Bishop Richard J. Malone referred to Baby Jesse as a "little saint" during a prayer service at St. Mary Cemetery in Dunkirk on Oct. 20.
The prayer service took place at Baby Jesse's gravesite. Baby Jesse was the male fetus discovered in August 2014 along the shoreline of Lake Erie State Park in Portland, N.Y. Bishop Malone and Cheryl Calire, director of Pro-Life Activities, wanted to make sure the remains of the baby were treated with respect and given an appropriate burial, if no family was found or came forward to do so.
"Notice on the marker there is a little image of an angel," Bishop Malone said. "Sometimes when a little child dies, people will say, 'Now he or she is a little angel in heaven.' Doctrinially, that is not true. You don't go from being human to an angel. Now Baby Jesse is a little saint. That's what happens to human beings. It is a beautiful thing to remember. Anyone who dies in God's love as truly Baby Jesse did, angels are watching over him but he is not one. He is a saint and what a beautiful thought that is. No chance of sin. That's a blessing we don't have. We have plenty of chances to sin, but Baby Jesse never had it."
The Diocese of Buffalo arranged for a prayer service and burial to take place on March 14, 2014, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Dunkirk, followed by burial at St. Mary Cemetery. McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home in Dunkirk provided the infant vessel and vault for the burial.
Calire thanked those attending the prayer service.
"All of you are missionaries, doing what you are asked to do," Calire said. "That is to value all human life from the beginning of life to the end of life and all stages in between. Your presence is a sure testament to that commitment to our Church, our diocese and most importantly to our God, who I believe is shining on us right now knowing that we have taken the time to honor Baby Jesse. Regardless of what the circumstances are, he was formed in the image and likeness of Christ and we are blessed to be here and to be a part of this to make sure he got a proper burial as well as having a beautiful headstone."
Calire also thanked those who participated in prayer and financial support.
"Most importantly we thank you for being here as a community to come together to honor this little life," Calire said.