Footprints Ministry – Miscarriage Support

There is no foot too small that it will not leave an imprint in the world.
~ Author unknown

Footprints Ministry

Welcome to Footprints Ministry – a ministry in the Diocese of Wilmington that provides resources to our families who have lost children through miscarriage, still birth, or early infant death. 

We recognize that you may be visiting us because a time of great joy and celebration that turned to unspeakable sadness and sorrow.  You or someone very special and dear to you has suffered a tremendous loss, the death of a child.   It breaks our hearts that anyone would need this information, but we know that in reality, many parents are experiencing this pain and have numerous questions about what the Catholic Church teaches and what to do next.  We hope that this website is helpful and a source of peace.  Please reach out and let us know if we could help in any way.

Footprints Mass

Throughout the United States, October 15th has been designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  It is a day when grieving parents come together and are surrounded by family and friends’ loving support to remember their little one.  It is a time when our parish communities can pray for the families and the child lost.

The Office for Marriage and Family Life and Footprints, the Diocesan Miscarriage Ministry, sponsors an annual Mass of Remembrance and Healing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss called the Footprints Mass.  A special invitation is extended to parents, grandparents and siblings who grieve the death of children as a result of miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or early infant death.  These losses may be recent or extend over many years.

Questions & Answers 

  • How common are miscarriages?
    • Losing a child through miscarriage, though an unspoken pain is quite a common pain. Approximately 20-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  • Can I name my baby, even if I don’t know if it was a boy or girl?
    • Yes, naming a baby allows you to acknowledge their existence and identity. Naming a baby often helps families through the mourning process now and years later.  You may now pray for your baby by name and ask for their intercession as part of the Communion of Saints in Heaven.   If you are unsure if the baby is a girl or boy, consider using a gender-neutral name.
  • Should I baptize my baby who has died/stillborn?
    • A living infant in danger of death should be baptized right away. If a priest or deacon is not available, anyone can baptize with parental permission.  (Chapter 5 of the Ritual Baptism for Children) Baptism is a sacrament for the living.
  • Is my unbaptized child with God?
    • The church entrusts these children to the mercy of God, who wills that all people be saved. Jesus’ tenderness toward children caused him to say, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them.” (Mark 10:14) Because of this, the Church hopes that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.  (CCC1261)
  • Can I have a funeral Mass or memorial service for my child?
    • If you intended to have your child baptized, you my request a Mass or memorial service. All children can receive the Funeral Rites for Infants regardless of age.  See your parish priests to assist.
    • You may also wish to have a Mass said in memory of your child.
    • You may also request, “The Blessing of Parents After a Miscarriage” (Church’s Book of Blessings).  It is a blessing given by the Church specifically to help guide you through the grief.
  • Where can I bury my baby?
  • How can I support someone has had a miscarriage?
    • Below are few ways that you can support someone through the loss of an infant.
      • Be available and make time for the grief of both the mother and the father.
      • Acknowledge the existence of their baby.
      • Encourage them to be honest about their feelings.
      • Pray for them and with them.
      • Direct them to a professional counselor, grief support group or priests when warranted

Heavenly Intercessors

St. Catherine of Siena – patron saint of miscarriages

St. Catherine of Sweden – patron saint for those who have suffered a miscarriage

St. Joseph – patron saint of the unborn

St. Gerard Majella – patron saint of expectant mothers, women in childbirth, and motherhood

St. Gianna Beretta Molla – patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children

St. Rita of Cascia – patron saint of impossible cases, difficult marriages, and parenthood

Mother Teresa of Calcutta – special intercessor for difficulty getting pregnant

St. Dominic Savio – special gift of healing difficult labors through our Mother Mary

St. Colette of Corbie – patron saint of still-birth and conceiving

St. Bridgit of Kildare – patron saint of babies & midwives

Our Lady of Sorrows – title of our Blessed Mother; focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the life, passion and death of our Lord.

Our Lady of Guadalupe – patroness of the unborn.

Draw close to your little one through prayer as you pray for your child along with the communion of saints.


Matthew 18:14 In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

Psalm 34:19 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.

1 Peter 5:10 The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ [Jesus] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. 

Psalm 139:13-16   13 You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.  14 I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!   My very self you know.15 My bones are not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.  16 Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.