Category Archives: Funeral home
Top cemetery in the country awarded to Calumet Park Cemetery from American Cemetery and Cremation magazine…
ACE Winner Click here for the article announcing Calumet Park Cemetery as the winner of the best cemetery in the country. Thanks to all the employees and owners of Calumet Park Cemetery. It is due to the dedication and true spirit of service to our neighbors that inspires the Calumet team to be the best. Like the Wizard of Oz, we always knew that we had a brain, a heart and courage, and now we have bragging rights that our feelings about what we do is officially recognized. Calumet Park has received runner-up awards a number of times so it is appreciated to be the recipient of this honor from the American Cemetery and Cremation magazine (celebrating their 90th anniversary just as Calumet Park Cemetery is doing the same…both founded in 1928).
For info on prearranging you cemetery and funeral needs, call 219-769-8803.
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.
What is 20′ x 30′ and flies 80 feet in the sky? Answer, the new flag flying over the entrance to Calumet Park Cemetery … 80 foot flagpole and huge flag … we salute all Americans! For Memorial Weekend, the following are specially priced: 25% off the Veteran Memorial Columbarium, 25% off the new Meditation Pond Columbariums (see pictures above), 25% off a new private mausoleum on a pond with a fountain next to the original community mausoleum, 25% off specific graves (ask a Family Service Counselor to show them to you…new sections, 50% off all selections in the Black Monument/bronze flush marker section, and 15% off all monuments and markers. We can deliver to any cemetery in NW Indiana.
For more information, call 219-769-8802
Alternatives to traditional hearse offered at Calumet Park Funeral Chapels and Rendina Funeral Home…
(Permission to use photos/name granted by family.) Photos show an alternative choice for a funeral procession. Traditionally, casketed loved ones are driven in funeral coaches, more commonly referred to as a hearse. At Calumet Park Funeral Chapels and Rendina Funeral Home, a family may select a funeral coach, a horse and buggy or a Harley Hearse.
The photos shown above were from the recent funeral of Pablo Arriaga. Daughter, Iris Petroff, was very happy with the uniqueness of a horse drawn carriage to carry her father to church and then to his final resting place. The services were handled by Violeta de la Torre-Corona and Mike Poweska at the Hobart Funeral Chapel just north of County Line Orchard in Hobart. The horse and buggy are owned and operated by Rob Poortenga. Rob has volunteered his services for different veteran-related functions at Calumet Park Cemetery. His company name is Hoof-n-Harness.
For information on prepanning a funeral, call Violeta at 219-940-3791 for Hobart or Michelle at 219-880-1141 for Rendina or Carrie at 219-736-5840 for Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville. All have the use of any of the three means of moving a loved one to their final resting place contingent on availability on the day needed. You can call Calumet Park Cemetery at 219-769-8803 for more information.
Christmas is just around the corner…
By Daniel Moran
Depending on one’s perspective, Christmas can be a wonderfully happy time of year, or the holidays can be filled with sadness. Celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus, should be a time to be filled with hope for eternity
For those who have lost a mom or a dad, a child, a spouse or friend in 2017, the joy of Christmas will be somewhat overshadowed by the sadness of such a loss. But for those who truly believe in the grace and mercy of God, Christmas can be wonderful…even if someone you loved died. For, you see, we all want to go to heaven but few of us want to do the things that are necessary to get there: believe in Jesus and die.
I believe our date of death was pre-ordained. We should all do the best we can each day since none of us know when we will depart this world. We should all enjoy our favorite Christmas carols, and savor the flavor of candy canes and cookies. We should all learn how to give without expectations, and learn how to graciously receive with a simple ‘thanks’. All hearts seem a little more caring during the month of December. When Nat King Cole sings ”chestnuts roasting on an open fire” or “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”, how can we not be transported to all of our yesteryears of love and family, surrounded by the smells of turkey and pie and, dare I say, fruit cake?
