We are six months in from our official launch of the Walking with Moms in Need Initiative in the Archdiocese of Detroit. We are so proud of the great work that has begun and humbled by the great works that are still to come!
Church of the Holy Family in Novi has been passionate and supportive of Life issues for many years and was among the first group of parishes to accompany our Evangelical Charity and Prolife Ministry in this effort. Roxanne Hundsrucker, Christian Service Coordinator for Holy Family shares with us some of what their parish has gained in the process.
“Holy Family is a very diverse parish, and many are involved in prolife endeavors. Walking with Moms has given us an opportunity to bring our Anglo and Hispanic parishioners together in our parish family for this year-long campaign. Our core team is multicultural, and we have created a calendar of events to celebrate life throughout the campaign. Many families are stepping up to get involved to bring awareness of life issues to members of the parish and community at large. This is also a great opportunity for Family of parishes to come together with a simple happy initiative that is such a blessing to all involved, a way to get to know one another and work together before we have more challenging projects to tackle.”
Other specific outreach that Holy Family has started or re-invigorated since starting Walking with Moms in Need:
- Addressing a critical lack of housing for pregnant mothers in their community by partnering with two local shelters
- Empowering parishioners to know of resources before they meet a mom in need
- Strengthening the prolife message within the parish’s communications
- Conducting a 9-month spiritual adoption prayer and charity program introduced by the Hispanic community culminating in a “Welcome Baby” celebration for the parish
- First Communicants made and sold “Choose Life” bracelets
- Hosted a baby shower for a local pregnancy center
- Started a new moms outreach to give every expectant mom in the parish a goodie bag
- Started new relationships with local agencies.
Here are a few things that the Walking with Mom’s Planning Team for the Archdiocese has learned along the journey so far:
Not everyone knows what Walking with Moms in Need is.
If you have not read the information on the diocesan website or watched the introductory webinar that we hosted you probably don’t understand what Walking with Moms in Need is. Many people who passed on participating in the initiative later found out they passed on something they did not understand—some thought the initiative was a new Pregnancy Center, others thought it was a strict set of benchmarks parishes would meet—both were wrong! Do you know what Walking with Moms in Need is?
There are more than enough volunteers.
Parishes who have communicated effectively what the Initiative entails to their parish communities have not struggled to recruit Core Team members to help the parish through the initiative. There are many people in every parish community who are eager to find ways to support moms in need. Some who approached the initiative as a vicariate or Family of Parishes have found that they worked through the planning process much quicker than they expected due to the amount of engagement.
Pastors get a lot of emails.
We’ve yet to meet a parish priest who, when presented with the full details and field guide and a set of willing volunteers, did not think that Walking with Mom’s in Need was something valuable for his parish to take on. However, the number one obstacle we have seen is that pastors get a lot of emails and parish staff and volunteer think that because their pastor did not respond to the first email about the initiative it meant he was not interested. Help your pastor collect and process the information, or help him by finding a group of people willing to help the parish through the process!
You don’t know what the need is until you ask.
One of the powerful parts of Walking with Moms in Need is that is puts your parish in relationship with local agencies that support mothers in need. The open lines of communication that this creates allows everyone to work for each others maximum benefit. One program was shocked to realize that their neighbor agency didn’t have any need for diapers (a very common need for other programs) but was struggling to serve people because they did not have access to car seats—something they never would have thought to ask about.
There are a lot of people supporting moms in need and we can all help share the good news.
Almost everyday we learn about a new organization that is trying to walk with moms in need. Catholic Charities together with the Archdiocesan Prolife Ministry Office are compiling a list of these resources. We wouldn’t know about many of these agencies had parishes not participated in Walking with Moms in Need and completed their resource inventories. Now posters are going up all over the AOD letting moms in need know about these resources and moms are reaching out for help! We’ve found that just because these resources exist doesn’t mean that people know they are there or that they can reach out for support.
When a Parish engages and promotes Walking with Moms in Need it strengthens their prolife message.
We invite you to join in celebrating life, shining light on your local resources to support both mothers and children, together building a Culture of Life.