Tag Archives: Unborn

For the Forgotten Babies

August 18, 2015

0 Comments

flower

The Grandview Farm Baby Cemetery lies about 2 miles south of Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Faribault Minnesota.  The Cemetery is part of  the Minnesota State Hospital System (most recently called the Faribault Regional Center that operated in Faribault from 1879 until 1998. Once called the School for Idiots and Imbeciles (and later called the Feeble-Minded School) in times when we had little sensitivity to the labels we put on people with disabilities, there are three cemeteries associated with that facility.  Two near the facility and one near a farm that the school operated in the early 1900’s.  Here, in this place with no individual markers, are buried the babies that were either born at the hospital and didn’t survive (Men and women were separated at the hospital but it is rumored that sometimes they did get together and pregnancy happpened) or children who were abandoned and left without identification.  It is also rumored that babies were buried there who were born to local women whom, because of the circumstances of their pregnancy, were too embarrassed or weren’t allowed to bury their children in an established church cemetery.

I went out to look at this cemetery about a month ago because I have been working on the Garden of Mercy at Divine Mercy Parish in Faribault.  This garden is set aside as a place where all who seek mercy can find peace.  A section of the garden is dedicated to children who died either before or after birth for whatever reason whether miscarriage, abortion or illness.  As part of the dedication of the garden this Sunday, August 23, rocks with names of lost children will be placed near the water feature.  Through this healing gesture, parents were asked to name their sometimes unnamed children who lost before birth, may not have been given a name.  Three of the one hundred stones that will be dedicated are mine. Jordan David, Katie Shea and James Kevin.

While compiling the list of names, I came across a request for a memorial stone for “All the Lost Children.”

Like the Unknown Soldier monument, this rock and garden is a spiritual resting place for unwanted children, those who have suffered from abuse or are casualties of war or abortion. The garden is a place of healing for those parents and the parents of children lost to illness or accident no matter at what age because we know as parents, the natural order of things is that we die first.

The garden though is not a place just for memorials.  It is a place of mercy; a living place of love and forgiveness.

Pope Francis has called a Year of Mercy starting December 8, 2015.  In the Bull of Induction for the Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope states that:

As we can see in Sacred Scripture, mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living. The mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us. He feels responsible; that is, he desires our wellbeing and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful. This is the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel. As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.

A blessing and dedication is planned for August 23 after the 10:00 Mass with Bishop Cozzens in attendance. Let us all pray for this place  to be a place of love, forgiveness and comfort to all who seek it and for it to be a place where mercy lives through this jubilee year and beyond.

All are welcome to attend the Mass and dedication.  Information about requesting a memorial stone will be available at the dedication

Divine Mercy Catholic Church is located at 139 Mercy Drive, Faribault Minnesota.

Continue reading...

5 reasons why I like the new Blessing for the Child in the Womb

May 19, 2012

0 Comments

This new blessing was originally developed in March 2008 by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities for inclusion in the Book of Blessings and Bendicional, and further refined by the Committee on Divine Worship and the body of Bishops. The introduction to the rite observes that the blessing of an unborn child “sustains the parents by imparting grace and comfort in time of concern and need, unites the parish in prayer for the unborn child, and fosters respect for human life within society. (According to Fr. Z’s blog)

“We hope the use of this blessing will provide not only support and God’s blessing for expectant parents and their child in the womb, but also another effective witness to the sanctity of human life from the first moment of conception,” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB.

I think it will do just that, and here’s 5  reasons why:

1. It asks God to bless the unborn baby

A few years ago when I was pregnant with twins at age 42, I had what was dubbed a “triple high-risk pregnancy.” My concern was primarily for the identical babies, and I wanted us to be blessed right away. I was working for the Archdiocese at the time in the Office for Marriage, Family and Life. A priest from Africa was down the hall, and he gave us a lovely blessing off of the top of his head. When I (notice I said “I”) received the official blessing from our church, it was geared more toward me and not the babes in the womb. A few months later, Archbishop Neinstedt asked our office to review this new Rite for the Child in the Womb, and I was honored to do so. I was thrilled to see that it not only asked God to bless the unborn child, but also to give him/her constant protection, a healthy birth, and to comfort the mother in all her anxiety. I really needed all of those requests!

2. It has a blessing for the mother 

You will notice that this blessing also asks for the blessing of the unborn baby (as stated in #1).

