by Steven Ertelt
April 5, 2005
Gulfport, FL (LifeNews.com) — Hundreds of supporters of Terri Schiavo and her family attended a memorial service and mass at a southwest Florida Catholic church. At least 800 people attended the service and an overflow crowd sat in folding chairs outside or stood as the service played on a loudspeaker.
Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler and her brother and sister sat in the front row of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church during the service.
"She showed us how to live. She showed us the gift of life and how we should share it," Rev. Thaddeus Malanowski said. He was the priest who had visited Terri for years at her hospice along with her family.
According to an Associated Press report, Suzanne Vitadamo, Terri’s sister, said Terri had "shown the world what perseverance and determination are all about."
"Your smile brought us great joy," she said. "You have shown the world what perseverance and determination are all about. You didn’t want to give up but God called you home, and he loves you more than we do. I miss you."
Father Frank Pavone, the director of the pro-life group Priests for Life also spoke at the service and said the tragedy that happened to Terri should prompt people who supported her to work to protect the disabled.
"God calls us to go forth from this place to work together, to preach and witness together so what happened in this tragic case will never happen again," Father Pavone said, according go the AP story.
"Tonight we grieve," Pavone said. "Tonight we weep, tonight we rejoice and we celebrate. Tonight we express eternal hope, tonight we resolve to go forth and do the work that must be done."
"[A]s we commend both Terri and the Pope to the Lord, [we] are reminded of the equal value of every life, no matter how prominent or obscure, healthy or sick," Pavone added.
According to the AP report, a picture of Terri taken before her 1990 collapse sat on an altar next to a gold bust of Pope John Paul II, who recently passed away.
About 300 friends of Terri and her family gathered Thursday at a church in Pinellas Park for a memorial last Thursday not sponsored by the Schindlers.
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.
Related news stories:
Catholic Priest: Terri Schiavo Responsive Til Death, Prayed With Family
Related web sites:
Terri Schiavo’s parents – https://www.terrisfight.org