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 $30, call Terry Miller at 507.995.1010.

All Souls Day Mass on November 2nd

Father Paul
Father Paul

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

Turkey trio

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Photo by Tom Miller

It almost looks like these three turkeys are posing. Although turkeys strutting through Calvary Cemetery are a common site, Tom Miller (Monuments by Miller) was able to catch this trio in unusual symmetry.

Our pleasant September weather has made Calvary a great place for a good stroll. Visitors are welcome between dawn and dusk.

Calvary hosts Winona Diocese conference

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Construction has begun for Calvary’s new stone and iron fence. Shown here is one of the stately block posts.

Over 25 cemetery board members, caretakers and diocese officials gathered at Calvary Cemetery on Wednesday for the annual Winona Diocese Cemetery Conference.

Each year volunteers and professionals from the diocese’s 105 Catholic cemeteries meet to learn and find ways to improve their product and service offerings to their parishioners.

“We were grateful to host this year’s conference,” said Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller. “We had a lot to display.”

The event consisted of a presentation, led by Larry Dose and Ann Ringlien, diocese officials, and then a cemetery tour, led by Terry.

The presentation topics and discussion were broad, covering a wide range of critical topics: financial, landscaping, improvement projects, lawn care, investments, pricing and others.

The tour enabled Terry to highlight Calvary’s forward planning – designated cremation areas like the Rosary and Resurrection Gardens areas. With cremation rates climbing every year, it is important to offer designated areas for that type of burial, Terry explained.

“It’s all about customer service,” he emphasized, adding that many cemeteries have not yet adjusted to changing customer preferences and needs.

The Wings of Hope Memorial was another innovation on the tour. And of course, the now under-construction stone and iron fence project.

“Perfect day!” Terry commented. “Perfect weather and a chance to share tips and information with volunteers and professionals in the business.”

Terry praised Larry and Ann for their hard work in preparation, organizing and coordination, especially with arrangements for food and proper COVID precautions.

“We weren’t able to have a conference last year, so it felt really good to get back on track, if you know what I mean,” he said.

Red sun over Calvary

Spend enough time near Calvary and you expect to hear the whisper of the breeze through the cedars or see deer, wild turkey or other wildlife.

But Deb Miller, wife of Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller, captured this unusual celestial phenomenon – a brilliant red sunset with the sun yet high on the horizon.

Centuries ago, some people might say it was a “sign” of something. These days most would put it down to the heat or air pollution and just grudgingly enjoy the rare sight. One way or another, this photo has made its way to the Calvary archives. Thanks Deb!

Fence construction kick off approaches

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New fence concept image

Site preparation will soon begin for Calvary Cemetery’s new wrought iron fence.

The fence, which will feature black metalwork and stone posts, will replace the aged and unattractive cyclone fencing that now spans the cemetery property line along Goodyear Avenue. The board-approved project turns money that may have had to be spent on old fence maintenance and repair to money to be spent on installing an attractive visual asset.

The new fence will dramatically improve the “street appeal” of the cemetery property.

“All systems are go!” confirmed Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker. Terry wants the fence project done at least by Calvary’s next public Mass – All Souls Day – that is scheduled for Tuesday, November 2nd.

The fence project is already 50 percent funded by private donations, and Terry is confident about funding the remaining expense.

“We’ve had a great response from our cemetery families,” he said. “A big thanks to those who have already chipped in.”

“Fund the Fence” donations are greatly appreciated and can be mailed to Calvary Cemetery, PO Box 4143 Mankato MN 56002.

Calvary gears up for Memorial Day Mass and visitors

Fr Ted Hottinger celebrates Mass on Memorial Day 2014

Usually the biggest event at any U.S. cemetery, Memorial Day 2021 will be observed in full form at Calvary Cemetery.

Father Andrew Whiting from Ss Peter & Paul’s Catholic Church in Mankato will celebrate an 8:45 a.m. Mass from the Calvary Chapel. Military Honors will be rendered immediately following Mass.

This year the Mass offerings will all go to the “Fund the Fence” project at Calvary. The pandemic somewhat slowed fundraising progress and the project is not quite 100% funded. Any donations will be most appreciated.

Many attendees bring lawn chairs since the Chapel cannot accommodate all the visitors on Memorial Day, and Mass is said from the front entrance to all those gathered on the lawn.

Many people bring ground decorations for family sites and may bring those starting May 24th. Please remember that any Memorial Day decorations must be removed by June 7th. Please NO GLASS CONTAINERS.

If you have any questions, please contact Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller at 507.995.1010.

Wings of Hope holds beautiful service

Beautiful spring weather, flowers, prayers and healing tears were highlights of “An Evening of Remembrance” at Calvary Cemetery on Thursday, May 13th.

Hosted quarterly by the Wings of Hope organization, these special events are memorial services for families who have recently experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy.

“I lost a baby years ago, and I wish there would have been something like this then. Thank you so much for having this,” said one woman to WOH Committee members after the service.

Pastor Joel van Loon of First Baptist Church of Lake Crystal presided over the service and Garrett Steinberg provided musical leadership. About 40 people were in attendance; some traveling from northern Minnesota.

These services are held in the special WOH Memorial section of Calvary, an area dedicated as a final resting place for the unborn.

Memorial benches now available at Calvary

Three beautiful stone “In Memory of” benches created by Tom Miller are now placed on the new Calvary Cemetery road and are available for dedication. The three pieces are a rare opportunity for commemoration. 

The benches are permanent cemetery fixtures and will be highly visible to anyone walking or driving through the cemetery.


If you’re interested in having the name of a dearly departed on one of these benches, please contact Tom Miller at 507.388.5853 for availability and pricing.


Tom’s monuments at Calvary include many “landmark” pieces — the Fallenstein Cross, the Haefner Angel, the Wings of Hope Memorial and others.

Gary Zellmer joins Calvary Board

Longtime Mankato area resident, former North Mankato mayor and retired Taylor Corp executive Gary Zellmer joined the Calvary Cemetery Board of Directors this year.

Gary Zellmer

“We are very excited to have Gary on the board. His business experience will be a great addition to our board,” said Terry Miller, Calvary Caretaker.

Each of the four Catholic parishes in the Greater Mankato / North Mankato area is represented by the parish priest and a lay representation. Gary will be joining Fr. Paul van de Crommert as the representatives for Holy Rosary Catholic Church in North Mankato.

The rest of the current board includes:

  • St. Joseph the Worker
    • Fr. Tim Reker
    • Lay Representative Doug Sjulstad
  • St. John the Baptist
    • Fr. John Kunz
    • Lay Representative / Trustee Fred Muellerillie
  • Ss. Peter and Paul
    • Fr. Andrew Whiting
    • Lay Representative Bob Kruezer
  • Board Secretary: Glen Barnette