Pregnant women and their babies can find help among Rhode Island’s Catholics

One beneficiary, Ada, appeared in a January 18 video posted to YouTube by the Diocese of Providence.

“With my first pregnancy, I didn’t have the support. I didn’t know the resources,” Ada said. “We ran out of diapers. We ran out of clothes all the time. I had trouble finding people to talk to.”

Ada had found out about the ministry through her OBGYN, who gave her information about Saint Gabriel’s Call at her first appointment. She credited Marissa Kelly, who is on the ministry staff, for helping her with diapers and blankets.

“She was very, very nice,” said Ada, who learned she and Kelly go to the same church.

The ministry doesn’t neglect spiritual needs.

“Again, you don’t have to be Catholic to come in, but we do evangelize,” said Cooley. Applicants can disclose their religious affiliation, their relationship to God, their prayer life, and their Catholic parish, if they wish.

The ministry’s volunteers can help parents get their child baptized and return to church attendance, if desired. If the recipient is willing, a volunteer may give them a rosary or a miraculous medal and explain its role in prayer.

“If they’re not willing to talk to us, we’re not going to force it on them,” Cooley said.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence has announced the diocese will increase its annual funding to $50,000 to help Saint Gabriel’s Call assist others.

James Jahnz, Secretary for Catholic Ministries and Social Services, said June 1 that the diocese increased its assistance because of “increased economic stress” due to the higher costs of groceries, higher fuel prices, and supply chain problems.

(Story continues below)

“It’s a critical time for the diocese to redouble our longstanding efforts to support mothers and children,” he said. “Low-income mothers are disproportionately affected during these economic and supply chain crises due to so many factors including transportation, access, limitations of aid programs, and retail shortages. Bishop Tobin’s assistance aims to help these young families bridge the gap between their means and existing programs.”

The ministry also receives support from the diocese’s Catholic Charity Appeal.

Donations and volunteers are always needed, said Cooley.

She said the Catholic Church needs to highlight its continuing efforts to help women and their babies, especially as the U.S. Supreme Court appears set to overturn pro-abortion decisions such as Roe v. Wade.

“Programs like this that really show that we can help,” she said, noting that some critics claim that people opposed to abortion don’t help mothers who decide to have their baby.

St. Gabriel’s Call originated the Gabriel Project, which itself dates back to the 1973 Supreme Court decision which mandated legalized abortion nationwide.