Published November 8, 2013
ROSWELL—The sun was shining, leaves were just starting to turn colors, children were playing with balloons, parents were holding each other and multiple generations were gathered all together on one breathtaking day to remember their little ones who went to heaven way too early. Over 100 people came together Oct. 13 for the Embrace ministry’s third annual Infant Loss Remembrance Walk held on the grounds of Blessed Trinity High School. Started just three years ago this fall, Embrace was formed as a special archdiocesan ministry to comfort families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.
“Remembrance events can be so sad, but Embrace does a great job balancing the reality with joy. The walk and butterfly release was truly a celebration. With balloons, prayer and song, we honored, recognized and remembered our babies,” said Kathy Powell, parishioner at St Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs.
The Infant Loss Remembrance Walk is one way for families to remember their babies and be surrounded by the embrace of the church.
“Participating in the Embrace walk allowed us to honor our son Noah and honor the brief life that he had on earth, but at the same time celebrate his new life in heaven with our Lord,” said Robyn Tramonte, parishioner at St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek.
Parents Kim and Shawn Pinto of St Peter Chanel Church, Roswell, added, “The walk is a beautiful way to acknowledge your child’s lives, outwardly show your love for them, and embrace and share with other families who are also grieving the loss of their children.”
“When the ministry was started, we thought the focus would be on families who recently had a loss, but God had additional plans,” explained Embrace ministry founder Nicole Hartman. Over and over, Embrace has also served families who have lost a baby years ago like Barb and John Fetterly. Barb said, “My miscarriage occurred 26 years ago. We were older when we got married and never did have any children. Needless to say, this ‘angel’ never left our minds or hearts. We didn’t know what to expect from the walk, and John went along simply to be my support … or so he thought. We both were so moved by the whole experience. All the readings on the walk were beautiful. They not only brought back many memories but also were so inspiring and uplifting. Embrace ministry is helping others, no matter how long ago their ‘angel’ was taken.”
As the Embrace ministry starts its third year, the group is excited about their established annual events and prayer opportunities.
“God is only getting started with this ministry and has many more ways for us to serve families,” Hartman said.
“When we lost our daughter, Julian Rose, it was the prayer and support of our priest, family and friends that helped sustain and strengthen us. In losing her, we gained a deeper faith, a greater appreciation of the miracle each life is from the moment of conception, and even a close intercessor in heaven to whom we pray to daily,” said Kim Pinto. “While we miss her tremendously, we’ve come to see her short life as a blessing to us and to many people around us. We want to be a part of the Embrace ministry so that we can be companions to other families in similar situations,” she added.
As this ministry continues to grow through God’s grace, Tramonte and her husband, David, sum up the mission and goals of this ministry with the observation that “Embrace is a community of families who share similar experiences of losing a baby in womb or within the first year of birth. We believe it is important to celebrate the life of our babies. Embrace allows you to share your baby with others, and as a community we all celebrate the lives of our little saints.”
The Embrace ministry is in need of more couples who are open to share their journey with others. On Nov. 16, a free training is being offered to prepare couples to be companion families in this journey as well as provide tools to start an Embrace ministry in their own parishes. For more information on future Embrace ministry events, go to www.embracefamilies.com.