Gravesite of 2,033 babies at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL [Photo by John Jansen]
The other day I happened to be in the vicinity of Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, so I decided to pay a visit.
I don’t have any relatives or friends interred at this cemetery, but it does contain one rather unique gravesite that I’ve visited on a number of occasions over the past few years: namely, the final resting place of 2,033 babies killed by abortion, who were laid to by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1988.
I hadn’t been there since last year’s National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children in September, when 130 of us placed flowers on the victims’ gravesite as an ensemble from the Magnificat Choir at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago sang the hauntingly beautiful Coventry Carol:
The Pro-Life Action League’s Eric Scheidler, who served as master of ceremonies, urged those in attendance not to wait until the next National Day of Remembrance (on September 10, 2016) to visit this gravesite again, but rather to do so frequently, since it is our duty to mourn for these children.
The flowers we placed four months ago are long gone, of course, and the ground is now covered with snow. There’s no telling how many people have visited this gravesite since then, but I was edified to see that when I went there recently, a wreath had been placed, meaning that at least one other person has. No doubt others have as well.
Their Names Are Known Only to God
To many people, it may seem odd that someone would visit a gravesite containing the earthly remains of individuals one never knew — and, even more to the point, whose very identities one never knew. We don’t know, and during our time on earth we will never know, how many of the 2,033 babies buried at this gravesite were girls and how many were boys, or what race any of them were — and we certainly don’t know any of these tiny babies’ names.
But their names are known to God, and they, like the rest of us, were made in His image and likeness and destined to be adopted by Him. And, recalling the words of Jesus — “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” — we mourn for them, and we commend them to His divine mercy.
It’s often struck me that a burial site of aborted children like this one at Queen of Heaven Cemetery is akin to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Like other burial sites of aborted babies, it serves as the final resting place of specific individuals whose identities are known only to God and who are loved individually by Him — and yet, simultaneously, these particular 2,033 victims of abortion vicariously represent all the millions of victims of abortion throughout human history, the vast majority of whose earthly remains are lost forever.
If you live near one of the 49 known burial sites of aborted babies located in the United States, the Pro-Life Action League extends a special invitation to you to pay a visit some time between now and January 22, the anniversary of the the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings, which effectively legalized abortion nationwide at any point during pregnancy.
We invite you to visit, to pray, and to mourn — for if we do not mourn for the victims of abortion, who will?