Much like how a good shepherd watches out for his flock, a good parish watches out for its people in need. Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger is calling on his flock to help pregnant women in need. 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Diocese of Albany have once again called on the faithful to join the “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative, a nationwide effort to assess, expand and communicate resources to pregnant moms and families in need. 

In a recent letter to parish leadership in the Diocese, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger called on parishioners to get involved in the effort and submit information on individual pregnancy resources offered by or near their churches to the Diocesan Respect Life Office by Sept. 16. 

“This initiative is a response to Pope Francis’ challenge to go to the margins, and bring help to those in need,” said Bishop Scharfenberger in his letter.

While nationally based, “Walking with Moms in Need” is designed to help facilitate the accompaniment of mothers in need at the parish level. It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but rather building relationships and enhancing referrals to local agencies already in place within the Albany Diocese and local diocesan parishes. 

The USCCB is aiding in this effort by offering educational, pastoral, prayer and action-oriented resources for parish use, including: tools for documentation on local resources for pregnant women; ideas for improving parish responses; prayers for building a culture of life; and resources for reflecting on Evangelium Vitae, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si

“These resources will include homily helps, suggested prayers, bulletin inserts, pulpit announcements, parish-based activities, and communication and outreach suggestions,” the Bishop wrote. “The goals are designed for ease of use at the parish level and will include suggestions for pastors on how to delegate efforts in this “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative to appropriate parish volunteers.”

All resources are posted online and available in Spanish. Bishop Scharfenberger suggests creating a committee of parish volunteers to help identify resources in the local area. Parishes should send all information - including dedicated volunteers’ contact information - to Renee Morgiewicz, coordinator of parish services and respect life ministry, at Renee.morgiewicz@rcda.org. For more information, visit WalkingWithMoms.com.