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

I Never Gave It Much Thought

I Never Gave It Much Thought …

To continue our discussion on the gorgeous grounds, I started to wonder about flowers. What happens to the flowers from a funeral service? And, what is my best option if I want to leave a small floral display on a loved one’s grave?

Knowing that many families travel for funerals, it is unlikely that they have a good way to transport the flowers bought or gifted for a memorial service once the service is over. I learned that, typically, the funeral home handling the services will ask the families about their preferences and then suggest a few options for donations.

One of the suggestions is to ask the church that held the Mass if they would like to potted plants or arranged flowers. Then, funeral home staff members may suggest a call to a local nursing home or senior center as a way to brighten up their facilities with fresh flowers.

Of course, the family also has the option to leave a selection at their loved one’s final resting space once the space has been filled, closed or sealed. Although this option is typically considered last, once personal use or donation are suggested as first options. If left at the gravesite, flowers will usually remain for an extended period before collection and removal will occur.

Over the next few months, I’ll use this blog to take you on the journey of discovery with me and we’ll find out all we can about the amazing people who work for CCNEKS and the very important work they do. If you’re so inspired, shoot me an email with questions that pop into your mind and I’ll do my best to address them.

For now, God bless and thank you for reading!

dvanthullenar@cathcemks.org

I Never Gave It Much Thought …

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several staff members since starting this blog. I’ve found that across the board, they take great pride in the beauty and tranquility of the grounds at all nine locations scattered throughout northeast Kansas. And to be fair, they are pretty justified in that feeling.

It made me wonder, however, how much time goes into the care and maintenance because most weeks I struggle to even mow my small yard without my father or brother lending a hand.

I discovered that the dedicated ground staff at Mt. Calvary in KCK, led by Steve Spragg, starts their mornings at 7:30 am and spends every hour of their time making sure everything is ready for memorial services or even casual visitors to the two properties he manages.

In the case of a memorial service, Steve said he starts the set up as soon as he can so there is nothing left to do once the family arrives for the service. This includes digging, setting up tents and chairs and clearing all equipment from the area to ensure an air of comfort and respect.

When there are no planned services, his staff focuses on maintaining the gardens and memorials as well as offering assistance to visitors who may have trouble navigating directions within the cemetery. The only thing they do not do is mow, which is contracted out, and I totally understand that decision.

Over the next few months, I’ll use this blog to take you on the journey of discovery with me and we’ll find out all we can about the amazing people who work for CCNEKS and the very important work they do. If you’re so inspired, shoot me an email with questions that pop into your mind and I’ll do my best to address them.

For now, God bless and thank you for reading!

dvanthullenar@cathcemks.org

I Never Gave It Much Thought

Before taking this job, I’m not sure I could even tell you we had Catholic cemeteries in Kansas City and I definitely didn’t know we had nine of them.

I guess I just figured you choose whichever one is closest to you or has a family history and that there isn’t whole lot of planning or choice that goes into it.

I was wrong. It turns out there are a lot of options and a lot of things to consider when planning for a plot and religion is one of the leading factors that people consider.

With that new knowledge, my next questions became “What’s the difference between a Catholic cemetery and the Catholic section of a public ceremony?” and “Why would I choose one over the other?”

With the first question, the answer was easy. A Catholic cemetery is “sacred ground”, exactly the same as the ground under our Catholic church’s. It was blessed by the Bishop or Archbishop, whereas the supposed “Catholic section” in any other cemetery is “NOT” sacred ground.

This quote from Christine Stoddard’s article in The Arlington Catholic Herald stuck with me after some further research:

“Since the earliest days of the church, Catholics have been buried together in sacred ground awaiting the resurrection of their bodies,” wrote Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl in an official statement for the archdiocese’s cemetery office. “In these first Catholic cemeteries, friends and family would gather frequently to celebrate Mass and pray for the souls of the deceased at their graves. This Christian hope and experience still continues in our day.”

With that context, I started to see how beautifully strong this community of believers is even after death. We want to be together and want to rise in unity when the Lord calls upon us. It also amazed me that we are so blessed with this many opportunities to continue our faith journey through the work of Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas.

Over the next few months, I’ll use this blog to take you on the journey of discovery with me and we’ll find out all we can about the amazing people who work for CCNEKS and the very important work they do. If you’re so inspired, shoot me an email with questions that pop into your mind and I’ll do my best to address them.

For now, God bless and thank you for reading!

dvanthullenar@cathcemks.org

I Never Gave It Much Thought

My only real experience with end of life planning before now is the time I spent working the front desk at my uncle’s law office.

His practice helps clients with estate planning and it was my duty to go through the files and call anyone who hadn’t been in contact for three years or more. In most cases, the clients were comfortably living the middle of the lives happy and healthy. They had maybe added a kid or two, bought a new house or even moved out of town and had never thought about updating their attorney.

My friends think it’s funny when I mention it now and encourage them to call, but my short time there made me realize how many things can really be affected by your planning or lack thereof in a more “able” time.

In fact, the Catholic Church sees end of life planning as the final gift we give to our loved ones, easing the transition for them and minimizing the confusion of trying to mediate different opinions on what you would have wanted for your cemetery and funeral arrangements.

According to Catholic Cemeteries Marketing Director Michael F. Crahan, the ideal age to start “memorial estate” planning is in a person’s late 30s or early 40s. While that’s a way off for me, it crosses my mind every once in a while.

I have a house, a puppy and a small business and of course I have preferences on what would happen to them if anything happened to me. I’m sure I’d feel even more strongly if there were kids or a spouse on my list of responsibilities.

Luckily, now I know about this resource offered by Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas, who will take care of you and me from the very early questions, to the time we are finally laid to rest and the years that follow with our physical bodies in the ground.

Over the next few months, I’ll use this blog to take you on the journey of discovery with me and we’ll find out all we can about the amazing people who work for CCNEKS and the very important work they do. If you’re so inspired, shoot me an email with questions that pop into your mind and I’ll do my best to address them.

For now, God bless and thank you for reading!

dvanthullenar@cathcemks.org

I Never Gave it Much Thought…

I guess you could call it a blessing that I never gave the cemetery and funeral business much thought before I took a job with Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas a few months ago.

I am 25 with healthy parents and a very energetic grandma that I try to see once a week. A handful of my friends are settling down and start families, but many are working hard at first or second jobs without a lot of focus on the future.

My aunt is the one who alerted me to the advertisement she saw in “The Leaven” and I must admit my first reaction was not exactly positive. “How morbid,” I thought. Why would I want social media updates from a cemetery and what kind of news could they possibly have to share?

However, I went ahead and sent in my application because it also intrigued me. I wanted to know what their motivations were and what kind of scope they were looking for on this project. Also, like most 25-year-olds I know, I needed the money.

I was blown away in my first interview with Director of Sales and Marketing Michael F. Crahan and the ideas started forming immediately.

I did my research before I went in and had no idea how big of a resource they are for the Catholic community. Did you know there are nine properties scattered through northeast Kansas that they serve? Probably not. I hardly notice cemeteries unless I know a loved one is buried there, my brother reminds me to hold my breath driving by or I’m in Hiawatha checking out the Davis Memorial at Mount Hope.

Again, I consider myself blessed for this reason. However, it is starting to sink in that this is a reality we all have to address at some point.

Over the next few months, I’ll use this blog to take you on the journey of discovery with me and we’ll find out all we can about the amazing people who work for CCNEKS and the very important work they do. If you’re so inspired, shoot me an email with questions that pop into your mind and I’ll do my best to address them.

For now, God bless and thank you for reading!

dvanthullenar@cathcemks.org