Dioceses across Northern California are encouraging parishes to do some actual hands-on prolife work in an effort heralded by the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Archbishop George H. Niederauer.
On August 24, Archbishop Niederauer sent a letter to every pastor and vicar in the three-county Archdiocese encouraging them to begin a Project Gabriel ministry in their parish. Archbishop Niederauer wrote:
As we continue to oppose abortion, we must also reach out to women in difficult pregnancies with real, concrete help. The Gabriel Project is a practical, effective way for our parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco to do this.
Describing the program, Niederauer wrote:
Through the Gabriel Project, parishes embrace each pregnant woman who comes to them as their daughter, sister and friend. When a woman calls the Gabriel Project's 800 number for help, the phone-line volunteer contacts the Gabriel Project Coordinator, who is a parishioner of the Church closest to where she lives. A trained mentor, one of the parish's "Gabriel Angels", is assigned responsibility for ongoing contact with the mother throughout her pregnancy and somewhat beyond. The parish community assists with unconditional love. Through them, mothers receive the spiritual, material and emotional support needed during pregnancy.
A number of parishes in the Archdiocese began the Gabriel Project under the leadership of former Archbishop, now Cardinal William J. Levada. And it worked tremendously well in places where the pastor was behind it. I know one suburban parish there that saved many lives and provided much support for pregnant women by putting up a large, welcoming Project Gabriel sign in front of the church. The pastor personally followed up on many of the calls that came in and the parish provided real support to women in difficult pregnancies.
Now every parish is being invited to start this ministry, and not just in the San Francisco Archdiocese. Bishops in neighboring dioceses are encouraging pastors and parishes to go to a training session in San Francisco to become acquainted with the Gabriel Project. In the Diocese of Sacramento, the invitation is the top and most prominent item currently on their website.
So if you’re in Northern California, here are the details:
San Francisco, september 12
"You can be an angel" and learn how to implement The Gabriel Project at your parish
The Archdiocese of San Francisco will host a special conference on Saturday, September 12, 2009 at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. The event occurs in cooperation with all northern California dioceses to offer parishes practical techniques regarding implementation of The Gabriel Project. This revitalized program for volunteers and pastors is an important ministry which offers support and unconditional love to women with unplanned pregnancies. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m., and includes a continental breakfast and a buffet lunch. The cost is $20 (scholarships available). Please RSVP by September 8.
TO REGISTER, CONTACT VICKI EVANS, RESPECT LIFE PROGRAM, OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY & SOCIAL CONCERNS AT 415-614-5533 OR firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hat Tip to Fred D’Alessio who alerted me to this. Fred is a great and effective prolife advocate in the Golden State and he has more information on the Gabriel Project at his blog.
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