Category Archives: Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana

A fascinating story…

A time when “medaling” made a difference…

by Daniel Moran, G.M. Calumet Park Cemetery

I was standing outside the Calumet Park office in Merrillville in mid-August.  It was 91 degrees and very high humidity.  I was walking a man out to his car after helping with his cemetery questions.  For this story, I will refer to him as Bob.  I made mention that I could see he was riding with Christ and he stared at me for a second.  I pointed to the small statue on his dashboard.

“Oh! Oh yeah, that,” he answered.  And then, as we stood in the scorching sun, he told me his story.  A number of years ago, he spoke of riding his motorcycle and just loved the feeling of freedom this simple act gave him. His bike was not even a week old and he was putting it through the paces.    He said he might have been pushing the speed limit a little when, from his left mirror, he saw a car headed directly into his path.  To avoid being hit, throttled up to the max, lost control and veered directly into a concrete wall.

By all accounts, he said he should have died.  In fact, he even thinks that maybe he did die.  After three weeks in a coma, he awoke.  His first wife had died a couple of years before, and when he woke up after the crash, his second wife teared up as he spoke.  He whispered to her what you might expect someone to say when waking up in a hospital room.  “Where am I?” he asked.  “What happened?”

“Bob, you were in a serious accident,”  she answered.

“When?”

“Three weeks ago,” she replied.

Bob looked around the room.  He was connected to monitors and wires and tubes connecting him to life sustaining gadgetry.  He said a nurse came running in and doctors’ were called in to check on the return to life of this bandaged and broken body.  As things calmed down, he resumed his talk with his wife.  She explained that (please forgive the description of his injuries, but they are important to this miracle) his nose was torn to the side of his face.  Some of his teeth were gone and his lower jaw was ripped to the side.  Along with this were a number of broken bones but the facial injuries were the most severe.  He was knocked out completely and was constantly being monitored and observed as regards to brain injuries.

They talked and prayed and thanked everyone they saw that contributed to his recovery.  As Bob was wrapping up his story, I was sweating in the jungle-like heat and just wanted the story to be over so I could get back inside.  I was three feet away from one of my favorite inventions of all time…air conditioning, but I did not want to interrupt his story.

“So, I asked my wife about my chain and medal.  Did they find it?”

I figured it was maybe a medal from the service, or a gift from some special time in his life from some special person, or even a simple piece of gold jewelry that was important to him.  But, as he continued his story, the medal was a medallion that had the Sacred Heart of Jesus cast upon it.  It was a medal that Christians would wear as a reminder of the sacrifice made for all of our sins.

“My wife reached into her purse and stared down at the medal for a few seconds.  She started crying again.  I asked her what was wrong.  She handed me the silver chain and the medal.  My heart skipped a beat as I looked at my medallion.  It seems that when I hit the wall, I slammed so hard that somehow the medal was torn and bent…at the nose, mouth and chin.  My injuries were mirrored exactly on the medal. “

Bob stopped talking for a minute, and a chill ran down my sweat-soaked back.  It took a minute to register in my mind that his own injuries were replicated on a medal by a simple artists impression of what Jesus, the man, looked like….and how they melded into one on that fateful day three weeks previous to his regaining consciousness.

Coincidence?  Possibly.  But in this business, I hear too many stories of such incidents in people’s lives to believe in coincidence.  To me, his story rang true.  There was no need to enhance what happened.  It just happened.  There was nothing to be gained or lost in the telling of the story but I received it as an affirmation of the fact that God still makes miracles.

“So, the fact that I am here talking to you, and showing you my scars, and telling you why I have a $10.00 statue on the dash of my car…man, I believe He was riding with me that day.  Now, I go no place without Him.  Before the accident, it was just an ornament that seemed cool.  But believe me, I totally believe He was watching over me that day.

dashboard_jesus_car_grande

With that, we shook hands and said goodbye.  I asked if I could tell his story and he said sure, I tell everyone anyway.  His story reminded me of one of my favorite prayers.  You know the one.  Footprints, where a man had a dream.  He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.  For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.  When the last scene of his life flashed before him he looked back at the footprints and he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.  This really bothered him and he asked the Lord about it.  “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way.  But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints.  I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child.  I love you and I would never leave you.  During the times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

I don’t know the author of Footprints, but the bike guy was looking me in the eye and telling his own version of Footprints.   You can read this and say it’s an interesting story, or you can read this and know that miracles still happen.  Simply put, for you to even be reading this story, at this moment, is quite a miracle when you consider how fragile life is for all of us.  I believe absolutely that we are here because we are supposed to be here, and if it is not our time to go, then we can run into a stone wall at 80 miles an hour and live to tell about it.

