When I first joined the staff at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery more than five years ago, I was intrigued by the rich history of this beautiful location. It’s nearly 120 years old and serves as the final resting place for almost 54 thousand of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s the equivalent of six or seven generations of faithful families.
I came to this ministry at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery after serving for more than 20 years in the U.S. Army. After transitioning to civilian life, I spent another decade working in industries that ultimately didn’t fulfill me. When I joined the team at St. Francis, I hoped to find joy and satisfaction in my work, but I didn’t expect my new job to change my life so completely.
Growing up Protestant, God had always been important in my life. At St. Francis, I saw the care and compassion of Christ in every day actions. I found that I gravitated toward the hands-on role of working with families as they come to us during a time of great distress and profound grief. I felt called to care for them when they are confused, hurt and in mourning. I also felt called to explore Catholicism.
In fact, I was so moved by my experiences that I converted to the Catholic faith. Today, as the manager of St. Francis, I take great pride in furthering the mission of Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes. In the spirit of stewardship and service, we make sure no Catholic family gets turned away. At the heart of the Catholic faith is the loving approach we take with the families we are called to serve.
At Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes, we continually pray for guidance in our ministry. The beauty of our ministry is that God is working through us each day as we help families in the best possible way, both from a spiritual and Catholic perspective. This sense of purpose and fulfillment is a blessing to all of us, and it’s one we hope radiates to every person who walks through our front doors.
Rich Craven is Manager at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery.