Calvary ends a very busy summer

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mowers reducedIt’s the day after Labor Day. It might not be the official end of summer, but that’s what many people think. While it’s been a great summer for golf, boating, biking and all those fun hot weather activities, it’s also been a great summer for growing grass. Lots and lots of grass.

While mowing twice a week all summer can be a minor nuisance at home, mowing Calvary’s 40 acres presents a challenge.

“Typically we hit a point in July when it dries out and the grass goes dormant for several weeks. But this year, every single week since the first mowing the whole cemetery has been mowed some areas twice in the same week,” said Terry Miller, Calvary’s Caretaker.

The above average rainfall not only encouraged the grass to grow, it caused explosive growth for weeds like clover and turkey foot.

“Even through we have Green Care spray for weeds, the weeds are winning the battle. I think we will have to go to more treatments next year. That means more cost, but it will be needed,” said Terry.

The cemetery crew uses two John Deere rider mowers with 62-inch decks. These are traded in every year because of the heavy use they get. On average each machine will tally 200 hours and a couple of sets of blades. There are also two Honda 21-inch walk behind mowers.

“On a typical Monday when we mow the older sections a guy using a walk behind mower will walk 12 to 16 miles,” Terry reported.

On top of all that mowing, there have been two to three funerals a week and property sales have hit a record pace. With the summer crew now off and back to school, Terry looks forward to a calmer pace.

“Needless to say, I am ready for Fall so I can do something besides mow!” he said. “But come Spring I will look forward to it again.”

 

Calvary joins going list of Pokemon NO cemeteries

The new Pokemon Go craze is continuing to sweep across the globe, but Pokemon pokemonplay has already been swept out of Calvary Cemetery.

Calvary joined a growing list of cemeteries across the country that have banned the game.

Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller reported that cemetery suddenly began receiving 30 to 50 players a day as soon as the game was available.

For those not in the know, Pokemon Go is played with gps-enabled smartphones. Players find images of animated Pokemon characters superimposed on their phone screens. They “capture” the creatures and use them to compete against other players’ Pokemon.

According to Terry, Pokemon play on the grounds became disrespectful and disruptive. That included a surge in bike traffic on the lawns, non-gaming visitors being disturbed or startled by players dashing about and dangerous climbing on the tombstones.

“I like it when people refer to Calvary as a park, but I don’t like it when they say it’s a playground,” commented Terry Miller, Calvary’s Caretaker.

According to online sources, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery head the list of sites to ban Pokemon play.

Reports indicate many players fail to exercise common sense while playing the game. According to the Associated Press (July 20, 2016), a New Jersey woman trying to capture a Pokemon in a Clarksboro cemetery ended up stuck in a tree and had to call 911 to rescue her.

 

Wings of Hope service set for June 30th

Stone artist Tom Miller engraves memorial pavers as the Wings of Hope crew prepares for the first memorial service.

Stone artist Tom Miller engraves memorial pavers as the Wings of Hope crew prepares for the first memorial service.

The finishing touches are being applied to the new Wings of Hope Memorial section of Calvary Cemetery.

This special section of Calvary is dedicated to babies lost through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and newborn death.

The very first burial and memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 30th at 6:30 p.m. Titled “An Evening of Remembrance,” this service is for anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss or wants to show support for families who have.

Families who have recently lost a child in miscarriage will be participating in a burial service. Other families who have lost a child in pregnancy are invited to participate in “spiritual burial.”

This is to be an evening of music, reflection and remembrance. Attendees are asked to park on Goodyear Avenue and walk into the cemetery if you are able. Limited parking is available near the chapel and limited seating will be available at the memorial site. Visitors can bring lawn chairs if they prefer not to stand.

Donations are still needed to help finish the memorial site and provide for services. Donations can be mailed to Wings of Hope, c/o Calvary Cemetery, PO Box 4143, Mankato, MN 56002.

For more information on Wings of Hope, call Chris at 507-519-0158.

 

 

Calvary visitors enjoy picture perfect Memorial Day

soldier trio_reducedIt was “as good as it gets” for Memorial Day mornings in Minnesota.

Over 500 visitors enjoyed a warm, serene and well-orchestrated program at Calvary Cemetery during Monday’s Memorial Day program.

Cars lined the cemetery’s cedar-canopied streets as people gathered for Mass outside the Calvary Chapel. Father Tim Reker (St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church) celebrated the service.

After the Mass, a Color Guard from American Legion Post 11 and representatives of the Boy Scouts of America led the throng of visitors through a collective ‘thank you’ to all veterans, living and dead.

The cemetery itself was in pristine condition and many of the grave sites were decorated with flowers and other adornments.

Calvary Cemetery preps for Memorial Day

 

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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 30th. Father

Fr Tim Reker

Timothy Reker of St. Joseph the Worker and Holy Family Catholic churches 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 on or after May 23rd but must be removed by Monday, June 6th. (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.

 

Spring weather kicks up Wings of Hope activity

wings of hope 1_4.16Although the month of April contains the annual hammer of the U.S. income tax deadline, April does bring spring. And in Minnesota, spring is no small blessing.

We get to shed months of cold and gloom and be outside in comfort again. Spring is particularly welcome at Calvary Cemetery.

At Calvary, this year’s thaw brings renewed work on the cemetery’s exciting new addition – the Wings of Hope Memorial. This will be a new area of the cemetery dedicated as the resting place for children who are lost in miscarriage.

When the project paused last fall, the walkway pavers and the concrete footing for the memorial had been put in place, and trees had been moved to help screen the area off from the rest of the cemetery. Then landscaping work stopped for the winter.

Last week, Caretaker Terry Miller set up the two pillars that flank the paver walkway entrance from the cemetery roadway. That officially kicked off the project re-start.

Not everything about the project was dormant though. Over the winter, artisan Tom Miller has been working the stone memorial itself – the sculpted image of an infant cradled in angel’s wings. That will be eventually provide the visual centerpiece for the new section.

Plans also include the installation of several granite benches and a wrought-iron fence.

Discussions are underway about the eventual dedication of the new area. Those arrangements will probably be announced prior to Memorial Day.

The members of Project Embrace, the volunteer group spearheading the project, are looking for donations to complete the $25,000 fundraising effort. It’s still possible to “buy” a paver and have the name of a lost loved one engraved into the stone. Tom Miller will soon be engraving the purchased pavers. For more information go to http://wingsofhopemankato.weebly.com.

Tax-deductible donations can also be made to the cemetery for the Wings of Hope project. Simply write your check out to “Calvary Cemetery” and put “Wings of Hope donation” in the memo line.

Remember that you can always call Terry with questions. He can be reached at 507-995-1010.