.  The heartache caused by the death of someone we care deeply about causes real pain and has in some cases destroyed the lives of those left behind.  We can only find our way through this darkness by focusing on the promise made on that cross. 

Looking beyond the death of our loved one allows us to see that our relationship has not been severed by death but transformed.  Yes, they are not here to touch, but we can still laugh with them and talk to them and sometimes if you listen very carefully, they do answer.  The signs are everywhere, we just need to wipe away the darkness of death and see them in paradise. 

Our faith is the key to open the door and Christ is at the entry waiting to greet us into our new dwelling. 

God Bless,

Andrej Lah

Director of Cemeteries

Respect Life


In the northern hemisphere, October begins the transition from the warm days of summer sun to the long winter’s rest. The transition is not sudden, as we move slowly from one season to the next. The transition is presented to us through the splendor of God’s creation, in the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, the acorns being stored away for the long winter and the smells of fall telling us to prepare for the time when everything goes to sleep.

Our senses allow us to appreciate God’s creation and we are reminded of how unique this world of ours truly is. It was created for us, His children, to experience life and honor Him until the time that we are called to be with Him in paradise. It is in our appreciation of this gift that we are also commanded by God to respect all life, regardless of where and at what stage that gift of life is presented to us.

At this point you may be wondering what the Catholic Cemeteries Association has to do with respecting life. My response is simply, everything. When we bury our deceased loved ones, we express our respect for the life they lived regardless of the length of time God granted us the gift of that person’s life. When parents come to us to bury their baby that died in the mother’s womb, we bury the fetus in the baby section and provide the family with a memorial because as Catholics, all life, regardless of the time spent on this beautiful home entrusted to us by God, is deserving of respect.

Our natural world is filled with beauty, but God also allows the world to move forward without interference. We are granted the freedom to live our lives with the goal of attaining His gracious gift of eternal life in paradise. Each of us knows the path to paradise; Jesus gave us the map when He told us to love God above all else and love thy neighbor as thyself.


Our cemeteries are places where we celebrate the lives we cherish and are reminded of the final reward.

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

Handling Mother’s Day: Comfort and Prayers for the Bereaved

As we approach Mother’s Day, many of us will be reminded of our mothers and the place they hold in our hearts. Whether our mother is still with us or has passed from this world, Mother’s Day is a special time to celebrate these women and the immense impact they have on our lives. It goes without saying that those who have lost their mother may experience added grief on this day. However, there are other groups of people who also experience additional pain or grief during this time: those who don’t have (or never had) a relationship with their mother, those who are unable to have children, couples who have suffered from miscarriage or stillborn children and all other special circumstances.

This Mother’s Day, be aware of your own emotions as well as those of others. If you find that Mother’s Day mass is too hard or painful to attend, spend the day worshiping from home. If you know someone is struggling with any of the situations listed above, or an equally difficult situation, make an effort to let them know you’re thinking about and praying for them. Wherever, however, and with whomever you celebrate this Mother’s Day, remember that Christ is with you and that His plan is far greater than the highs and the lows of our lives here on earth.

Take a look at the prayer below and share with others.

Dear God,
Thank you for the gift of motherhood. Thank you for the blessing it is to be called “Mom.” Thank you for the good plans you have in store for those who still wait to be a Mom. Thank you for the numerous spiritual children you have given to so many “spiritual moms” and mentors. We pray that you would fill this day with favor and grace as we honor Moms all around our nation.
We ask for comfort for those who are grieving loss and heartache, especially on this day. We ask for strength for those who wait for children to come back home. We ask for healing for those who have been hurt by relationships that were intended to be loving and nurturing. We ask for faith for those who will someday be Moms, who find themselves on a journey that seems so hard. We ask for great encouragement and grace to cover those who have made a brave and loving choice for adoption. We ask for incredible provision and care over every single parent mom who works so hard on behalf of her children. We ask that you would remind many of those who, though they do not have “physical” children, have the gift of being amazing hope-bringers to many spiritual children they’ve been blessed to nurture through these years.
God, thank you, for the gift of life. Thank you that your heart is for us, and that you are with us, in all our unique journeys and pathways. Thank you that you are Sovereign over every part of our lives.  Thank you that your ways are perfect and you make our footsteps secure.
Today we pray for refreshing, for joy, for grace, for wisdom, for great peace…for all moms, for moms to be, and for women who nurture and lead.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen. (source) 
Post written by Katie Karpinski