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An extraordinary funeral

An unusual ceremony in Poland

Respect for human life is also expressed by respect for the human body after death. For some time now, a trend is observed in some Western countries of decreasing respect for human life from conception and, at the same time, for the dignity of the human body. In Sweden, bodies wait for months to be buried. In other countries, motivated by environmental protection, lunatic ideas has been developed to transform bodies into plant fertilizer.

The opposite trend is also visible, towards greater care for the bodies, also of children who died before birth. This can be observed for fifteen years in Poland. In 2005, on the initiative of Mrs Maria Bienkiewicz, the first funeral of the bodies of such children took place in Poland. In the same year, the principles of caring for the body of children lost before birth were developed for the first time and put into practice at the Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw, headed by prof. Bogdan Chazan. The idea was adopted by other hospitals, and amended legislation was drafted. But dead children are not treated humanly everywhere. In many hospitals their bodies are still kept endlessly.

The same Mrs. Maria Bienkiewicz took pity on them again. An unusual ceremony took place on December 12, 2020 in the church in Gończyce, a village about 100 km from Warsaw. 640 coffins containing the bodies of children who died in different periods of pre-birth life, from stillbirths, miscarriages and abortions were rested in front of the altar. They were brought from various hospitals, mainly from Warsaw.

The funeral ceremony was preceded by a night vigil, during which the parents of the children were prayed for. The Eucharist was celebrated by Bishop Kazimierz Gurda from the Diocese of Siedlce. In his homily, he said: “These children have the right, as persons from conception, to a dignified burial. The right to life is a fundamental right nobody can be deprived of, including a vulnerable child in the womb. Whoever has received the grace of life from God has the right to life and be loved. Their life story completed within a few months, even before birth, does not mean that they ceased to exist. A person's life changes, but it does not end. Their life goes on. God extended it for all eternity. "

After the Holy Mass the participants of the ceremony carried the bodies of the children to a nearby cemetery, where they were solemnly buried in a common grave.

Prof. Bogdan Chazan, medical director of the organization of Catholic gynecologists MaterCare International, invited the Bishop and then all the gathered to toll the Vox Nasciturus Bell (the Voice of the Unborn). The bell was cast this year thanks to the initiative of Mr. Bogdan Romaniuk, vice-president of the "Yes to life" foundation of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary based in Rzeszów, Poland. When Pope Francis consecrated the bell in Rome on September 23, 2020, he expressed the wish that the bell accompany the events aimed at reminding us of the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Therefore, the bell was also present at the funeral of unborn children in Gończyce.

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