Five Who Were Forgotten Are Finally Laid to Rest
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
October 16, 2017

MCHENRY—Baby John Patrick. Baby Angel Marie. Baby twins Thomas Peter and Matthew James. Baby Maria Elizabeth.

The names of the five children were solemnly read at a late-morning Mass at St. Patrick Parish, here, on Oct. 3, their tiny caskets resting on a table before the altar, a rose on each.

Angel Marie was stillborn at six months in 2007. The twins miscarried in 1997 when their mother was assaulted. Maria Elizabeth miscarried at eight weeks, also because of violence against her mother. And the body of full-term baby John Patrick was found in 1992 in a Crystal Lake restaurant dumpster.

The five tiny bodies had been held in the county morgue for many years.

The Mass was coordinated with a non-profit group called Rest In His Arms, which provides funeral services and burials for abandoned children.

Susan Walker, founder of Rest In His Arms, credits McHenry County coroner, Dr. Anne Majewski, for working to get the bodies released for burial — a process that took three years from the time the ministry volunteered to make the arrangements.

Father Godwin Asuquo, pastor, of St. Patrick, celebrated the Mass.

“This is a good witness and a testimony to the respect that we owe to human life,” he said.

After reading the names out loud, he said, the names of the twins “just hit me. I am a twin. That could be me.

“Maybe one of these could (have been) you ... John Patrick, full-term baby, born at nine months,” he added. “That could be any of us.” He paused a moment as his eyes teared up, along with the eyes of several people in the pews.

“Human life. Human life,” Father Asuquo said. “We need to pray against violence ... God loves all of us, whether (we are) in the womb or are old, God doesn’t love anyone less.”

Calling for prayers for our country and noting that the crosses erected in front of the church each represented one million children lost to abortion, he said “if we refuse to protect them in the womb, it becomes pretentious to do violent things ...

“We put these souls, these little children into the hands of their loving Father, God who loved them, who knew them even in their mothers’ wombs, who loved them even at the point where they faced ...,” he paused, “... unimaginable death. We pray also for forgiveness for their parents ... for forgiveness for our country (and) that our country may know that God is merciful.”

Parishioners responded to the parish’s call to “come help us pray for the repose of their souls and thank our loving God for the great gift of life,” with at least one, and often several, people occupying nearly every pew in the church.

Tiffany Zielinski was one of those parishioners, arranging to leave work early so she could attend. But she wasn’t sure at first if it was all real.

While waiting at St. Patrick Countryside Cemetery with her mother, Jennifer, for the funeral procession to arrive, she asked if it was “a mock funeral.” Assured that the little bodies of these children were present in the two small and three tiny caskets, she spent some time reading over gravestones in the children’s section as she wrapped her mind around it all.

Later, when asked to be a pallbearer, Tiffany bore one of the tiny caskets from the hearse to the gravesite. Along with the other men and women who had traveled to the cemetery, she placed roses on the caskets and assisted in filling the grave.

The first shovelful is done with the shovel upside down “to show reluctance,” Walker said, demonstrating. A second and third shovelful was added to illustrate the filling of the grave was a deliberate act and one that was permanent, she said.

Deacon Dennis Holian presided at the gravesite service, noting that “one day we will be reunited with these babies” before he again read their names: John Patrick. Angel Marie. Thomas Peter. Matthew James. Maria Elizabeth.

The deacon then brought out a wicker basket filled with cooing, white homing pigeons and handed them to some of the children who were present. When released, the birds flew into the blue sky together, one dove pausing a moment on a tree branch to look down at everyone before heading to its home.

As people mingled for a few moments beside the gravesite – which soon will have a marker with the babies’ names – Tiffany went over to talk with Susan Walker about Rest In His Arms.

She wanted to volunteer.