July 1, 2022

Accompanying moms is ‘where pro-life efforts need to go’ to help them choose life

(Related: Resources for moms in need in central and southern Indiana)

Baby items fill a resource room at the Women’s Care Center in Indianapolis. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Baby items fill a resource room at the Women’s Care Center in Indianapolis. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

With the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the nation, a legal victory has been won.

But the work of compassion continues, even intensifies.

“It’s been an important effort to get Roe overturned,” said Brie Anne Varick. “That needed to happen.”

But the pro-life movement has been “so stretched in our efforts the last 50 years,” added Varick, coordinator of the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity. “Now we can focus our efforts on supporting pregnant and parenting women.”

It’s an effort the Catholic Church “has always offered,” said Varick. “The problem is a lot of people don’t know what we do.”

Now more than ever, said Varick, “We need everyone to be involved in building up our already great network of support for moms in need—whether family, friend or stranger—and sharing with others about all the resources we offer, from pregnancy care centers to food pantries, to post-abortion healing ministries, to adoption, to clothing, household items, shelter and more. (Related: Resources for moms in need in central and southern Indiana)

“We need to get the message out that we’re here for you, we won’t abandon you, we’re here to walk with you.”

‘Support in order to choose life’

Varick discussed a few of the resources offered by the archdiocese and parishes to help pregnant and parenting moms in need.

“Gabriel Project is a good example of how to accompany women,” she said. “They have volunteers called ‘angels’ who walk with women needing support in order to choose life, taking them to doctor appointments, being with them when they go to pregnancy care centers, having conversations with them, helping them find parenting classes and material supplies and resources.”

The archdiocese’s Birthline ministry in Indianapolis is one resource moms can turn to for baby items. Another is Marie’s Community Distribution Program, a service of St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities in New Albany.

The archdiocese also offers two adoption agencies that work with both birth parents and adoptive parents—St. Elizabeth/Coleman in Indianapolis and St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities’ Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana in New Albany.

For women, men and their family and friends hurting from an abortion experience, the archdiocese offers the Project Rachel healing ministry. Healing Hidden Hurts and Rachel’s Vineyard are other post-abortion healing ministries offered in the archdiocese.

Moms in need can find food and household items to start a new life throughout central and southern Indiana from Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

“And the local Church has been a great prayer support and financial support to pregnancy care centers and pregnancy resource centers,” said Varick.

Parish inventories of local resources

There are plenty of other resources and ministries in the archdiocese’s 39-county region offering help to pregnant and parenting moms. The challenge is identifying them.

Walking with Moms in Need is an initiative by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help parishes find those resources and better serve moms who turn to them for help.

“The website [walkingwithmoms.com] gives you all the tools in order to do a local inventory of the resources in your parish boundaries,” Varick explained. “It walks you step by step in how to assess the outreach to moms in need in your area, what might be missing, can your parish fill in that gap or can you find another resource nearby.”

Her vision is for any mom in need to be able to “walk into their local parish and everyone would know at least where to meet her needs.”

Parishes lacking the personnel or a pro-life committee to gather the information might consider working with other parishes, Varick suggested.

“And if that doesn’t work, my hope is they could point moms to an archdiocesan Human Life and Dignity Office website with resources for our whole archdiocese, grouped at least by deanery if not by parish.”

‘It can be the littlest things’

Personally accompanying moms in need may sound daunting, said Varick.

“But it can be the littlest things,” she noted. “Even just watching her baby so she can take a shower! This is something you can do for your mom friends or family.”

Helping with or creating parish ministries is another way to help moms at the local level, said Varick.

“Maybe creating or getting involved in a parish mom’s support group can help, especially for single moms,” she said. “Meal trains to help moms in a parish is another idea. Or maybe taking the initiative to start Gabriel Project or Walking with Moms in your parish.

“A lot of parishes do baby showers or diaper drives for moms in need and take the donations to local pregnancy centers or ministries that provide layettes, diapers, formula and basic needs for babies.”

Pregnancy care centers and archdiocesan ministries helping moms in need are always seeking volunteers, said Varick.

One easy effort Varick said a friend of hers does is to “scour all sorts of places like yard sales and look for baby items to donate to Birthline. Or you could go to second-hand baby stores and ask if you can have all the clothes they don’t sell when they’re turning over seasons.”

Prayer is also an important way to help pregnant and parenting moms, she noted.

“You can do [Archbishop] Fulton Sheen’s spiritual adoption of an unborn child,” said Varick. “Have a holy hour praying for moms, our state legislators and officials, for all those who are working to help serve moms in need and for more workers in the vineyard to do that. Pray for an openness to foster care and adoption.”

For those who want to learn more about accompanying moms in need, Varick recommends the Sisters of Life’s “Into Life” video series (intolifeseries.com) as a “good formation opportunity.”

‘Where our pro-life efforts need to go’

Whether through donating goods or money, volunteering or praying, whether getting involved at the personal or parish level, now is the time for everyone to help support pregnant or parenting moms in need, said Varick.

Pregnant and parenting moms in need “really need to be accompanied to the point they know they’re loved and supported,” she said. “Then they can choose life because they know they are loved by God, supported by the community and can give their child a good life or have the courage to give their child to a family who can give them a good life.

“This is where our pro-life efforts need to go. Walk with moms in need, love them into life and help them choose life.” †


(See all our coverage of the Dobbs decision)

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