German Boy's Gravestone: Soccer Ball Will Be Added After Facebook Campaign
A German boy's gravestone will get a soccer ball statue erected next to it after a Facebook campaign yielded more than 100,000 furious messages demanding that the church grant the 9-year-old boy's last dying wish.
Before Jens Pascal, a 9-year-old boy from Dortmund, Germany, lost his battle with a brain tumor in May, he told his mother he wanted a gravestone that represented his biggest love: soccer. "Mummy, when I die, I would like a gravestone with the club logo," Pascal's mother, Nicole Schmidt, told Bild daily.
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Pascal was a loyal fan of Borussia Dortmund, which won Germany's Bundesliga for the 2010-2011 season and successfully defended the title for the 2011-2012 season. Pascal passed away just a few weeks after Borussia Dortmund were crowned Bundesliga champions.
When he passed away, his parents notified the Catholic church in Dortmund of their son's wishes. But the church said that any soccer references on or near the tombstone would be inappropriate. The Church of Maria Heimsuchung in Dortmund insisted that anything soccer-related wouldn't adhere to rules which ban non-Christian inscriptions and images.
Soccer fans from Dortmund and other German clubs became incensed and started a Facebook page called "The Last Wish of Jens Pascal."
"It is outrageous," one Facebook member said.
"I ask the Church not to be led by regulations, show us your heart!" another one demanded.
Little by little, the church got the message. And on Monday the church issued a statement saying that although they were not comfortable with changing the tombstone itself, that Pascal's parents could erect a sculpture of a ball on the ground next to the tombstone.
"It was never the intention of the church to stand in the way of the little boy's last wish," the statement said. "It was about reconciling the interests of the Church community, the cemetery rules and the interests of the parents of the child who died."
After getting 140,792 supporters on the page, Pascal's parents felt they had to thank everyone. So they wrote: "Now he will get his stone, even if it is a bit different than planned, he will get it and can at last rest in peace."
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