Although the U.S. economy has broken all records for low unemployment, economic growth and jobs created, many struggling pregnant moms still feel pressured to seek an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy. Now the U.S. Catholic church has launched a “Year of Service” to let them know there’s support for their choice to choose life.
Through the Year of Service, parishes are asked to complete a simple inventory of the resources currently available in their local area, assess the results and identify gaps, and plan and implement a parish response based on their findings.
Catholic bishops across the nation are being asked to invite the parishes in their dioceses to join a nationwide effort called “Walking With Moms in Need: A Year of Service” from March 25 of this year through March 25, 2021.
Kansas City’s Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, announced the new initiative on the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy across the country.
Since that time, the effort has been organized, ramped up and a website has been created – www.walkingwithmoms.com. The site is filled with “resources, outreach tools and models to assist parishes in this effort. Resources will be continue to be added to the site, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.
“As the church and growing numbers of pro-life Americans continue to advocate for women and children in courthouses and legislatures,” Archbishop Naumann said, “the church’s pastoral response is focused on the needs of women facing pregnancies in challenging circumstances.”
This pastoral response to pregnant women and mothers in need “has long been the case” for the church, he said, but added the Year of Service will “intensify” this response.
In “recognizing that women in need can be most effectively reached at the local level,” Archbishop Naumann explained, the year of service “invites parishes to assess, communicate, and expand resources to expectant mothers within their own communities.”
The Year of Service is divided into five phases of parish action:
- Phase 1: Announce the Year of Service and begin building a core team (March 2020).
- Phase 2: Launch parish inventory process (May 2020).
- Phase 3: Share inventory results and begin assessment and planning (September 2020).
- Phase 4: Announcement and Commitment to Parish Response (January 2021).
- Phase 5: Celebration and Implementation of Parish Plans (March 2021).
“We pray that ‘Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service’ will help us reach every pregnant mother in need, that she may know she can turn to her local Catholic community for help and authentic friendship,” Archbishop Naumann added when he announced the nationwide effort in January.