Calvary preps for ‘Wings of Hope’ groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for the new “Wings of Hope” memorial and burial area within Calvary Cemetery will likely start

Wings of Hope landscaping layout

Wings of Hope landscaping layout

next week, according to Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

This new memorial and common burial site will be used for the remains of children lost in miscarriage.

According to the Wings of Hope website (, there will be a common burial service once or twice a year, depending on need.

“Families who have experienced pregnancy loss and the community in general are invited to attend this service,” the website states.

The new area is along St. Jerome Drive within the 40-acre Calvary grounds.

Plans include a paved walkway, central monument and burial lots around the central monument. Noted local sculptor Tom Miller (Monuments by Miller) has been commissioned to create the central monument.

The Wings of Hope organization is also taking orders for inscribed pavers:

An inscribed paver at the Wings of Hope memorial site offers many opportunities. Families who lose or have lost a child in pregnancy, whether recently or decades ago, have a place where they can memorialize their child’s name, inscribe a family name, or share a meaningful quote or verse. Pavers are also meaningful memorial gifts to give when a loved one loses a child during pregnancy.

For many families this might be the first-and only place-where they share the name they have chosen for thier child. Members of the community are also encouraged to purchase a paver as a way of showing support for these families, their children, and this memorial site. Funds raised from the pavers go directly to support the development of the memorial site grounds and to continue to offer common burial services.

A paver order form can be found on the “Resources” page at the Wings of Hope website.

Calvary has presence at national conference

Calvary Cemetery Caretaker Terry Miller was among 300 “end of life” professionals who attended the 2015 National Catholic Cemetery Conference in San Diego, California last weekend.

The audience, which included people from all over the world, participated in numerous general and breakout sessions regarding  trends in cremation, demographic changes in the world, Human Resources issues, state and federal regulations regarding forms and contracts, grief counseling and more.

One speaker, Juan Tornoe, projected that by 2060, 30 percent of the people in the United States will be of latino descent. His presentation centered around marketing to what is now the largest minority group in the country.

“It was one of the better events I’ve been to,” Terry said. “I’m the last one to tell you I know everything,” he added.

Terry said that much of the value from the event was the rare chance to spend quality time with other cemetery caretakers and funeral directors to exchange views and procedures on a huge variety of topics.

Terry also noted that the Diocese of Winona’s Bishop John M. Quinn is the current Episcopal Moderator to the Catholic Cemetery Conference.


2015 summer wettest in memory

Labor Day has come and gone for 2015. This year’s annual Mass was well

Wild turkey strolls through Calvary grounds

Wild turkey strolls through Calvary grounds

attended, with over 100 people enjoying superb weather. But with Labor Day passing, so does the summer.

According to Caretaker Terry Miller, this summer has been the wettest in memory.

“The drain tiles ran all summer. I never saw anything like it,” he said, adding that the ample moisture kept the grass growing aggressively. “We mowed the whole place every week since May.”

Terry and his crew are looking forward to fall work — pruning, repair, some painting — work that was set aside over the summer because of extra mowing.

Fall is in the air, says Terry. There are cool mornings and hundreds of geese ambling through the grounds every day.

Long-range forecast looks good for upcoming Labor Day Mass

The long-range forecast for Labor Day morning at Calvary Cemetery is “a few clouds early then sunshine,” according to online weather services.

With the chance of rain at only 20 percent, the annual Labor Day Mass has the promise of being dry and relatively warm.

“The Labor Day Mass could be a great end to what’s been a great summer,” said Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

Father Mariano Varela, IVE Pastor of Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Rector

Fr Mariano Varela, IVE

Fr Mariano Varela, IVE

of the Blessed Jose Sanchez Del Rio High School Seminary, will celebrate the Labor Day Mass on Monday, September 7th, 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.


Local priests celebrate Mass at Calvary four times a year — Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and All Soul’s Day.

These special celebrations are usually perfect opportunities to attend Mass in a beautiful, outdoor setting and visit the final resting place of departed family members on the same day.

Last year’s Labor Day Mass was a bit overcast and threatening, but virtually dry. About 100 people were in attendance.

Calvary Assn reviews Wings of Hope project

Providing a final resting place for children lost in miscarriage was a major topic at the

Wings of Hope design

Wings of Hope design

August 14 meeting of the Calvary Cemetery Association meeting.

Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller has been working closely with a group called “Project Embrace” to create an area at Calvary Cemetery dedicated for children who die before birth. This special area will be known as the “Wings of Hope” section.

This special area is planned to feature a paving stone walkway and a special central monument created by Tom Miller.

Terry reported to the association that Mankato area coroners  have agreed to work together to preserve the remains of miscarried infants until burial at Calvary. Such burials would take place periodically throughout the year.

It is anticipated that work on the Wings of Hope section would begin in the fall and conclude in the spring.

Project Embrace is a ministry of St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Mankato.

Project Embrace provides support to families who experience or have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy or shortly after birth, and education and awareness in the community. Contact Monica at the parish office if you have questions about the ministry or are interested in donating to this project. 507-625-3131

The Calvary Cemetery Association is the committee that oversees the operation

Calvary Cemetery Association members (left to right): Fr Tim Reker, Terry Miller, Fr John Kunz, Michelle Folk, Fred Muellerleile. Not pictured: Fr Mariano Varella, Chris Hughes, Fr Paul van de Crommert

Calvary Cemetery Association members (left to right): Fr Tim Reker, Terry Miller, Fr John Kunz, Michelle Folk, Fred Muellerleile. Not pictured: Fr Mariano Varella, Chris Hughes, Fr Paul van de Crommert

and management of the cemetery on behalf of the Diocese of Winona.

