Cemetery etiquette — walking about

Many people feel uneasy about walking over graves, and some think it’s

Dan Berndt sprays Calvary Cemetery's extensive grounds.

Dan Berndt sprays Calvary Cemetery’s extensive grounds.

disrespectful to do so. So what’s correct?

“People ask me all the time about that,” says Terry Miller, Calvary’s Caretaker.

According to Terry, it’s more about what’s happening in the cemetery at the time and who’s around.

“The cemetery staff has to walk on the sites all the time. Otherwise it’s be pretty tough to mow and do maintenance,” says Terry. “And really, it’s not going to bother the people buried there.”

Good cemetery etiquette, he says, is about respecting the other people on the grounds at the time, especially during funerals. Those are solemn occasions and the people attending them are often in grief.

Otherwise, people should feel free to enjoy visiting the grave sites of loved ones. Terry says having children run and play on the grounds during visits is perfectly fine, as long as they are not climbing on the monuments, defacing property or disturbing floral displays.

“People should absolutely stay off the monuments, especially children,” he said, explaining that nationally, one person a year on average dies in the United States from having a monument fall on them.

“So we do watch that pretty close,” he said.

Vote for Calvary!

Calvary Cemetery has entered a video challenge posed by the Diocese of Winona.

A special three-minute video was created for the cemetery’s application for grant money from the Diocese. The application was made for needed funds to repair many of Calvary’s older monuments.

Please watch the video and the competing videos and vote for the cemetery video. Voting ends September 10th, so vote now!

Here is how to vote:

1.  Log into your Facebook account via computer.

2. SearchDiocese of Winona”

3. If you don’t already “Like” their page, click “Like” button

4. Scroll partway down the page until you see the app for Video Contest (the purple camera button) on the left hand side – click 

5. Scroll down part way on the page and click View Entries

Calvary’s entry is titled “Terry Mankato.” Please view the video and vote for Calvary.

Many thanks!

Labor Day Mass successful

Calvary Cemetery hosted its annual Labor Day Mass in quiet success on Monday, September 1, 2014.

Father Don Rauscher celebrated the Mass which drew about 100 people.

Under an overcast sky, the attendees managed to avoid any serious downpours.

“We had a little rain, enough to pop a couple of umbrellas,” commented Terry Miller, Calvary caretaker.

Calvary hosts four Masses a year: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and All Souls Day.

Calvary to host Labor Day Mass

Jake Winch applies a power washer to an angelic statue in preparation for the annual Labor Day Mass

Jake Winch applies a power washer to an angelic statue in preparation for the annual Labor Day Mass

Summer days can be beautiful at Calvary Cemetery. The annual Labor Day Mass will be the last chance to catch a summer worship service at Calvary.

Father Don Rauscher will celebrate the Labor Day Mass on Monday, September 1st, at 9 a.m.

Warm weather Masses are usually conducted just within the doorway of the Calvary Chapel with attendees sitting on the lawn outside the chapel entrance. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

“This is a great opportunity for people to attend Mass and visit the gravesites of loved ones on the same day,” says Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

“We’ve been prepping the grounds. So if we get good weather, Calvary will look beautiful on Labor Day.”

Father Tim puts sparkle in Fourth of July Mass

Every year, Calvary Cemetery is host to a special Independence Day Mass,

Fourth of July Mass 2014 with Father Tim Biren

Fourth of July Mass 2014 with Father Tim Biren

typically held in the doorway of Calvary Chapel for those standing or on lawnchairs bound out on the cemetery grounds.

“The weather was beautiful, and Father Biren was fantastic,” reported Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller, who estimated that about 150 people attended the July 4th Mass.

If there was a “fly in the ointment,” it would have been the gnats, said Terry. “The insect count was way up, probably because of all the rain we’ve had.”

Terry commented that Father Biren’s homily was “enthusiastic” and “to the point” about the nation’s birthday, our forefathers and those who had served their country.

“Father Biren really did a great job,” said Terry.

Fr Tim Biren to celebrate Calvary Fourth of July Mass

True to annual custom, Calvary Cemetery will host a special Mass at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 4th to celebrate Independence Day 2014. This year, Father Tim Biren will be the celebrant.

Fr Tim Biren

Fr Tim Biren

Fr Biren is the director and chaplain of the St. Thomas Moore Newman Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato as well as Pastor for Saint Joseph the Worker Parish (Mankato) and Holy Family Parish (Lake Crystal).

Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller reassures potential visitors that, despite recent torrential rains, the forecast for the Fourth of July weekend is good.

“Things are drying out well now,” he said. “I have never seen this kind of rain in three decades here at Calvary. I won’t say we didn’t have some things to deal with, but we’re getting back to normal.”

“If the weather stays dry now like the forecast says, Calvary will be beautiful for the Fourth,” he assured.

Mass at Calvary is typically held in Calvary Chapel, with the usual overflow crowd sitting on lawn chairs outside, with the chapel doors open to the service. There is a public address system so outdoor attendees can comfortably hear the service.

