Getting Started

As part of the nationwide effort Walking with Moms in Need, parishes that have the support of their bishop and pastor 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. The following resources are provided to help guide parishes through the process as they work to better serve pregnant women in need.  

This introductory webinar explains the vision and inspiration for Walking with Moms in Need. It also guides you through the website and extensive resources, explaining how (with these tools) you can help pregnant and parenting moms in your community.

Parish Action Guide

Through a yearlong process, 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. Walking with Moms is broken up into five phases of parish action.

The ACTION GUIDE SUMMARY is provided to assist parishes in participating in Walking with Moms in Need. This ACTION GUIDE SUMMARY provides simple, one-page instructions for completing each phase of the initiative. (For additional materials, including sample timelines, announcements, prayers, activities, homily notes, and more detailed instructions, please see the full PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

While each parish will participate in its own unique way, this ACTION GUIDE SUMMARY provides a basic framework and structure that can be adapted to each local Church’s needs. Through the combined efforts of parishes nationwide, we hope to move closer to the day when every pregnant woman in need knows where to turn for help, and abortion is simply unthinkable.

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

PHASE 1: Introduce Walking with Moms & Begin Building a Core Team

Follow these simple steps to get Walking with Moms in Need started in your parish. Feel free to adjust and adapt as needed! During Phase 1 pastors are asked to select a parish leader for the initiative who will then begin assembling a parish core team to help complete the parish inventory and related tasks. Parishes are encouraged to educate their community on Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), highlighting its call to serve pregnant and parenting moms in need.

The pastor of each participating parish is asked to appoint a parish leader for Walking with Moms in Need. The parish leader acts as a main point of contact and coordinator. Pastors can find tips and suggestions for filling this important role in “Selecting a Parish Leader” on page 13 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.

Once a parish leader has been selected, he or she, with the guidance of the pastor, can begin assembling a parish core team. The core team will meet throughout the year and complete various steps in the process, including the parish inventory, assessment, and response planning and implementation. More detailed instructions and tips can be found in “Building a Parish Core Team” on page 15 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.

In addition to assembling a core team, you will also want to begin establishing a broader group to help support Walking with Moms. In the beginning stages of this project, you will likely only need assistance from your core team. However, as the project continues, grows, and develops, you will likely need wider parish support. Establishing a simple support network allows you to inspire broader parish involvement and enlist assistance during later phases.(See page 18 in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for details.)

Use the provided sample announcements to introduce Walking with Moms in Need to your parish community. Encourage your priests and deacons to include this exciting news in the weekend homily using the provided “Homily Helps” (page 10 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE). If possible, include one of the provided educational resources in your bulletin.

When introducing Walking with Moms, use this opportunity to pray the “Prayer for Pregnant Mothers” together as a community and to encourage regular use of the prayer. Include intercessions for pregnant mothers in the Prayer of the Faithful during Sunday Masses. (Sample intercessions are available on page 10 in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

Even if your core team is not fully assembled, begin thinking about when your team can gather for the first time. Consult current members of the core team about their availability and what days and times generally work best with their schedules. Begin thinking about your agenda and what you might hope to accomplish in this initial gathering.

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

PHASE 2: Launch Parish Inventory Process

These simple steps offer ideas on how to use the provided materials to begin the inventory process in your parish community—feel free to adjust and adapt as needed! During Phase 2 parishes will continue to assemble their core teams through personal invitations and expand their parish support network. Phase 2 also launches the parish inventory process and once again invites the parish to pray for pregnant and parenting women in need.

Once your core team has been assembled, begin thinking about when your team can gather for the first time. Consult members about their availability and what days and times generally work best with their schedules. Begin thinking about your AGENDA and what you might hope to accomplish in this initial gathering. (See “Hosting a Meeting” on page 25 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for ideas and tips for planning your first gathering.)

Before beginning your parish inventory, we recommend contacting your local diocesan Respect Life office. Many pregnancy resources are appropriately coordinated at the diocesan or regional level. Your diocesan office may already have completed its own diocesan inventory and be able to provide you with a list of resources within the diocese. This list will be a great resource for you as you complete your parish inventory.

The inventory tool provides a framework and structure to help your parish think about the various resources that a mother in need may find helpful. Using the INVENTORY TOOL, each parish is asked to identify the local pregnancy help resources in their community that are currently available to a woman facing a difficult pregnancy. The needs of pregnant and parenting moms can be overwhelming, and the sources for help may not be apparent to those most needing support. Take time to familiarize yourself with the inventory tool.

