Imagine your teenager confides in you that a friend at school is pregnant. What are your first thoughts? Do you ask questions, determine if the friend has a support system, or if she is scared and doesn’t know where to turn? What if it was your daughter? Or maybe it’s a friend at work who is living paycheck to paycheck, perhaps with an unstable homelife, who has turned to you for advice.
Walking with Moms in Need is an initiative put forth by the Catholic Bishops in the United States to encourage every parishioner in every parish to be aware of the abundant resources available in our communities for mothers in need. We need to work together to continuously build up a culture of life! Through identifying organizations who serve mothers in need — whether in pregnancy crisis, financial instability, homelessness, or other unexpected situations — and sharing this information with each other, we can make it easier to have conversations that lead to positive and life-affirming resolutions.
As a reminder of its background and inspiration for this effort, here is an excerpt from the website, walkingwithmoms.com:
On March 25, 2020, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the Church celebrated the 25th anniversary of the papal encyclical Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life). This prophetic document, written by a great saint of our time, Pope John Paul II, reaffirmed the Church’s constant teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life.
In this encyclical, the Holy Father explains that the Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ saving message to the world. Through the Incarnation of Christ, God reveals to us the dignity of all human life. Each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, reflecting his glory and his imprint. We are therefore called to “respect, defend and promote the dignity of every human person, at every moment and in every condition of that person's life.”
Evangelium vitae highlights the special and particular role of women in bearing the gift of life to the world. Pope John Paul II offers heartfelt thanks to these “heroic mothers,” who, placing their trust in God, “devote themselves to their own family without reserve, who suffer in giving birth to their children and who are ready to make any effort, to face any sacrifice, in order to pass on to them the best of themselves.”
Pope John Paul II also outlines the many challenges that expectant mothers may face, including lack of support from the father, financial strains, concerns about her own health or that of her child, and pressures from family and friends. The Holy Father recognizes that an “unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb.” For this reason, it is particularly important that the Church come alongside mothers, offering them encouragement, assistance, and support.
Through Christ, we have received the gift of the Gospel of Life in its fullness. As members of the Church, we are the people of life and for life. It is our duty to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Life to the world, for “to proclaim Jesus is itself to proclaim life.” Pope John Paul II tasked us with building a culture of life to combat the forces at work in the culture of death. He challenged us:
With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth.
In honor of Evangelium vitae’s 25th anniversary and in answer to Pope John Paul II’s call, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities launched a nationwide effort entitled, Walking with Moms in Need. Parishes, through the support of their bishops and pastors, are invited to join this effort to increase the Church’s outreach and support to pregnant women facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies. This special anniversary has provided the Church with an opportunity to assess, expand, and better communicate resources to pregnant moms and families in need.
Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and our neighborhoods, but in desperation, they are turning to other places for help. We know the needs and challenges can be immense for women in difficult pregnancies, especially women in poverty, and the sources for help may not be apparent to those most needing support. Women facing challenging pregnancies should see the Church as a place where they can find help, especially with its extensive social services dedicated to meeting the needs of people in crisis...
We are called to reverence and love every human person as ourselves. It is our responsibility to care for and protect human life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Evangelium vitae teaches us that “the task of accepting and serving life involves everyone; and this task must be fulfilled above all towards life when it is at its weakest.”
Pope John Paul II wrote, “the Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.” The Gospel of Jesus is the Gospel of Life, and to love Jesus is to love and serve life. As followers of Christ, may we strive to continually respond to the needs of the poor and vulnerable entrusted to us by God.
Over the last couple of years, our parish has navigated the effects of the pandemic, leadership changes, and staffing changes. We are still committed to identifying organizations and resources that help mothers in need and promote a culture of life. We also believe that this effort begins in each and every one of us — in our hearts to love God and love our neighbor, in our prayers, and in our encounters with people in our lives. This prayer, available in the resource area in the vestibule and in our electronic newsletters, is where we begin:
O Blessed Mother, you received the good news of the incarnation of Christ, your Son, with faith and trust. Grant your protection to all pregnant mothers facing difficulties. Guide us as we strive to make our parish communities places of welcome and assistance for mothers in need. Help us become instruments of God’s love and compassion. Mary, Mother of the Church, graciously help us build a culture of life and a civilization of love, together with all people of good will, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. Amen.
In the coming months, we will share more information about the Walking with Moms in Need initiative, including links to resources on our website, displays, and opportunities for you to share your knowledge with us. Together, we can transform our society into a culture of life!
“Through the combined efforts of parishes nationwide, we hope to move closer to the day when every pregnant woman in need knows where to turn for help, and abortion is simply unthinkable.” ~ USCCB March 2020BACK TO LIST