Priests for Life is promoting an effective parish program to reach out to
women who need our help to choose life and avoid abortion. It is called the
Gabriel Project, and is already being practiced in many parishes across America.
The concept is simple: The parish announces to the community that any woman
who is pregnant and in need may come to the Church to seek assistance. The
pastor sees to it that each woman who does come is given personal attention by a
trained member of the Gabriel team. That person, then brings back to the parish
the needs of the woman, and the parish responds with concrete help.
Click here for an
interview with Cathy McConn about the origins of this
project and how it works.
Following is one of the explanations of this project. More will follow.
Thank you for opening the doors of your church to the mother and child.
As they find refuge in your church, you are to them father and husband,
guardian and protector. Thank you. And may God bless and empower you with every
grace and virtue you will need.
You are holding in your hands the Gabriel Project Mother and Baby Book.
The Mother and Baby Book was
designed to equip any lay person, with no previous experience, to address the
needs of most pregnant mothers.
As the Gabriel Project is "lived out" in the churches we will add new
information to and update The Mother and Baby Book.
The Gabriel Project will be designed by the Holy Spirit through you
the Pastor, and through your church, as you meet and interact with the mothers.
The Church herself will discern the fullness of God's will over time. We will
allow the Lord to lead the Gabriel Project in the way He wants it to go.
The goals of the Gabriel Project are:
1. To win all hearts to Jesus Christ. To make Him known and loved by
2. To live the charism of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth in the Gospel
- by going out in haste and greeting any pregnant woman who needs help
- by bringing Jesus with us into her life and her home
- by helping her in any way we can
3. To enable the pastors and churches to represent to the mother and child
the espousal and fatherhood of Christ.
4. To seek God's perfect model for motherhood.
The Mother and Baby Book is designed to facilitate a church
Visitation, where the Pastor representing his office as well as the whole
church, meets for the first time with the mother and the Gabriel Angel.
The goals of the Visitation are:
1. To allow the mother to experience the grace of God during this meeting,
through prayer and the loving kindness of the people of the church.
2. To provide for her specific, pregnancy-related needs.
3. To encourage the mother to seek God's pathway for her life and the life of
Summary: The role of the pastor is to...
1. welcome the mother and her baby
2. represent the church family
3. pray for the mother and baby
4. help to discern how the church family can minister to her spiritual needs
and assist her and the baby with their physical needs
The Pastor represents to the mother the fatherhood and espousal of God to her
and her child. It is this masculine figure as representative of God's own
fatherhood, which is probably missing from her own life. Unfortunately, this
understanding has been absent from traditional responses to crisis pregnancies.
Spiritually, through the unique Gabriel Project charism, Christ has been
espoused to the mother and made father to the child through His Church. It is
the Pastor who best represents and makes effective this spiritual reality. We
believe that this relationship between God and the mother, through the pastor
and the church, IS A SPIRITUAL REALITY.
As this masculine figure, representing Christ, is so crucial to the Gabriel
Project Response to the mother, we hope that if the Pastor has to delegate this
role, that he delegate it to a male leader/authority figure, such as the
assistant pastor or a deacon.
THE GABRIEL ANGEL
Summary: The role of the Gabriel Angel is to...
1. facilitate the implementation of the plan decided upon by the pastor
2. keep the pastor and the church informed about the condition and well being
of the mother and baby.
Each mother should have her own Gabriel Angel so she receives undivided care
At the discretion of the pastor, anyone can be a Gabriel Angel: male, female,
young or old. The Gabriel Angel is simply a friend, whose job is to come
alongside the mother to accompany her and encourage her on her journey.
The role of the Gabriel Angel should be perceived as a great opportunity to
train laity in evangelism and a missionary response to the poor. So we would
hope that EVERYONE at some time in the church would be a Gabriel Angel!
Rather than write a training manual for the Gabriel Angel, we wrote them a
prayer. You will find the Gabriel Angel Daily Prayer in the Supplemental
Section at the back of this Book
Summary: The role of the church is to...
1. support in love and prayer the witness of the Gabriel Angel
2. assist the Angel in their specific ministry to the mother and baby
The Visitation is designed to take place at the mother s LOCAL CHURCH.
We want her experience to be that:
1. she found what she was looking for at the House of God
2. she received what she needed from the people of God
Our goal is to bring the mother and child into fellowship with Jesus and the
The Gabriel Project response to the mother is also a "whole church" response.
For example: A pregnant mom comes to your church and requests a baby
A typical response would be to give the mom a referral slip to obtain a crib
from a church-coalition thrift store, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society, or the
Pro-Life House. The Gabriel Project response would be for the pastor to make the
mother's need known at the regular Sunday service, and to invite EVERYONE
TOGETHER to respond to the mother, in a WHOLE CHURCH response. This "whole
church" response to the mother is a key factor in the Gabriel Project.
Thank you and may God bless you and your church in this endeavor.