Main Office: (913) 371-4040 | Topeka: (785) 272-0820 | Pre-planning info: (913) 344-7527

Sacred Spaces

Looking for something special to do for Lent?

Consider these five ways to remember your loved ones during this time of preparation.

Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy. If this Lent has you thinking about how to extend corporal and spiritual works of mercy into your life, here are five ideas that are simple but rewarding.

1. Offer a mass for a deceased loved one. Many people contact their parish to have a daily or Sunday mass said for their loved one. This is a beautiful way to remember a special day, such as their birthday or date of passing. However, you don’t need a special day to offer a mass. Any day is a good day to offer a mass for the deceased. If your parish doesn’t offer a daily mass time that fits your schedule, consider noon mass at one of several parishes in the archdiocese, an evening mass, or Saturday morning mass.

2. Visit the cemetery with family members and share memories about the deceased. Take along a blanket to sit on and/or flowers to leave at the gravesite (for rules regarding memorializations at different types of interment spaces, click here). Share memories, special stories, photograph albums or songs that have a special place in the remembrance of your loved one.

3. Attend a funeral for someone who doesn’t have many family or friends to attend. This mass is offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Your parish priest or receptionist can give you guidance about funerals where attendance may be low due to age or distance. Don’t feel shy about attending, as your prayers for the deceased are invaluable.

4. Be open to listening to the funeral and burial plan arrangements your elderly loved ones may have. Help reassure them that you understand their wishes. Engage gently in a discussion with family members. Even those who are not anticipating an approaching death may have ideas they want to communicate about their funeral and burial ideas.

5. At prayer time at home, light a candle for family members you have lost. Encouraging children to create their own special prayer for deceased loved ones can create a lasting tradition in your family. Or, share a prayer such as this well-known one: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

These scripture readings on the topic of death and dying are recommended by the USCCB and may help facilitate a family discussion regarding the topic, which is particularly appropriate during Lent.

Job 19:23-27

Psalms 23, 91 and 121

1 John 4:16

Revelation 21:1-7

Matthew 25:1-13

Luke 22:39-46

Luke 23:44-49

Luke 24:1-8

John 6:37-40

John 14:16, 23, 27

Would you like to share a comment, question or experience regarding pre-planning? Visit our Facebook page, @cathcemks, to join the conversation. Or, send me an email at kmitchell@cathcemks.org.


Why choose a Catholic cemetery?

What makes a Catholic cemetery special? The answer may seem obvious—it’s Catholic. But the differences between a Catholic cemetery and a Catholic interment space in another cemetery are not always clear.

A Catholic cemetery is one that has been sanctified and set apart for God by the bishop at its inception. Whereas in a non-Catholic cemetery, the interment space is consecrated for a Catholic at the committal service by the presiding priest, the entire grounds of a Catholic cemetery are designated from the start as a sacred space and consecrated by the presiding bishop at that time.

Catholic teachings, history and tradition are reflected in beautiful works of art throughout the cemetery. While spending time visiting a deceased loved one, family and friends are consoled by sculptures, stained glass, and memorial gardens carrying comforting depictions such as saints, the resurrection, stations of the cross and rosary areas.

Catholics can take comfort and consolation in the assurance of masses for loved ones buried in a Catholic cemetery. This may be one of the most compelling reasons to choose a Catholic cemetery. Masses are held on the grounds of the Catholic cemeteries several times a year, and all those buried there are remembered. Catholic Cemeteries arranges masses and events at its cemeteries for Memorial Day, Veterans Day and All Souls Day.

These holiday masses are facilitated by volunteers who assist with parking and logistics and are trained to answer questions, guide visitors and make the experience pleasant and memorable. Families, including children, are welcome to participate and enjoy the grounds before and after mass, visiting gravesites of loved ones, decorating memorial tablets with flowers or other special items, and visiting memorial gardens, statues and prayer areas. Enjoying a picnic together on the grounds in set-aside areas was a traditional highlight of the Memorial Day holiday even into the middle of the Twentieth Century. Those who would like to carry on this tradition are welcomed by Catholic Cemeteries to do so in areas where burials have yet to take place.

Another compelling reason to choose a Catholic cemetery is that the income of the perpetual care fund ensures the grounds will be cared for in perpetuity. The cemeteries, also known as memorial parks, are kept accessible and beautiful by year-round staff. Catholic Cemeteries staff also places purchased memorials on spaces and removes worn memorializations (such as flowers and balloons) according to set guidelines and procedures. The organization coordinates and oversees the addition and upkeep of buildings, statues, memorials, trees and landscaping on these cemeteries. The public is welcome and encouraged to visit the cemeteries to enjoy the serene and sacred spaces created with mindfulness toward prayer, reflection, sharing memories and coping with the loss of a loved one.

The nine cemeteries administered by Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas were originally designated by specific parishes but are now under the direction of the archdiocese. Many Catholic cemeteries can be visited near the church which originally designated the area, while other, newer, cemeteries—such as Resurrection Cemetery in Lenexa and Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Kansas City—are easily accessible from major highways. While burial in a sacred Catholic cemetery is a priority for the faithful, non-Catholic spouses and family members are allowed burial in Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas as well. Check with counseling staff for full details and availability.

These cemeteries can be visited in person or seen virtually through videos on our website at www.cathcemks.org. Click here for cemetery hours and locations.

Would you like to share a comment, question or experience regarding pre-planning? Visit our Facebook page, @cathcemks, to join the conversation. Or, send me an email at kmitchell@cathcemks.org.