All Souls Day Mass set for November 2nd

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

Father Paul

Father Paul

on Wednesday, 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 (, 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.


Wings of Hope Memorial dedicated by Bishop Quinn

Wings of Hope Memorial team, from left to right: Tom Miller (Monuments by Miller), Chris Oldenburg (WOH), Fr John Kunz (St John the Baptist), Terry Miller (Calvary Caretaker), Bishop John Quinn,

Wings of Hope Memorial team, from left to right: Tom Miller (Monuments by Miller), Chris Oldenburg (WOH), Fr John Kunz (St John the Baptist), Terry Miller (Calvary Caretaker), Bishop John Quinn, Julie Laughlin and DeeAnn Wacker. Not pictured but also an active WOH member is JoAnn Alfson.

The Wings of Hope Memorial project was gracefully completed on Friday, October 7th during a beautiful afternoon dedication ceremony conducted by Bishop John M. Quinn, head of the Winona Diocese.

“Parents never forget their child, and God never forgets one of us,” said Bishop Quinn as he addressed a gathering of WOH advocates, including stone artist Tom Miller, Terry Miller (Calvary Caretaker), Kevin Satre of Mankato Mortuary and Chris Oldenburg who spearheaded the WOH project — all key players in the creation of the new memorial area.

The pleasant early fall weather, the musical support of Jackie James, the presence of the Bishop and Father John Kunz and refreshments provided by the Wings of Hope volunteers all contributed to provide a successful dedication.

The ceremony put the final stamp of completion on a project less than two years in formation. The effort first gained traction when a group of St. John the Baptist volunteers began work to create an avenue for the burial of children lost in miscarriage. The memorial area is dedicated to those children and now provides a place for families to pray, reflect and remember.

The Bishop recognized the work of the volunteers who made the memorial a reality, and praised the stone centerpiece depicting a baby cradled in angel’s wings, the creation of Tom Miller (Monuments by Miller).

According to Chris Oldenburg, the physical completion of the project was a successful effort, but the ongoing support of Mankato Mortuary and the area medical community will be crucial to the memorial area’s future ability to help grieving families.

Editor’s note: A special thanks to Sarah Denn who provided the great photos that appear on this blog and on the Calvary Facebook page.

Bishop Quinn to dedicate WOH Memorial

woh-statueThe Most Reverend John M. Quinn, Bishop of the Winona Diocese, will be at Calvary Cemetery this Friday, October 7th at 4 p.m. to dedicate the new Wings of Hope Memorial.

The WOH area is a pregnancy loss memorial. This new section provides a final resting place for children lost in miscarriage, and the dedication will cap off the construction of the memorial area and put a spiritual accent on the project.

The creation of the WOH Memorial has been labor of love for a group of local volunteers, Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller and area stone artist Tom Miller.

The special dedication on Friday will include music, prayers and reflection, as well as some light refreshments.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In recognition of this, there will be a candlelight service at the memorial at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 15th.

Visit the WOH Facebook page or the WOH blog at for more information or to order a candle for the service.

Grateful for full-time, perpetual care


A neglected cemetery

A neglected cemetery

There are people who are aficionados of cemeteries — those who love visiting serene gardens of stone.

Those people may love the quiet, sacred nature of a cemetery. These consecrated parks are really outdoor churches and cathedrals, some humble and small, some majestic in scope. The aficionado wants to be in quiet outdoors, away from traffic, where children don’t shout and play. They may be there to pray instead of at a church.

Let’s make some exceptions to this “aficionado” we’re talking about. There are those visitors who come just for information, not the ambiance of a cemetery. And there are those who visit for some kind of Halloween thrill. Calvary is closed after dark by the way. Then there are those who come for events — a special Mass or a dedication or, more commonly, a funeral. But they don’t visit on a regular basis.

Of course there are those still in mourning. They may visit regularly, even daily, because they intensely miss someone. And those who visit once a year, to pay homage to a lost one.

No… the aficionado visits because he or she simply appreciates cemeteries. On out-of-town trips the aficionado may visit the local cemeteries to compare or for the same feeling they get.

Cemeteries have different characters as well; each has a different mix of history, architecture and landscaping. You get a little different feeling walking through the older sections of Calvary, where the upright monuments are varied in size, stone, shape and height, than the feeling you’d get at a military cemetery and the ruthlessly similar dominoes of white stones.

A few weeks ago, I went to my aunt’s funeral at a small cemetery outside of Mankato. Now I have never been a true cemetery aficionado. But I’ve been to enough cemeteries to draw comparisons. It was at that funeral that I truly understood the value of a full-time caretaker — someone who battles the weeds, manicures the trees and hedges, sees to the repair of the stones, keeps the buildings and roadways in good repair. There’s a reason Calvary looks like a well-kept park.

It wasn’t that my aunt’s cemetery was neglected. It just missed the daily attention needed to keep things manicured. There were weeds and some overgrown areas. The trees had a shaggy, rough look to them. There were no road signs or architectural landmarks.

Now there are truly neglected cemeteries. These are forlorn places where the grass is never mowed and gravestones are sunken in. These can become targets for vandalism or even garbage dumping.

Many people don’t care where their final resting place will be. For those who do, Calvary offers the promise of perpetual care. Money is set aside every year in a fund to ensure that once all the sites are taken (far into the future), and no more can be sold, that the fund will provide for the care of Calvary far into the future.

If you’re shopping for a cemetery lot, or faced with the decision of where to place a family member, ask how your prospective cemetery will be kept in years to come. It does make a difference. I’d rather have my children and grandchildren get to visit my site in a pretty park. For me, that’s worth a little planning and expense.

— The Calvary Ghost Writer


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.