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 | By Lori Becker

Fostering a Supportive Community for Moms in Need

Pregnancy can be a beautiful journey, but it also can be a frightening experience if a woman is facing a crisis pregnancy and may feel that abortion is the only solution. In this last year since the passing of Proposal 3, the confusion over healthcare for women has increased and can cause a decision to be made from desperation. As a church, it is vital that we understand the current specific needs of pregnant moms in our community. This means taking the time to listen and learn about the difficulties they may encounter, such as financial struggles, lack of access to healthcare, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support.

The Catholic Church believes that a human life is sacred, and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. It is our responsibility to create a loving and welcoming community which promotes a judgment-free and supportive environment for the poor and vulnerable, especially moms in need.

In November 2022, the Walking with Moms in Need Ministry at St. Michael's Parish in Maple Grove was featured in Great Lakes Bay Catholic magazine. Since that issue, amazing things have been happening at St. Michaels and many other parishes throughout the Diocese of Saginaw.

“People are so generous,” said Beth Bauer, Coordinator of the Walking with Moms in Need Ministries for the Diocese of Saginaw, “not only with financial donations, but with their time, commitment and prayers to serving moms in need.” Beth reported that financial donations of nearly $9,500 have been gifted to the diocese for the specific need of saving and changing lives. “The donations are incredibly helpful in supporting our parishes to continue serving moms in need. In addition, parish members from across the diocese have held fundraisers to collect donations of baby clothes, bibs, diapers, blankets, materials for sewing groups, food, basic needs and much more,” stated Beth.

Barb Birchmeier and Esther Henige, coleaders of St. Michael Parish’s Walking with Moms shared, “We’re gifting moms in our parish, who have a new baby, with a personalized card and a blanket that’s handmade by our parishioners. We continue to keep in touch and support the surrounding pregnancy centers with our prayers and donations of baby items from their wish lists.” And, they added, “We’re planning to host a diaper drive this fall and a distribution to assist families in our community…. hoping for another opportunity to share God’s love and resources available to Moms in Need.”

Esther excitedly added, “God’s amazing! We never know what’s coming next!”

Celebrating the journey of pregnancy is as important as providing support along the way. By highlighting success stories of supported pregnant moms, we can inspire others and show the positive impact that community and support can have. These stories can serve as a beacon of hope and encouragement, reminding moms that they are not alone and that nurturing a healthy and happy pregnancy can be possible. This is a quote from one of the mothers the ministry has helped:

“Words can truly not describe how Walking with Moms has really helped and impacted me and my daughter's life. When I was first introduced to walking with Mom’s, I was really in a bad spot in my life. I was making so many phone calls every day and going to resource centers with absolutely no luck. When I was introduced to Walking with Moms, I truly had no idea how much they can really help you. Not only is the program very helpful but all the women that are involved in this program have been very helpful and kind. I would recommend any mothers out there that are struggling and feel there is no hope to reach out to Walking out with Moms.” -from S.C.

Pat Phillips has taken the lead in Walking with Moms Ministry at her parish, Our Lady of Czestochowa in Bay City.

“In addition to the fundraisers, bottle drives and the availability of community resources, we have learned that the need for awareness is great,” said Pat.

One of the goals of the ministry is in encouraging and welcoming more women to participate. For example, a baby shower was held in May at the parish.

“I was amazed and grateful,” Pat said. “Twenty-nine women attended the shower! I think that’s a pretty good start!”

Throughout history, women have always provided a community of support for each other. Walking with Moms is a beautiful opportunity to allow this tradition to continue to thrive and flourish.

“With awareness comes compassion,” Pat said. “We become Christians serving one another no matter the need.”

And with awareness the hope is that the stigma of an unplanned pregnancy will lessen, and women will find the courage to reach out to the church for support.

“There is a huge need for young moms that are struggling to care for their families,” said Elaine Christie, Walking with Moms Leader at Resurrection of the Lord Parish in Standish.

Elaine’s team have created relationships with community agencies to provide the needed resources, including the local food pantry, which now offers a baby pantry. The Daughters of Isabella generously host community drives to keep the baby pantry full. When asked why this ministry is so important to her, Elaine replied, “I’ve been a social worker all my life. I grew up watching my mother caring for people in need. I guess it’s what I do!”

Moms in your community need your help!

Consider volunteering with local organizations that provide prenatal care and support services, donate to organizations that focus on serving those in crisis, learn about and share with others the challenges faced by pregnant moms and advocate for policy change. Talk to your parish leader and contact Beth Bauer to start a Walking with Moms in Need Ministry at 989-797-6655 or or visit the Walking with Moms Website at

Parish Contacts:

Good Shepherd, Ubly - Jeanne Gusa, 989-670-3315

Holy Family, Sandusky - Rita Maher, 989-635-7072

Our Lady Czestochowa, Bay City - Pat Phillips, 989-208-8463

Holy Spirit, Shields - Anne Marie Sauve, 989-928-9679

St. John Vianney, Saginaw - Jan Zielinski, 989-493-8918

St. Thomas Aquinas, Saginaw - Pat Kosuth,

Our Lady of Hope, Clare - Liz Andring, 989-240-1118

Resurrection of the Lord, Standish - Elaine Christie, 989-654-2301

Sacred Heart, Gladwin - Brenda Rau, 989-330-2344,

St. Michael, Maple Grove - Esther Henige, 989-845-6821

Barb Birchmeier, 989-666-7323