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.