What did you over the past weekend, Chicago Catholics? For many us, it was a time for fun and games as we settled into the fall season. But for others, it was a very poignant time. On Saturday, September 14, 2013, pro-lifers across America gathered at the grave sites of aborted babies for the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, a joint project sponsored by Priests for Life, the Pro-Life Action League, and Citizens for a Pro-life Society.
The Day of Remembrance was a time for solemn vigils to honor more than 50 million children who have lost their lives to legal abortion since 1973, and visit the grave sites of tens of thousands of aborted babies that have been buried throughout the United States. Many Americans have a hard time visualizing the impact of abortion, until they see the effects of it for themselves. This is especially true for a lot of Chicago area residents, given the largely abortion-on-demand culture of the local media and many of our politicians. It might come as a surprise to Chicagoans to learn that three burial places for unborn babies are right here in the Chicago area, and all three had memorial services during the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children:
The first grave site is in Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 1400 S. Wolf Road, in Hillside, Illinois. The memorial service was held at 2:00 pm, with Cardinal Francis George and Joe Scheidler overseeing the service.
The second grave site is in Resurrection Cemetery at 200 W. Romeo Road in Romeoville, Illinois. The memorial service was held at 1:00 pm, with Bishop Joseph Siegel and Jill Stanek overseeing the service.
The third grave site is in St. Mary's Cemetery at 87th St. and Hamlin Ave. in Evergreen Park, Illinois. The memorial service was held at 2:00 pm, with Bishop Alberto Rojas and Fr. James Hyland overseeing the service.
As a resident of southwest Cook County, my mother was able to participate in the memorial service at the third location. Along with all the other memorial services that day, it was attended by a large crowd. Visiting the St. Mary's location is particularly melancholic when one learns about the events that lead unborn babies to be buried there. In 1987, with very little public notice, approximately 500 aborted babies whose remains were found in dumpsters behind a downtown Chicago abortion clinic were buried together in St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park. If they were alive today, they'd be 26 years old.
Bishop Alberto Rojas, an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, spoke at the service and reminded the crowd at the graves that they should not only remember the babies buried below them, but the thousands of other unborn babies that were killed through abortion, and never received a proper burial. Fr. James Hyland of Most Holy Redeemer Parish and Fr. Mark Walter of St. Linus Parish also spoke at the service. But perhaps the most moving speaker was Carol Rybacki from the Silent No More Campaign. She addressed the crowd and discussed the regret she had from getting an abortion 43 years ago, explaining the damaging impact that abortion had on her life and health. Carol's voice stammered as she discussed being naive about the abortion procedure and not realizing it involved taking a human life, until she saw the body of her dead son. “My problem didn't end with an abortion; it was only the beginning.” she told a crowd assembled at St. Mary's. She then shared the years of anguish she had in her life, until God helped her find peace and to lead efforts to end abortion.
At the end of the service, all the people in attendance who were born after 1974 were asked to come forward, to remind the audience that 50 million children conceived since that time have been aborted and are not among their peers today.
If you would like to see the grave site for yourself, the memorial in St. Mary's is located in Section AAI. Elsewhere in Chicago, Cardinal George's thoughtful comments from the Hillside memorial have been recorded and placed on YouTube.
Proponents of abortion like to claim that they “personally” oppose it but that it should be a “woman's choice”. This denies the reality of what happens during an abortion. We must accept that killing innocent human beings is never a “choice” that needs to be made.