Surprise snowfall does not blunt Calvary’s beauty

 
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To their surprise, Mankato residents awoke to find soft, wet snow falling gently but insistently this morning. With no wind to flail it about, it just silently settled to the ground but for all it’s quiet, the snow marked an abrupt transition from fall to winter.

Thanks to Mary Fowler, we have some photos to record this first, early snowfall. Much appreciated Mary!

 

 

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Cold does not stop WOH Remembrance

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Left to right: Deb Boesch, Becky Shouts and DeeAnn Wacker sing during the WOH ceremony.

Cold fall weather and leaden gray skies did not stop mourning families from attending the Wings of Hope “Evening of Remembrance” ceremony Tuesday evening as 57 people gathered at Calvary Cemetery to say “goodbye” to children recently lost during pregnancy.

The warmth of the ceremony, led by Chaplain Kathy Blair, and musically decorated by Deb Boesch, Becky Shouts and DeeAnn Wacker, helped deter the cold. The mourners, some wrapped in blankets against the chill, sang and prayed.

A special highlight to the ceremony was the recitation of an original poem by DeeAnn Wacker entitled “Light of My Soul.”

“These children we remember today have gone to their rest in the peace of Christ. May the Lord now welcome them to the table of God’s children in Heaven. With faith and hope in eternal life, let us assist them with our prayers. Let us pray to the Lord also for ourselves. May we who mourn be reunited one day with our children; together may we meet Christ Jesus when he who is our life appears in glory,” said Chaplain Blair in the opening prayer.

More information on Wings of Hope is available at their website.

 

Calvary summer crew makes it happen

Terry Miller, Jake Winch and Hunter Wick

A well-manicured cemetery doesn’t just happen. Calvary’s 40 acres takes a mountain of maintenance, especially during a season of challenging weather.

To help Caretaker Terry Miller whack weeds, prune trees, assist visitors, excavate sites and deal with the never-ending cycle of mowing is the Calvary Summer Crew, Hunter Wick and Jake Winch.

Jake, on his fifth summer at Calvary, is a student at South Central College, and just graduated from the Auto Body program. He’s in the process of sliding into a full-time spot at the family business, Fromm’s Auto.

Hunter is a biomedical student at Minnesota State University – Mankato, and has been on the Summer Crew for four years. Eventually, he’ll be going on to become a doctor or medical researcher.

While still young, Hunter and Jake are now seasoned veterans at Calvary and work together with Terry in smooth coordination.

Some people have wondered by two young men would want to work in a cemetery.

“People say it’s scary,” said Jake. “It’s not.”

“It’s like a park. There’s a lot of life here with the visitors and the wildlife,” added Hunter.

Most of all, the pair enjoy working outside and with Terry, their “favorite boss.” While there is a lot of hard, physical work at Calvary, they work as a team. Terry, they say, isn’t a micromanager; he expects professional results and treats them as valued team members. Hunter and Jake also like Terry’s progressive stance on constant improvement. The two have learned a lot about customer service and running an enterprise. Under his management, they’ve seen the cemetery constantly improve with new sections, a new watering service (done by Hunter) and new efficiencies with better equipment.

“He’s like an entrepreneur. It’s like it’s his business,” said Hunter about Terry’s constant push for improvement.

Terry says he’s been blessed with great help over the last 25 years, and that Jake and Hunter are no exceptions.

“What I tell everyone is that a man is only as good as his tools…and help,” said Terry.

Terry says he strives to develop teamwork and coordination with his crews.

“It’s a huge help when the right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” he said. “It’s also important to have a little fun somewhere in the mountain of work we have.”

 

Rain, rain go away

output (1)The Calvary Crew has been battling with the elements, specifically the “copious” amounts of rain and mist that has been drenching the Mankato area over the last 10 days.

The grass has been growing at a record rate…and so have the weeds. So Terry, Hunter and Jake have been hard at it.

(Note the water spray coming off the grass in the photo above.)

 

Calvary preps for Memorial Day Service

A whirlwind of preparation is happening at Calvary Cemetery right now for its biggest event of the year: Memorial Day.

“Typically, we have more people visit the cemetery on Memorial Day than all the other days of the year combined,” said Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

A special Memorial Day Mass will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 28th. Father John Kunz of St.4589281 John the Baptist Catholic Church 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.

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 but must be removed by Monday, June 4th. (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.

Light rain does not stop WOH spring ceremony

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A little rain did not stop the Wings of Hope organization from having its scheduled burial service at Calvary Cemetery on Thursday evening, May 10th.

Father Tim Reker and Deacon John Rudd from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church carried on undeterred by the light but cold rainfall. About 15 people took part in the ceremony, and live music was provided.

Wings of Hope hosts burial services for children lost during pregnancy. A special section of the cemetery was developed and dedicated for this purpose recently — articles about the WOH site development and dedication are available on this blog.

The Wings of Hope website is located at http://www.wingsofhopemankato.com.

Spring clean up slowed by stubborn winter

The on-again, off-again spring and recurrent heavy snowfalls have slowed the annual spring clean up at Calvary Cemetery, reports Terry Miller, Caretaker.

“We had 70% of the roads open right after that last snowfall,” said Terry. “And we lost some tree branches. Over a foot of snow has fallen and obviously more on the way.”

“Just when I think I am getting some traction — by that I mean snow gone and spring clean up going on — along comes another storm. A year ago we were mowing. With Memorial Day just six weeks away, I believe it’s going to be ‘go time’ when this white stuff is gone.”

Of course, Memorial Day is the biggest day of the year at Calvary in terms of visitors and activity.

Terry also reports the frost is still deep in shady areas and the north side of buildings where the spring sunshine hasn’t warmed the ground or melted the snow cover.