“Walking with Moms in Need” still relevant

It has been five months since the historic U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision which effectively overturned five decades of unlimited access to abortion. However, the Catholic Church’s fight to protect life from conception continues.

In the wake of the Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022, Bishop Frank J. Dewane said the “legal protection must be accompanied by more care for mothers and their children. The Catholic Church, and the Diocese of Venice, stand ready to help mothers in need. Pregnant women are not alone… Parishes in the Diocese of Venice have redoubled their efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, offering them loving and compassionate care.”

At that time, the Diocese introduced “Walking with Moms in Need,” a program which educates Parish staff and the faithful about how to help pregnant moms in need, including where to send them for help (https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need). All resources are available in both English and Spanish.

There are 22 Pregnancy Help Centers and nine residential maternity and after-birth homes within the Diocese, standing ready to help. Importantly, there are many financial and volunteering opportunities available to support these Pregnancy Help Centers.

For decades, the Diocese of Venice has supported these Pregnancy Help Centers and will continue to do so. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice is one of the programs in the Diocese that supports single mothers and their children, providing not just housing and material needs, but valuable counseling and education.

A recently released video from Bishop Dewane (available at the “Walking with Moms in Need website noted above) discusses “Walking with Moms in Need” within the Diocese. The Bishop stresses how the Church has built a Culture of Life and how we must all stand as a voice for the voiceless – the unborn. It is through the “Walking with Moms in Need” program that Parishes are to be “Islands of Mercy” in a sea of indifference and a field hospital for those in search of support, as called on by Pope Francis.

Bishop Dewane extends an invitation for the faithful to join in the “Walking with Moms in Need” program “guided by the Holy Spirit, let us offer Christ’s presence and love to mothers in their time of need through our faithful service and support.”

Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director, said the message from Bishop Dewane and the “Walking with Moms in Need” program are crucial. “The Catholic Church needs to be there for pregnant women to help with their needs. We need to come alongside the Pregnancy Help Centers, Maternity Homes and After Birth Homes as they continue to work diligently with each mom, the dad and other important family members.”

Berdeaux said that the abortion issue will be in the news again when the Florida Legislature gathers in their upcoming 2023 session from March 7 to May 5.

As the Bishop statement pointed out following the Dobbs decision: “In God’s eyes, all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death; this is the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

As the Diocesan statement concludes, we are reminded: “Let us all continue to pray for the end to abortion, and the end to taking the lives of an entire category of human beings, the preborn.”

To learn more about “Walking with Moms in Need” please visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need, or contact Jeanne Berdeaux at 941-374-1068 or Berdeaux@dioceseofvenice.org.

Opportunities to Support Life

St. Augustine March for Life

The 17th annual March for Life will be held in St. Augustine on Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14 with speakers, music, and activities at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. For details please visit www.marchforlifestaugustine.com. (Plans are underway to move the march to Tallahassee in 2024.) Make your hotel reservation soon! Questions?

Catholic Days at the Capitol

Join others from around the state for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol in Tallahassee from March 7-9, 2023. The three-day trip includes a legislative briefing on important bills relating to human life and dignity, a breakfast with legislators and the Florida Bishops, tours of the capitol and museum, scheduled visits with legislators and the annual Red Mass of the Holy Spirit with the Florida Bishops and public officials. Bus transportation is provided while space is available at no cost.

National March for Life

A group of youth and adults will take place in the 50th Annual National March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. 2023. The Diocese participates in this March each year and it includes groups from Parishes as well as the Diocesan Catholic high schools. The Diocesan group will also participate in the Vigil Mass on Jan. 19, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

 

 

Diocese redoubles efforts to help moms

When the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on the Dobbs case was leaked last month, effectively overturning five decades of unlimited access to abortion, the Diocese of Venice vowed to redouble efforts to help moms who are facing unexpected pregnancies.

In a statement released after the Supreme Court ruling on June 24, 2022, Bishop Frank J. Dewane said: “Of course, legal protection must be accompanied by more care for mothers and their children. The Catholic Church, and the Diocese of Venice, stand ready to help mothers in need. Pregnant women are not alone.”

The statement added that “Parishes in the Diocese of Venice have redoubled their efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, offering them loving and compassionate care.”

Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director Jeanne Berdeaux said the Diocese and all the faithful “need to continue to Pray! – Educate! – and Act! – to promote a greater respect for all human life.”

