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.

Harvesting the Good that has been Sown

The sights and smells of fall are upon us.  We are witnesses to the wonders of our natural world as farmers begin harvesting that which was sown earlier in the year.  All that hard work performed in planting the seeds and nurturing the growing plants, leads to the joy of a bountiful harvest.  God’s gift of this world is an amazing thing to experience.  We see this gift in the relationships that we grow with each other.  


Our senses allow us to enjoy more fully the bounty of persons we are connected to as we plant the seeds of each relationship.  We nurture those relationships over time and treasure the harvest of our experiences.  Sometimes, the seed that is planted sprouts quickly and the time to harvest is short, but the sweetness of the fruit remains.


It is often difficult for us to comprehend why the gift of life in some circumstances may last for a very short amount of time.  In one instance, the joy ended before we met.  For another close to me, the joy lasted 11 minutes.  The profound impact that those short lives had on us continue and it is up to each of us to harvest the beauty of that life sown by God and part of the harvest that is Heaven.   


I know the impact those 11 minutes had on me over 20 years ago and have learned to appreciate the harvest of eternal life through the short life of a little angel.  Whether it is 11 minutes, 14 years or 104, each life is sown by God and it is up to each of us to nurture that seed and harvest every moment until the final harvest of eternal life.  

God bless,


Andrej Lah

Ordinary Time

June, the beginning of summer, vacations, graduations, weddings, and other events that bring family and friends together.  As we celebrate all these events, it seems almost contradictory that this month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time.  There is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time when it comes to our Catholic faith.   

Ordinary Time is when we celebrate Christ’s life and death and June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In this time of the liturgical year the Church is donned in the color green as a symbol of hope of the resurrection.  We celebrate Christ’s life and death and through the image of the Sacred Heart, His love for each of us.  These symbols of new life and love inform us of Christ’s conquering death giving to each of us the gift of salvation and the hope of eternal life with Him in paradise.  

Many find it difficult to celebrate the events that are a part of the beginning of each summer.  Loss makes any celebration difficult.  In this month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, find comfort in knowing that God’s love for each of us is boundless.  Seek refuge in His pierced heart of Christ as it is in His suffering that He understands your pain and it is in His sacrifice that we find the gift of paradise.

God Bless   

Andrej N. Lah

President / CEO

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

8 Attainable Resolutions for the Bereaved

For those who have lost a loved one, new year’s resolutions come down to personal preference. For some, the idea of a resolution may seem too overwhelming at the time– similar to starting a new project or chore in the midst of extreme sorrow. For others, resolutions serve as an inspirational and motivational tool that helps them cope with grief and grow as a person. Whether or not you choose to take on a new year’s resolution is entirely up to you and where you are on your grief journey. However, if you are interested in taking on a new year’s resolution, keep reading for some ideas!

Recognize your strengths

Losing a loved one can install feelings of weakness or helplessness. Start the new year by making a list of your personal strengths, your blessings, and your dreams. Take action and leverage your strengths to accomplish new goals and cope with your grief.

Slow down

Make sure that you aren’t using a busy schedule or work life to cope with your grief. Not only does that make for an unhealthy healing, but it can also be emotionally and physically exhausting. Make a promise in this new year to slow down and take more time for yourself.

Attend a support group

Support groups are a great way to cope with your grief. Sharing experiences within a support group is a way for all involved to grieve in a healthy and constructive way. (Interested in joining a support group? Click here.)

Try a new hobby

It’s never too late to learn something new. If you feel stagnant or if you feel stuck, pick up a new hobby and see where it takes you. Whether it’s photography, sewing, or hiking– find something new to learn and enjoy to bring some excitement in your life.

Get 20 minutes of sunlight or fresh air each day

Fresh air and sunlight can do wonderful things for the mind, body, and spirit. While it may be tempting to stay indoors all day, try to get outside for at least 20 minutes each day. Even if it’s just in your backyard.

Speak your loved one’s name

Keep the memory of your loved one alive in the new year by speaking their name often. The key to grieving is not to forget, but to remember with hope that you will one day be reunited.

Start a journal

Journaling can be a great way to cope with grief and express your emotions. Think of journaling as a personal letter to God. What are you feeling? What are your hopes? Share these with him and see where the journey takes you. Try to make it a daily habit—God likes to hear from us every day.

Be open to happiness

While there will always be a part of you that misses your loved one dearly, never forget to be open to happiness and new experiences. Pay attention to the blessings God has placed in your life, big and small.

Post written by Katie Karpinski