Parish begins accompaniment ministry

KISSIMMEE  |  Gladys is a mom worried she and her husband would not be able to afford diapers and formula for their 3-month-old son. She recently lost her job and her husband’s employer is cutting back hours.

“With one paycheck, you can’t do everything,” she said.

Then a friend, Paulina, told her about Walking with Moms in Need, a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ministry taking place at Holy Redeemer Parish in Kissimmee. The program is a labor of love for Yarimer Pietrantoni, the parish’s respect life ministry coordinator.

While Gladys continues to look for work, she is grateful for the assistance. Gladys said her faith makes a difference, especially prayer. She said she knows God is putting people in her path she would never have imagined. It is in a group of other expectant mothers she learned about the ministry.

“These are difficult moments. But Yari helps with diapers and some baby clothes,” she said. “I believe day to day God brings us the people we need.”

Yeleni is another woman in need. The young Cuban stayed with family and her friend, Gladys, after coming through Mexico in July. She is 34-weeks pregnant and said the scarcity of food in Cuba gave her the courage to make the trip to the United States where she is hoping for a better quality of life for her child.

Gladys brought Yeleni to Holy Redeemer in preparation for the birth of her son. She said the Walking with Moms ministry helped her with diapers, clothes, a blanket, car seat and playpen.

“I hoped for any help available, and I was surprised and very grateful because I got here and had nothing for my baby,” Yeleni said.

The ministry at Holy Redeemer began three months ago and has since served 45 women. Under the encouragement and support of Father David Vargas, parochial vicar, the program is moving forward with a few volunteers. Parishioners are collecting supplies to stock the ministry with goods needed.

Pietrantoni said the women are from all over and in differing situations. Some are desperate for formula while others need diapers and more. “It is so sad,” she said. “We need prayers.”

Pietrantoni said the ministry is one of accompaniment and it runs in conjunction with Project Gabriel, which focuses on respecting life at any age and in any circumstance.

“We are walking with moms in the most difficult time, so they know they are not alone,” she said. “God sent them angels to watch over them and help them. We are their family. Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel are the motor that run this beautiful ministry.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, September 01, 2022