Berdeaux said that all parishioners will want to learn about “Walking with Moms in Need,” a new program which educates Parish staff and the faithful where to send a pregnant woman in need (https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need) with all resources available in both English and Spanish. There are 22 Pregnancy Help Centers and nine residential maternity and after-birth homes within the Diocese, standing ready to help. Importantly, with an expected increase for demand, there are many financial and volunteering opportunities available to support these Pregnancy Help Centers.

For decades, the Diocese of Venice has supported these Pregnancy Help Centers and will continue to do so. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities in Venice is one of the programs in the Diocese that supports single mothers and their children, providing not just housing and material needs, but valuable counseling and education.

Berdeaux also stressed the need for the faithful to learn about the support after abortion outreach in the Diocese called Project Rachel. This program is a confidential service where any woman or man who is hurting from an abortion can seek help and find hope and healing. Again, this service is available in both English and Spanish.

“Many people still don’t understand Catholic teaching on abortion and the sanctity of human life,” Berdeaux said. “There are many resources available to help them learn the truth beginning with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and on our Diocesan website www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife.”

In the Diocesan statement, it points out that: “In God’s eyes, all human life is sacred, from conception to natural death; this is the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

As the Diocesan statement concludes, we are reminded: “Let us all continue to pray for the end to abortion, and the end to taking the lives of an entire category of human beings, the preborn.”

Walking with Moms in Need – Program embraces and supports pregnant mothers

By Jeanne Berdeaux, Special to the Florida Catholic

Would you know how to help a pregnant woman in need? Maybe it’s your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, or neighbor. Maybe it’s someone you see in a store, restaurant, or church. Perhaps she is crying, looks distraught or is obviously being treated poorly by someone. Through a new national initiative from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called Walking with Moms in Need, now you will know how to help.

Walking with Moms in Need teaches parishioners how to help pregnant women in need, starting by letting them know they are not alone. The nationwide Catholic program calls

every parishioner to learn the names of their local pregnancy help centers, the first responders for women with unexpected or difficult pregnancies.

There are over 3,000 pregnancy help centers across the country. They have many different names, but they are staffed with people dedicated to helping pregnant women make the right life-affirming choice and find the help they need.

Pregnancy help centers, once referred to as crisis pregnancy centers, provide accurate information about a woman’s options, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, maternity and baby clothes, diapers, and other material needs, all free of charge. They also have a list of resources in the community for financial help, food, and other needs.

If a woman needs a place to stay and extra help throughout her pregnancy, the pregnancy help center staff will assist her in finding a maternity home and later an after-birth home where she will receive help to welcome her child into the world.

Many centers also reach out to the father of the child, helping him to become the father that the child needs and the support that the mother needs. Both the mom and the dad will be helped to realize that they are already parents.

Did you know that over 90 percent of women who see their child via ultrasound choose life? They may see their child sucking her thumb, waving, kicking, or jumping around in the amniotic fluid in the womb. They see that the baby is truly a human being, not just a clump of cells. Every pregnancy help center in the Diocese has an ultrasound machine, most provided by the Knights of Columbus.

In the Diocese of Venice, Parishes will initiate the new Walking with Moms in Need program with prayer and bulletin ads, posters, and other means of communication to point pregnant women in the right direction. Parish volunteers are encouraged to visit the pregnancy help centers in their area, meet with staff, and explore ways the Parish can help the center and their clients. Volunteers are needed to help with many tasks, from answering phones, sorting baby clothes, helping with mailings, and much more.

Perhaps a woman is looking for a Catholic Parish where she can return to her roots in the Catholic Church. Recently a Parish volunteer was able to welcome a new resident at Mass who moved into a local maternity home away from her home Parish. In another part of the Diocese, volunteers from two Parishes worked together to help a pregnant woman with material needs, providing a crib, stroller, furniture, and baby items. Catholic Charities and Pennies for Babies helped with rent and utility bills to keep the family from being evicted or having their electricity turned off.

To volunteer for Walking with Moms in Need, or to help your Parish introduce the program, visit https://dioceseofvenice.org/walking-with-moms-in-need. If you know of someone who is local, pregnant and needs help immediately, click the “I’m Pregnant” button at that link. If she lives elsewhere there is helpful information available at www.optionline.org. (Note: All Diocesan resources are available in Spanish.)

