Families cherish the love they hold in their hearts

HIGHLAND – “We are blessed with a large image of The Divine Mercy (here, next to the altar), and we call upon his mercy – that hearts might be healed and little ones be called to his grace,” said Bishop Robert J. McClory as he welcomed grieving families to the annual Remembering the Children Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Mass held by the Diocese of Gary on May 7 at St. James the Less.
Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins gathered to hear, as they were read aloud, the names of children who were lost through miscarriage, stillborn or perished as infants. A memorial candle was lit for each child during Mass. Near the end of the liturgy, Bishop McClory called each family forward to  present them with the lit candle representing their loved one.
“As Catholic Christians, the light of a candle represents the light of Christ, and also life,” said Father Rick Holy, diocesan pro-life director and pastor at St. Edward in Lowell. “We have to have light to have life; in darkness we couldn’t grow plants or sustain life. Therefore a lit candle, a flame, kind of represents a living thing.”
In his homily, Bishop McClory pointed out that the day’s Gospel reading,  from John 14:1-12, is the most common scripture reading chosen for funeral liturgies. “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ Jesus said to his disciples.’ Those are words of compassion, words of love.”
It speaks to the place God will prepare in Heaven for each of his faithful, and can offer comfort to those mourning the loss of a loved one. “Today we have an image of Heaven, and Jesus will do just that for us (prepare us a place). His care for us is our ultimate heavenly home,” said the bishop. “It is a home beyond this home – our heavenly home – and in our own way we will all experience, as we can’t now, and see, all (of our loved ones), even if we had not before seen them as we would have liked.”
Jesus says in John 14, noted the bishop, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
“Whatever pain we experience, whatever pain we give voice to today,” added the bishop, “The response is the same – turn to Jesus.
“You have faith in God, so have faith in The Divine Mercy (and say) ‘Jesus, I trust in you.’”
Vickie Wrobel, a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace in Highland, came to the Mass of remembrance to honor a child lost through a miscarriage as well as a son born with special needs. “He lived to 37, but never advanced mentally beyond the age of four.” she said. “He was the most wonderful boy, and I was so blessed to have had him. I worried when he died that not many people would come to his funeral, but the church was full of so many people whose lives he had touched.”
Father Holy said it is important to remember at Mass the children that were lost even before they had a chance to be born. “Miscarriage is so much more common than people think,” he noted. “Even in my own family, nieces and sisters and in-laws have had miscarriages mixed with live births.
“Nothing has been (done) to recognize that loss in some cases, so Masses like this one give recognition to that life,” Father Holy said. “When a woman is pregnant, people say ‘She is going to be a mother,’ but she is already a mother, and we are remembering at this Mass the child, and also the grieving mother and father.”
“Thank you for coming today, as we place our trust in Jesus,” Bishop McClory said in closing the liturgy.