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Three new features planned for Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo
Wednesday, October 07, 2015 by Kevin Keenan

New burial opportunities will soon be available at Queen of Heaven Cemetery (Lockport), St. Adalbert Cemetery (Lancaster) and Holy Cross Cemetery (Lackawanna).


“These new features will provide our families with additional options as they look for ways to remember and honor their loved ones with a Catholic burial” said Carmen Colao, diocesan director of Catholic Cemeteries.


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.

On Memorial Day weekend, visiting cemeteries is a cherished tradition for many
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 by Daniela Sitori, The Buffalo News

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.

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...