So, Bob, thanks for your story.  I am glad that we met and you shared your story.  Or…hey, maybe it was preordained that I hear your story so I could share it with those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

For info on pre-planning funeral and cemetery arrangements, stop in or call 219-769-8803

Comments Off on A fascinating story…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery

Calumet Park Cemetery mourns the loss of long time employee…Marian Havrila

Marian Havrila passed away August 9, 2018.  He worked as an engraver and grounds crew member for over 30 years at Calumet Park Cemetery.  He had the old country work ethic and was always willing to help wherever needed.  He was a member of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.  He loved traveling and listening to Slovak Polka music.  He was a loving husband, brother and godfather.    Visitation will be held from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, August 12, 2018 at Burns Funeral Home at 10101 Broadway in Crown Point.  A funeral service will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 13 at Descent of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church at 545 East  77th Avenue, Schereville followed by interment at Calumet Park Cemetery at the corner of 73rd and Taft in Merrillville.

Marian will be sadly missed by all his friends and co-workers at Calumet Park Cemetery.

Comments Off on Calumet Park Cemetery mourns the loss of long time employee…Marian Havrila

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, Rendina Funeral Home

Crosses erected at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville on August 1, 2018…

Pastor Rusty Shields was joined by Paul Vogel, son Quinn, Anne Jones, Richard Stake and Daniel Moran at an early morning, impromptu dedication of the crosses.  After singing Amazing Grace, the Thursday morning prayer group gathered around the crosses as Pastor Shields offered a prayer of thanks and a blessing that the crosses may bring all who see them a little closer to God.

Randy Music, Kevin Music, Tom Music, Orlando Perez, Shawn McClure, Jeremy Grant and Tim McClure – designers and installers of crosses on August 2, 2018.

After years of depositing dirt to make a small hill just west of the mausoleum complex, the time had come to bring this dream of acknowledgement and praise to fruition by erecting the three crosses.  Tim McClure and Tom Music, superintendent and assistant superintendent of Calumet Park Cemetery, with the help of the ground’s crew staff of Kevin Music, Randy Music, Shawn McClure, Jeremy Grant and Orlando Perez, set them in place on Wednesday, August 1.  They are impressive and inspiring and may be seen by all when you visit Calumet Park Cemetery.

The crosses offer an opportunity for reflection on the Christian belief that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice opened the path to eternity in heaven by simply accepting Him as the Savior…a path to eternal glory for all who seek Him.  A special thanks go out to the Board of Director’s of Calumet Park Cemetery for making this special place, now blessed, for all who visit the cemetery.

Stop in at the office and a Family Service Person will be more than happy to show you these beautiful crosses.  A formal dedication open to the public is being planned.  A notice will go out to all of our on-line newsletter subscribers as to a time and date.  If you are not currently on our email list,  send us an email with your name to:  newsletter@calumetparkcemetery.com  In subject portion, type “add me to email list” and in the message portion enter your name, address including zip and phone.  For instance, John Doe, 123 Smith Lane, Smallville, IN 56410 (219.771.7777).

Comments Off on Crosses erected at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville on August 1, 2018…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery

Eerily Amazing miracle at Butterfly Release Ceremony…click and read…

A small miracle happened at the Calumet Park Cemetery butterfly release memorial ceremony on July 21.  Each year families and friends gather at the Butterfly Garden in the Back to Nature Section for spiritual readings and live music.  The hour long event concludes with the reading of an old Native American Indian legend called “The Legend of the Butterfly”.  Native Americans believe that a wish whispered to a butterfly will be granted when the butterfly flies up to the heavens.

Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection.  Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.  A butterfly is a symbol for the Resurrection!  It is a spiritual symbol for life after death because of its metamorphosis, or transformation, from a caterpillar that crawls on the ground to a beautiful, almost ethereal creature that flies through the air.

There were concerns that rain and high winds were on their way that Saturday morning.  The area was hit hard with severe storms the previous couple of days, so it was almost a coin toss as to whether or not the event would even be held.  Amazingly, the weather was not a deterrent to approximately 350 brave souls, and all six hundred and twenty butterflies were released, each carrying a special message to heaven.

So, back to the miracle.  In December, a sweet young lady lost her twin boys at the 5th month of her pregnancy.  To lose a baby is so very devastating and if it is possible, losing two at the same time must be crushingly overwhelming.  The hopes and dreams that a parent has for the life of her child is buried with her babies.  As a father who experienced such a loss, I can say that the memories of one’s hopes for the future of a lost child never die.  Although it is real that God called home His children on His timetable, the reality for those left behind is sometimes a shaken fist at God with lots of questions…all starting with “WHY?”

Although the mother gave permission for her real name to be used in this story, she will be referred to as Mother Mary for the rest of this article.  Privacy is important in the world in which we live, and Mother Mary’s privacy should be respected.  During the week leading up to the Butterfly Release, Mother Mary was followed, on and off, by two butterflies.  It scared her a little and she saw them as a sign that God had not forgotten her during her time of loss.  In one sense, Mother Mary told us that she found peace in the tiny, winged creatures of God and felt it would be redundant to attend the live release…but something told her to show up…rain or shine.

On the morning of the release, the crowd grew slowly and steadily.  Mother Mary quietly joined with the others in finding a place to blend in with others while being alone with her thoughts.   Her babies would have been seven months old in July, and thoughts of all of the little outfits and baby paraphernalia were filling up her mind and her heart.

Tears are a healing balm to broken hearted people.  In fact, I remember back some 33 years ago that it felt like my tears would never stop.  To this day, I can see a mother and father with a newborn baby and my heart weeps over what might have been.  So, a great many tears flowed from attendees of all ages, races, colors, faiths and creeds on that special Saturday morning, including those of Mother Mary.

After a couple of readings,  commentary, and songs, the time had come for all to gather around the butterfly garden and the bronze statue of the child offering up a butterfly, laden with wishes from mouth, to butterfly, to God.  Mother Mary found just the right spot to release her butterflies from their folded paper casings. She had two green envelopes with the words “Do not be afraid for I am with you…” printed on them which is a promise from God when He said “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  Do not anxiously look about for I am your God and I will strengthen you.  Surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!”

With close to 400 people gathered around a garden filled with plants and flowers meant to attract butterflies, Mother Mary whispered her private wish to her butterflies.  And that is when the miracle happened.  It would not be noticed by any of the hundreds of people that surrounded her, but it will be with Mother Mary forever.  When she opened her first envelope, two butterflies stretched their gossamer wings and lifted off in unison.  Two in one envelope…a simple mistake on the part of the person in Florida that packed the gentle creatures that has never, ever been known to have happened in the history of the people that supply the butterflies for this event.

Surely, any actuary could not come up with statistics that could represent this occurrence.  Millions of butterflies released annually around the world, and on this day, for this event and for this grieving mother, God arranged to have twin butterflies emerge to be sure that her wishes…one for each of her sons…would have a butterfly dedicated to delivering her wishes to His ears.

This simple mistake on the part of a “butterfly packer” thousands of miles away answered Mother Mary’s wishes before she could even utter them.  God knew in His heart this day would come, long before Mother Mary’s own mother and father came together and conceived her.  God has a plan, and we are inserted into His timeline.  We are along for the ride, and sometimes the ride is bumpy and cold and lonely and filled with pain.  Other times, we come out of the tunnel of darkness filled with joy.

On this day, in the midst of one of Mother Mary’s most bumpy and crushing of all of life’s challenges,  Mother Mary found a moment of peace and joy as she watched the two butterflies flutter away, side by side, toward the heavens.  The babies were His, and He needed them to come home on His schedule.  The two butterflies were but a heavenly message to Mother Mary that He heard her cries of desperation since the day of her loss.  It was received by Mother Mary as confirmation that He had not forsaken her.

