by Steven Ertelt
April 4, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The family of Terri Schiavo spoke at a Thursday night memorial attended by hundreds of people who mourned her thirteen day starvation death. Meanwhile, Terri’s family is making plans for its own funeral service, despite not being able to have Terri’s body present.
About 300 friends of Terri and her family gathered Thursday at a church in Pinellas Park, Florida, near where Terri lived at Woodside Hospice, for a memorial service.
The service began with a playing of a song by Christian music recording artist MercyMe, titled "I Can Only Imagine." The song discussed the joy and elation Christians will feel when they first enter Heaven.
Terri’s father, Bob Schindler, attended the service and told those in attendance that he felt "compelled to come here, just to drop by, if for nothing else, just to thank you all."
"You’ve given our family so much support," he added. "It got us through some real tough times and we’re so appreciative of it and we’ll never forget you all. I just thank you so, so much, and Terri thanks you."
Meanwhile, the Schindler family has arranged a funeral Mass to remember their daughter and sister. It will be held on Tuesday at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Gulfport, Florida.
The pastor of the church told CBS News that he is honored to have the funeral service held there because Terri Schiavo deserves the dignity a funeral service affords.
"Every life has dignity," said the Rev. Bill Swengros, of Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. "It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, whether you’re able-bodied or infirm, male or female, whether you’re religious or nonreligious, American or non-American. Every human being has dignity in life, and every breath is precious."
Swengros said he spoke with Mary Schindler on Saturday and was surprised by her positive attitude despite the tragedy of Terri’s death and the international debate that accompanied it.
"With many of us, we’d be angry or bitter," Swengros said. "There’s none of that; she feels at peace that her daughter is with the Lord."
Michael Schiavo, Terri’s estranged husband, is expected to hold his own funeral service — possibly in Pennsylvania, where he is secretly burying Terri’s body.
The funerals have been a source of contention between Michael and the Schindlers.
A local judge allowed Michael to obtain Terri’s body, to cremate her and bury her in a secret plot owned by his family outside of Philadelphia. Michael does not have to divulge the location until after Terri is buried.
Terri’s brother Bobby said Michael has not offered his family any details on the burial or funeral services.
"They’ve been pretty rotten to our family throughout this whole ordeal," Bobby Schindler told the Associated Press Sunday night.
Condolences for the Schindler family can be sent to the
Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 5800 15th Avenue South, Gulfport, Florida 33707. Notes for the Schindler family should be sent in care of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, 4615 Gulf Blvd. #104-103, St. Petersburg Beach, FL 33706.
Related news stories:
Catholic Priest: Terri Schiavo Responsive Til Death, Prayed With Family
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org