By John T. Gillespie
Special to the CS&T

For the defenseless victims of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic, there may yet be dignity in death.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has set aside a potential grave site in the recently opened infant section of All Souls Cemetery in West Brandywine and is now accepting contributions for a burial fund.

A Philadelphia grand jury estimated “hundreds” of late term babies were born alive and killed in Gosnell’s clinic then stored in jars and containers, some in a freezer.

Catholic Cemeteries Director Robert Whomsley said he is “prepared to receive these children and bury them in whatever way the Archdiocese decides.” {{more}}

Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia John J. McIntyre said, “Every effort will be made to identify the babies as inspaniduals and bury them that way. If there are body parts, we would probably bury them in a dignified manner, in one coffin.”

Besides providing dignity in death, Bishop McIntyre said the burial offer is “testimony to the Church’s respect for all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

“If we can move peoples’ hearts through this story to see the true sacredness of all human life, then we can say that these infants did not die in vain,” he said.

No funeral can take place until Gosnell has been tried and exhausted his appeals. Until then, the babies, and parts of infants, must be held as evidence. The process could take months or even years.

The idea for a burial fund came from Bucks County mother of four adopted sons, Rachael Tennyson Gallagher, who offered to make a gift and raise money from others. Her story was given wide circulation by Daily News columnist Stu Bykovsky and drew immediate offers from others, including several funeral directors who said they would pay for a funeral and burial.

Bishop McIntyre said donated money will be kept in the fund until the bodies are released, and that the fund “would pay for a memorial and other things, such as the caskets.”

Plans call for a Mass to be celebrated at which the public can pray and pay their respects.

If donations exceed the funeral costs, Bishop McIntyre said that the remaining money would be used to help bury other infants whose parents were unable to afford a funeral or a burial.

Donations can be sent to the Archdiocesan Infant Memorial Fund, Room 830, 222 N. 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.

John T. Gillespie is a freelance writer and member of St. Bridget Parish.

Link to the CNN story.

Link to the KYW story.