The demand for abortion will not just disappear, regardless of the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion in America. Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and we hope and pray it is, abortion will not automatically become illegal; instead, it will go back to the states to decide. It is up to us, especial those of us who are Catholic, to make abortion unthinkable and offer better alternatives to women facing unexpected and difficult pregnancies.

Would you know how to help a pregnant woman in need?  Now you will, with Walking with Moms in Need. Let her know she is not alone.

Jeanne Berdeaux is the Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about Walking with Moms in Need, visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/respectlife or contact the Respect Life Office at 941-441-1101.

List of pregnancy help centers in Diocese:

Palmetto – North River Care PC*https://www.northrivercare.org/ – 941-729-9004

Bradenton – CareNet Manasota PC*https://carenetmanasota.com/ – 941-751-1966

Sarasota –  My Choice PC*http://www.mychoicepregnancycenter.com/ – 941-351-3007; Community PChttps://communitypregnancyclinic.com/- 941-260-5427;
Sarasota Medical PC*
; – https://www.sarasotapregnancy.com/ – 941-330-2273

Venice – Pregnancy Solutionshttps://pregnancysolutions.org/ – 941-408-7100; North Port – 941-257-8270; Port Charlotte – 941-883-6346

Fort Myers – Community Pregnancy Clinics*https://communitypregnancyclinic.com/- 239-689-1543; Verity Pregnancy & Medical Resource Centerhttp://www.veritypmc.com/ – 239-433-1929; Pregnancy Resource Centerhttps://www.prcnaples.org/ – 239-990-8186

Naples – Pregnancy Resource Centerhttps://www.prcnaples.org/ – 239-280-5523; Community Pregnancy Clinicshttps://communitypregnancyclinic.com/ – two locations – 239-262-6381 or 239-778-8282

Immokalee – Immokalee PC*https://www.immokaleepregnancy.com/ – 239-657-2016

Avon Park, Wauchula, Sebring, Lake Placid – Choices Family Resource Centershttps://choicesfrc.com/ – 863-453-0307

*Help available in Spanish

Residential facilities:

Bradenton, Sarasota and Englewood – Solve – 941-748-0094 – solvehomes.org

Venice – Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc. –941-485-6264 – catholiccharitiesdov.org

Fort Myers – Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida – 239-267-4663 – ourmothershome.com

Cape Coral – Thrive –239-242-7238 – thriveswfl.org

Naples – Sunlight Home – 239-352-0251 – sunlighthome.org

Naples – Providence House – 239-692-8779 – providencehousenaples.org

Material Needs: Venice Area Pregnancy Care Center – 941-485-1776 – vapcc.org

Project Rachel

Most women who choose abortion eventually realize that they made the wrong choice and face a lifetime of regret. Even if they confess this sin to a priest, they often find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive themselves. They will often confess the same sin over and over. Project Rachel is the Catholic Church’s program to help women and men come to terms with an abortion decision and find the hope and healing they need. Watch for more on post-abortion healing in the next edition of The Florida Catholic. For confidential help, call 941-412-5860 or email project.rachel@dioceseofvenice.org.

How to help

If you would like to help pregnant women in need financially, consider giving to the Pennies for Babies Fund. Send checks (not cash) to Catholic Charities Pennies for Babies Fund, 1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34285. All donations go directly to rent, utilities and special needs of pregnant moms who choose to parent their child.

USCCB Statement

 USCCB Pro-Life Chairman Urges Faithful to Pray in Response to Leak of Draft Supreme Court Opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

May 4, 2022

WASHINGTON – In response to the leak of a draft opinion in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following call to prayer:

“The leak related to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization reminds us of the urgent need for prayer and action at this pivotal moment in our country.

“As Catholics, we care about every unborn child and every mother. Our Church has consistently witnessed in word and deed that life begins at the moment of conception. As the bishops shared in our statement Standing with Moms in Need: we pledge ‘to redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the early years of parenthood, offering them loving and compassionate care through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need and countless others.’

“At the same time, as we await the Court’s decision, we urge everyone to intensify their prayer and fasting that the final decision of the Court will bring about the reversal of Roe and Casey.

“We hope and pray for a change in our laws and stand ready to help all pregnant women in need in each of our communities.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us and guide us.”

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