As miracles go, two butterflies in one envelope may seem “accidental” to a bystander.  Raising of Lazareth, or feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes, or even changing water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana were miracles.  But for Mother Mary on this day, in this field, unfolding a small green triangle shaped paper envelope to let her butterfly go, seeing two butterflies emerge was all the affirmation she needed to know in her heart that they were with Jesus.

And friends, that is why Calumet Park sponsors this type of community event.  Set the table for a miracle and a miracle may just appear.  Who doesn’t remember the line from the baseball movie, “Build it and they will come.”  To this, I say, build a life that is open to Christ, invite Him in, and you too shall discover that God has plans for all of us if we allow ourselves to believe, for the age of miracles is now.

 

Comments Off on Eerily Amazing miracle at Butterfly Release Ceremony…click and read…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, Events, feature stories, Funeral home, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans day ceremony

Butterfly Release for 2018 a resounding success…in spite of iffy weather…

Thanks to all who came out for the live butterfly release on Saturday, July 21.  The weather cooperated and all had a memorable time.  A

A special thanks to all the participants:  Paul Vogel II, Rob Vogel, Rusty Shields, Richard Stake, Dianne Correll, Stephanie Syzmanski, Marilyn Kligler, Sandy Ferris, Carrie Evans, Violeta de la Torre-Corona, Mike Poweska, Matt Hahn,Tim McClure, Tom Music and the entire grounds team who handled the set up and tear down and traffic control and parking.  See you again next year.

Hope I did not miss anyone.

Comments Off on Butterfly Release for 2018 a resounding success…in spite of iffy weather…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery

Happy Father’s Day….

Happy Father’s Day to all dads, with us or in heaven. Thanks for all you have done for us.

Comments Off on Happy Father’s Day….

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery

Fishing For Memories…fun day of fishing for kids 12 and under…

Now that’s a nice catch!

Come out to the cemetery on Saturday, June 9th at 11:00 and bring the kids.  This is an annual catch and release program of fun for the entire family.  Refreshments will be served.  Stop at the office for a map to the Meditation Pond, or look for the fountain, gazebo and waterfalls.  See you there.  99% sure you will catch fish.  Call 769-8803 if you have any questions.

Let Grandpa show you how its done.

Now this is relaxing.

Matt Hahn guides the young-uns in the ways of the wild.

Fun family fishing day.

Leslie looking for her kin to do some fishing.

Paul Jr. helping bait a hook.

Garry Groundhog with Paul Sr. at the Meditation Pond Fishing for Memories event.

Young at heart.

Comments Off on Fishing For Memories…fun day of fishing for kids 12 and under…

Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, Uncategorized

Scenes from Memorial Weekend 2018…

Bronze statue on top of Veteran Columbarium in the Veteran Section (Section 17)

Calumet Park thanks all who visited the park this weekend to pay their respects.  Thousands of cars passed through the gates over the weekend with people coming out to remember their lost loved ones.

Battle of the Bulge tribute monument. Next visit to the cemetery, get a close-up look at the monument. There are scenes etched into the granite of the battle. On the back of the monument is a map of Europe showing how the battle lines between good and evil bulged but never broke with the good guys winning, thanks to our wonderful troops.

Video Monument showing a short photo history of Paul Vogel Sr., former CEO of Calumet Park Cemetery, with his motorcycle and with the Harley Hears. Paul passed away a few months ago and is sorely missed.

Veteran Section with thousands of flags flying high in honor of all vets buried at Calumet Park Cemetery.

Special Veteran Monument overlooking the thousands of graves of yesterdays heros…all those who proudly wore the uniform of the US military.

Awaiting the color guard…

Wolff Gang choral group from Hobart High School.

Invocation for Veterans Memorial Ceremony with Pastor Dan Jacobsen from Bethel Church in Hobart

Captain James Wiltshire, USNR (ret) giving the keynote address for the Veterans Ceremony.

Music provided by Merrillville High School Symphonic Band…

Merrillville High School band.

Presentation of the wreaths before the Veterans Memorial…

Some of America’s finest ready for gun salute.