The association meets twice a year to review financial, development and management issues and projects. Typically it is comprised of clerical and lay members of the four local Catholic parishes.

Why funeral and burial planning makes sense

It happens all too often. A family member dies, unexpectedly or not, and close kin go into vapor lock.

“No one remembers those three or four days,” said Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller. “They’re all in a daze, trying to figure out what dad or grandma would have wanted. Then weeks later they start to have regrets and do the second guessing.”

There are so many reasons to preplan funerals and burials, and really no good reason for putting it off, said Terry.

The advantages are clear:

  • No family turmoil or second guessing
  • Expenses are preplanned or even prepaid
  • Grieving family members are free to grieve instead of bicker
  • No hasty decisions to be regretted later
  • No wondering what the departed would have really wanted
  • Less cost — funeral homes often offer discounts for pre-planned funerals
  • Less cost — cemetery lots are real estate; cost only goes up, not down
  • Loved ones remember the departed, not the anxiety of quick decisions
  • You (the departed) get want you want

While death can be an uncomfortable subject for many people, it’s eventually unavoidable. It can be made less painful with planning and forethought.

There are so many big and little decisions that need to be made, from cremation to full internment. It’s easy for the family to either make hasty decisions or

“And then there’s the monument,” said Terry. “If that’s not decided ahead of time, family members are scratching their heads, trying to decide on an upright headstone or a flush stone…let alone what to have engraved on it.”

Preplanning your funeral and burial is a caring and responsible act.


New faun arrives at Calvary

Calvary deer 2A new faun was born at Calvary Cemetery last week, reports Caretaker Terry Miller.

The faun is part of the wildlife that exists around the 40-acre grounds and occasionally wanders onto the lawns.

In addition to deer, wild turkeys are a common sight, along with the usual array of rabbits and squirrels and other typical Minnesota forest animals.

Terry said the new faun is skittish but curious.

Fourth of July Mass blessed with perfect weather

About 100 people gathered in front of the Calvary Chapel on Saturday for

Fr John M Kunz celebrates Mass from the entrance to Calvary Chapel on the Fourth of July 2015

Fr John M Kunz celebrates Mass from the entrance to Calvary Chapel on the Fourth of July 2015

Fr John M Kunz poses in the Calvary Chapel with Fred and Dixie Mullerleile. Fred is the Senior Member and Supervisor of the Calvary Cemetery Board of Directors.

Fr John M Kunz poses in the Calvary Chapel with Fred and Dixie Mullerleile. Fred is the Senior Member and Supervisor of the Calvary Cemetery Board of Directors.

a picture perfect 2015 Fourth of July Mass.

Fr John M Kunz, pastor of St John the Baptist Catholic Church of Mankato, celebrated the Mass.

For his homily, Fr Kunz reflected on his recent sabbatical, tying pieces of his genealogical discoveries in Germany, his family’s immigration from Germany and the opportunities and freedoms they have enjoyed here in America.

Fr Kunz’ blog can be found at

Caretaker Terry Miller commented on this year’s perfect Fourth of July weather.

“Even the bugs weren’t bad. We had a decent breeze. That probably had a lot to do with it,” said Terry.

There are special Masses four times a year at Calvary: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and All Souls Day. The public is encouraged to attend.

The next special Mass will be held on Labor Day (Monday, September 7th) with Fr Mariano Varela  presiding.

Fr Mariano is pastor of Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato and Rector of the Blessed Jose Sanchez Del Rio High School Seminary, as well as member of the Institute of the Incarante Word (IVE).


Fr John Kunz to celebrate Calvary Mass on the Fourth

In keeping with annual tradition, Calvary Cemetery will host a special Mass at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 4th to celebrate Independence Day 2015. This year, Father John Kunz will be the celebrant.

Fr Kunz is the pastor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Mankato. Earlier this year, Fr Kunz took a sabbatical and recorded his travels on a blog of his own. (For some fabulous photos and uplifting recounts, you can visit his blog at

Father John Kunz

Father John Kunz

Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller reports that the current forecast for the Fourth of July is sunny and pleasant.

Last year’s torrential rains had the caretaker crew scrambling for Independence Day preparations, but this year’s more moderate weather been much easier to deal with.

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 advises attendees to come a bit early and bring lawn chairs.

1979 photo of Calvary caretaker

This photo shows past Calvary Caretaker John Udelhofen, preparing the grounds for Memorial Day in 1979. According to John Udelhofen_5.26.79John’s daughter, Mary Lee Stern, and current Caretaker Terry Miller, John probably worked part time with his predecessor, Louis Riederer, and his successor, Jerry Miller, before and after his full-time status, 1947 to 1973.

The Calvary Cemetery blog invites any and all to send in photos or information related to the cemetery’s history, especially its past caretakers. Simply send an email to

Special thanks to the Mankato Free Press and photographer John Cross, who supplied permission to post this photo.



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