"If you will have your baby, this parish will help you in every way."
These words were posted by the pastor of St. Michael Parish in Houston in 1973 and began to Gabriel Project, which developed throughout Corpus Christi and Galveston- Houston in the early nineties and has since spread throughout the entire country.
The San Francisco Gabriel Project's website goes on to explain:
The parish community announces that they see in the creation of each child a fresh expression of God’s unfailing love and their commitment to offer assistance to pregnant mothers in need. They make this message known on a “Sign of Hope” placed in front of their church along with an expression of outreach – PREGNANT? NEED HELP? - and a toll-free phone number. When a call for help is received, the phone line volunteer contacts the parish coordinator at the nearest participating church to where the caller lives. The coordinator contacts the caller and makes an initial assessment of her situation. A parish volunteer (“Angel”) is assigned the responsibility for ongoing contact with the mother throughout her pregnancy and somewhat beyond. An initial meeting is arranged to further assess her needs. The parish community responds with love by providing spiritual, emotional, and material support to help meet those needs. Through prayer and action the parish community assures the mother that she has their love and the love of Christ.The Gabriel Project's assistance can also include, friendship and emotional support, pastoral care and counseling, transportation, prenatal care, baby items, education, employment, housing, adoption and financial assistance.
I frequently find myself writing negative things about the direction certain parts of California seem to be headed in, so it's always nice to find something positive.
Archbishop Goerge Niederauer is encouraging pastors in his archdiocese to support the project, noting in a letter back in January that the Gabriel Project answers the call of the USCCB in their "Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities," which aims at developing or adopting "a parish-based ministry to pregnant women and their children."
It would be wonderful to see this continuing to spread across California, an alternative to the sort of "help" that groups like Planned Parenthood are so determined to use tax payer dollars to offer.
(picture from the Gabriel Project's website)