BY JEAN-MARIE BRALLEY
A sizeable crowd of Franciscan University students and others marked the first annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children with a memorial ceremony. The event took place on Sept.14 at Franciscan’s Tomb of the Unborn Child, where the bodies of seven aborted babies are buried.
Ryan Chestine, a senior and the secretary of Franciscan’s Students for Life, exhorted the crowd with Blessed John Paul II’s oft-repeated phrase, “Be not afraid!” He also quoted the late pope as saying that people must “choose to be unconditionally pro-life.”
Chestine read the names of the seven babies buried at the tomb: Francis, Clare, Agnes, Jeremiah, Michael, Andrew and Joseph. A rosary of Joyful Mysteries, each with a specific pro-life intention, as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy were then prayed for the seven babies and “for an end to abortion and the conversion of all involved in the evil of abortion,” said Chestine.
Junior Leah Kaisler said the day of remembrance was important because people need to recall the “huge power in prayer,” and that “there’s still a battle to fight, a battle to win.”
Jenna Leighton, a senior and the president of Students for Life, said, “The numbers of abortion are so astounding that it’s easy to dismiss them as numberless,” but it is necessary to “give dignity and grieve for their lives.” She remarked that she is passionate about the pro-life movement because “life is so beautiful…how can you not defend something so beautiful?”
The prayer service followed the 10 a.m. Mass, during which the celebrant the Rev. John Larson, MIC, reminded the congregation of the need to promote the culture of life. Many people then participated in the procession from Christ the King Chapel to the Tomb of the Unborn Child for the ceremony.
A large portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the pro-life cause, was on display during the gathering. The area in front of the Tomb of the Unborn Child was decorated with flowers, holy cards depicting the patron saints of the children, and little mementos, such as a teddy bear, to honor the little ones buried there.
Franciscan’s Students for Life Club, which hosted the event, heard about the Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children through their adviser Ronald McNamara. Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League nationally organized the Day of Remembrance. These groups encouraged people to visit and hold ceremonies at the burial sites of aborted children. The day chosen for the memorial, Sept.14, marks the 25th anniversary of the burial of seven hundred abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wis.
For more information about the National Day of Remembrance, visit www.abortionmemorials.com.