By Zion Leon Guerrero
Umatuna Si Yu’os
On Monday, Mar. 25, 2019, dozens of our Catholic faithful laid to rest 19 fetuses: two from Guam Regional Medical City and 17 from Guam Memorial Hospital, all of which are reported miscarriages.
According to Patricia R. Perry, co-chair of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee (CPLC), “[burying the fetuses]…was an expression of faith, love, and care to the innocent children who died before full term by miscarriages.”
She continued to say that it is “a worthy example to hand down to all generations that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death and are worthy of decent burial.”
Burial of the fetuses, started as far back as when abortion became legal in 1973. Guamanians United For Life (GUFL), headed by Sister Ursula Fritz and assisted by then-president Terry Allegarbes, would collect unclaimed fetuses at GMH and a priest would perform the burial.
In the early 80’s, according to Perry, the Knights of Columbus were actively involved with the burials, and “we became more organized and did the burials on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Dec. 28.”
Furthermore Perry explained, GUFL reorganized in the 90’s and became the Catholic Pro-Life Committee headed by Deacon Frank Tenorio and his wife, Maria ‘Tita’ Tenorio. Last year, CPLC changed leadership, and Marilu Martinez became the director and organized the burial.
Later in November 2018, Father Michael Crisostomo called for a meeting for CPLC members to regroup. At this meeting, Jonathan Bordallo and Perry were appointed co-chairs. The burial this past Monday was their first project.
“The purpose of the burial of the fetuses, is in compliance with the moral obligation given by the church,” Perry said. “It is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy – to bury the dead.”
Perry continued, “As we learned in theology, all human life is sacred and made in the image and likeness of God. We are made aware that these little infants, little fetuses, even in embryonic stage, from the moment of conception, have intrinsic value and inherent dignity.”