Parish plans Mass for babies lost before or after birth

By | May 5, 2010

Through this Mass, Wert hopes to heighten awareness of the pain that women experience after a miscarriage and allow families to go through the grieving process they are often denied. “We will encourage parents that come to the Mass to name their babies if they haven’t yet and trust that baby to the care of Mother Mary in heaven with Jesus. We’ll place the names near a statue of Mary that we have in church.”

Memorial Mass May 11


St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish will hold a Mass toremember children lost through miscarriage or at birth. The Mass willbe held Tuesday, May 11, at 6 p.m. The church is located at N2385Municipal Drive in Greenville. Anyone interested in donating to a fundfor a memorial headstone can contact the parish at (920) 757-6555.

After the Mass a dinner will be served. “Families can hug and cry and talk to each other about their losses,” said Wert.

A memorial garden was planted on the church grounds last year to honor the children. The foundation was laid for a headstone, which is scheduled to be installed this summer. “The memorial stone will be for those babies that died before birth because those parents that don’t have remains don’t have a headstone,” said Wert. “Parents can have their baby’s name etched on the headstone.”

Wert credits Fr. Mark Vander Steeg for his support of this project. “St. Mary’s has its own cemetery and it was on his heart to designate an area in the cemetery for families who lost a child through miscarriage.” The feedback from parishioners thus far has been positive, noted Wert. “People really appreciate that we are recognizing their grief.”

Nancy Van Camp and her husband Marty are the parents of Lexi, 14, Cole, 12, Braden, 11, and Cassie and Callie, 9. Van Camp miscarried her fourth pregnancy at four and one-half months. She never saw her baby and didn’t know if it was a boy or girl.

After her father passed away several years ago, she recalled visiting the cemetery where he was buried when her children asked her where their baby was buried. “I had nothing to say to them,” said Van Camp. “It struck me that we don’t have anyplace to go where we can remember the baby. That’s when I started talking to Fr. Mark.

“It would be so nice for these mothers to have someplace they can go with their kids and explain to them, this is where we remember our baby,” she added. “Even if you don’t have the remains you still have someplace to go where you can sit and say a prayer and have a remembrance.”

Van Camp noted that the memorial will be for mothers who are hurting from aborting their children as well. “They’re healing from a different type of pain and loss.”

Lisa Moore has been working with Van Camp planning and fund-raising for the memorial. She and her husband Todd have three children, Sophia, 5, Stephen, 3, and Isaac, 2, but lost a child four years ago to a miscarriage in the first trimester.

When she lost the baby, whom they named John Paul, she said she asked for its remains. “I got resistance from the nurse. I asked her what she planned on doing with the baby and she said, ‘Put it out with the rest of the hospital waste,'” said Moore, her voice choking.

“I was appalled. A very kind receptionist helped me fill out the paperwork and I was able to get little John Paul’s remains back. Then I contacted St. Mary’s. For whatever reason I went to confession and I just poured out my heart to Fr. Mark. I didn’t know what to do with this baby. He said, ‘Would you let us bury your baby?’ I just cried — the healing was already starting. We had a funeral Mass for our baby and buried him in the church cemetery. We go over there after Mass with the children to say a little prayer and to ask for his intercession.”

This memorial will be a very powerful and silent witness to life, said Moore.

“My daughter was only one and one-half when we lost little John Paul. She doesn’t remember him but going to Mass and having a place to visit him, she knows that her brother was very tiny when he died and that he’s with Jesus now,” she said. “I don’t even have to give her a pro-life lecture. She’s going to grow up knowing that this baby was precious to us and it was very sad that he died but a lot of blessings came out of a very sad time.”

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