Pregnant and parenting moms in need are part of our parishes and communities. As “islands of mercy in a sea of indifference (Pope Francis),” our parishes are poised to be places where pregnant women in need can turn, particularly in light of the Church’s many social services and organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of people in crisis. Everyone in a parish should know where to refer a pregnant woman in need.
“Walking with Moms in Need,” a nationwide year of service from March 25, 2020 to March 25, 2021, is an effort to strengthen our pastoral responses to women facing unexpected or challenging pregnancies and to increase awareness of the resources available to mothers and families in need. Every parish in the United States is invited to join in.
Catholic care and outreach
Data shows that throughout the U.S., more than 150,000 low-income mothers deliver their babies at Catholic hospitals each year, and many tens of thousands of pregnant and parenting moms are helped each year through Catholic Charities programs and other help agencies.
In addition, thousands of pregnancy care centers staffed by many Catholic volunteers offer assistance to mothers and families. Throughout our diocese, there are over 30 pregnancy help centers providing pro-life alternatives (pregnancy tests, counseling, direct assistance, education, referrals, etc.). This is truly a remarkable number of locations already offering help and support to moms in need.
And with the participation of our diocese’s 80 parishes in this special year of service, it’s clear that our potential outreach can be much broader and more personal.
Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Evangelium vitae
In November 2019, the U.S. bishops enthusiastically embraced “Walking with Moms in Need” as the most appropriate way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of Evangelium vitae – “The Gospel of Life” – St. John Paul II’s landmark encyclical on the value and inviolability of human life. The 25th anniversary of “The Gospel of Life” gives us a wonderful opportunity to assess, expand and communicate information about resources to pregnant moms and families in need. At the local level, our parishes, situated in communities in the 11-counties of our diocese, are best able to identify the pregnancy resources that are currently available as well as the potential gaps in outreach and resources that may need to be addressed.
Led by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities has developed educational, pastoral, and action-oriented resources for use by Catholics and their parishes including reflections on the teachings of Evangelium vitae, Evangelii gaudium, and Laudato si; prayers for building a culture of life; tools for documenting an inventory of local resources for pregnant mothers in need; and ideas and support for improving parish responses.