One of the many religious services held throughout the park on Memorial Day.

Harry Stemph, retired military and member of the Knights of Columbus, getting ready for procession to Catholic Mass at the Priest’s Circle.

  For information on pre-planning your cemetery and funeral needs, call 219-769-8803 or stop in and talk with one of our no-pressure family service counselors.

Comments Off on Scenes from Memorial Weekend 2018…

Filed under About Us, Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, feature stories, Preneed, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery, Veterans benefits

(click for pics) Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville getting ready for Memorial Weekend…

Meditation Pond and Niches with new falls. Next step will be to shock the water to eliminate the algae.

IMG_1117

Meditation Falls – water flows into pond via two small tributaries.

IMG_1120

Meditation Pond with cremation niches and waterfall.

IMG_1122

Tom Music, Assistant Grounds superintendent and Tim McClure, Superintendent, inspect the new waterfalls at Calumet Park Cemetery.

IMG_1109

One of two columbariums on the north shore of the Meditation Pond now available for placement of ashes (cremains). The columbariums are able to hold either one or two final placements. The granite fronts may be etched with pictures (and names and date) of those families who choose this form of final placement that will last many lifetimes, or designs with names and dates of those inurned.

IMG_1123

Granite flag marking the beginning of the Veteran Section (Section 17).

IMG_1124

Large granite flag at the southeast corner of the Veteran Section. The flag is on a raised hill and will be landscaped in the near future.

 

img_1125.jpg

Mausoleum complex behind the new granite flag feature in the Veteran Section of the cemetery. Ask about the special program offered by Calumet Park Cemetery designed to save veterans a great deal of the cost of final arrangements. (call 769-8803)

The Veteran Memorial Columbarium is located in the Veteran Section. New this year are the five flagpoles that will have the branch of service flags flying high. They will be in place by Memorial Day.

Veteran Columbarium with branch service flags.

Marines

Coast Guard

Army

Air Force

Navy

The Memorial Weekend service for veterans will be at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.  Pastor Dan Jacobsen will deliver the invocation.  The service is organized by The American Legion First District and will have a number of dignitaries speaking, including the Honorable Peter Visclosky,  with Captain James Wiltshire, USNR (ret) presenting the Memorial Day address.

Special thanks go to the Merrillville High School Symphonic Band, Wolff Gang singing group from Hobart High School, Mattie Willis singing My Buddy and Tom Cushing playing Taps.  Other participants will be Tim Conner, Joe Simonetto, Marty Dzieglowicz, Judy Morris, Dewey Long, Denise Delaney-Wrolen, David Tretter, Chaplain Bob Downy, the Marine Corps Howlin Mad Detachment 93 and the many who make up the color guard.

This event offers an opportunity for all to show their respect and appreciation for all that our veterans have done to keep this country safe for democracy.  To them and to their loved ones, Calumet Park salutes you and offers our most sincere thanks.

Questions regarding any of the Memorial Weekend’s many services, or for info about the annual fireworks on Saturday night, call 219-769-8803.  Calumet Park is located at the corner of 73rd and Taft in Merrillville just one mile north of Route 30.  See you there!  When you call, ask about the many specials available for Memorial Weekend with the sale ending June 14.

Comments Off on (click for pics) Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville getting ready for Memorial Weekend…

Filed under About Us, Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, event, Events, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home, Special promotions, veterans at calumet Park cemetery

Makeovers can be so satisfying…

IMG_1113Calumet Park Cemetery is giving a facelift to the mausoleums in preparation for Memorial Weekend.  Over time, the buildings have become an eyesore due to weather, pollution, and who knows what.  On your next visit to the park, drive past the three mausoleums at the west side of the cemetery.  Something old can look like something new with some tender, loving care which is proven by the restoration shown above as Calumet Park gets ready for the thousands of families that will visit Calumet Park Cemetery over Memorial Weekend.

For information on preplanning your cemetery and funeral arrangements, call 219-769-8803 and let us answer your questions about this need that we all have.  http://www.mycalumetpark.com

Comments Off on Makeovers can be so satisfying…

Filed under About Us, Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, feature stories, private mausoleum, Rendina Funeral Home, veterans at calumet Park cemetery