Photo: Felix Carroll

Since its opening, the Shrine of the Holy Innocents has been a big draw to visitors of Eden Hill.

A Light Shines After a Devastating Loss

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By Dan Valenti (Aug 3, 2010)
In a recent homily, Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., focused on the value of children, noting the many references St. Faustina makes in her Diary to the Infant Jesus.

"The Child Jesus shows us the nature of true greatness," Fr. Anthony said. "It doesn't come from momentous deeds, but through loving God and being humble." He noted that children, by their natures, are innocent and simple. They accept faith willingly, and they give of themselves unselfishly.

"Children are good," Fr. Anthony said. "Children can teach us what mercy is like. Children can teach us what loving God is like." He then mentioned the new Shrine of the Holy Innocents, located in the lower level of the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine.

The Marians dedicated the Shrine of the Holy Innocents in a Mass on July 17. Already, the new Shrine has begun providing parents and family members comfort and healing from what is one of life's most devastating events: the loss of a child.


Father Anthony said the Shrine of the Holy Innocents came about a few years ago during a Project Rachel retreat for post-abortive women and men, conducted on Eden Hill at the National Shrine. One of the retreat participants mentioned how she would love to have a place where she could memorialize her aborted child.

The remark clicked the "light bulb" over Fr. Anthony's head. The new Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine had just been dedicated, and the lower level was, in his words, "available space, there for the asking." There were yet no plans for the lower level. In prayer, Fr. Anthony said he received the inspiration to ask the Marians for permission to build the Holy Innocents Shrine. That request was granted.

Still under construction though nearly finished and available for worship, the Shrine of the Holy Innocents memorializes any child who has died, whether from abortion, miscarriage, illness, or any other cause. It is a place where parents can remember deceased children and help heal from their loss by placing their children's names on a tile adorning the wall.

Commenting on the location, Fr. Anthony said, "The new shrine is hidden: You can't see it. I asked God in prayer why. The answer He gave me — because the Shrine of the Holy Innocents is the womb of the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine. These children are safe here, in a sacred womb, under the protection of the Blessed Mother."

Father Anthony said the ultimate goal is the help create a culture of mercy in America, something that cannot happen until we "build a culture of life. That's what we're doing here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, every day."

Learn more about the Shrine of the Holy Innocents.

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