PEORIA, Illinois — Fulton Joseph Hood has gone home to God.
Royce and Elise Hood of Dunlap, Illinois, discovered that Fulton’s heart had stopped beating when an ultrasound was performed March 31, which was his due date.
Labor was induced April 1, and Fulton was delivered at OSF HealthCare St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria at 12:50 a.m. April 2, Good Friday. He weighed 2 pounds, 14.4 ounces and was 12.5 inches long.
“Fulton had the cutest little nose and chubby little cheeks. He was so precious,” Royce said in a post on his website, fultonjoseph.com. He added that the nurses helped them to get footprints and make a clay cast from his feet.
The funeral took place April 10 at St. Jude Church in Peoria, where the Hoods are members. Royce and Elise and their five children were the pallbearers, carrying Fulton’s tiny casket into and out of church, continuing to surround him with love as they had throughout the pregnancy.
Fulton had Potter’s syndrome, which meant he didn’t have kidneys and there was very little, if any, amniotic fluid to surround him in the womb. Without that, the lungs don’t develop and there are other complications.
People around the world had been praying for a miracle for Fulton, who only had a 5 percent chance of surviving after birth.
“We didn’t get the miracle that we prayed for,” said Father Andru O’Brien, parochial vicar at St. Jude Church, who celebrated the funeral Mass. “The question that has been coming to my heart frequently is ‘Why?’ All of us, at some point in our lives, will ask that question — ‘Why did this happen? Why do bad things happen in general? Why couldn’t God have intervened and made everything perfect?'”
But asking “Why?” will not yield an answer, he said, reminding his listeners that God has a plan far greater than ours.
“We’ll see consolations along the way. We’ll hear stories of people whose faith was inspired by the life of Fulton. We’ll see in ourselves a deepening trust in God. But those don’t answer that deepest question of why this happened,” O’Brien said. “No. What does is the fact that God is with us.”
While those who love and have prayed for Fulton won’t get to know him in this life or hear his voice, the Lord is with him, just as the Lord is calling all to himself, O’Brien said.
“So we ask God to be faithful to his promise and we ask that Fulton may be brought into that place, the new heaven and the new earth,” he said.
Before taking Fulton to his final resting place, Royce Hood thanked everyone who had supported them in prayer and presence.
“So many people have come forward and told us how Fulton brought them to prayer, brought them to God, and some said they prayed for the first time in years because of his story and his life,” Royce said. “What else could any parent ask for for the life of their child?”
Willems is assistant editor and special sections editor at The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria.