The Mount St. Mary's Hospital Foundation and Footprints on the Heart held a blessing of the grounds and dedication ceremony Wednesday at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Lewiston. Thanks to a donation by Catholic Charities, a community butterfly monument has been established for families dealing with the loss of a baby.
At the event, Catholic Health Vice President for Women's Services Aimee Gomlak explained the mission of Footprints on the Heart. The program helps families cope with the loss of a baby caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and newborn death. Footprints on the Heart was established to provide comfort and support to family members experiencing such a loss.
The program covers a variety of topics to help family members heal, make final arrangements for their baby, receive counseling and, most importantly, remember their baby.
Speakers said the special piece of land would help families honor and recall their baby. The monument is for all families experiencing such a loss, regardless of which hospital was used.
The Mount St. Mary's Hospital Foundation teamed with Carmen Colao, director of cemeteries for the Diocese of Buffalo. Thom Kock of Stone Art Memorial donated the gravestone.
Following remarks from Gomlak, Julie Berrigan (foundation executive director), Colao and Gary C. Tucker (hospital president and CEO), Sister Linda Lewandowski offered a prayer, and butterflies were released into the open air.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CEREMONY: