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Mourning garden grew out of Pro-Life Project Contest

08/18/2017 | Comments

COLORADO SPRINGS. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” applies perfectly to the latest addition to the Corpus Christi Parish grounds.  The support of the diocese for families, especially mothers, who have lost children has always been expressed verbally, but recently the Corpus Christi Youth Group (CCYG) has taken action to visually demonstrate the love and support of the diocese by installing a garden for mothers who are grieving the loss of a child. 

Mounrning garden at ccLocated next to the parish office at the front of the church, the idea behind the garden was to provide “a place for moms who had lost babies to abortion or miscarriage,” offering a special place for prayer.  This summer, the youth group put the finishing touches on the garden.

The idea to create a mourning garden came about initially as a contest entry. Every year, the Diocese of Colorado Springs holds a Pro-Life Project Competition in conjunction with the Bishop’s Respect Life Dinner. In 2016, youth submitted ideas for pro-life billboards. This year they have been asked to create 30-second pro-life commercials in teams of no more than three.

In 2013, there was a similarly-styled competition. Youth had the opportunity to submit proposals for projects that could help to promote a culture of life.  The top five entries were selected for funding using proceeds from the dinner.

Caitlin Gibson originally conceived and presented the project to the Corpus Christi Youth Group as a potential contest entry.  She saw that, although there are many churches and chapels in the Colorado Springs Diocese, there was no place dedicated solely to mothers who had lost children.

 “I thought it might be nice to develop the little bit of land next to the parish office into a garden and dedicate it as a place for moms who had lost babies to abortion or miscarriage.”  She saw the need in the diocese to have a sort of sanctuary for mothers, not only to have a place for them to pray and remember, but also to know that the souls of their children are loved and commemorated by people outside of their family.

 The youth group selected the idea to be their contest submission. Faith Watson, who had previously competed in and won a pro-life essay competition, then volunteered to write up the project proposal.  Her description of the garden’s layout and purpose described a peaceful, comforting place complete with flowers and pathways.

“When we created the mourning garden, we wanted to create a beautiful and peaceful place for women to remember their children, something more than just a sign of remembrance for them — a place to continue to pray, heal and to forgive themselves,” Watson said.

At the 2013 Respect Life Dinner, it was announced that the CCYG project was among those chosen by the diocese to be funded.

Carmela Gibson, Caitlin’s mother, took charge of designing the garden, and over the course of the last several years it has been hand-built by members of the youth group.  They have installed benches, planted flowers, put down gravel, and chosen a statue of Mary to watch over and comfort grieving mothers. Also, a commemorative stone was placed in the garden in remembrance of victims of abortion.

“The youth group put down the rest of the gravel not too long ago.  It will definitely continue to need upkeep with the plants, but most of the tough work has now passed,” Caitlin Gibson said.

Its proximity to Corpus Christ Church and School make it convenient for anyone who is in need of a place to grieve and remember or to stop and pray whenever necessary. 

“What started as just a little idea has been brought to completion by so many wonderful minds and helping hands!  I am thankful that I got to help just a little bit with such a beautiful project and I hope that many mothers and faithful alike are able to find solace in the garden,” she said.  

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