Sunday, December 20, 2015

Group Helps Memorialize Children Lost Through Miscarriage, Stillbirths


ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) — When Kara Palladino lost a child through miscarriage about a year ago, she knew she wanted to bury the baby in a way that honored her Catholic faith.

But after calling a long list of funeral homes and cemeteries, she couldn’t find any with a plan in place to bury and memorialize an infant lost before birth. In many cases, the cost was prohibitive, with one cemetery charging $5,000 for a burial.

The experience motivated Palladino, a parishioner of Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, to make the process easier for other grieving parents.

“I didn’t want people to have to suffer needlessly, to have to hear ‘no’, ‘no,’ ‘no’ when they are in such a state,” she said. So the mother of seven — including one deceased child — went to work creating “a m.o.m.s. peace: a ministry for mothers of miscarried and stillborn souls.”

The ministry walks families through the burial process and offers programs to commemorate the young lives. It aligns with Catholic teaching, but individuals of all faiths are welcome, said Palladino. Serving families in central and Northern Virginia, the ministry charges a small fee to cover costs, which are offset by donations.

Through partnerships with local cemeteries, a m.o.m.s. peace helps secure an affordable location to bury a child and helps obtain graveside markers and a casket. The ministry also serves parents who do not have the baby’s remains. Whether a woman loses a baby late-term or miscarries just weeks into the pregnancy, “we are here to embrace her,” Palladino told the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.

Mary McCarthy Hines, who gave birth to her stillborn daughter in September, reached out to a m.o.m.s. peace for help ordering and overseeing the installation of a grave marker. “When grieving, any amount of help you can get to handle those logistical details takes such a load off the effort,” said Hines, a member of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield.

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