Contributors Family matters

Do you love and pray for a child who died before birth?

Libby DuPont is a consultant for the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life.

by Libby DuPont

My children Peter and Gianna, born in 2006 and 2008, did not live long enough to teach me the kinds of things I’ve learned from my two living children: the details of the Marvel Universe, all my state capitals, the characters of Disney’s “Descendants,” even the basics of American Sign Language. But their short lives have taught me so much.

The saints are real. Two of my children are in heaven, which makes an abstract concept like “the communion of saints” very concrete. My daughter Gianna was born during my time in graduate school, and one of my classmates became very fond of her.

After her death, this woman and her family began to ask for “Baby Gianna’s” intercession every night at dinner. A few years later, this classmate recounted to me a profound experience she had that led to the founding of a very fruitful apostolate in the church — on Gianna’s birthday. My little saints are hard at work!

Salvation isn’t earned. From a worldly perspective, my children accomplished nothing in their short lives. They simply received love from their family and were recipients of the reckless grace of God.

As an adult, of course I need to act on my love for God and others, but my little saints remind me that I make the biggest impact on the world simply by allowing myself to be loved, and by opening myself up to God’s grace.

It’s OK to let time pass. My oldest son just started his senior year of high school, so I’ve been bracing myself for all the feelings that will come with him leaving the nest. But my perspective changed recently as we celebrated Peter’s 16th birthday.

I reflected on how wonderful it will be to have all of eternity to get to know my other son and daughter, to swap stories and hang out. In fact, on the day that we are all reunited, the time we have spent apart will feel like a long line at the grocery store or a red light that took too long to change. I’m free to embrace whatever life sends me because I know the best is yet to come!

If you love a child who died before or shortly after birth (or if you would just like to support others who do), please join us Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park for the Mass of Innocents.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann will preside at this annual Mass and will pray with the names of the children and families represented for the month of November. No RSVP is required.

If you have questions, contact Brad DuPont by email at: or call (913) 647-0301.

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Libby DuPont

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