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Lisa Cooper sat cross-legged in front of her father’s grave at Mount Olivet Cemetery in the Town of Tonawanda. She used gardening scissors to clip the grass and weeds around the edges of the stone to make its 49-year-old inscription visible:

George E. Cooper, Jr.

New York


World War II

Jan 5 1925 - July 28 1965

Cooper’s father died when she was 11. The 62-year-old woman still visits him every week, bringing him flowers and cleaning the stone.

Sometimes she “chats” with him.

It’s usually quiet at Mount Olivet, Cooper said. But on Saturday (May 23), hundreds of visitors crowded the grounds for the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest times of the year for cemeteries.

“Families take a lot of pride in taking care of graves,” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo, which include Mount Olivet and Holy Cross.

Memorial Day Masses scheduled for Catholic Cemeteries
Thursday, May 14, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo will again participate in, “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes,” the annual Memorial Day program developed by the Catholic Cemetery Conference.


“As we pause the remember our military fallen, our Masses are a sacred opportunity for our Catholic cemeteries to honor the selfless sacrifices of so many men and women who faithfully served our great nation,” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo.


“Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes,” invites active military and veterans to participate in a Memorial Day Mass and other cemetery-related activities throughout the weekend.  Families and friends will be able to sign messages on special tribute boards which will be located in each of the Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo. 

Cemeteries director on radio previewing Open Houses
Monday, April 27, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

Carmen Colao on Western New York Catholic Weekly

Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo, was a guest on Western New York Catholic Weekly, the radio program hosted by Gregg Prince and produced by the Diocese of Buffalo, previewing upcoming Open Houses and Memorial Day observances.  Listen through this link.

Preparing for the Resurrection
Sunday, April 05, 2015 by Father Robert M. Yetter
Father Robert Yetter

The Resurrection of Jesus reminds us of the basic belief of our faith as St. Paul expressed perfectly in his first letter to the Corinthians 15:14 “ …and if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty too your faith.” 

Hopefully, we have prepared ourselves throughout the days of Lent to worthily celebrate the feast of the Resurrection. In His ministry, Jesus respected life in every way from children to those preparing for death. His great miracle that we heard at the end of Lent proclaimed, “Lazarus come forth.” It is very difficult to explain this teaching of resurrection of the dead, but it is new life that Jesus was called to and what we will be called to.

Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo Easter Message
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 by Kevin Keenan
 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.