By Patrick Stoffel
Manager, All Souls and Calvary Catholic Cemeteries
Throughout my life, one thing has made me feel more fulfilled than anything else: helping others.
As the manager of two Catholic Cemeteries locations, All Souls and Calvary Catholic Cemeteries, I get to do exactly that every day. Whether I’m walking the beautiful grounds of Calvary Cemetery in the pine forest of Flagstaff or following a procession from All Souls Cemetery to Immaculate Conception Church next door in Cottonwood, I’m supporting families as they lay their loved ones to rest.
In my role, I take care of everything in the background so families can focus on the important work of grieving. This may mean overseeing the maintenance of the grounds, helping families coordinate an unexpected burial, leading people through the pre-planning process or simply praying together with someone who just experienced a painful loss.
“…this is a season of hope as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the promise of eternal life, He offers all His faithful.”
Working at two locations an hour apart is not without its challenges. It can be demanding when there are multiple ceremonies on one day or there are pressing maintenance issues at both cemeteries, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s because I know I am making a difference when families come back to visit. After the ceremony is over and they have had time to reflect, some return to thank me for making the process so easy and for providing them with comfort during their time of need. This time of year, these conversations mean even more to me.
That’s because the Christmas season can make the sting of a loss hurt even more as people remember happier days with their loved ones. During these times, I try my best to continue to provide solace to our families. After all, this is a season of hope as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the promise of eternal life, He offers all His faithful.
Whether it’s your first holiday season without a loved one or if many years have passed since you said goodbye, I hope that alongside the sorrow you find the great joy the birth of Baby Jesus brings to all Catholics.
Contact Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes at (602) 267-3962 or at dopccfh.org.