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New video, website spotlight Catholic teaching on end-of-life decision making
Thursday, March 12, 2015 by New York State Catholic Conference

At some point every family must deal with issues involving end of life care for a loved one. As Catholics attempt to navigate the myriad medical, ethical, and religious questions that arise, all the while dealing with the grief of an impending death, it can become overwhelming.

In an effort to offer assistance, the New York State Catholic Conference has produced a high definition video and a brand new website ( entitled Now and at the Hour of Our Death that tackles many of the common questions and concerns, offers clarity and compassion, and serves as an education resource for Catholics nationwide. 

“Outside of moral evils like assisted suicide or euthanasia, Catholic Church teachings regarding the end of life are not black and white; rather they are shades of gray,” said Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the 
New York State Catholic Conference  “There is no one-size-fits-all response. Each case is different. What the video and website attempt to do is, not so much give answers, but help Catholics to ask the right questions.”

Make Your Plan, Then Live Your Life
Wednesday, March 04, 2015 by Nancy Weil

It started as a casual conversation between strangers enjoying a cup of coffee at a local coffee house. I was waiting while my car had an oil change at the shop next door. The couple was there to warm up after helping their children dig out from the historic seven feet of snow we had in our area.  Sitting at adjacent tables we exchanged words about the storm. That is when it happened.

I mentioned how it had impacted some of our cemeteries. The couple latched onto my cemetery connection and began to tell me that they had family buried in our cemetery. This led to them sharing that they knew they would be buried there as well, but had yet to make any arrangements. 

 New niches Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo counselor Rich Acksel and Catholic Cemeteries employees Shelly Elson (center) and Pam Blanchard look at some of the new niches at a Mount Olivet Cemetery chapel in Kenmore, which has been retrofitted with illuminated niches, now available for sale.

With cremation becoming more popular, Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo has come up with a creative use for the style chapel on the Delaware Avenue side of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kenmore.

The Gothic style chapel has been retrofitted with illuminated niches, installed in units with openings for the existing stained glass windows.

“Retrofitting a heritage building is always a challenging task,” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo.  “Our underutilized chapel was beginning to need repairs, so we turned to LP Bronze International or North York, Ontario, for a tailored-design solution with glass fronted niches to enhance the beauty of the interior of this sacred space.”
Finding comfort at Christmastime even in times of grief
Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Scott Scanlon, The Buffalo News Refresh Editor

Paulette Gullo, who lost her husband, Sal, in 2013, finds comfort in continuing family holiday traditions. Here, she holds a photo from their wedding. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

It’s been more than a year since her husband died, but Paulette Gullo can’t bring herself to put away his toothbrush or part with his clothes. Kathy Walczak understands. Her husband died in February. “I can’t get rid of his toothbrush or his slippers,” she said, choking back tears, “but that day will come.

”The holidays can be a challenging time for those like Gullo and Walczak who mourn the passing of a loved one in the midst of a season known for its cheer.

How can they find a balance between comfort, joy and a deep sense of loss? When is it better to forge ahead with new holiday traditions or hold fast to the past? How can family gatherings – where loved ones who may not always see eye-to-eye also are dealing with loss – successfully mix celebration and remembrance?

"The idea is to eventually be able to remember a loved one with a smile, and good memories, and to come to terms with our new reality,” but that takes time, said Nancy Weil, director of bereavement support services with the Catholic Cemeteries in the Buffalo Diocese.

“Meanwhile, the truth is that everybody doesn’t grieve the same way.”

Gullo and Walczak are a case in point.

Grieving is more complicated than seven stages
Saturday, December 13, 2014 by Scott Scanlon, Buffalo News Refresh Editor

Kathy Walczak finds daily comfort at her husband's gravesite in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda. During good weather, she'll bring a lawn chair and sit for awhile. (Scott Scanlon/Buffalo News)

Nancy Weil often hears people who have lost loves ones describe themselves as in the midst of one of seven stages of grief.

Disbelief. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Guilt. Acceptance.

Before the loss of a close loved one – or a divorce, or the loss of a job – many people tend to believe that they will ebb and flow through these stages into acceptance, as if they were headed toward some destination point.

Snowvember storm interrupts burials at Lackawanna cemetery
Monday, December 01, 2014 by Dan Herbeck, The Buffalo News

Jim RocheEven the dead were affected by the lake-effect storm that dumped up to 7 feet of snow on a half million people in the Snow Belt.

At the 166-year-old Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, the Snowvember storm knocked down trees, made cemetery roads impassable, prevented employees from getting into work and delayed a dozen burials.

Bodies were stored in local funeral homes for as long as six days while cemetery employees waited for the weather to improve, said Ronald Paszek, superintendent of the cemetery near Our Lady of Victory Basilica run by Buffalo’s Catholic Diocese.

The weather nightmare was “very stressful” for local families who wanted to give their loved ones a dignified burial in the cemetery of their choice, said Paszek, who is still assessing the damage to the South Park Avenue cemetery. read more...
Bishop Grosz re-dedicates bell from former St. Barbara Church
Monday, November 03, 2014 by Kevin Keenan

St. Barbara bellA bell which once tolled from the tower of St. Barbara Church on Ridge Rd., in Lackawanna, was blessed and rededicated by Bishop Edward M. Grosz, on Sunday, Nov. 2, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna.

The 800 pound bell, which was restored by Verdin Bell & Clocks in Cincinnati, rests atop four granite pillars, with stained glass from the former church placed among the pillars.

The bell will toll each time a funeral procession enters the cemetery, which is located adjacent to Our Lady of Victory Basilica. read more...
St. Anthony Chapel Mausoleum dedicated
Sunday, June 22, 2014 by Kevin Keenan

Phase three of the chapel mausoleum complex at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheektowaga was completed on June 21, when Bishop Richard J. Malone presided over the Mass and dedication of the St. Anthony Chapel Mausoleum.  “This blessing today of this beautiful mausoleum is really a celebration of one of the most glorious truths of our Christian faith – the Creed,” Bishop Malone said during his homily.  “What we proclaim every single Sunday culminations of the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and life everlasting.”

Western New York Catholic Supplement - 2014
Tuesday, June 03, 2014 by Western New York Catholic Staff
  • WNY Catholic Cover
    Download the Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo supplement, published in June 2014.

    Articles include:

    Cemeteries are for the living

    Bishop Malone, Bishop Grosz to dedicate new mausoleums

    Catholic Cemeteries offer comprehensive grief support programs

    Catholic Cemeteries managing St. Adalbert's two cemeteries

    You can pick up the June Western New York Catholic in any of our parishes in the eight counties of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Video: Importance of pre-planning
Thursday, May 22, 2014 by WKBW-TV

Thank a Vet!Honorably discharged veterans living in Niagara County are now eligible for discounts at the Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo.

Veterans who enroll in the program through the Niagara County Clerk’s office are eligible for a 20 percent discount on all services at any of the Catholic Cemeteries, including Assumption (Grand Island), Gate of Heaven (Lewiston), Holy Cross (Lackawanna), Holy Sepulchre (Cheektowaga), Mount Olivet (Kenmore) and Queen of Heaven (Lockport).

“By participating in this worthwhile program, we are able to honor the selfless service of these brave men and women,” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries.  “We are proud to recognize the countless sacrifices they have made on behalf of freedom.” read more...