What do you do when you find yourself in a crisis pregnancy? Where do you turn? Many women in our immediate area find themselves asking these exact questions as they face the reality of an unplanned pregnancy amidst seemingly insurmountable circumstances. And while the world tells them that abortion is the easy answer to their “problem,” we want to shout it from the rooftops that the children they are carrying are not problems to be solved, but gifts to be welcomed, and we are here to help!
In June, we commissioned the first group of “angels” to serve our parish’s new ministry — the Gabriel Project, a ministry whose mission is to offer help to women facing crisis pregnancies and their subsequent parenting needs.
“The Gabriel Project is a pro-life, parish-based apostolate that answers the challenge from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to ‘Walk with Moms in Need,’” says Julie Bailey, Director of our diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate. “The Gabriel Project offers assistance to women experiencing difficult circumstances during pregnancy. Gabriel Project volunteers — called “angels” — provide practical advice and help, as well as spiritual support and Christian witness to women in need. A mom having difficulties and not receiving the support she needs from other people in her life can benefit from having a Gabriel angel.”
On a national level, the Gabriel Project has seen much success over its 40-year span. So, the Diocese of Colorado Springs decided to establish local chapters of the ministry at parishes throughout the diocese in early 2023, and we are thrilled to be the newest parish joining the effort!
“As Catholics, we are called to accompany those in difficult circumstances,” Julie says. “When a pregnant woman chooses life for her unborn child, she may feel alone in her decision if her family and friends don’t support her. Through the Gabriel Project, we can support her, give her someone with whom she can talk about her fears, and help her find the community-based resources that already exist to support her. We can help her not feel alone and overwhelmed.”
In fact, Julie says that over the past year that she has been serving as part of this ministry throughout our diocese, she has already witnessed women getting the help they need. And the reactions of these women upon recognizing that we truly desire to help them have been nothing short of awe-inspiring!
“I remember the tears of joy shed by one mom when she saw the bounty of the baby shower provided to her by the Gabriel Project,” Julie says. “Her tears brought many women there to tears themselves. The mom commented, ‘I didn’t know there were such generous people in the world.’”
Andrea Cihak, who is coordinating our parish’s Gabriel Project, says she feels blessed to be a part of this ministry and is eager to see how God will use us here at St. Francis of Assisi to serve expecting mothers.
“I have been a part of Respect Life ministry work for years,” Andrea says. “This seemed like the logical next step — a way to put into practice concrete help for women.”
And while there are currently 20 women trained and commissioned to serve this ministry as it gets off the ground here, there is a place for you too! We need lots of help.
“We especially need people to help with publicity,” Andrea says.
“Anyone who has a heart to help pregnant moms should pray about whether God may be calling you to this ministry,” Julie adds. “This is a powerful opportunity to do more than pay lip service to your pro-life convictions. Find the time to help out!”
If you are interested in serving this ministry, please contact Andrea Cihak at 720-215-4522 — she will talk with you and figure out the best role for you!