The Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach to women in special times of motherhood. The purpose of this ministry is to affirm, support, encourage, and assist women in response to their needs during childbearing years. In the past, the help and support women needed were found in the structures of families and neighborhoods. Today, these structures have changed, but the reassurance, support, and friendship are still needed. The Elizabeth Ministry works to fill this need by providing an opportunity for women to minister to others who have had similar experiences through personal visits, prayers, and friendship. The Elizabeth Ministry gives reassurance and encouragement to women who are pregnant or caring for newborns, it celebrates new births with families, assists parents involved in the adoptive process, responds to times of infant and child crisis, and reaches out to women who experience miscarriage or the death of a child. Volunteers are trained and commissioned as Elizabeth Ministers and focus on specific areas of the program. The ministry also assists families experiencing a crisis by preparing and delivering meals as needed. This ministry has been a very meaningful experience for those ministered to as well as the volunteers who do the ministering.
Our work might include making a phone call, setting up a visit, delivering a gift bag, making a meal, or driving someone to the doctor. In reality, what our ministry accomplishes is offering friendship, companionship, and support. It involves making someone feel that they belong, creating community, opening a door, consoling the suffering, giving direction, extending a hand and leading others back to God. We cannot begin to measure the outcome of these efforts. We cannot begin to measure the fruits of our love. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry states that, “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eye.” We may never know the full extent of our accomplishment and those whom we serve may not even realize, but God always knows.
Immaculate Conception Parish’s Elizabeth Ministry has been active for over 20 years and has trained approximately 100 women during that time. Many hundreds of women have been ministered to over this time as well. As with all of our programs, those who provide the services are often as blessed by the experience as those whom they minister.
“I am Debbie Scott. I have three boys, ages 15, 14 and 12, and have been married and have been a member of this parish for 19 years. The reason I became involved with Social Ministry, specifically the Elizabeth Ministry, was because I wanted to meet mothers from my parish so I could feel connected. You see, my oldest son had started preschool at ICS and I did not know anyone here because this was my husband’s parish. I heard about this new ministry that helped mothers through all types of pregnancies. My three pregnancies had been difficult and I was alone dealing with them. I did not want any other mother to feel the loneliness and isolation I had felt. So when I heard about the Elizabeth Ministry, I had to look into it. I am so glad I did. I was immediately welcomed by Jeanine and her volunteers. I was then given the opportunity to be the leader of the Pregnancy Team. This allowed me to meet other mothers who were going through what I had experienced. I felt connected and blessed to be part of a ministry and parish that looked at motherhood as its own ministry. I helped other mothers but, just as important, I helped myself, too. As a result of the Elizabeth Ministry, I went on to the join a MOMS (Ministry Of Mothers Sharing) group. This allowed me to increase my knowledge of my Catholic upbringing and allowed me to facilitate a MOMS group of my own. Now I have been blessed to be a part of the Mothers’ Retreat team for several years. God has led me to this place, and I am trying to give back and to assist other mothers along their journey through motherhood. I have made lifelong friends who share my beliefs and values. God continues to bless me and I am grateful I can give back to Him through my volunteer efforts.
I am part of the Elizabeth Ministry because I feel that it provides an important service to women during their childbearing years. I think there is nothing that can match being able to talk with another woman who “has been there.” This is what Mary and Elizabeth did for each other …how fortunate we are to be able to do the same!”
Would you consider becoming an Elizabeth Minister?
Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach to women in special times of motherhood. The purpose of this ministry is to affirm, support, encourage and assist women in response to their needs during childbearing years. In the past, the presence of and support needed were found in the structures of families, neighborhood and church. Today these structures have changed, but the reassurance, support and friendship are still needed. Elizabeth Ministry works to fill this need by providing an opportunity for like-to-like ministry through personal visits, prayers and friendship. The Elizabeth Ministry gives reassurance and encouragement to women who are pregnant or caring for newborns, celebrates new births with families, assists parents involved in the adoptive process, Responds to times of infant and child crisis, as well as reaches out to to women who experience miscarriage or child death. Volunteers are trained and commissioned as Elizabeth Ministers and focus on specific areas of the program. This has been a very meaningful experience for those ministered to as well as the volunteers who do the ministering.
If you are interested in attending or finding out more information regarding this important ministry, please contact Jeanine Cavanagh in the Office of Social Ministry, 908 725-1112 x1126.