Remembering Our Loved Ones This Holiday Season

As I write these words, I understand that everyone reading this newsletter has experienced some type of loss. Whether it’s the loss of a parent, spouse, sibling, child, or friend we all enter the holiday season knowing that our loved one will no longer be here to celebrate with us. For those suffering a recent loss, the pain can be unbearable. For those who have gone many holidays without their loved one, the pain may be dulled a bit, but still remains each year. It’s important that we acknowledge that the pain of losing a loved one may never fully go away.

But there is hope.

While we may feel the ache of loss during the holiday season, we must also remember that we are called to experience great joy with the arrival of God’s gift to earth: Jesus Christ. Without Christ and His sacrifice, we would not have the chance to be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven one day. This promise of eternal life is something that should uplift our hearts and guide us out of deep despair.

If you find yourself struggling this holiday season, remember that God calls us all to find peace and happiness. Finding glimpses of joy and thanksgiving does not mean you miss your loved one any less. Your loved one would want you to be happy. They would want to see a smile on your face. Therefore, try to find some joy this holiday season. Doing so will bring you closer to both God and your dearly departed loved ones. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah – Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

December 2019

Prayer and Thanksgiving

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I got the call that we lost our baby, I did not see an opportunity for prayer. I was angry. All the plans and hopes and dreams my wife and I had for our child were ruined. I saw nothing to be thankful for.

However, after we were given some time to process our loss, I found the strength to pray. My wife and I prayed together that we would survive the unbearable pain that we felt. While prayer didn’t take away the pain, it did provide us moments of peace and comfort.

Today, as I reflect on the scripture passage above, I’m reminded of the call we all have to be in constant prayer and communication with God. He has blessed us with the ability to contemplate both the beauty and the tragedy in our lives, and to understand that everything we experience is intended to lead us to something incredible. The gift of joy remains despite hardship. The gift of laughter remains despite the trials and tribulations we face. Experiencing true pain and sorrow is only part of the greater journey of life. Once we understand that this journey is God’s gift to us, we can acknowledge that prayer is His way of guiding us home, where He is always waiting with open arms.

As we approach this busy holiday season, I encourage you to accept both the challenges and the blessings in your life. As the scripture states, bring it all to God. He alone can guide you safely home. 

God bless,

Andrej Lah – Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

November 2019

Why do we pray for our dead?

While most of the world is busy gearing up for Halloween at the end of this month, Catholics also await a different series of special days. With All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Cemetery Sunday celebrated within the first few days of November, many Catholics may be asking the question:
Why do we pray for our dead?

Just like anything surrounding death, there’s only so much we can answer here on Earth. However, while we may not know exactly what the after-life may bring, we do know that prayer is powerful. It connects us to God and, by extension, those who have parted from this earth. Praying for our loved ones is an effort we can take to maintain our relationship with them. It is also an outward expression of our Catholic faith in that we proudly proclaim our belief in life after death.

I’d like to encourage everyone reading this message to take a moment to pray for your dearly departed loved ones. May they all rest in God’s everlasting care.

God bless, 

Andrej Lah – Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

October 2019

You can read more about All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Cemetery Sunday by clicking here.

Taking Time to Reconnect

As we celebrate Family Day at Calvary Cemetery this month, I felt called to share some thoughts on visiting our dearly departed loved ones. Visiting a cemetery is a chance for us to reconnect, both emotionally and physically, with those we’ve lost. By touching a headstone, placing a hand on their grave, or simply sitting at their grave for a few quiet moments, we can enter into a sacred mindset bridging the gap between this world and the next.

Visiting loved ones you were close to can help you immerse yourself in positive memories. While there may still be tears, try to remember the joyful times you spent together. Every moment you spent with your loved one was a gift—regardless if this gift lasted for a few minutes or many decades. There is also a connection to be established with distant ancestors and relatives. Our Catholic faith is the source of an innate bond—a bond that spans generations and conquers death. In either case, spending time with our loved ones, both living and deceased, is the only way to strengthen our relationship with them.

I’d like to encourage everyone to visit their family this fall. Refresh your ties to the past and strengthen your connection to dearly departed loved ones. You will likely find that cemeteries are not places to fear or avoid, but places to cherish and enjoy. 

 God bless, 

Andrej Lah – Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

September 2019

Celebrating the Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary holds a special significance for us at the Catholic Cemeteries Association. The image of this holy event has been featured in our logo for decades, and serves as a constant reminder to all CCA employees and the families we serve that there is something to look forward to beyond this life.

When Mary said “yes” to the Angel Gabriel, she demonstrated her complete faith in the Lord. Through her “yes”, Mary opened herself to the joyful experience of motherhood. She also willingly accepted a life that included grief and pain. I’m sure many of us can identify with her and the pain she felt losing those closest to her. However, the image we see in the Assumption depicts the beautiful gift God granted her for her sacrifice. In all of her humanity, God welcomed Mary immediately into heaven: body, mind, and spirit.

The Assumption is yet another mystery of our faith and a true testimony to the power of God. As we celebrate today, let us pray that the Holy Spirit may instill us with faith like Mary’s– faith that will give us strength in times of hardship, comfort in times of sorrow, and hope in times of despair. 

God bless, 

Andrej Lah – Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

August 2019