New York News

Abandoned Baby Monica Mourned at Funeral at OLPH

An NYPD officer carries a small casket with the remains of “Baby Monica” into Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sunset Park, where a funeral for the baby was held on June 29. Baby Monica found abandoned in East New York in February. Story on page six. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Tim Harfmann

NYPD officers escorted the funeral hearse as it slowly rolled up to the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual
Help, Sunset Park, on June 29. It was the final farewell to a baby who was abandoned and found dead earlier this year.

A bagpipe blared as one officer carried the tiny, white casket into the basilica. Inside that casket was
the body of a baby girl whose mother was believed to have been in the fifth month of pregnancy.
The Life Center of New York, a crisis pregnancy center in Bay Ridge, organized the funeral.

“We’re giving …to Baby Monica the respect and dignity that she didn’t have in life,” said Fred Trabulsi,
executive director of Life Center. The center named her “Baby Monica” in honor of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, who was known for her dying words.

“‘Care not where you lay my bones, just remember me at the altar.’ So, we’re remembering Monica at the altar,” Trabulsi said. On Feb. 18, Monica’s body was discovered in a bag near a tree on the corner of Linden Boulevard and Bradford Avenue in East New York. The mother still hasn’t been identified, the NYPD said.

The Life Center was so touched by the news that it got in touch with the medical examiner’s office, which
released Monica’s body so that the Life Center could give her a final farewell. “We’re not judging the mom or anything to that, but we want to show that the culture of life exists around the culture of death that we have in our state and our country,” Trabulsi said.

More than 100 attended Baby Monica’s funeral at OLPH. “God bless this baby. We know she’s in the arms of our Lord,” said Cathy Donohoe, the president of Bridge to Life, a pregnancy center in Flushing, who attended the funeral. “But pray for the mothers that have such tremendous decisions to make when they’re pregnant.”

Pro-life advocates want pregnant mothers to know that help is available. Former state Senator Marty Golden, a Republican from Bay Ridge, said parents can turn to safe havens. Under the state’s Abandoned Infant
Protection Act, parents won’t face criminal charges if they hand over a newborn a month old or younger in a safe manner.

“Anybody that needs help can go to a police department, a fire department, a church. No questions asked, just turn the baby over,” Golden said. “There are plenty of people out there who are dying to have a baby, to be able to bring a child into this world and to bring a child up in this world.”

Monica was buried at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery on Staten Island.