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

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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

Celebrating Saint Joseph this Father’s Day

Fathers play an essential role in the lives of their children. Not only are fathers traditionally known for their protective and providing nature, but they are also responsible (along with mothers!) for instilling a certain set of values within their children and guiding them through the twists and turns of life. For this reason, we understand that the role of “father” goes beyond traditional norms. A father can be anyone willing to support, teach, and love those around them. This world’s best example of a non-traditional father is Saint Joseph. As the adopted father to Jesus Christ, Saint Joseph is proof to us all that fatherhood extends beyond biological boundaries.

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Although we don’t know much about the life of Saint Joseph, we are told a few things about him in the Bible. We know he comes from a long line of faithful servants, with a lineage connecting him with King David. We know that he married the Virgin Mary, and that he supported her through the tremulous Nativity narrative and beyond. Most of all, we know that he was a father figure to Jesus Christ. We know that he loved Jesus as much as any father could love his son. He worried with Mary when Jesus was lost in the temple as a child; he taught Jesus the family trade of carpentry; and he ensured that Jesus was raised in a faith-filled environment. Just as Joseph surely taught Jesus the skills He needed for this world, so too did Joseph teach and exemplify skills Christ would need in the spiritual world. Joseph continuously listened to the voice of God. He made sacrifices for his family, and stopped at nothing to make sure God’s will was followed. Just as Joseph delivered his family out of the hands of King Herod, Jesus would lead the human family away from sin and destruction. This courage and complete faith in God’s will is surely a trait Jesus first saw in his parents. While Joseph was not alive to see Jesus preach and complete his mission here on Earth, today we understand the influence Joseph had on Christ, thereby impacting us Christians to this day.

On this Father’s day, let us honor all of our fathers, traditional or not, and the sacrifices they have made. May we also pray for new or future fathers, that they may find the same strength and courage Joseph possessed to lead their families closer to God. If you find yourself mourning this Father’s Day, under any circumstance, take comfort in knowing Christ felt a similar loss when Joseph died. Above all, say a prayer this Father’s Day and lift your intentions, worries, and hopes up to the Lord.

A Father’s Day Prayer

“Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.

Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.

Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.

Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children’s love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.

Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.

Let us praise those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors and guides.

Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.

And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us. Amen.” -Kirk Loadman

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski