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October 2023

Prayer for Radical Solidarity

O Blessed Mother, at the angel’s word you went in haste to the aid of your cousin Elizabeth. Although pregnant yourself, you placed her needs before your own.


By your example of radical solidarity, teach us to reverence and protect those in need, without conditions or expectations. Ask your Son to give us unfailing determination to witness to the profound dignity of every person, at every stage and in every circumstance.


In that first Eucharistic procession, you carried Jesus to Elizabeth in her time of need. Obtain for us the grace to bring Christ to any expectant mother who is alone and afraid.


May our support help them to find hope and strength in the Lord. Amen.


Copyright © 2023, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

In the News:

‘Radical Solidarity’ With Women In Need Means Being The ‘Hands And Feet Of Jesus,’ Pro-Life Leaders Say

Maria Wiering

OSV News

October 4, 2023

"In Marietta, Georgia, helping moms in need goes beyond diaper distribution or rental assistance. It’s rocking a baby in the middle of the night to help a tired mother sleep, a phone call to check in and listen, a warm relationship of support.

'It would be easy for these ministries to drop some diapers off, and not to say that’s not important,' said Keri Ninness, who leads the Walking with Moms in Need ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Marietta. 'But when we’re talking about long-term impact — and we’re talking long term — being the hands and feet of Jesus, that means relationship.'...

On Sept. 18, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called Catholics to 'radical solidarity' with vulnerable pregnant women in a letter titled 'Living Radical Solidarity' issued ahead of the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Respect Life Month this October.

'While ending legalized abortion remains our preeminent priority, the most immediate way to save babies and mothers from abortion is to thoroughly surround mothers in need with life- giving support and personal accompaniment. This is radical solidarity,' Bishop Burbidge wrote.

The phrase, the letter notes, echoes St. John Paul II, who first defined 'radical solidarity' as becoming 'courageously ‘pro woman,’ promoting a choice that is truly in favor of women' by not leaving a woman in need alone. Drawing on Pope Francis, Bishop Burbidge said radical solidarity requires a 'new mindset … moving beyond the status quo and out of our comfort zones.'...

That approach is familiar to Father Peter Ascik, who coordinates the Walking with Moms in Need initiative for parishes in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, as the first director of its nearly two-year-old office of family life.

As a parochial vicar in 2020, he helped one of the diocese’s largest parishes, St. Matthew in Charlotte, start a Walking with Women in Need program. Along with another Walking with Moms program at St. Pius X in Greensboro, North Carolina, 'the programs at both of those parishes have flourished and are bearing really good fruit,' he said...

'Radical solidarity is going to mean radical availability,' Father Ascik said. 'Radical availability is being willing to answer a text message, maybe at 9 p.m. at night or on a weekend, with a need that mom’s having right now.'

'That’s the culture that Walking with Moms helps us build,' he continued, 'because, whereas, maybe before we would say, ‘Yeah, I want to help pregnant moms,’ … the next step is stepping up and saying, ‘I’m here. I’m the person that you can call on, the person that will go and talk to you, the person that will help you run down a place where you can get food on a weekend,' when food banks are closed..."


U.S. bishops urge ‘radical solidarity’ with mothers for Respect Life Month

Tyler Arnold

Catholic News Agency

September 19, 2023

"The United States Catholic bishops are calling on the faithful to embrace 'radical solidarity' with mothers who are facing difficult or challenging pregnancies this October, which the Church in the United States has observed as 'Respect Life Month' since 1973.

Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge, the chairman of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, echoed St. John Paul II’s call for 'radical solidarity,' which means, according to the bishop, 'putting our love for them into action and putting their needs before our own.'

'This new mindset requires that we come alongside vulnerable mothers in profound friendship, compassion, and support for both them and their preborn children,' Burbidge wrote in a statement to Catholics for the 50th anniversary of Respect Life Month. 

'It means addressing the fundamental challenges that lead an expectant mother to believe she is unable to welcome the child God has entrusted to her,' Burbidge continued...

Burbidge added that although 'ending legalized abortion remains our preeminent priority,' it is not enough. Rather, he stressed that 'the most immediate way to save babies and mothers from abortion is to thoroughly surround mothers in need with lifegiving support and personal accompaniment.'

The statement encourages Catholics to ask themselves whether they know of efforts in their area to help women who are pregnant or parenting in difficult circumstances, what their gifts and talents are, and how they can adjust their schedule or budget to help mothers in need and their children. It references the 'Walking with Moms in Need' parish-based initiatives, which help parishes become welcoming places for mothers facing difficulties, as a possible option to get involved. 

'Radical solidarity can be lived out in countless ways, including volunteering at your local pregnancy center; helping an expectant mother find stable housing; babysitting so a mom can work or take classes; providing encouragement and a listening ear to a mom without a support system; or speaking to your pastor about beginning Walking with Moms in Need at your parish,' Burbidge said..." 