Choose a weekend during Phase 2 to update the parish community on the start of the inventory process. Also utilize this opportunity to pray for pregnant and parenting mothers in need. Sample announcements, intercessions, and homily notes are provided to help you share this important update with your parish. (See pages 21-23 in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

The purpose of the inventory process is to find out what resources are currently available and allow you to assess these resources and identify possible gaps. Through site visits, phone calls, and research, begin filling out the parish inventory. You may want to divide up different sections and assign them to core team members to research and report back to the group. Once the information has been gathered, both individually and as a group, compile everything into the inventory form. (See “Completing the Parish Inventory” on page 27 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for more detailed instructions on getting started.)

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

PHASE 3: Share Inventory Results and Begin Assessment and Planning

These simple steps are provided to guide you through Phase 3 of Walking with Moms in Need. They offer ideas on how to use the provided materials to assess your inventory results, identify gaps, and begin planning how the parish can respond. During Phase 3 parishes are also encouraged to share the results of the inventory with their community in a parish-wide meeting and invite parishioner feedback and involvement in the parish response.

Gather with your core team to review and assess the results of your completed parish inventory. During this time, you will evaluate the current resources, identify gaps, and discuss how help is currently communicated to women in need. Depending on the amount of information you gathered, it may take multiple meetings to review the inventory. Begin creating a concise overview that can be shared with your pastor and larger parish community. (See “Reviewing and Assessing Inventory Results” on page 38 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for detailed instructions and sample criteria for completing this step.)

Once your core team has evaluated the inventory results, take time to consider ideas and models for a parish response. Think about the gaps you identified and consider ways your parish might decide to address them. Generate a list of ideas that you could propose to your pastor and parish community to better serve mothers in need. (See “Planning a Parish Response” on page 43 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for detailed instructions and sample models to get you started.)

In collaboration with your pastor, plan to share the inventory results with the broader community in a parish-wide meeting on a specified date. On the weekends prior, announce the completion of the inventory, and invite parishioners to the parish-wide meeting in the coming weeks to review the findings and get their input. Encourage your priests and deacons to include this exciting news in their weekend homilies. (Sample announcements and homily notes are available in Phase 3 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

Meet with your pastor to review the inventory results and proposed parish responses that you’re planning to present. Discuss plans for facilitating this larger gathering and collecting parishioner feedback. At the parish-wide meeting, share inventory findings, highlight identified gaps, and discuss possible parish responses. Use this gathering to also invite greater volunteer assistance. (See “Hosting a Parish-Wide Meeting” on page 48 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for instructions, sample agendas, discussion tips, and more.)

With your pastor and core team, review your inventory results and the feedback from the broader parish community. Work together to determine a plan for an appropriate parish response. Share your inventory results and plans with your Diocesan Contact Person. (See “Determining Your Parish Response” on page 52 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

PHASE 4: Announce and Commit to Parish Response

Use the following simple steps to guide you through Phase 4 of Walking with Moms in Need. They offer ideas on how to use the provided materials to announce your parish response to the larger parish community. Parishes are again encouraged to host a parish-wide meeting and invite parishioner involvement in efforts to offer and communicate help to mothers in need.

Announce the plans for your parish response, and invite all parishioners to a parish-wide meeting. In collaboration with your pastor, use the meeting to inform parishioners about your plans to assist mothers in need and invite them to get involved. Encourage your priests and deacons to include this exciting news in their weekend homilies. (Announcements and homily notes are available on pages 56 and 58 in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

When announcing the upcoming parish-wide meeting, use this opportunity to pray the “Prayer for Pregnant Mothers” together as a community and to encourage regular use of the prayer. Include intercessions for pregnant mothers and your parish efforts in the Prayer of the Faithful during Sunday Masses. (Sample intercessions are available in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE on page 57.)

Work with your pastor and core team to finalize the parish-wide meeting agenda. Consider fun and creative ways to engage your parish community, increase attendance, and encourage involvement in your parish plans. During the parish-wide meeting, review the needs of pregnant mothers and unveil the proposed parish plans to offer help and increase outreach. Invite parishioner support, share a proposed schedule for implementing the plans, and seek additional volunteers from the meeting attendees. (See “Committing to and Implementing a Parish Response” on page 59 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE.)

