Rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, was the guest on EWTN's "Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel" on Jan. 25. He was invited to discuss the sanctity of life and the Marians' plans for a new Shrine of the Holy Innocents on the grounds of the National Shrine, in Stockbridge, Mass.
"It will be a memorial shrine dedicated to all deceased children," explained Fr. Anthony. That includes stillborn, miscarried, and aborted babies, and children who died in infancy.
"The idea is that the parents and family of the children can memorialize their children by having their names up on a plaque," said Fr. Anthony. [Learn more about the Shrine of the Holy Innocents]
"The message," said Fr. Groeschel," is that they are all human beings, and like everybody else, they deserve to be remembered. And don't you think, Father, that the mother of a stillborn child or a child who dies in infancy or even a mother who regrets that she had an abortion, don't you think they want one little thing on this earth in memory of that little life?"
That's precisely what spurred the plans, Fr. Anthony explained.
The Shrine of the Holy Innocents will be located on the lower level of the new Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine, which debuted on EWTN's live broadcast of Divine Mercy Sunday last April.
Father Groeschel asked Fr. Anthony how the Shrine of the Holy Innocents fits in with the Marians' work in spreading the message of Divine Mercy throughout the world.
"I was in prayer, and I kept hearing the Lord say to my heart, 'My people are crying out to Me for mercy,'" Fr. Anthony said. "I really felt a call to minister to men and women who have had abortions and who were crying out for mercy." He said he heard Christ speaking to his heart saying, "I want you to reach out to them with the message of Divine Mercy."
Father Anthony has since held Rachel's Vineyard retreats in Stockbridge for men and women who seek healing and reconciliation following an abortion. The plans for the new Shrine are a direct result of one such retreat.
"I was giving a tour of Our Lady of Mercy Oratory," Fr. Anthony said, "and one of the retreat participants was looking at the plaques from our benefactors, and she said, 'Fr. Anthony, why don't you have a plaque with children's names on it?"
"I thought, 'Great idea!'" said Fr. Anthony.
He said the Shrine of the Holy Innocents will be a peaceful place. "When people enter, it will be like they are entering a special holy place where the children are protected, and they are with Mary and with Jesus," Fr. Anthony said.
"What a beautiful thing to have a little tribute to that beautiful soul who we will certainly meet again in the kingdom of heaven," said Fr. Groeschel. He added that Fr. Anthony serves as a great example of a young, holy priest — one who, like St. Faustina, models a simple, powerful spirituality of praying to God, listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and acting upon that guidance.
The Abortion Debate in the News
Father Groeschel took the opportunity on his Sunday evening program to weigh in on recent political events associated with babies in the womb.
First, he noted the spirited pro-life march in Washington on Jan. 22, on 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade. He said 100,000 people took part in the peaceful protest, yet the event received practically no media coverage. "It was a blackout against life," he said. "This is an abuse of the media. It's an injustice, a disgrace."
Secondly, he spoke out against President Barack Obama's repeal of the policy that prohibits federal money from flowing to foreign abortion clinics — variously called the Mexico City Policy.
Thirdly, he warned about efforts to pass in Congress the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, advocated for by the pro-choice lobby. The Freedom of Choice Act would make it a law of the land to support abortion," said Fr. Groeschel. "It could force pro-life doctors and hospitals to perform baby killing or lose their federal funds or medical licenses."
He added, "The people who are in favor of abortion are nice people. President Obama and [Vice-President Joseph] Biden come off as nice people. But nice people are deceived. They were deceived in this country ... with slavery. We have been deceived in the past by getting involved in wars and military actions which were unjustified by the natural law. We were deceived when we went into Iraq against the explicit request of the Pope not to do this. It was an unjust action.
"And now we are deceived again," he said.
Father Groeschel told viewers, "I'm asking you all to face the fact that the murder of children is being foisted on the United States by the most pro-abortion government we have ever had, and you must speak up loudly. We are in a very serious situation. The United States could be precariously on the edge of its own destruction. Please do everything possible to bring to attention to those in government and religious positions that we cannot countenance the killing of babies for human convenience.
"Please, do not allow the United States to corrupt its own heart by the acceptance of the murder of children," he said. "Pray for the president, the vice president, and Congress that the Holy Spirit will change their hearts."
EWTN will air an encore of the broadcast Saturday, Jan. 31, 5 p.m. (EST).