The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops kicked off its year-long “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service” campaign on March 25.

The initiative — which runs until March 25, 2021 — aims to support pregnant and parenting mothers, allowing them to confidently come to the Church and be welcomed when struggling with resources or in need of emotional and spiritual support.

As this country is still dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, an online component has been added on Sept. 17-18 to assist parishioners and parishes in the Albany Diocese and beyond. The webinar will be hosted by PerpetuaLife Care — a Catholic ministry dedicated to educating people about God’s design for the gift of fertility — and includes reflections from Catholic speakers, along with links to Catholic resources, designed to encourage and support moms in their vocation and to inspire those that serve them.

“Creating a supportive environment for moms at parishes is so important and we hope many parishes find this information helpful to their efforts,” said Heather Eichen, executive director of PerpetuaLife Care. “This online program also includes an immediate action step that parishes can take to respond to the USCCB’s call to help moms in need.” 

In late February, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger sent out a letter encouraging all parishes and priests to participate in the Walking with Moms in Need campaign. In the letter, he wrote, “In the secular media, the Catholic Church is often portrayed as merely anti-abortion, offering no tangible help. Do pregnant women in need see us as safe to turn?”

Through the Year of Service, parishes completed a survey created by the USCCB with additional items added by Renee Morgiewicz, coordinator of parish services and Respect Life Ministry for the Albany Diocese, helping parish leaders identify local resources for pregnancy assistance such as pregnancy help centers, maternity homes, social service agencies, hospitals, and especially, Catholic programs and resources.

In the webinar, participants can expect a blessing from Bishop Scharfenberger, as well as a blessing from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. 

The Catholic speakers include: Sisters of Life; Dr. Bob Schuchts, author, speaker and founder of the John Paul II Healing Center; Emily Macke, speaker, teacher and writer specializing in the Church’s teachings on marriage and family; Joelle Maryn, speaker, evangelist and actress; Dr. Christopher Stroud, an Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist from Fort Wayne, Ind., and part of EWTN’s ‘Doctor, Doctor;’ Kelly Donahue, author and creator of the Cherry Blossom Buds Program, a fertility and chastity education program; Dr. Jan Patterson, a board certified family physician with an area of concentration in women’s health and fertility at Gianna of Albany; Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN host and author, and more.  
“Anyone in the country is welcome to tune in,” Morgiewicz said. “One of the benefits of us doing something online is that it will help many people beyond our Diocese.”

To register for the program, visit: perpetualifecare.org/online-program-walking-with-moms-in-need.