On Saturday, September 10, thousands of pro-lifers gathered at over 160 gravesites of aborted babies or other locations throughout the United States for the fourth annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.
Several memorial services featured reflections given by clergymen, including seven Catholic bishops, among whom were Bishop David Ricken (Kaukauna, Wisconsin), Bishop Thomas Tobin (Riverside, Rhode Island), Bishop Joseph Binzer (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Bishop Peter Byrne (Hopewell Junction, New York). Numerous other prominent figures in the pro-life movement also spoke at services around the country, including Father Frank Pavone (Orlando, Florida), Alveda King (Decatur, Georgia), Rev. Walter Hoye (Fremont, California), Sandra Merritt (Southfield, Michigan), and Father Mitch Pacwa (Montgomery, Alabama).
Many post-abortive women also spoke at memorial services, including Maureen Deitche, who, along with her husband Paul, gave a moving testimony at a service held at the gravesite of 2,033 aborted babies at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. Maureen gave a heartbreaking account of an abortion she had when she was a 14-year old high school freshman who had gotten pregnant by her then-boyfriend Paul, a senior who was three years older.
Less than a year later, Maureen and Paul found themselves pregnant again, but this time, she refused to have an abortion, despite pressure from her family, who never knew about her previous abortion. Maureen and Paul were married on her 16th birthday, and eventually gave birth to four children. More than 40 years later, even after Maureen suffered terribly from bouts of depression stemming from post-abortion aftermath, they are still married.
Memorial Sites across the Country See Increased Attendance
Not only was the overall number of memorial services held across the country up from years, but several veteran leaders also reported a significant boost in the number of mourners who attended. Perhaps the most dramatic example was the memorial service held at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Clifton, New Jersey, which saw a fourfold increase in attendance relative to last year!
From an organizer’s standpoint, it was particularly edifying to have the opportunity to work with several individuals who, having learned about the National Day of Remembrance only a few days prior, were eager to take part. In one case, a woman in Florida signed up to lead a memorial service at the Nombre de Dios Mission in St. Augustine just two days before the National Day of Remembrance. Fully expecting that she and a friend would be the only ones there, she considered it a tremendous blessing that a total of nine people attended.
In similar fashion, the memorial service held at the burial site of an aborted baby known as “Chris” on the grounds of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Carmel, Indiana was also organized on short notice after a woman who heard our ad for the Day of Remembrance on EWTN Radio felt compelled to take on a leadership role. One of the mourners who attended was driving on her way to Florida and altered her route specifically so she could visit Chris’s gravesite and join others in prayer.
Regardless of the distance we traveled to attend a memorial service on Saturday, the thousands of pro-lifers who did so rightly recognized that we have an obligation to mourn the lives of our aborted brothers and sisters, who were made in the image and likeness of God, just like each of us. For if we do not mourn them, who will?
About the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children
The National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children is a joint project of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life, and the Pro-Life Action League. The first National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children was held in September 2013, and the event will be continue to be observed annually on the second Saturday of September.