New program aims to improve Church’s response to mothers in need in all parts of parenting
May 11, 2021
Through the highs and lows, Walking With Moms in Need aims to evaluate the Church’s response to families in need of support with children at any age. (CNS photo)
HOUSTON — The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston relaunched the national Walking with Moms in Need campaign on April 11, following a year of delay due to COVID-19.
Originally slated to begin on March 25, 2020, this year-long, USCCB-led effort aims to evaluate the Church’s response to families in need of support and to expand outreach to families at the parish, deanery and diocesan levels.
Walking with Moms provides the community with great opportunities to build a culture of life through discernment and action.
The Church in Galveston-Houston is blessed with a great number of resources to assist mothers during pregnancy and infancy.
The Archdiocesan Gabriel Project, for example, provides mentoring and spiritual and material support to pregnant women and parenting mothers at numerous parishes. Houston’s Catholic pregnancy help center, Loving Choice, provides free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and parenting classes for both moms and dads, among other services.
Catholic Charities and numerous other non-profit organizations in the Houston area provide similar resources for women in crisis or difficult pregnancies.
Walking with Moms does not seek to duplicate these efforts but instead provides opportunities for the Church to expand its current efforts to build a culture of life through support of more parents and families.
One opportunity for growth in Houston is an increase of support for mothers and children following infancy. Most pregnancy-help resources can assist mothers for approximately one year following the birth of a child.
Walking with Moms gives an opportunity to expand the reach of Culture of Life: Are we sufficiently supporting the needs of mothers of toddlers? Of teenagers? Are we reaching out to the fathers of these children? If material support is provided, is emotional or spiritual support for single parents available? Are we helping families to build community?
Walking with Moms provides a framework for evaluating these questions as a parish and wider Church community and discerning an appropriate response.
Walking with Moms is designed to allow for a step-by-step process of parish evaluation, discernment and action. A suggested timeline for the program is as follows:
Phase 1: Introduce program and build parish Core Team (April 11 – June 30, 2021)
Phase 2: Begin parish inventory process (July 1 – September 30, 2021)
Phase 3: Complete inventory and begin discernment process (October 1 – December 31, 2021)
Phase 4: Announce and commit to parish response (January 1 – March 31, 2022)
Phase 5: Implement parish response (April 2022 & beyond)
The program begins at each parish by gathering key constituencies to form a core team and announcing the program to the parish at large.
Once the core team is in place, this group will begin evaluating the resources already available to pregnant and parenting mothers and families within the parish boundaries. The results of this inventory will allow the team to evaluate where needs of mothers and families are and are not being met.
In the latter phases, the parish team, alone or in concert with neighboring parishes, will work to implement strategies to address the needs discerned in earlier phases.
A parish close to a university campus, for example, might evaluate whether programs exist to assist pregnant or parenting students. Collaboration between parishes is also possible. Two neighboring parishes could work together so that one elects to provide mentoring and support to mothers of toddlers while the second parish seeks to assist families of school-age children.
Each parish will have different gifts and resources to bring to the needs at hand based on its own unique community. All parishes are invited to join this exciting initiative.
To get started, contact Julie Fritsch, director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities, at 713-741-8728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the program and to download resources, visit www.walkingwithmoms.com.