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Remembering pre-born babies who have died Print
Guest column
Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

My family moved to Madison last June from St. Louis. We miscarried our fourth child this past January. She was eight weeks old.

Guest Column

I elected not to have a D & C, but to go home and miscarry naturally. This gave me time to research, "What is the Catholic response to miscarriage?"

Prayer service

A naming and commendation prayer service for people who have lost a child through miscarriage or abortion will be held Friday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. on the Feast of the Guardian Angels at St. Mary Church in Pine Bluff with Fr. Rick Heilman and the Knights of Divine Mercy Schola Choir. Eucharistic Adoration will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. and a reception will follow the ceremony.

Catholic response to miscarriage

I read statements by Catholic women that they buried their babies and honored them. I spoke to a friend in Madison about my impending miscarriage and my desire to have my baby buried and have a priest at the graveside. She mentioned that Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and St. Ignatius Parish in Mt. Horeb, would be receptive to my request.

My husband Mike is a Knight of Divine Mercy (KDM) and he had a relationship established with Father Rick. He was most compassionate and agreed to be at our baby's graveside. Father Rick mentioned that Joan and Patrick Carey have a Grave of the Innocents in Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Perry Township. I contacted Joan and she agreed to allow us to have our baby, Lucia, buried along with the other babies there.

We contacted Camacho Funeral Home and Mr. Camacho was sensitive to our situation. He asked me the name of our baby and continually referred to her by name. We drove out to Holy Redeemer the next Sunday to bury our baby. Father Rick met us at the cemetery and prayed with us as we buried our darling Lucia. I had a complete sense of serenity following the burial.

Order for naming, commendation

I e-mailed family and friends about what was happening and was told about the Catholic "Order For Naming and Commendation for an Infant who has Died Before Birth." I received a copy of the program used in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

I presented this to Father Rick at our baby's graveside and he said he would like to bring this order here. Considering the climate presently in Madison, regarding the Madison Surgical Center, we thought this is a wonderful acknowledgement of the Catholic response to the preborn.

I attend Kay Schachte's Scripture study for moms at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and she expressed interest in participating in the ceremony, too. Father Rick, Kay, Joan, my husband, and I met to discuss the ceremony.

It was decided that October 2, the Feast of the Guardian Angels, would be an appropriate day to have the ceremony. Father Rick has included the KDM in the ceremony since it is part of their calling to be men of Christ who protect and support their families. The KDM Schola Choir will sing.

Families will be able to commend their child to the care of God, name their baby, and write his or her name in the Book of Life. This healing ceremony is meant for any family that experienced the death of a child before birth by miscarriage, still birth, or abortion.

Never forget loss of child

No matter how long it has been, I've found that there are many people suffering and that they never forget the loss of their beloved child. There are Graves of the Innocents where their babies can be buried. For example, St. Mary's Hospital in Madison buries babies in Resurrection Cemetery and keeps a record of these burials.

I conceived another child one month after Lucie's death. We are expecting our first boy (we have three daughters) next month. He will be named Theodore, "God's gift," because that is how we see him. Isn't God merciful?

Katherine Snyder is a member of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison.