September 2017 – Letter from the President

To our Priests, Catholic Cemetery and Funeral Service Professionals and Cemetery and Funeral Service Community:

I am honored to be the President of Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services of the West (CCFW) and to be of service to the Diocese of Phoenix in support of and as a direct participant in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  We meet families when they are grieving and together with our local Church, we try and show them the face of Christ at a time in life when they are most vulnerable.  Some come to us with great faith in the Resurrection and the hope of eternal life, many are still growing in their faith journey and some are open to evangelization.   What they have in common is the mark of their baptism, grief and the need for Care, Compassion and Christ.

The good news is; we have what we all need in the beauty of The Order of Christian Funerals.  What often times is lacking is the proper formation and education prior to the time of death.  A well planned Vigil, Funeral Mass and Committal Service is a wonderful gift to BOTH the deceased and the living as the proper order is achieved through our prayers and blessings for the deceased and the consolation and prayers of the living.

The inspiration of our Board of Directors to modify the direction of CCFW is to provide our members with the necessary resources to support your Diocesan Priests and Parishes in the ongoing challenge of ministering to our Catholic community through the Order of Christian Funerals.  It is vital to our ministry that we are able to properly care for our Catholic Community directly through our Diocesan funeral homes or through our local independent funeral homes.

This may seem overwhelming, but together we can make progress by providing a foundation and collaborative plan for the education of Catholics and those that minister to them.  Our conference will be a model for structure, relevance, relationships and formation.

Structure: Our schedule will be shortened and modified to eliminate mandatory downtime and unproductive vendor floor time.  As a vendor you will have organized face time with members.  Our locations will be attractive destinations for travel and rotate between Scottsdale AZ and Napa CA.  You will feel welcomed and invited as a vendor and member, all will receive dinner invites on free evenings.  There will be well planned activities with wide appeal.  Vendors will be encouraged to travel lite.  Family members are encouraged to attend.

Relevance: Definition:  The degree to which something is related or useful to what is happening.

Relationships:  Our primary focus will be to provide the successful structure to promote and maximize your opportunities for meaningful relationships among our priests, vendors and cemetery and funeral service professionals.

Formation:  Meeting the educational needs of cemetery and funeral service professionals with a focus on the of the Order of Christian Funerals.  Certificates of Completion for funeral and cemetery participants in understanding the Order of Christian Funerals and supporting the ongoing need to educate and support catechetical programs in our Parishes and Catholic community.

The key to our success will be the ability to be collaborative and supportive of each other.  Our team at the Diocese of Phoenix is available to assist with member’s funeral service and cemetery needs and we have and will continue to reach out to others asking for their support and guidance.

I hope to see you in Scottsdale on January 22rd!


In Christ,

Joseph W Lange
President and CEO
Diocese of Phoenix
Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes

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