All Catholic cemeteries have developed through the years an identity that distinguishes them amid the myriad of cemeteries. It is the “Catholicity” of the Diocese of Lansing Catholic Cemeteries which sets them apart from secular cemeteries.
Catholic cemeteries reflect two core truths of the Catholic Church -namely, the resurrection o the body and the communion of saints – uniting the living and the dead. The Diocese of Lansing Catholic Cemeteries are a sign to all that even in death we Catholics believe in life.
Catholic cemeteries are a place for the living, a place for grieving, a place to remember, to reflect and to pray. Our ministry witnesses common faith, our communal hope through liturgy, providing opportunities for prayer, comfort and assistance. Cemeteries evangelize by challenging secular tendencies to de-emphasize death through immediate disposition, without mourning or prayer. Catholic cemeteries instruct by passively teaching Catholic belief in the resurrection through the witness of the lives of those who have gone before us. “Here they lie those who wait”.
The Eucharistic celebration has always been the central and most powerful prayer of the Church. The Diocese of Lansing Catholic Cemeteries offer opportunities to participate and assist in this prayer for those who are buried in the diocesan cemeteries:
- in the cemetery
- in parishes
As Catholics, we pray for the dead and the departed also pray for us. Prayer makes their intercession for us effective. The form of these prayers may be a spontaneous thought, a formal prayer at the grave site or a remembrance during Mass. Mass is offered several times a year for all who are buried in our diocesan cemeteries.
The Catholic cemetery spans the present and the yet to come, compelling all who pass through it, or by it, to reflect on their own passage and the immeasurable gift of eternal life given to all. A biannual newsletter, St. Callistus Herald, announces cemetery programs and activities to those in the midst of the grieving process.
A cemetery reunites families, allows memories to be remain tangible and is a sustaining source of comfort to the living. A Catholic cemetery is a sanctuary of peace and quiet and exists because every life is worth loving and remembering -always.
Funeral customs, like every facet of human life change. Catholic cemeteries continue helping people above and beyond the physical preparation of the grave. If human life is to be respected in life, then it must be respected in death.
The service of a Catholic cemeterian continues in the maintenance of the burial place, comforting and helping visitors experience the “ties of friendship and affection which knit us a one throughout our lives do not unravel with death”. (Order of Christian Funerals # 71)
The art and symbols of our faith etched on memorials are instructional aids beaming a powerful testimony to the Christian belief after death. A Catholic cemetery is a place to examine the reasons for religious beliefs and to challenge our spirituality. It is also a place to reflect on our own mortality.
None of this is to demean other cemeteries, which provide good service and are maintained by dedicated staffs. However, for the Catholic faithful, it is logical to choose a diocesan or parish cemetery with its unique and totally Christian outlook, as well as a place for prayer with opportunity for Mass, surrounded by visuals that remind us of Christ’s promise of eternal life.