Terry advised attendees to come a bit early and bring lawn chairs.

Picture perfect Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2014 was reverently festive and gloriously sunny at

Members of American Legion Post 11 and Boy Scout Troop 4

Members of American Legion Post 11 and Boy Scout Troop 4

Calvary Cemetery as 500-some people gathered to attend Mass, walk through the lush turf and place flowers at monuments.

“It really was picture perfect,” said Terry Miller, Calvary’s head caretaker. “It went well considering that Memorial Day was a week earlier than normal and that it rained every other day and the late start to spring.”

The morning Mass was celebrated by Father Ted Hottinger. The double doors to the Calvary Chapel were wide open and most people stood or sat outside in the pleasant morning sunshine.

Following the Mass, there was a grand memorial ceremony conducted by American Legion Post 11. The Post’s color guard was augmented by members of Boy Scout Troop 4.






Calvary to host Memorial Day Mass

Each year Calvary Cemetery hosts a special Memorial Day Mass celebration.

This year is no exception. Mass time is set for 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 26th. Father Ted Hottinger will be the celebrant.

“In the past, we’ve had anywhere from 100 to 700 people attending. It really depends on the weather,” said Terry Miller, Calvary caretaker.

While the Mass is said within Calvary Chapel, many of the visitors sit outside on lawn chairs and hear the service through the P.A. system.

Immediately following Mass, American Legion Post 11 will conduct a ceremony at the veterans’ memorial on the east side of the chapel.

Terry has some good advice for the event visitors:

  • Park on Goodyear Avenue in front the cemetery and walk in to avoid being blocked in the cemetery.
  • Bring lawn chairs in case you cannot get a seat inside the chapel.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather that morning.
  • Ground decorations are allowed to be placed on sites on or after May 19th but must be removed by June 1st. (To decorate year round, you must have a cemetery-approved pot stand in a concrete pad — certain areas only. Please check with staff.)
  • No glass containers are allowed — please anchor flowers well or the wind will take them.

Terry adds that the chapel and basement will remain open for a short time after the Mass so visitors can see recent paint improvements and the stain glass windows. He also invites everyone to check out the newly-opened Resurrection Garden.

Time for spring cleaning at Calvary


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Except for a few continuing “hiccups” of brisk temps and occasional snowflakes, the “Endless Winter of 2013-14″ is over. So now it’s time for spring clean up at Calvary Cemetery!

Caretaker Terry Miller shares some tips and precautions for those who have gravesites to tend.

“With our recent warmer weather, visits are way up. We’re grateful that we have so many dedicated families that like to make sure family sites and monuments are well kept. First and foremost, now that mowing has started, all winter decorations need to be removed,” he said.

“Remember — no ground decorations are allowed. Only cemetery-approved pot stands in concrete pads are okay. Also, any new decorations approved by a cemetery staff associate,” Terry said. “It saves time over the long run for those tending the site and helps the staff make sure decorations stay on the site they were intended for.”


    • No glass of any kind is allowed (too fragile)
    • Secure flowers in dirt or sand inside approved pot stands
    • No styrofoam please (too easily blown away)
    • No plantings of any kind in the ground (inhibits mowing)
    • Please drive and park on blacktop only (protects the turf)

“If a concrete pad is needed for a new stand, please contact someone on the staff,” Terry said. “We’ll be more than happy to assist.”

“The rules are just there to help keep the cemetery attractive and well maintained,” he commented. “Our families and visitors expect Calvary to be kept in great shape.”

Anyone with questions can contact Terry directly at (507) 995-1010 or send an email from this site.


Calvary featured in national magazine

Cover of the March 2014 Catholic Cemetery magazine featuring Calvary Cemetery's new Resurrection Garden

Cover of the March 2014 Catholic Cemetery magazine featuring Calvary Cemetery’s new Resurrection Garden

Mankato’s Calvary Cemetery was highlighted in the March 2014 edition of Catholic Cemetery, the offical magazine of the Catholic Cemetery Conference.

Along with a front cover photo of Calvary’s newly-completed Resurrection Garden, the issue includes a prominent three-page feature story on Calvary’s response to the growing demand for cremation burials.

The article includes photos from the September 6, 2013 dedication featuring Winona Diocese Bishop John M. Quinn, Mankato’s Fr. Mariano Varela and Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller. There’s even an excerpt describing the cemetery’s historical foundation.

“It’s definitely a thrill to see Calvary spotlighted. I’ve been reading this magazine for years,” said Terry. “To be featured in such a big way, I think, is a credit to the cemetery, the board and the Winona Diocese.”

Terry pointed out that it was the foresight of the Calvary Board that really caused the cemetery to be chosen for this feature article.

As Terry is quoted in the magazine article: “I am blessed with the best cemetery Board I could imagine…they don’t think about cost and limitations. They think about what’s ahead and what our families want. Then we make it happen.”

Calvary’s Board includes: Terry Miller, Michelle Folk, Fred Muellerleile, Helen Dehen, Fr John Kunz, Fr Tim Biren, Fr Mariano Varela and Chris Hughes.


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