Now taking orders for Christmas wreaths…

It’s hard to think about the holidays without remembering Christmas past and departed loved ones.

Christmas Wreath

If you’d like to decorate a loved one’s grave with some holiday color, Calvary Cemetery is now taking orders for Christmas wreaths. Ordered wreaths will be placed on graves the week of Thanksgiving and will be removed after New Year’s Day (weather permitting).

These 25-inch wreaths are Balsam Fir and feature a red bow with white-tipped pinecones.

To order your wreath for $25, call Terry Miller at 507.995.1010.

All Souls Day Mass draws a full house

Father Paul celebrates All Souls Day Mass at Calvary Chapel on Saturday, November 2nd

Calvary Chapel was packed full on Saturday morning as over 70 people braved a chilly morning to warm up body and soul with some spiritual reassurance of eternal life.

Father Paul van de Crommert of Holy Rosary Catholic Church celebrated the Mass. His welcome message recognized that many there may be feeling the recent loss of a loved one, and emphasized the importance of prayer for those who have departed.

In light of recent funeral and burial trends inconsistent with Catholic Church guidance, Father Paul took the opportunity to clarify why the Church prefers traditional burial and under what circumstances the Church allows cremation.

Two examples of those inconsistent trends: scattering cremated ashes or keeping the ashes of the departed at home. Father Paul quoted a treatise from the New Ulm Diocese:

“St. Paul and the earliest Christians often referred to Christians who had passed away as “those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:18) They believed that the bodies of the dead would one day be reunited with their souls in heaven, just as Christ’s body was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven. Traditional burial has always been a way that Christians placed the bodies of “those who have fallen asleep” to rest until they are raised again. In non-Christian religions cremation represented either the soul being freed from the body as from a prison, or the end of the individual’s existence altogether, beliefs that are contrary to the Christian faith. It is because of our deep reverence for the human body an dour hope in the resurrection, that we prefer to “lay our brother / sister to rest” in traditional burial.”

According to the treatise, the Church allows cremation when the following conditions are met:

  • Whenever possible, the body should be present for the funeral. It can be subsequently cremated, either immediately following the funeral or at a later time.
  • The remains must be stored in a worthy vessel (an urn which is made of solid material, beautiful and dignified.
  • The remains must be buried in a sacred place, that is in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium.
  • A memorial plaque or stone should mark the place where the remains are buried.
  • The remains may not be scattered on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or kept in the home of a relative or friend. No part of the remains should be separated out from the whole, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry, or other objects.

All Souls Day Mass on Saturday, Nov 2nd

Calvary Cemetery Chapel will be the site for a special All Souls Day Mass to be held on Saturday, November 2nd at 9:30 a.m.

Father Paul
Father Paul

Father Paul van de Crommert of North Mankato’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church will be the celebrant. Father Paul is also actively serving on the cemetery’s board of directors.

Confused about All Souls Day, All Saints Day and Halloween?

The Catholic Church celebrates All Saints Day, or All Hallows, on the first day of November each year. Therefore the last day of October is All Hallows Eve, or Halloween (a contraction of “All Hallows Evening). November 2nd is All Souls Day. According to Catholic Online (, here is the difference in the celebrations:

In Western Christian theology, the day [All Saints Day] commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls’ Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the ‘church penitent’ and the ‘church triumphant’, respectively), and the ‘church militant’ who are the living. Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways.

Halloween is not a religious celebration in the Catholic Church. It is a popular celebration revolving around the theme of using humor to confront the power of death.

Busted at last!

“Here is the proof!”

Over the years, every now and then some Calvary patrons entertain the notion that other visitors, or even the caretakers, cause harm to graveside flower displays.

Caretaker Terry Miller was overjoyed to finally catch this fawn enjoying the Calvary buffet. Although deer sightings are frequent, catching one in the act is rare.

“We do not cut or destroy the people’s flowers,” Terry assured.

Calvary preps for Memorial Day, launches fence fundraiser

Calvary Cemetery’s biggest event of the year, Memorial Day, is just days away and the caretaker crew is scrambling to prepare, working around the frequent rainfalls this week.

“It’s a very busy week…hopefully Mother Nature is on my side,” commented Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

Amid all that prep, Calvary is also launching its “Fund the Fence” project to replace the aging cyclone fencing along Goodyear Avenue with a more appropriate, visually-appealing “wrought iron” style fence. (Information is being inserted in all four Mankato parish church bulletins this weekend, and will be posted on this website soon.)

Fr Tim Reker

The special Memorial Day Mass will be held at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 27th. Father Tim Reker of St. Joseph the Worker 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.

WOH to host ‘Evening of Remembrance’ May 9

woh picThe Wings of Hope organization will host its next “Evening of Remembrance” at Calvary Cemetery on Thursday, May 9th from 6 to 7 p.m. Pastor Darren from Hosanna Highland Lutheran Church will be leading the service.

Wings of Hope is a pregnancy loss memorial in Mankato, MN. It also offers common burial for infant remains miscarried before 20 weeks gestation.

For more information about WOH, go to the WOH website.

The trend — postponed winter burials

5427Caretaker Terry Miller heats the frozen ground in preparation for a winter burial.

Today is supposed to be the coldest day this winter. With air temperature near 20 below, it seems like a terrible day for a burial. But there is one scheduled at Calvary.

Minnesota is one of several states that requires cemeteries to provide winter burials — if the family requests one. Some families need a prompt burial to help provide closure for grieving. A prompt winter burial also eliminates the need for a second trip in the spring or summer for far-flung family members.

Even if there wasn’t a law, the burial would still happen at Calvary. It’s about customer service.

“It all comes down to what the family needs,” says Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

But a growing trend at Calvary, for cremation burials, is to postpone a winter burial and instead, have a warm weather event that provides a more pleasant family get-together.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re having plenty of burials this winter. But I’m seeing more and more families with cremation burials decide to hold off until the summer, maybe to double up with a family reunion,” says Terry.

With cremation burials continuing to increase (now at 55%), the need to hurry with the burial seems less urgent to many families, he said.

A hundred years ago, before jackhammers, backhoes and propane ground heaters, it was customary to store bodies in a vault over the winter and wait for the frost to leave the ground. Even now, it takes 24 hours of ground heating to remove the frost for excavation.