Along with offering assistance to the leaders of more than 100 memorial services held this past Saturday, September 14 to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, the Pro-Life Action League also spearheaded the planning for the service at the final resting place of over 2,000 aborted babies at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
The League’s executive director, Eric Scheidler, served as master of ceremonies and began the event by leading the crowd of 200 faithful pro-lifers in receiving the Prayer at a Gravesite of the Unborn [PDF] composed by Father Frank Pavone specifically for the occasion. The group then invoked the intercession of the Mother of God by singing together the Salve Regina—an especially appropriate antiphon, considering the cemetery’s name.
The Archbishop of Chicago, Francis Cardinal George, shared his reflections on the spiritual meaning of abortion and the challenge of building a culture of life. His predecessor, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, had presided over the interment of the aborted babies at Queen of Heaven Cemetery on July 30, 1988, so we were particularly honored by Cardinal George’s presence at this memorial service 25 years later.
The next speaker was former Pro-Life Action League employee Tim Murphy, who was part of a small group of pro-life activists who recovered the bodies of the aborted babies who would eventually be buried at the very site where we gathered on Saturday.
Murphy noted that he knew exactly how many babies were buried at the site—2,033—because he had been the one responsible for counting them, individually, before their remains were turned over to the Archdiocese for a proper burial. Among the thousands of babies, he noted, were several sets of twins.
Pro-Life Action League vice president Ann Scheidler then led the group in praying the Prayer of Mourning for Victims of Abortion [PDF], which she had composed to mark the 40 anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year.
The next speaker was Nancy Kreuzer, the Illinois coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who spoke movingly and directly to the aborted children buried at the site. Nancy noted, poignantly, that the title of the life stories of all the aborted baby girls and boys we memorialize should be: “Forgotten by the world; Known by God.”
Building on this theme, the next speaker, League national director Joe Scheidler, reflected on how aborted children are literally abandoned by everyone, which makes our duty to visit their gravesites and mourn them all the more real. Joe then led the group in singing the ancient antiphon In Paradisum.
Eric Scheidler then recited Psalm 10 and offered concluding remarks. Lastly, while violins played Ave Maria and Amazing Grace, mourners placed white roses on the gravesite of the 2,033 babies interred there.
Video from Memorial Service at Queen of Heaven Cemetery
Watch highlights of the memorial service below: