The first funeral of unborn children in Poland

Artur Stelmasiak

On 20 June 2005 there was a collective funeral of unborn children who died as the result of abortion or miscarriage. It was the first funeral of that sort in Poland. 'Today's celebration makes us aware that every man is embraced by God's Mercy', said Fr Prof. Jerzy Bajda at the funeral Mass. Thanks to the organisers of this unprecedented funeral the bodies of children were not desecrated. The children's remains are often simply thrown out with the rubbish. The bodies were taken from one of the Warsaw hospitals. However, its name was not mentioned.
The bodies of the children were put in ten small white coffins. There were in front of the altar at the funeral Mass. 'These little coffins in the church oblige us to reflect and make an examination of conscience', Fr Bajda, Institute of Family Studies at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, said in his homily. This funeral is an expression of respect for the remains of unborn children. I also hope that the authorities that are responsible for family and the state will pass suitable bill to protect human rights. The right to live, right to family, dignity and love', Fr Bajda said. After the Mass a funeral procession began. The coffins with remains of the unborn children were buried in the parish cemetery in a collective grave. One of the main organisers of the funeral was Maria Bienkiewicz, the Nazareth Foundation. Three months ago she approached Fr Jozef Maj, parish priest of St Catherine's Church, about the possibility of such a funeral. That period was needed to settle the legal matters.
Maria Bienkiewicz, organiser of the funeral and foundress of the Nazareth Foundation, aiming at protecting human life, said, 'We want this funeral to make all people realise that every human being is to be respected at each phase of his/her life, even after death. Thus we want to honour millions of murdered children, who vanished without trace. We would like to turn attention to those millions of children whose bodies are treated as rubbish. Every day numerous bodies of children who die as the result of abortion, miscarriage or other causes disappear without trace. They are thrown out with the rubbish or even with the water in the toilet bowl. Feeling the responsibility for human dignity we want to have a worthy burial for all people. We are living in a civilised country and the bodies of our children are treated as waste. Today's Mass is to focus on those millions of children who are murdered as the result of abortion. A few days ago a woman who had miscarried her child telephoned me. She asked if she could put her baby into one of those coffins. Naturally, I agreed. But it turned out that she had big problems to get her child's body back.

"Niedziela" 44/2005

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: