Nearly a thousand people packed St. Mary's Cathedral Saturday morning for a funeral mass. But this wasn't your typical funeral -- it was held for the 17 aborted fetuses found January in a dumpster near the Woman's Choice Clinic in Delta Township. Lansing police had to block off surrounding streets, essentially making them parking lots to accomodate the crowd. A burial followed at St. Joseph's cemetery.
"For these children, that they may now enjoy the place prepared for them, we pray to the Lord," said Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing Diocese.
Boyea says abortion is something many can relate to.
"Anyone who's felt abandoned in their life knows what that's like," he said. "Anyone who denies them or chooses not to love them. It's a painful experience."
Organizers hope the grave can offer closure, not only to the women whose aborted fetuses are buried here, but to anyone who's ever had an abortion or been part of that decision.
"That some respect was paid to their unborn child, I hope will bring them a comfort, a healing, and a sense of peace," said Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
It does for Cecilia Tombelli, a mother of six whose second child was stillborn.
"I can't even tell you what kind of grief I was going through. It was the saddest day of my life to leave the hospital, gone through labor and delivery without a child in my arms," she said.
And in a decidedly anti-abortion crowd, more than a handful took a rose--said to mean they'd had an abortion, miscarriage, or loss of a young child.