If there was a mother who approached you and needed assistance, would you know where she could go for help? Mothers often devote themselves to their family and are ready to make sacrifices for their children. Yet, many expectant and parenting mothers face challenges such as: lack of support from the father, financial strains, and pressures from family and friends. Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and in our communities. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone in the parish community knew where a pregnant or parenting woman could find help?
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), USCCB launched a nationwide effort entitled “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service.” “Walking with Moms in Need” is an opportunity to assess and expand pastoral and practical assistance currently provided to pregnant moms and families in need and to communicate more effectively the resources available to women.
In this landmark encyclical, Pope St John Paul II reaffirms the Catholic Church’s constant teaching on the value and inviolability of every human life, but also challenges us to “question how widespread the culture of life is today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses.” [Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995), 95] Evangelium vitae also highlights the special and specific role women have in bearing the gift of life to the world. Therefore, it is particularly important that the church come alongside mothers, offering them encouragement, assistance, and support. Parishes are invited to join this effort to increase the church’s outreach and support to pregnant and parenting women in need.
Within our diocese, “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” begins in February. It makes sense that this is a parish-led initiative. The local church is uniquely positioned to collaborate resources and increase awareness of support available to mothers and families in need. Each parish is best able to identify the local pregnancy and parenting resources that are currently available and to identify potential gaps that need to be addressed.
Various resources are available on the diocesan pro-life webpage: https://www.dio.org/plasm. A Parish Action Guide provides a basic framework and structure that can be adapted to each local church’s needs. Every parish community is unique. The resources are meant to help, equip, and empower parishes to reach out to mothers in need in their communities. “Walking with Moms in Need” may look very different from parish to parish based on the resources and capacity of each local church community.
The hope and prayer is that parishes will join in this nationwide effort to better support pregnant and parenting moms in desperate need, and to improve communication of the help that is available. Let our churches shine a light and provide hope in a mother’s time of darkness and need.
Donna Moore is director for Pro-Life, Missions and Special Ministries.
Organizations providing services to women in need
This is a list of known organizations and services within our diocese — listed by deanery — that help pregnant and parenting women in need. Through your parish’s participation in the “Walking with Women in Need: Year of Service,” let’s make this list of organizations and services to women in need grow.
A Beacon of Light Pregnancy Help Center, Maryville
Catholic Charities, Alton, Granite City
Highland Area Christian Service Ministry, Highland
Ss. Mary and Joseph Parish, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Alton
Thrive Metro East, Godfrey
Catholic Charities, Decatur
Choices Pregnancy and Health, Decatur
Loving Arms, Pana
Loving Arms, Taylorville
Catholic Charities, Carlinville
Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center, Hillsboro
St. Clare Food Pantry, Litchfield
Staunton Food Pantry, Staunton
Catholic Charities, Effingham, Mattoon
Choices Pregnancy and Health, Casey
Choices Pregnancy and Health, Charleston
Choices Pregnancy and Health, Mattoon
Compassionate Clothing Closet, Paris
Crisis Nursery of Effingham County, Effingham
Family Life Center, Effingham
Immaculate Conception Parish, St. Vincent de Paul, Mattoon
Carenet Pregnancy Center, Quincy
Catholic Charities, Quincy
Blessed Sacrament, St Vincent de Paul, Quincy
United Way of Adams County, Quincy
Blessed Sacrament Parish, H.O.P.E., Springfield
Catholic Charities, Springfield
First Step Women’s Center, Springfield
M.E.R.C.Y. Communities, Springfield
Grounds of Grace, Springfield
Our Saviour’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Jacksonville
The Parent Place, Springfield
Pregnancy Care Center, Springfield
Springfield Right to Life, Springfield