A few days ago the friars at St. Anthony Shrine quietly buried four babies.
They didn’t ask any questions. That’s the deal they have with the city. If a child needs a burial, and there’s no family to step up to pay for it, the friars quietly give these tiny souls their final due.
“It hits home when you’re told we need to do four babies at once,” said Fr. Thomas Conway, executive director of St. Anthony Shrine. “They don’t tell us the circumstances, but it is very thought-provoking. It makes you ask: What are we supposed to be about?”
The Shrine holds its annual fundraising dinner Wednesday where the event brings in 40% of the non-profit’s budget. The goal is to raise $2 million with $1.6 million already pledged.
They deserve to hit their goal.
In this city, when nobody else is around, the Shrine will find a place for four babies to be buried with dignity in a Mattapan cemetery. The Shrine turns to a loyal group of guardians of what’s right about our town to help. They also offer burials for adults with no family or funds to lean on.
“What are we supposed to be about?” Father Tom asked. He certainly has the answer. Just keep helping those who seek someplace to turn.
The Boston Herald has devoted ink to the Shrine’s mission because what makes Boston strong is how we treat the less fortunate. If this appeal helps push the Shrine past its $2 million goal, then the work it takes to deliver the news is worth it today.
These four babies died at Boston Medical Center in what must be heartache multiplied. Was is SIDS? RSV? Trouble at birth?
Father Tom said a police officer from A1, a sergeant, attended the funeral for the babies. “With everything he sees in the line of duty, this says a lot,” Father Tom added.
District A1 covers downtown where anything can happen. You learn a lot hanging around the center of the city. Maybe he knew one of the babies or the parents who lost one of the children. It does show that police and first responders care just as much as those kind souls at the Shrine.
No one is asked about their faith or politics when they turn to the Shrine. That’s how it should be.
We are saying that in this season of giving, the friars on Arch Street are worth your consideration.
To donate, go to the Shrine’s online donation portal at stanthony.org/give.