Celebrating Our Infants: The Feast of The Holy Innocents

December 28 2011 - Infant Loss Memorial Service at St. Ann’s Parish, Abbotsford

For the second year, St Ann’s Parish (33333 Mayfair Ave Abbotsford) will host a special remembrance on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28th. Mass is at 7pm, reception to follow.

This service is for parents and loved ones of all babies lost to miscarriage, pre-term birth, stillbirth, and infant death.  Anyone who is grieving due to post abortion trauma is also welcome.

Bereaved parents, friends and other family members are invited to come and celebrate the all-too-brief lives of their dearly loved and missed babies. Please visit St. Ann’s Parish website for future bulletins and more details as the feast day draws nearer.

2010 Program and white angel memento given to families

Here is an account of what I experienced at this service last year:

Celebration of Life Remembrance Service Dec. 28th

Bereaved parents, family members and friends were invited to the Celebration of Life Remembrance Service at St. Ann’s Parish in Abbotsford to honour infants and babies who have died during pregnancy, at birth and shortly after birth.  On this day, the Feast of the Holy Innocents has been set aside in some Christian traditions to remember little ones who have died much too soon.

In the program, a number of quotes and scriptures were included, but the one that struck me the most was the following by Mother M. Angelica.  When I started reading this quote, the words resonated deep within and my eyes got teary even before the service started:

My Lord, the baby is dead!

 Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

 “Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why.

 You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”

                                                                                        Mother M. Angelica

St. Ann's Book of Life

I cried quite a few tears that evening, but they were healing tears rather than bitter tears of despair that I cried in the many months immediately after my son’s death. 

During the service Father James Hughes, Pastor at St. Ann’s acknowledged that the Christmas season may not be a joyful time of celebration for all families, especially those mourning the loss of a child.  It was his hope that remembrance Masses like these would help bring hope and healing to grieving parents and family members.    

What I found particularly touching was the part of the remembrance celebration when parents and siblings were invited to light a candle in memory of our little one(s).  We all gathered at the entrance way and one by one, about 30 of us lit a candle carefully cradling our tiny light and carrying it up to the table.  It was a beautiful sight to see all of the votives placed together creating a soft flickering glow for the remainder of the Mass.   

Thank you Jody and Karen for requesting this special service.  To Father James and St. Ann’s Parish, we appreciate you setting aside this time for us to gather together to love, remember and honour our children especially during the holidays. 

Pls. note:  An Elizabeth Minister will be at this event, email:  info(at)littlelightofheaven(dot) com if you would like to meet at this event.

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