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 http://frjohnkunz.blogspot.com.

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 http://frjohnkunz.blogspot.com.)

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 calvarymankato@gmail.com.

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


Looking for caretaker information

Work is underway for an addition to this blog’s History page — a recounting of the various caretakers who have worked at Calvary Cemetery.

Jerry Miller, Calvary Caretaker

Jerry Miller, Calvary Caretaker

If you have any photos or information about any of the caretakers, please email what you have to Terry Miller at calvarymankato@gmail.com.

Little is recorded about early, contracted caretakers. In most cases there are no photos of these people until after World War II. It is hoped that any readers with information will email in what they know.

At present here is what is known:

Subcontract caretakers:

  • 1867 to 1901 – For many years Ferd Bucholtz dug graves at the old cemetery site on North Sixth Street and Calvary.
  • 1901 to 1919 – W. Bienapple mowed lots for $2, according to Bucholtz’ records.
  • 1919 to 1927 – Henry Giese lived in a house on Goodyear Avenue across from the main entrance to the cemetery. Records show he was present at a cemetery board meeting on November 18, 1919. Henry was born in Germany 1872 and died on May 31, 1953 at the age of 81. He was buried at Calvary in Grave 8. According to the 1940 US Census, Henry, then 68, was married to Mary, 65, (maiden name yet undiscovered) who was born in 1875 in Blue Earth County. No date for her death as yet. The census form noted both had an eighth grade education.

Full-time caretakers:

  • 1927 to 1947 – Louis Riederer, by the current best reckoning, became Calvary’s first full-time caretaker sometime during the 1930s. Louis was born in Germany in 1885 and died on January 30, 1947. His children helped in the cemetery by clipping grass around the monuments. They lived in the former Giese house across the street from the cemetery. Louis’ wife, Clara, died on April 29, 1959. She is buried at Grave 7. The 1940 U.S. Census reports that two children were living with them at that time: Ottilia, a 25-year-old daughter; and Francis, a 19-year-old son. Ottilia was a saleswoman in a shop. Francis was a clerk.
  • 1947 to 1973 – John Udelhofen (part time from 1946 to 1947 and 1973 to 1979). According to John’s daughter, Mary Lee Stern of St. Paul, Minnesota, John probably worked part-time with his predecessor, Louis, and with his successor, Jerry Miller, before and after his full-time status. John’s wife, Clara, was from rural Waseca. They were married on September 6, 1932 and moved to Mankato in 1944. According to her obituary published in the Faribault Daily News on May 4, 2004, Clara lived to the age of 95, far outliving John who died on October 29th, 1981 at the age of 75 or 76. Clara and John are both buried at Calvary. Current Caretaker Terry Miller remembers working side by side with John when he worked on a part-time basis during high school and college.
  • 1971 to 1996 – Jerome “Jerry” Miller (part time from 1996 to 1999). Of course, much is known about Jerry Miller. He passed away on January 2nd, 2001.
  • 1996 to present – Terry Miller (part time from 1973 to 1996).

Despite wet weather, Memorial Day service very well attended



Despite wet conditions from recent rainstorms, Calvary Cemetery saw

Memorial Day 2015 view of Calvary Cemetery

Memorial Day 2015 view of Calvary Cemetery

robust attendance for its 2015 Memorial Day service.

“We had heavy rain the day before. Everything was wet. I expected maybe 100 to 150 people,” said Terry Miller, Calvary’s Caretaker. “Our count for visitors on Monday is between 600 and 700 people.”

Terry said that the adjacent streets outside the cemetery grounds were packed with parked cars.

“Father Paul did a great job with the Mass,” Terry said, commending the

Father Paul

Father Paul

event’s celebrant, Father Paul van de Crommert of Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

An Honor Guard from American Legion Post 11 delivered the military salute to the fallen immediately following the Mass.

“The whole event went as well as it ever has,” said Terry, adding a reminder that the holiday decorations need to be removed by Monday, June 1st.

“If anyone wants to keep their decorations, they should remove them as soon as possible. The nicer the pot or arrangement is, the more likely it is to leave the cemetery in the wrong car,” Terry warned.

Calvary to host Memorial Day Mass

Each year Calvary Cemetery hosts a special Memorial Day Mass celebration.cropped-061.jpg

This year is no exception. Mass time is set for 8:45 a.m. on Monday, May 25th. Father Paul van de Crommert of Holy Rosary Catholic Church will be the celebrant.

“In the past, we’ve had anywhere from 100 to 700 people attending. It

Members of American Legion Post 11 and Boy Scout Troop 4

Members of American Legion Post 11 and Boy Scout Troop 4

really depends on the weather,” said Terry Miller, Calvary caretaker.

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 on or after May 19th but must be removed by June 1st. (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.

Memorial Day weekend is the biggest annual event at Calvary Cemetery. Terry and his staff prepare for weeks ahead to ensure all visitors have an uplifting experience.


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