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“Before I Die” a unique chalkboard stands in a WNY cemetery
Thursday, August 25, 2016 by Marissa Perlman, WIVB-TV
‘Before I die...’ blackboard makes its way to Mount Olivet Cemetery
Friday, August 19, 2016 by Scott Scanlon, The Buffalo News

Nancy Weil has introduced laughter yoga, drum circles and the Heavenly Hearts Choir into her work as director of grief support services with the Catholic Cemeteries in the Buffalo Diocese.

Her boss, Carmen Colao, let Weil run with the ideas to help people work through mourning.

The latest pitch gave him pause. But Colao has watched in amazement this summer as visitors to Mount Olivet Cemetery in the Town of Tonawanda have pondered these words on two blackboards: “Before I die I want to _______.”

Hopes, dreams and prayers have spilled on to the boards in colored chalk.

Mount Olivet serves as final resting place for two bishops
Monday, August 01, 2016 by Connor Keenan

Bishop William Turner is buried outside Mount Olivet’s Ascension Chapel and Columbarium.

While most deceased bishops of Buffalo have been laid to rest in the crypts behind the altar at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kenmore is the final resting place for two bishops, including a native son.

Not how, but now
Wednesday, July 06, 2016 by

‘This is the day

the Lord has made,

let us rejoice

and be glad in it.’

We have all heard these familiar words, but how can we rejoice when we are grieving? When our hearts are broken from missing the one we love, it can seem almost impossible to even consider that we will ever feel joy again. Each day only seems to hold tears and despair, not hope or laughter.

A ministry of compassion
Saturday, July 02, 2016 by Carmen Colao

Last April, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy saying he wanted to make it evident that the Church’s mission is to be a witness of compassion. Mercy is not only shown by God, it should also be shown by us.

The Holy Year will provide a time for the faithful to reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Our Catholic Cemeteries are an integral part of the corporal work of mercy of burying the dead.


Why is pre-planning burial arrangements important?

You have probably spent much time planning some of life
s most important moments. Hours have been spent planning your wedding, the birth of a child, family vacation, college education, and retirement. Planning gives you peace of mind and the ability to make decisions without stress so you can carefully consider all options and select the best.

Pre-planning your final burial arrangements is just as important. By making these decisions today rather than at the time of death, you ease the burden on your loved ones during an emotional and stressful time. It is truly an act of love and consideration for your family when you pre-plan your final burial arrangements. There are also practical reasons to pre-plan. By planning today, your family will not only avoid over-spending during an emotional time, but also price increases caused by inflation and other real-world factors.

Proper burial of cremated remains provides comfort and relief
Thursday, June 23, 2016 by Kevin Keenan


Going to garage sales was nothing new to Jane Mozer, but what she found at one recently was certainly unusual. There among the toasters and knick-knacks was a porcelain container, one that she immediately knew likely held cremated remains.

“There was no name on it, no identification, nothing that indicated what it was. I asked the gentleman if he knew what it was. He didn’t,” she recalled. “He thought it was a bank or something that you put valuables in, but he was unable to get the bottom off to see what was inside.”

A family service counselor for Catholic Cemeteries for the past seven years, Mozer was determined not to leave without that urn.

Before I die I want to …
Saturday, June 18, 2016 by Nancy Wiel

Visit Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kenmore and you will notice something different about it. There, among the monuments and granite sculptures, is a piece of art not found in any other cemetery in the world.

A large chalkboard invites you to write down your answer to this statement: Before I Die I want to ________.
Placed in two locations within the cemetery, these boards are a way to celebrate all that life can offer. They also give us pause to consider what we most want to do with the time we have left.

