Life Center of New York arranges service for abandoned fetus
“Baby Monica” brought out the kindness in strangers.
The Life Center of New York, an anti-abortion Bay Ridge-based organization, worked with the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the New York Police Department, a local funeral home and a Staten Island cemetery to arrange for the funeral and burial of a five-month-old fetus found dead on a Brooklyn street earlier this year.
The Life Center, whose founder Fred Trabulsi gave the fetus its name, organized a funeral service at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Fifth Avenue and 60th Street on Saturday with an honor guard of police officers serving as pallbearers.
The Rev. Norman Bennett, a Redemptorist priest assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, presided over the funeral, according to Trabulsi.
The fetus was buried in the Guardian Angel section of Resurrection Cemetery on Staten Island. Joseph P. Clavin Sons Inc., a Bay Ridge funeral home, made the arrangements.
Trabulsi named the fetus after Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine. Monica is believed to have told her family on her deathbed to remember her at the Lord’s altar. “We were in church on Saturday remembering Baby Monica at the altar,” Trabulsi told the Home Reporter on Monday.
The fetus was found in a bag on a street in East New York in February, police said. The New York Daily News has reported that authorities speculated that the mother might have suffered a miscarriage and decided to dispose of the body.
The mother has not been located. “We don’t know what the circumstances are with the mother. We’re not judging,” Trabulsi said.
Trabulsi, who founded the Life Center of New York at 6802 Fifth Ave. 35 years ago, read news reports about the discovery and decided to arrange a funeral.
“We wanted Baby Monica to have a proper funeral and we wanted to show her the respect she deserved,” Trabulsi said.
The Life Center contacted the New York City Medical Examiner and requested that the body of the fetus be released to it. Following months of investigations and tests, the Life Center was given the fetus’s remains. Trabulsi immediately contacted Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Clavin Funeral Home for help. Both responded right away. He then reached out to the NYPD to see if he could arrange a police honor guard.
“I emailed Commissioner O’Neill. I didn’t think I’d ever hear back. But I got a call from the ceremonial unit,” Trabulsi said.
With the NYPD pallbearers in place, it was time for the funeral.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn is grateful to the Life Center of New York, the NYPD Ceremonial Unit, Clavin Funeral Home and the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for their efforts to lay Baby Monica to rest with dignity and respect,” a diocesan spokesperson told the Home Reporter.