Archdiocese Local

Cemetery monuments symbolize value of young lives

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blesses the new Guardian Angel Shrine in the infant burial section of Gate of Heaven Cemetery Oct. 3. By Therese Horvat.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann blesses the new Guardian Angel Shrine in the infant burial section of Gate of Heaven Cemetery Oct. 3. By Therese Horvat.

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two new monuments at a cemetery here are reminders of the dignity of human life and a comfort for those who mourn lost children, said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.

Archbishop Naumann was the main celebrant and homilist at a Mass and blessing of the monuments on Oct. 3 at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Kansas City, Kan.

The first monument, made of red granite, is to infant martyrs, victims of abortion. The William T. Fitzsimons Assembly of the Knights of Columbus was the main sponsor of the monument, along with parishes, families and individuals.

The second monument, located a short distance east in a section reserved for burial of infants and stillborn children, is the fiber-bronze Guardian Angel Shrine. Catholic Cemeteries sponsored this monument.

In his homily at the dedication Mass in the Holy Redeemer Mausoleum Chapel, Archbishop Naumann said the monuments are recognition of the importance of the young lives of those commemorated.

These young children, he said, are witnesses for Christ in the same sense as the Holy Innocents who were killed in place of Jesus. Just as the Holy Innocents died due to King Herod’s fear, the victim martyrs of abortion died because of the fear of their parents.

Unfortunately, this culture has given legal sanction to abortion and says it’s acceptable, even a good thing, especially in the case of an unborn child who might grow up with a disability, said the archbishop.

“So these monuments stand as symbols and signs of our own convictions as Catholic people, to people of different faiths and no faith, that each life is sacred and worthy of protection and care,” said the archbishop.

The monuments, in addition to providing a witness, also give a place to grieve for those who have lost children due to abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth or early death.

“It is important that we, as the church, honor the dignity and worth of these children,” said the archbishop. “It’s important that we see their lives as significant and that they be buried with dignity and honor.”

People can still purchase memorial bricks for placement in the short walkway of the infant martyrs, victims of abortion, monument. Smaller 8-by-4- inch bricks with embossed names cost $100; larger 16-by-12-inch engraved mahogany granite bricks are $350.

Future plans for the Guardian Angel Shrine include memorial inscriptions for the names of children buried in the cemetery. For information about the monuments, call Catholic Cemeteries at (913) 371-4040, or go to the website at:

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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