Meaning Behind the Action
It was a cloudy Saturday morning when I packed up the car and drove east toward St. Michael Cemetery in Schererville, Ind. When I arrived, I was greeted by two volunteers. After some small talk, they said, “Well, we don’t need a starting bell.” They grabbed a rake and walked into the cemetery. While they were the only two there at the time, they did not hesitate to get to work.
Slowly, other participants showed up to the site. While there wasn’t a buzz of excitement like there is at other events, people still seemed eager to help. Event Coordinator and Youth Director Julie Buksa described, “It’s impressive. I think it’s exciting because it’s wet and icky out, and we still got a good group of people.”
St. Mathias 102, Schererville, Ind., has been hosting its annual cemetery clean-up for 10 years now. Each year is slightly different. It was originally planned around Join Hands Day in May, but the members realized that there wasn’t a lot to clean up in the spring, so they decided to move the event to October. “The people here really appreciate our work,” said Julie. This was the first year the Boy Scouts were able to attend and help. In addition, for the past couple of years, a woman has dropped off handmade hats to be donated to Caps for Kids in the Diocese of Gary. Participants also bring canned food items to be donated to St. Michael Food Pantry.
The idea for the clean-up originally came from Julie’s father, who was very upset that the cemetery was not looked after. “You don’t really see cemeteries connected to churches anymore. That is something we need to think of for other people,” Julie explained. Unfortunately, shortly after their first cemetery clean-up, Julie’s father passed away and was laid to rest at St. Michael Cemetery. “Our court has a lot of members buried here. It is important to us and it connects us to St. Mathias 102,” Julie explained. It is inspiring to see a court create an event so meaningful for everyone involved. When planning your next event, think of what is important to your community and go from there. Ask yourselves why you are organizing the event and soon it will become more than just an activity.