|In November, 2003, the Elizabeth Ministry of Our Lady of the Chesapeake was formed.|
Following the scriptural example of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Ministry reaches out to expectant mothers of the parish and their unborn children as they deal with issues such as: fertility, pregnancy, birth, adoption, crisis, or special needs.
The beauty of Mary's encounter with Elizabeth is that both women realized that there was someone who understood, and with whom they could share the marvel of what God was doing for them. As they shared their stories, they helped one another recognize God's will and the sacredness of their lives.
Likewise, following the example of Mary and Elizabeth, members of the Elizabeth Ministry visit women to share, pray, and realize the sacredness of their own lives.
The Elizabeth Ministry is composed of women from our parish who commit--to whatever extent their life will allow--to helping expectant mothers and mothers of newborn children through prayer, visits, listening, sharing, and assisting in the needs of daily life. If their schedule permits, they may also prepare Welcoming Bags with knitted or personal care items.
Some women in the Elizabeth Ministry simply volunteer to be a Prayer Partner. During that time, they may send a card or make a phone call to introduce themselves to the expectant mother. Prayer Partners are provided with a journal that is filled with reflections to help explore their own hearts as they enter into this new relationship with the expectant mother and God. By the time the baby is born, that person may no longer be a stranger and there may develop a desire to deliver the Welcoming Bag personally. Women who do so are provided with a Visitation Minister’s handbook that gives simple suggestions for visiting a new mother.
The Goals of Elizabeth Ministry are:
To express the care and love of our faith community for parents in their role as co-creators with God.
To initiate a personal response in the name of the Church during these critical life moments.
To join with parents in celebrating the wonders of pregnancy, birth, and the mystery of new life.
To offer support and healing at moments of complications, crisis, special needs, and infant or child loss.
To share the excitement and joy, as well as the frustrations and pain, of the adoptive process.
To assist fathers, siblings, and other family members.
To enrich the home church of families with young children.
To symbolize the special presence of God through prayer and ritual blessings.
To express our belief in the dignity and worth of every child conceived.
In the past, there was an intimacy that automatically existed among many Church members. Today, because of our mobile society, this intimacy is often missing. Years ago, women of the community interacted in most daily events. They gave the support needed during the joys and crisis of the child-bearing years.
Today, many women feel isolated from other women in their Church. They often find themselves miles away from relatives. Sisters, aunts, or their own mothers may see them only on special occasions. The wisdom of sharing personal stories with other women who have similar experiences is still needed. Elizabeth Ministry is a new way to empower women to relate to each other in a spirit of inclusiveness and sisterhood.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Elizabeth Ministry, would like more information, or if you would like to avail yourself of the services of Elizabeth Ministry, please call the Pastoral Office Center at 410-255-3677.