Frequently Asked Questions about the Respect Life Apostolate
By Julie Bailey
(Editor’s note: Recently, the Respect Life Apostolate of the Diocese of Colorado Springs has been asked to explain the difference between Mater Filius, Gabriel Project, and Walking with Moms in Need. In the following Q&A, Julie Bailey, the Director of the Respect Life Apostolate, explains how these initiatives relate to one another.)
What is “Walking With Moms in Need?”
“Walking with Moms in Need” is essentially the umbrella term we use for all the projects and programs in the diocesan Respect Life Apostolate whose purpose is to accompany moms. We believe this will be the most effective outward-facing message to the community, so you will see this more and more.
The Gabriel Project is one of the ways we are Walking with Moms in Need. Through Gabriel Project, pregnant moms receive mentorship, spiritual friendship, and help identifying their needs and community resources.
Mater Filius is the Catholic maternity home currently under construction on the campus of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish. When it opens, it will provide dignified housing and accompaniment for up to 10 pregnant women experiencing homelessness.
Where did “Walking with Moms in Need” come from?
Walking with Moms in Need (WWMIN) is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched in 2020. WWMIN is envisioned as a process through which Catholic parishes and communities accompany pregnant and parenting moms in need. Pregnant and parenting moms in need are in our parishes and our neighborhoods. As Pope Francis reminds us, our parishes need to be “islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference.” Everyone in the parish community should know where to refer a pregnant woman in need.
How does Gabriel Project fit in?
Gabriel Project is one way our diocese will walk with moms. Nationally, Gabriel Project was inspired by the Roe v. Wade decision. It looks different in various parishes and dioceses around the country, but in general is focused on helping pregnant moms.
In the Diocese of Colorado Springs, we are following the example of the original Gabriel Project (established in the Galveston-Houston and Corpus Christi dioceses in Texas). In partnership with the diocesan Respect Life Apostolate, parishes identify and train Gabriel Project Coordinators and Angels (see Dec. 16, 2022 Herald) who will mentor pregnant moms from their local communities. Any pregnant mom who responds to WWMIN advertising will be connected with her own trained angel who resides nearby. Angels will listen to moms’ stories, provide emotional support, and help moms identify their most pressing needs. They will then help moms connect to resources to fill those needs (Catholic Charities, pregnancy resource centers, government programs). Angels are not social workers or counselors but mentors.
Is Mater Filius part of the Gabriel Project?
No, but there is understandable confusion surrounding this question because the Mater Filius home is being built on the grounds of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish. Mater Filius and Gabriel Project are similar in that they both provide support to pregnant moms. But Gabriel Project supports moms who have stable housing, while Mater Filius supports homeless pregnant moms. Mater Filius is an independent 501 c3 organization, endorsed by the Diocese of Colorado Springs and Bishop James Golka, but not financially supported by the diocesan budget or Diocesan Ministry Appeal.
For more information, contact Julie Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.