Once your parish plans have been determined, gather with your core team to discuss how you can communicate your ongoing efforts to parishioners and those most in need of assistance. It is essential that the community knows the ways your parish is working to serve mothers in need. (See “Communicating Help for Mothers in Need” on page 62 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for tips on getting the word out to your community.)

In collaboration with your pastor, begin implementing your parish plans. Engage the help of the core team, parish support network members, and new volunteers. A parish response could range from listing the local pregnancy help center in the parish bulletin to a more substantial commitment to launch a new ministry or effort. Some plans will require additional meetings and volunteer trainings. (See “Committing to and Implementing a Parish Response” on page 59 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for ideas on implementing your parish plans.)

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

PHASE 5: Celebrate and Implement Parish Plans

These simple steps will guide you through Phase 5 of Walking with Moms in Need. They offer ideas on how to use the provided materials to celebrate the close of the yearlong process and the launch of your plans for offering and communicating help to mothers in need.

Plan to host a parish-wide celebration to recognize your parish’s progress in serving pregnant women in need. Ideas can range from hosting a “baby shower” for a local ministry to planning a gala event to support a new, parish-based initiative. Work with your pastor and core team to finalize the parish wide celebration plans. (See “Hosting a Parish Celebration” on page 72 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for ideas on how your parish can celebrate the fruits of Walking with Moms in Need and the gift of life.)

In collaboration with your pastor, share an encouraging update on parish plans with the broader parish community. Highlight the progress your parish has made in serving mothers in need through the Walking with Moms process. Invite all parishioners to a parish-wide celebration. Encourage your priests and deacons to include this exciting news in their weekend homilies. (Sample announcements and homily notes are available in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE on pages 68 and 70.)

When celebrating the progress on parish plans, use this opportunity to pray the “Prayer for Pregnant Mothers” together as a community and to encourage continued regular use of the prayer. Include intercessions for pregnant mothers and your parish efforts in the Prayer of the Faithful during Sunday Masses. (Sample intercessions are available in the PARISH ACTION GUIDE on page 69.)

In collaboration with your pastor, use the celebration to share and recognize exciting updates with your parish community. Explain all the great work that has taken place over the past year and share all that the parish is currently working to accomplish. Continue to invite parishioner engagement and seek additional volunteers from the event attendees to help implement and sustain your parish efforts.

Continue to engage the help of the core team, parish support network, and new volunteers in offering and communicating help to mothers in need. As you implement your plans, more ideas and opportunities may present themselves. Continue to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and how the Lord may want to continue building on and expanding the plans you have already committed to. (See “Continuing to Walk with Moms in Need” on page 75 of the PARISH ACTION GUIDE for tips on sustaining and expanding your outreach in the months and years to come.)

All text is taken directly from the Action Guide Summary on the Walking with Moms in Need Website.

Additional Resources

Additional resources can be found on the Walking with Moms in Need website.  Direct links for each of the materials are listed below.

Templates

The templates below are also available HERE on the Walking with Moms in Need website.

Sample Meeting Agenda:

Email Invite Template:

Sample Sign-Up Sheets:

Sample PowerPoint Template:

Educational Materials

As part of the nationwide effort, Walking with Moms in Need, the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities will be providing educational materials to help the Faithful reflect on the teachings of Evangelium vitaeEvangelii gaudium, and Laudato si’.  These reproduceable materials are on the USCCB Website at the links below.

Bulletin Inserts:                                              

 

The Gospel of Life: 

Prayer Guides

There are 12 prayer guides are available to help you regularly pray for mothers in need in your parish community. Each guide features a different prayer intention, short reflection, suggested actions, and more.  Click the links below to access the Walking with Moms in Need website.  There is also a Prayer for Pregnant Mothers that can be ordered on prayer cards or printed for free.

Logos & Images

The below logos and images can be downloaded on the Walking with Moms in Need website by CLICKING HERE.

Marketing Materials

These materials are specifically made for use in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  They include flyers, brochures, Social Media ads, and monitor displays.

Baby Bag Order Form

Order more pre-made baby bags here to use for moms in need at your parish.
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Contact Us:

Bob Wurzelbacher

Office Director
(513)263-6674

Becky Schoenfeld

Associate Director
(513)263-3366

Noelle Collis-DeVito

Associate Director
(937)281-4128