October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and St. George Parish in Hermann hosted a candle-lit Mass for any and all members of the community, young and old, who have ever lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, or any other cause at any point during pregnancy or infancy.
A “Night of Hope and Healing” was held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg on Oct. 26.
Father Philip Niekamp, pastor of St. George Parish and of Church of the Risen Savior Parish in Rhineland and spiritual director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, offered the Mass.
The evening was sponsored by the Sisters of St. Zelie Ministry at St. George Church in Hermann.
Organizers invited families who had lost a child at any point in their lives to attend as well, and there was a reception after the Mass where the attendees gathered in fellowship with one another.
Each family received a candle for each little one they have in heaven, and those children were prayed for aloud by name.
“It was such a healing evening for me and my husband,” said parishioner Molly Cody. “We lost our second baby early in pregnancy and, like most people who experience an early miscarriage, we didn’t get to have a funeral service.”
She said that in this culture, a miscarriage can be overlooked in terms of a loss.
“But in reality, the grief is there ... right along with the hole in your heart and in your family,” said Mrs. Cody. “Attending this candle-lit Mass, where the life of our baby was acknowledged and honored, was so incredibly healing for us.”
This was a first of what parishioners hope will be an annual event.