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Catholic Cemeteries: How do I Live, Knowing my Days are Numbered?


By Kathy Fanger


“Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your master’s happiness!” -Matthew 25:23

What welcoming words! Don’t we all desire to hear Jesus say these words to us when one day we are welcomed home into His loving embrace?

“The Inevitability of Death,” published in The Valley Catholic in 2009, Rev. Mark D. Roberts writes, “Many people spend their lives striving for riches or spending generous amounts of time and effort seeking that which will be left behind. We worry about so many things that don’t matter. As a pastor, I’ve spent more time in memorial services than just about anybody I know. You might think this is a downside of ordained ministry. But, in fact, I consider it a blessing. I’ve officiated in memorial services where eulogies have been relatively empty because the deceased lived their lives devoted to emptiness. And I’ve overseen memorial services that are joyous celebrations of lives well led. What makes the difference? Not wealth. Not position or power. Not even success, as the world defines it. Lives that matter even after death were focused on loving God and loving others. It’s really that simple. So when I’m reminded that I will die, I’m encouraged to live this day with eternal significance. Today I want to be a person of love.”

Jesus gave us words to live by: “Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, to go and bear fruit that will last.” “I am the living bread.” Jesus invites us…Come to my table where I will give you life – eternal life. When we come with open hands and humble heart, we say “YES” to becoming what we receive. We are sent forth to carry Christ himself-His light and love…to be broken and poured out for others.


  • When you reflect on your own death, what thoughts or feelings come to mind?
  • What are the things in your life for which you strive, and which really don’t matter all that much?
  • Given the inevitability of your death, how will you live differently today?

“Yes, Lord, the day will come when I will die, leaving behind my possessions and obsessions. When I stand before you and have my life examined, will you and I rejoice over what you have done through me? Will I have loved you with all that I am? Will I have loved my neighbor as myself? Will I have invested my life in the things that last forever? Thank you for the reminder to live fully for you this day. May I live today, and each day ahead, with the wisdom that comes from knowing my days on this earth are numbered. Amen.

*Excerpts from The Valley Catholic article, December 2009, by Reverend Dr. Mark D. Roberts.

Catholic Cemeteries is here to support you showing your loved ones how much you care for them. Having your plans in place before the time of your death relieves them of financial and emotional burdens, allowing them to begin the grieving of their loss and to give thanks to God for your life and legacy. Contact us at (605) 428-3730, cemeteryinfo@dsj.org or please visit www.ccdsj.org.

Anointing of the Sick Presentation followed by the Sacrament
September 15, 9 – 11 a.m.
Queen of Apostles Parish
4911 Moorpark Ave., San Jose
Presenter: Monsignor Joseph Milani
There still may be a misunderstanding that this sacrament is solely for those on their death bed. Offered to baptized Catholics of all ages in need of healing. The sacrament may be received more than once. Do not wait until death is imminent to receive this anointing.

Estate Planning
September 18, 7-9 p.m.
St. William Parish
611 S. El Monte Ave., Los Altos
Presenter: David Ryan, ESQ
Learn about legacy gifts, pre-planning your funeral and what you can do today to protect your family, your wealth, assets and yourself. Sponsored by Catholic Cemeteries, Providential Law and the Catholic Community Foundation. RSVPs appreciated, but not necessary. (650) 549-6056 or www.ccdsj.org.