Walking with Moms in Need
A Year of Service



WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. Catholic bishops are being asked to invite the parishes in their dioceses to join a nationwide effort called “Walking With Moms in Need: A Year of Service” from March 25 of this year through March 25, 2021.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, announced the new initiative on the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton of Jan. 22, 1973. The rulings in the companion cases legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy across the country.

“The Church will never abandon her efforts to reverse these terrible decisions that have led to the deaths of millions of innocent children and the traumatization of countless women and families,” Archbishop Naumann said.

The new program has a website, walkingwithmoms.com, with “resources, outreach tools and models to assist parishes in this effort. Resources will continue to be added to the site, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

“As the Church and growing numbers of pro-life Americans continue to advocate for women and children in courthouses and legislatures,” Archbishop Naumann said, “the Church’s pastoral response is focused on the needs of women facing pregnancies in challenging circumstances. While this has long been the case, the pastoral response will soon intensify,” with the yearlong service project “Walking with Moms in Need.”

This pastoral response to pregnant women and mothers in need “has long been the case” for the Church, he said, but added the Year of Service will “intensify” this response.

The launch date of the program marks the 25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)” and the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb. The encyclical, the 11th of his pontificate, forthrightly condemns abortion and euthanasia, the major attacks on human life at its beginning and end. It also contained what several observers at the time called the strongest expression ever of Church teaching against capital punishment: It says the cases of justifiable use of it today are “very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

Through the Year of Service, parishes are asked to complete a simple inventory of the resources currently available in their local areas, assess the results and identify gaps and plan and implement a parish response based on their findings.

“We pray that ‘Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service’ will help us reach every pregnant mother in need, that she may know she can turn to her local Catholic community for help and authentic friendship,” Archbishop Naumann added when he announced the nationwide effort in January. ✹