by Joe Bollig
OVERLAND PARK — For the past two-and-a-half years, women experiencing crisis pregnancies could find a helpful “angel” at Holy Cross Parish here.
Soon, these angels might be everywhere in the archdiocese.
The Gabriel Project, a ministry of the arc hdiocesan pro-life office, was established as a pilot program at Holy Cross Parish. Volunteers — called “angels” — do one-onone mentoring to pregnant women in crisis.
The program’s volunteers are each assigned a mother in crisis and are responsible for supporting her in every way they can, but particularly emotionally and spiritually. The volunteers also help the mothers get material help through referrals and working in conjunction with crisis pregnancy centers. The volunteers are not licensed as counselors, but have received training before undertaking the ministry.
“Holy Cross Parish has done a great job of implementing the pilot project [phase] for the Gabriel Project,” said Ron Kelsey, archdiocesan pro-life consultant. “[The volunteers] have worked out all the procedures and methodologies, and they know how to deliver services to these women.”
The first 12 volunteers from Holy Cross received their training at Austin, Texas. Currently, the Gabriel Project is operating at hundreds of parishes across the country, said Kelsey.
Although the first archdiocesan site for the ministry is Holy Cross, the intent all along was for the Gabriel Project to serve both in and beyond the parish boundaries and set the stage for the expansion of the ministry throughout the archdiocese, said Kelsey.
“We would like this to be a regional project,” said Leah Conner, Gabriel Project coordinator at Holy Cross. “We want to reach out and give people in other parishes the opportunity to be involved.”
Some interest in extending the ministry has been expressed by individuals in other parts of the archdiocese, so training for persons who want to become Gabriel Project volunteers will take place at 8 a.m. on Feb. 4 at Holy Cross Parish, located at 8311 W. 93rd St. To register, call Conner at (913) 383- 1343.
Gabriel Project Goals
• To live the charism of the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth by going out in haste to greet any pregnant woman in need by bringing Jesus to her and by helping her in any way we can
• To enable the pastor and parish to represent to the mother and child the espousal role and fatherhood of God
• To seek God’s perfect model for motherhood
• To witness to the community a respect and reverence for life and an unconditional love
• To win all hearts to Jesus Christ and to make him known and loved by everyone