Those who have passed away, whether this past year or in years past, remembering the good times can help to balance out the sadness of their not being with us, in the flesh, this year. Think of the special gift that had so much meaning that only that loved one would have known enough about you to give it to you. Think of the hugs by a fireplace, or the sledding or skating that made any given Christmas in your life together a Christmas to remember.
Nothing will ever take the place of those special people in your lives, nor should anything be so overpowering that those times could be replaced. There is room in each of our hearts to look back at the first kiss from our mate, the first smell of our first baby, the 60th anniversary or the first anniversary with that someone special. I believe that is one of the best benefits of being human. God gave us the ability to feel with our hearts besides just feeling with our hands. He gave us billions of storage cells in our brains where each special moment could be captured and pulled out as a memory when we need to feel good, even in our loss of a loved one.
Did you ever notice that a smell, or a song, or a sunset can take us right back to an important time in our lives? My father’s favorite song was “Oh my Papa.” That was sung back in the ‘50’s but to this day, when I hear it, I am immediately transported back to a time that Dad was holding my hand. He did not spend his time saying I love you. He lived his “I love you’s”. Too bad I only had him for the first 11 years of my life. Yet, though he is gone, his impact was such that, even in the many Christmas’s that have come and gone since he died, I still know him. I still feel him. I still love him and know that he is in heaven rooting for me. And that is a good feeling.
So, yes, Christmas will be sad for many this year because of the loss of a special person in their life, but I ask all who read this article to cry your tears and offer your pain up to God. Know that your heroes, your lost loves, your reasons for living are alive and sitting at the table of our Lord, just waiting for you to join them when your appointed time comes. You will feel their presence when you pull good Christmas memories from your very smart brain. Love the ones you are with and cherish the time that you have with your husband, or wife, or parent, sibling, children and friends. There is lots of room left in your heart to store up great moments of joy so you will be able to give and get a spiritual hug whenever you need it. It is up to you to build those precious moments that can be drawn upon as needed after a loved one is gone.
God bless you all and I pray for your happiness, good health and prosperity for the coming year.
Under the leadership of Carrie Evans (funeral home supervisor), Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville sponsored its 13th Annual Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, December 2. Along with her team of Raquel Santos, Teresa Dille, Greg Schafer, Marcia Ochoa, Sandy Ferris, Matt Hahn, Marilyn Kligler, Mike Poweska, Mileva Savich, Richard Stake, Rick Kalk, and Barb F. planned and executed a wonderful event. Other participants were Kim Jones, Paul Vogel, Brant Vogel, Renee Wilson, Carolyn Moore, Sara and Matt Courtney, and the Merrillville H.S. Choral group.
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE.
Thank you to all who attended this beautiful ceremony to honor those who have passed away and thanks to all those involved in the planning and perfectly executed service to the community. Please remember that the birth of Jesus is the reason for the season and have a happy and healthy Christmas holiday.
For information on future events, call 219-769-8803.
Rendina Funeral Home, an affiliate of Calumet Park Cemetery, held its 3rd Annual Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony on Novembeer 30, 2017. Lead by Funeral Home Supervisor, Michelle Hanrahan, the event was appreciated by all in attendance. Approximately 60 guests enjoyed live music from Brant Vogel and Harpest Renee Wilson. Michelle’s team of Greg Schafer, Teresa Dille and Marcia Ochoa worked hard to ensure that all guests would be comforted as they placed their angels upon the tree. Paul Vogel offered and inspirational message for the holiday. After the lights were lit, comfort finger food and sweet treats were shared as people enjoyed fellowship and good cheer. If you missed the tree lighting, you may attend the Calumet Park Funeral Chapel Angel Tree lighting on Saturday, December 2. Call 736-5840 for details. Merry Christmas to all.
View is looking west with the beautiful sunset as a wonderful backdrop to the original mausoleum at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville..
A reminder that the Angel Tree Lighting ceremonies at Rendina will be this Thursday at 6:00 p.m., November 30 and for Calumet Park Funeral Chapel at 4:00 on Saturday, December 2.
Call for directions: 980-1141 for Rendina and 736-5940 for Calumet Park funeral Chapel.