By Tim Harfmann
NYPD officers escorted the funeral hearse as it slowly rolled up to the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park, Brooklyn on Saturday, June 29.
It was the final farewell to an unborn child who never had the chance to take her first breathe.
A bagpipe blared as one officer carried the tiny, white casket into the basilica. Inside that casket was the body of an unborn baby girl believed to have been in the fifth month of pregnancy. She was abandoned by her mother earlier this year. The funeral was organized by Life Center of New York, a crisis pregnancy center in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
“We’re giving, in debit, to baby Monica the respect and dignity that she didn’t have in life,” said Trabulsi, executive director of Life Center.
They named her “Baby Monica” in honor of Saint Monica, who was known for her dying words.
“‘Care not where you lay my bones, just remember me at the altar.’ So, we’re remembering Monica at the altar,” said Trabulsi.
On February 18, Baby Monica’s body was discovered in a bag near a tree on the corner of Linden Boulevard and Bradford Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. According to the NYPD, the mother hasn’t been identified.
The Life Center was so touched by the news, they contacted the medical examiner’s office and within the last few weeks, the office released Baby Monica’s body so they could give her a final farewell.
“We’re not judging the mom or anything to that, but we want to show that the culture of life exists around the culture of death that we have in our state and our country,” Trabulsi said.
Over 100 Catholics filled the pews of the basilica.
“God bless this baby. We know she’s in the arms of our Lord,” said Cathy Donohoe, who attended the funeral. She is the president of Bridge to Life, a pregnancy center in Flushing, Queens. “But, pray for the mothers that have such tremendous decisions to make when they’re pregnant.”
Pro-life advocates also wanted pregnant mothers to know that help is available.
Former New York State Republican Senator Marty Golden said parents can turn to safe havens.
Under the state’s Abandoned Infant Protection Act, parents do not face charges for handing over custody of a newborn a month old or younger if it is done in a safe manner.
“Anybody that needs help can go to a police department, a fire department, a church. No questions asked, just turn the baby over,” said Golden. “There are plenty of people out there that are dying to have a baby, to be able to bring a child into this world and to bring a child up in this world.”
Baby Monica was buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Staten Island.
Her body has finally been laid to rest.