It is 3:30 in the afternoon and another call lights up the phones in the Family Life’s Gabriel Project office. It’s a sobbing woman who has just learned that she is pregnant with her third child. She explains how she must work two jobs to makes ends meet and, to make matters worse, the father of the child has recently been laid off. Together they can barely scrape enough money together to take care of their other two children, let alone another baby. She fears that abortion may be her only option.
The Gabriel Project coordinator assures and encourages the disheartened mother. She offers to make an appointment for the mother at Tepeyac Family Center (TFC) for a free ultrasound. The Coordinator knows that if she can persuade the mother to go to the appointment, she’ll get the chance to see her baby on an ultrasound and to talk with the doctors who will become part of the network of support that will help her to carry her unborn child to term. To the coordinator’s relief, the mother agrees. She and the father of the child head to TFC where they decide to keep their baby.
Every client of Gabriel Project has a different story. The average mother is 30 years old. Half are married and most want to parent their children, but they all have one thing in common: they need help. Sometimes they just need a friend to journey with them through their pregnancy. Other times they need pre-natal funding and the assuring voice of the Gabriel Coordinator. Other times, they just want to know that the Catholic Church is there for them. Sometimes, as crazy as it may seem, women just need to hear that it’s okay to keep their unborn baby.
Every year during the Gift for Life campaign, the Office for Family Life’s Gabriel Project reaches out in a decided way to the good people of the Diocese of Arlington, asking you to help assist the mothers in need. You always come through and we are immensely grateful. It’s not just about the monetary support that you provide, which is crucial to the ministry, but it is also about those of you who offer prayers on behalf of the ministry and those who step forward as Gabriel Project “angels.” These angels represent 20 parishes throughout the diocese, assisting women with spiritual, material and emotional support.
I want to share with you some of the words of gratitude for this ministry spoken by four mothers who were the recipients of your enormous generosity:
“I can’t believe it, everything turned out so well. If it wasn’t for you and that ride we took to Fredericksburg that day, my son probably wouldn’t be here today. It was the ride and the list of pros and cons we made that helped me to change my mind. I am so glad that we took that ride.”
“I would have been so lost without your help. I am going to name my baby Gabriel.”
“There is no way for us to thank you enough for all you did for us. We truly appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.”
“Thank you for all that you have done for me and my baby. I would have been lost without your help. I am going to name my baby Angel Gabriel because I know this is a blessing from God.”
This past week alone, four children – Carla Stephanie, Eric, Casey Joanna and Alexa – have been born with the assistance of Gabriel Project. If you would like to become a volunteer angel or would like to make a monetary donation to Gabriel Project, please contact our office at 703-841-2755 or visit our website at http://www.arlingtondiocese.org. Thank you for all your support!