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Catholic Cemeteries Are Self-Sustaining

When a family chooses a CCA cemetery for the interment of a deceased loved one, they have an expectation that their loved one is entrusted to an institution whose mission is the corporal work of mercy of burying the dead.  This expectation and trust extends to the level of care and maintenance of their cemetery.  While the CCA faces many new challenges in our continued effort to maintain your cemeteries and to continue making improvements, we are determined to meet those challenges and live up to the expectations of our families.

The CCA continues to work diligently to improve your Catholic cemeteries and continuously invests the income generated through the sale of graves, crypts, memorials, vaults and other items into your sacred places.  Each year the CCA uses the resources provided by our families to make necessary infrastructure repairs and improve the overall appearance of each of our Catholic cemeteries.  Trees have been planted, streams created, new ponds dug, buildings repaired and roads paved.  While much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. CCA management is careful with the income generated from the sale of interment rights and other products and services and due to the size of our organization, is limited in the number of projects it can complete annually.

Many families with loved ones interred in a CCA cemetery may not realize that their Catholic cemeteries stand on their own, they are self-sustaining.  The term self-sustaining is defined in the Webster Merriam Dictionary as 1: maintaining or able to maintain oneself or itself by independent effort <a self–sustaining community> 2: maintaining or able to maintain itself once commenced <a self–sustaining nuclear reaction>.

We are often surprised to discover how many families are not aware that their cemetery is self-sustaining.  Few understand the financial separation between the Diocese of Cleveland and the CCA and assume that the CCA receives financial support from the Diocese.  As a Catholic institution, the CCA is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cleveland and serves as an integral part of Diocesan life. While the Diocese recognizes the needs of our Catholic cemeteries and oversees our fiscal viability, it does not absolve us from being responsible for our own financial obligations.  Furthermore, the CCA does not pay an assessment to the Diocese.

The CCA manages eighteen of the forty Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese of Cleveland.    The CCA employs over 170 full time employees who maintain approximately 1900 acres of cemetery land, 34 miles of roads, over 60 buildings, including maintenance facilities, office buildings and mausoleums.  As an organization, the CCA is responsible to 750,000 families with loved ones interred in a CCA cemetery.  Every dollar generated through the sale of interment space, granite memorials, vaults and other items is spent taking care of our cemeteries for our families.

As a self-sustaining institution, we rely on our families to purchase their interment and memorialization needs from us.  The more income that is generated, the more we can invest and improve your cemeteries and ensure the future of your sacred places.

Andrej Lah
Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association

Andrej Lah Portrait

About Andrej Lah

Andrej is a 1986 graduate of John Carroll University and 1989 graduate of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. From 1989 to 1991 Andrej served as staff attorney to the Honorable Joseph F. McManamon and the Honorable Lillian J. Green and in December of 1991 he became of member of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s legal staff. Andrej transferred to the Finance Office in 1993 to manage all real estate matters for the Catholic Diocese. In 2000 he was asked to take over as Chief Operations Officer for the Catholic Cemeteries Association and on January of 2001 he was appointed to that position. Bishop Lennon appointed Andrej to the position of Director of Cemeteries in November of 2009 and he is the first lay person to serve as Director of Cemeteries since its incorporation in 1893.