About 50 people joined us for this opportunity to remember lost children and grieve publicly. It was a beautiful and moving service. Read Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien’s homily.
Several parishes host regular events to support those who have lost children. The events take many different forms: special Masses, memorial services, recognition of parents during Sunday Mass with flowers or special prayers, etc.
St. Michael, Poplar Springs, hosts an annual Mass. A short video of this service is below.
Excerpt from Catholic Review article by Linda Brenegan, Director, Respect Life Office
“When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep;
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding;
Two are on my right hand,
Two are on my left hand,
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover,
Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.…”,
softly sang cantor John Thomas, gently accompanying families invited to light a small candle in memory of their children during a Memorial Service for those who had lost a child at any age, either before or after birth.
One by one, families ascended the steps of the sanctuary to light a candle as a symbol of their child and place it in a shallow clear crystal bowl filled with water. At the end of the ceremony, twenty-two small candles cast a warm glow near the Pascal candle, signifying their little ones now safely living with the Lord.
Guests attending ranged from young mothers and fathers who had miscarried, to those of more advanced years mourning their own current or past losses. A white haired woman of 96 who recently lost an adult son was among them. Janice Sychuk echoed the feelings of many parents who have lost a child when she said, “My husband, John, and I lost our daughter at birth – 39 years ago – and this was the first time we had the opportunity to publicly acknowledge our loss. After all these years, being able to share her birth and our loss of her with others in the same situation was long overdue and so needed. We were a young couple and didn’t know at the time how to handle such a loss. I guess keeping it so tight inside ourselves… being able to honor her memory at the service was something that we both needed and we are most grateful to have been given that opportunity.”
Besides the candle lighting ceremony, the memorial service can also include music, readings, prayers, a reflection, and a small memento for the guests. A simple reception following the service is also appreciated by the families.