Today I attended the funeral for a friend’s baby son, who was stillborn after 22 weeks in the womb. The parents named him Zachary. The image of the tiny, white coffin will always remain in my memory. Tears fell from many faces throughout the funeral Mass. Even the priest broke down in tears during his homily as he spoke consoling words to the congregation, causing even more tears to flow. (I was glad to have skipped the mascara this morning!)
It’s a good reminder of the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage. I saw my friend K lean on her husband’s arm as they followed the coffin out of the church. Only 1.5 years ago, she walked arm in arm with him down the aisle at their wedding. Today’s grief, and their faithfulness to each other and their Catholic faith stands as a powerful witness to the supernatural graces of marriage…and the need to cling to each other in good times and in bad.
It’s also a reminder of the dignity and sanctity of human life. K announced the death of her son on Facebook, no doubt evangelizing to many people who think a preborn child is not a person. Mourners were asked to make a donation to our local crisis pregnancy center in lieu of flowers.
As we approach January 22nd, the anniversary of the legalization of abortion, little Zachary’s coffin will stay at the forefront of my mind. Now that he rejoices with the saints and angels in heaven, perhaps he will pray for the end to abortion as well.