Archdiocese of Kansas City:

Catholics Find Ways to Walk with Moms in Need

Marc & Julie Anderson

The Leaven

October 6, 2023

"Some 40 walkers took to the streets here Sept. 30 in the first-ever Walking with Moms in Need (WWMIN) walk. Organizers hope the walk will become an annual event. The walk started on the grounds of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish and went into the neighborhood with a dual purpose — that of educating the community about what the Catholic Church is doing to assist women facing unexpected pregnancies and to celebrate the pro-life ministries offered across the archdiocese at its parishes.

The idea for the walk came from Emma Heinen, a parishioner of Queen of the Holy Rosary. She found the WWMIN initiative to be quite a different approach.

'We want to do what people don’t think people who are pro-life will do,' she said. 'Give them resources, gain community, etc.

'That really spoke to me.'

Many women don’t know where to go and/or don’t have the means to get to the resources. That’s when Heinen suggested having a walk to show women 'there are a lot of people out there who want to help you and who want you to be a mother.'...

Called to leave her comfort zone

Cindy Durbin is a case in point. A member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Emporia, Durbin said that after growing quite discouraged in June 2022 over the polling on the 'Value Them Both' amendment, she was led by the Holy Spirit to leave her comfort zone.

'He led me to my parish office,' she said. 'I will never forget this. I just drove to the office, and I just felt like I had to talk to someone. I really had no idea what that meant or who I would express my concerns to.'

That’s when she met Shawn Gerleman, the parish’s director of evangelization.

'Shawn said that he was just praying that morning for someone to come into his office and say the things I had just said.'

Gerleman encouraged Durbin to learn about WWMIN.

A retired teacher, Durbin took to the task, reading and taking notes on everything she found.

By August, Durbin had formed a regional core team...

The group’s first event was called Donuts for Diapers. For every package of disposable diapers donated, Durbin and the team doled out donuts at the regional parishes. The diapers and wipes were then delivered to Shiloh Home of Hope for Heaven (www.shilohhomeofhope.org).

Now the WWMIN group meets monthly. One month, the group invited the director of Lyon County’s public transportation who, Durbin said, was so impressed that he stayed the entire meeting, leaving behind a dozen passes for moms needing transportation.

Community and creativity

As a client advocate at Advice & Aid Pregnancy Center, Katie O’Hara, a member of Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish in Overland Park, said she saw a lot of assistance available for clients who decided to parent or place their children for adoption, but none connected to a parish.

'That’s how you really form community is to be in a parish,' she said. 'So, that’s what kind of spurred me to revisit the WWMIN that I had heard of in 2020.

'A lot of people when they are having trouble don’t go to the church because they think they’ll be judged. That’s what we’re really trying to break down. . . . Jesus is up on the cross because he wants us to come to him. . . . I want them to feel welcome to come back.'

Initially, two dozen parishioners signed up after she placed an invitation in the bulletin, but that number keeps growing.

For example, about 40 to 50 people now take turns providing meals when families welcome a new baby.

Beth Guerra, a member of the parish’s WWMIN group, said she personally found the meal train 'very, very helpful' and noted many of the people providing meals have young families of their own...

Another person who benefited from the parish’s meal trains is Lyedi Guiterrez Alegria, an immigrant from Chappas, Mexico.

Having moved to the area in February as a result of her husband’s work, she knew no one in the United States. Already expecting, she attempted to get care at an emergency room. Doctors wouldn’t see her. So, she kept praying and researching services available to her.

Eventually, she found Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers and was given an ultrasound there. That’s where she met Susie Boster, a volunteer from Church of the Nativity in Leawood.

Guiterrez doesn’t know how to drive, and she and her husband have just one car. So, she needed transportation to doctors’ appointments.

'We looked for Spanish-speaking [individuals], but I couldn’t find anyone. So, I drove, and we used Google Translate,' Boster said.

Eventually, Boster found O’Hara who connected her with Arlette Romo, a member of Queen of the Holy Rosary’s group. The two became instant friends, and the parish immediately welcomed Guiterrez, offering to throw her a baby shower.

'I was lucky enough to take her to the hospital when it was time. It was such a blessing,' Boster said...

‘A really big ask’

As a speech therapist at a public school, Abbie Hughes said when she visited a single mother and her three boys, she was saddened to learn how little the single mother and children had in terms of furniture, clothes and food.

So, she showed up at her very first WWMIN meeting in July with 'a really big ask.'

When members were discussing what project should follow the baby shower, she piped right up.

'Please help ‘my’ family next,' Hughes said.

Within a week, Erin Hayes, another WWMIN group member, had created an online sign-up for a list of things the family needed. It included everything from food and clothes to shoes and furniture. Within the course of four weeks, nearly everything on the list had been given to the family.

O’Hara said she continues to be amazed by the graces God has showered upon the ministry."


Prayer Intention

May mothers in need experience Christ's loving care as we seek to live out His Gospel of life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be...

Prayer Cards Available

Our Prayer for Pregnant Mothers is available in English and Spanish for free download. It can also be ordered as a beautiful prayer card.

USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

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