That’s one of the messages that Calvary Caretaker Terry Miller shared with Catholic cemetery caretakers and board members from across the diocese during workshops held this month.
Although there are over 100 Catholic cemeteries in the 20 southern Minnesota counties that encompass the Winona Diocese, Terry is one of the few full-time, professional caretakers. On average the other cemeteries in the diocese average 3.2 burials per year while Calvary averages close to 100 per year. While there are some larger cemeteries in the diocese, Calvary is the largest in terms of acreage under maintenance.
Because of his experience, Terry was invited to be one of the speakers at the workshops, and appeared in Adrian and Owatonna to share his views. He was also accompanied by one of the Calvary board members, Father Tim Reker, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker parish.
Attendees consisted mainly of cemetery caretakers, volunteers and clergy.
Terry shared the tactics that he and his board have advanced at Calvary in order to ensure “perpetual care” of the cemetery for future generations. Topics included pricing, board involvement and advocacy, community and parish support, the use of social media, client service, and fundraising.
Terry reported that his sharing was well received.
“No doubt, cemeteries are about the past,” he said after the events. “But a big part of taking care of yesterday is about looking out for tomorrow. You know what I mean?”