Catholic Cemeteries celebrate Memorial Day Masses
Saturday, May 28, 2016 by Kevin Keenan

Msgr. Fran Weldgen, celebrant of the Memorial Day Mass at Mount Olivet Cemetery, said, "We have celebrated Memorial Day for almost 150 years, praying for those who have died in service to and defense of our country. Unfortunately, it is an ever growing list. We respect them, we love them, we honor them and we pray for peace.”  Memorial Day Masses were also celebrated at:  Holy Cross Cemetery (Lackawanna); Gate of Heaven Cemetery (Lewiston); Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Cheektowaga); St. Francis of Assisi Chapel Mausoleum, Queen of Heaven Cemetery (Lockport), and St. Adalbert Cemetery (Lancaster).

Memorial Day Masses planned for Catholic Cemeteries
Monday, May 23, 2016 by Kevin Keenan

The men and women of our nation who have served in the U.S. military will be remembered during special Masses at six Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo during Memorial Day weekend.

Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo celebrate Mother’s Day
Friday, April 29, 2016 by Kevin Keenan

Visitors to Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo are encouraged to share their thoughts and remembrances of their mothers by signing banners which are mounted near entrances to six cemeteries, with the words, “Happy Mother’s Day.” 

“Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year at all of our cemeteries,” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries.  “We’re always impressed with the thoughtful tributes that our families share about their mothers who have been laid to rest in our cemeteries.”

St. John Paul II statue installed at St. Adalbert Cemetery
Monday, February 01, 2016 by Kevin Keenan

Tom Koch (left) and Mike Koch of Stone Art Memorial install a statue of St. John Paul II atop a new columbarium in the new St. John Paul II Burial Garden at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Lancaster.  Located in the center of the cemetery on the northern shore of a beautiful pond, the burial garden will eventually feature more than 1,000 graves with both monument and flush marker options.  

Cremation garden developed at Queen of Heaven Cemetery
Sunday, January 03, 2016 by Kevin Keenan

The new Queen of Angels Cremation Garden saw its first interment Dec.15, at Queen of Heaven Cemetery on Tonawanda Creek Road in the Town of Lockport.  A statue of the Blessed Mother flanked by two trumpeting angels is the focal point of the new garden.  It is located in the narrow central mall area near the entrance to the cemetery.  The two double sided niche walls with 192 spaces for the placement of cremated remains complement this feature area.  The cremation garden also features monument and flush memorial cremation plots as well as memorial cremation benches.  This addition further expands the burial options at the cemetery that serves Catholic families living in Southern Niagara and Northern Erie Counties.

Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lockport - Honoring the Blessed Mother
Friday, November 13, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo director Carmen Colao on WLVL Radio:

Family roots run deep at Holy Cross Cemetery
Monday, June 29, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

Lynn Dziak is the receptionist at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, the largest of the six Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo.  She has a strong interest in genealogy and when time permits, and for the past 15 years, she has assisted people who want to learn more about their family history.  She talked to the Western New York Catholic about genealogy questions she answers on a routine basis.

Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna


How did you get interested in genealogy?

I grew up knowing that my maternal grandmother was born in England but was of Irish descent.  I wanted to find out more about her.  What started out as a search for her past evolved into searching for all of my grandparents and their ancestors as well.  When my older son left for college in 1997, I used it as a way to cope with missing him. 


Why do you think people are so interested in genealogy? 

It connects us to our past.  It helps explain some of the family stories we grew up hearing and maybe shine a light on why some of the family made the decisions they made. It gives us knowledge about our ethnic background.  


Love story
Tuesday, June 02, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

The DiPaolo Family

Ilio DiPaolo was known as a gentle giant.  He may have been on his own when he competed as a world class professional wrestler, but at his landmark restaurant on South Park Avenue in Blasdell, it was teamwork that that put Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant & Banquet Facility on the map.


Known for its excellent Italian cuisine and welcoming atmosphere, Ilio DiPaolo’s showcases an amazing array of memorabilia from his wrestling career, as well as countless autographed photographs from some of Buffalo’s best known professional athletes.  It has also been a regular gathering spot for members of the Buffalo Bills and their families.

Twenty years following his untimely passing, the DiPaolo team is still together, with Ilio’s his wife, Ethel, daughter Barbara, and sons, Dennis and Michael, carrying on the legacy of a man who was larger than life.