4-Ton tree taken down at Calvary

big tree

Although trees can live for hundreds of years, they do come and go. At Calvary, trees are an important landscape feature. They are tended with care, especially the stately cedars. Sadly, last week one of the patriarchs of the cemetery had to be removed.

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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.




Now taking orders for Christmas wreaths…

It’s hard to think about the holidays without remembering Christmas past and

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath

departed loved ones.

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 set for Friday, Nov 2

Calvary Cemetery Chapel will be the site for a special All Souls Day Mass to be held

Father Paul

Father Paul

on Friday, November 2nd at 9 a.m.

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 (www.catholiconline.org), 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.

Surprise snowfall does not blunt Calvary’s beauty

calvary snow_10.14.18

calvary snow_chapel_10.14.18

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!



Cold does not stop WOH Remembrance

woh pic_10.2.18

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.”