Monument for the unborn transferred from Provo cemetery to St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Friday, Jul. 29, 2022
Monument for the unborn transferred from Provo cemetery to St. Francis of Assisi Parish + Enlarge
This monument to the unborn has been moved from the Provo City Cemetery to the entrance of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Orem.
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

OREM — In 1995, the Provo City Cemetery welcomed a memorial for the unborn donated by the Utah Knights of Columbus Council 1136. The monument was installed near the cemetery’s south entrance, but recently the Knights received a phone call indicating that the monument had been removed and placed in storage.
When one of the Knights went to the cemetery to ask what had happened, “he was informed that there was a complaint by a lady that had recently buried her baby and complained about the image in the monument, so they had to remove it,” said John Gauchi, the council’s Grand Knight. 
The monument had been placed next to the grave of Baby Jane, an infant who was abandoned in the Provo River in February 1992. Both monuments were given a place at the head of the “Babyland” section of the cemetery, which is the resting place for babies who lived only a short time.
The news of the removal struck Gauchi hard.
“At first I was a little irritated and asked myself ‘Why?’ Then I was very sad that they took it down.” However, “When I saw a picture of it, I kind of understood where the lady that complained was coming from,” he said.
On one side the monument depicts the image of a fetus with the inscription, “Memorial for the unborn victims of abortion,” and quoting Psalms 127:3: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” The back of the monument reads “Saint Francis of Assisi Parish Knights of Columbus Council 1136.”
Although Gauchi was saddened by the removal of the monument, “I understood that lady was grieving the loss of her baby,” he said.
The cemetery’s decision was something of a blessing in disguise. Several of the Knights at the parish, including Gauchi, have had the idea for some time to create a special garden or a memorial at St. Francis of Assisi for the unborn, so when they learned about the monument being removed, “we also knew that the time was appropriate. … We thought, ‘Now that we have this, this is the right time to have this memorial in our parish,’” Gauchi said.
The Knights arranged to have the monument that had been at the cemetery transported to the parish. Walker Monument, a company that serves cemeteries in Utah, lent a hand to the Knights in transporting and installing the monument at the entrance of the church.
Having the monument at the parish is important, Gauchi said, because “remembering the importance of life is basic. … This is the most important thing that we can do, especially with what is going on in the world.”
He is relieved that the Knights could rescue the monument, he said. “The process was harder than expected, but with some help and support it’s now at our parish.”
The whole incident with the monument has made him sure that God sends messages in mysterious ways, he said.
“I honestly think that this memorial is exactly that. … Now that we have it in our parish, I can see now how God works,” he said, especially because the same weekend that they installed the monument at the parish the Knights were also hosting the Silver Rose, a national program that promotes the dignity of all human life. 
“Having both at the same time was a huge blessing,” Gauchi said. “I was so glad that I was able to be part of this.”
Father Eleazar Silva, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, said that having the monument at the parish is a blessing.
“The idea is beautiful because with it we are reinforcing our conviction of our faith in God and in life. … We have been given the chance to defend life in all its stages,” Fr. Silva said.
The monument is a tangible reminder of the importance of protecting and respecting life in all its stages, Fr. Silva said, and having it at the front entrance of the church gives the parishioners an opportunity to stop and reflect.
“People were very happy to receive it,” he said. “We were very sad, thinking that it was lost but … now that it is here in our possession, all the people in the parish are very happy to see it present,  to be able to celebrate it.” 

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