God, author of all life,

bless, we pray, this unborn child;

give constant protection

and grant a healthy birth

that is the sign of our rebirth one day

into the eternal rejoicing of heaven.

 

Lord, who have brought to this woman

the wondrous joy of motherhood,

grant her comfort in all anxiety

and make her determined

to lead her child along the ways of salvation.

3. It has a blessing for the father

Isn’t it great that Daddy can be a part of this blessing? He needs all the Grace he can get, too!

Lord of all ages,

who have singled out this man

to know the grace and pride of fatherhood,

grant hin courage in this new responsibility,

and make him an example of justice and truth

for this child.

4. It has a blessing for the family

Siblings, grandparents, aunties, cousins…they all play an important role in forming this child. How nice for them to receive a blessing! (Plus, this shows the brothers and sisters–who are often left out– how important they are!)

Lord, endow this family

with sincere and enduring love

as they prepare to welcome this child into

their midst.

 

Lord, you have put into the hearts of all men and

women of  good will

a great awe and wonder at the gift of new life;

fill the parish community

with faithfulness to the teachings of the Gospel

and new resolve to share

in the spiritual formnation of this child in Christ

our savior,

who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

5. It can be used within the Mass or outside of it

I told a priest that this was a nice feature because sometimes a woman hasn’t told anyone that she is expecting yet. If the blessing is done during the Mass, and it is done in a general style (meaning that she doesn’t have to stand up or go to the altar), then she doesn’t call attention to herself. Having a blessing of a baby in the womb during Mass is a great way to witness to the congregation, and encourage people to embrace Life.

Having a blessing outside of Mass (hospital, home, chapel…) is nice, because the whole family could be a part of it, and it could offer a different type of privacy if needed.

(See whole text at the USCCB website)

Continue reading...

I’m a Fan of Facebook–Here’s Why

September 12, 2011

0 Comments

 

OMG it’s true, I read something lately that made me salute Facebook (my kids wont believe this!), and now I like this mode of social media more than I used to. Facebook (AKA ‘FB’) has a new addition: an “Expected:Child” choice. This is for people who want to post their good news on their profile page. It contains a “due date” slot so that loved ones can count down to this bundle of joy’s arrival, plus a place for Mom and Dad to display an ultrasound photo of the little miracle. And guess what? There’s even an optional name space so that parents can name the child in the womb.

How’s that for embracing life and giving dignity to the pre-born?

According to Lifenews.com:

In a clear display of humanity, the unborn child is listed right alongside born family members, emphasizing that each member of the family is equally important and valuable. Once added, a notification is posted to the newsfeeds of all of the user’s friends, giving everyone a chance to witness and celebrate the new human life.

It’s a simple way for expectant parents to acknowledge that babies in utero are precious. I hope that people get the message that EVERY baby has innate value, regardless of its family situation, and that each one is “wanted”; if not by his or her biological parents, then by couples hoping to adopt.

This new feature is easy to navigate–all a person has to do is click on “Edit my profile,” then “Friends and Family.” With FB reaching 750 million users, it’s a powerful roarrr for the voiceless!

FB pros and cons

ultrasound baby

Licensed under Creative Commons

Everyone in our family spends time on FB (Okay, everyone except our toddling twins.) My husband and I most often use it so that we can keep tabs on our children. Remember when parents used to listen in on their kids’ phone conversations? Well, this is an even more powerful tool for moms and dads because it allows them to “see” snapshots and printed conversations of what is going on in their children’s lives.

But, this service is not all positive. For instance, if you’re a parent of teenagers, you’ve probably had to scream, “Get off Facebook right now!” like I do, because it seems to suck them right into that computer screen. Another thing I don’t like is that sometimes people divulge TMI which can be tedious, or even worse, aggrandize internet stalking. Also, FYI, there’s that relationship status of “civil union” or “domestic partnership” which I don’t like because I prefer to promote traditional family values.

But all in all, I think this new FB feature can help build up the culture of life. It confirms that every individual, from its very beginning, is part of God’s plan. Plus, Blessed John Paul II asked us to, “Love, respect and promote life.” (Evangelium Vitae #52) Isn’t this what the new feature of Facebook is doing?

If you are one of the couples announcing your big news this way, let me know how you like this new feature, and may I say…Congratulations!

 

 

Continue reading...