Members of the Saint Basil Cemetery finance committee in Coalport take seriously their responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and care of the cemetery and for stewarding the funds entrusted to them for that purpose. Beyond their fiduciary role on the committee, they each serve for very personal reasons.
Along with their pastor, Father Zab Amar, this group established the Saint Basil the Great Parish Cemetery Endowment in the Catholic Foundation, securing funds for the care of the cemetery in perpetuity. With this endowment they can be sure there will be funds available to pay for the mowing, plowing and other maintenance of their beloved cemetery beyond their own lifetimes.
Donna Clarkson reflects, “I am so grateful for my Catholic faith,” as she stands between the Clarkson headstone where her husband is laid to rest and gestures toward her sister’s. Donna also has an infant son buried nearby.
Anyone talking with members of this committee quickly understands they have a close-knit community. Most have known one another for many years. All are proud of what their parish has built and accomplished over the years in their small town and want to do their part to preserve it.
Hank Tatum’s son died after his return from active service in Afghanistan. A veteran himself, Hank relates to the life-changing experience of war. Adjusting an American flag near the headstone he explains, “We are trying to be good stewards. Part of the stewardship is taking care of the cemetery for the parishioners that are here and the parishioners that have gone.”
Realistic about changing demographics in the region and in the Catholic church, Richard Korlinchak faces the facts. “The future is really unknown here.” That’s true of a lot of Catholic communities in northwest Pennsylvania. While the future is unknown, this committee can be sure that, through their decision to establish a permanent endowment, they are leaving a Catholic legacy that will continue to provide for their cemetery in Coalport long after they are gone.
As pastor, Father Zab engages the finance committee fully. “It’s the people’s money,” he humbly defers while shepherding this group as partners in the financial oversight of parish funds. Together they took this decision very seriously, vetting their options of financial planning and vetting the Catholic Foundation. After careful deliberation, peace of mind followed their important decision. Standing in the beautiful green surroundings of Saint Basil Cemetery, they are at ease and confident about the future of their beloved cemetery.
“We are trying to be good stewards. Part of the stewardship is taking care of the cemetery for the parishioners that are here and the parishioners that have gone.”