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St. Agnes Parish remembers deceased children


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More than 100 deceased children are remembered upon the memorial wall of St. Agnes of Bohemia Parish of Little Village. Etched into the wall are the names of anyone from the parish under the age of 20 who has died since 2000. Of these, about 65 were under the age of three.

Father Matthew Foley, pastor of St. Agnes, said that violence accounts for about one fourth of the names on the wall, the rest being results of various sicknesses and accidents. Numerous deaths have occurred in the parish which have not yet been added to the memorial.

“The sad part is that we have to put up another panel; the good part is that they’re always with us,” Foley said.

New names are added each year at the May crowning, when families are asked to bring photographs and other objects by which to remember their deceased children. The memorial also provides a physical representation where everyone can remember and spontaneously pray for the children at any time.

“Many parishioners cannot make the trip out to cemeteries to visit the buried children, and so having the wall at St. Agnes gives them a place to pray that is nearby,” Foley said.

The wall stands as a testament to the short lives of these children, and also as a reminder of the problems leading to their passing.

“We have the wall to remember the children who have died from violence and also from what I see to be poor healthcare alternatives,” Foley explained. “We want to remember the children and also help to better the healthcare situation, especially for the expectant mothers.”

These youth live on in the memory of all those loved ones who come to the wall for comfort, to be with those whose names are etched into their hearts.

“We remember their deaths by looking at the wall. It keeps the children alive,” Foley said.