Project Gabriel provides practical help to women who might otherwise not choose life for their unborn babies. Gabriel angels support the mother's choice for life through prayer, ongoing friendship, and encouragement. The Gabriel Project Provides: A loving and caring environment, Emotional and Spiritual support, Understanding and concern, Immediate and practical help, Pregnancy information, Community resources, and Clothing and baby items.
Nearly 25 years ago, the pastor of St. Michael's Parish in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston placed a sign in front of his church offering help to any woman in a crisis pregnancy. This priest made a personal commitment to what he believed was a social and spiritual crisis: Not only were young women choosing abortion at an alarming rate, he knew they were doing so because they saw no alternative. He decided that the Church, with its long tradition of charity and hospitality, was the alternative. Those women had to see that the Church, their spiritual home, would be there to help them choose life. In time, others saw the sign and were moved by its simple, loving message. Gabriel Project became an apostolate of the Corpus Christi diocese, and soon, over sixty churches in the Corpus Christi area had Gabriel Project signs. The ministry has since spread throughout the state to the dioceses of Austin, Tyler, Longview, Dallas and Fort Worth and to other states as well, including Maryland, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, and California. Through a variety of structures, Gabriel Project (a.k.a. Project Gabriel) continues to proclaim its original message of hope and caring. All true pro-life efforts have at their heart concern for both the child and the mother. Gabriel Project, in a very visible way, reflects our Christian privilege and obligation to become the healing hands of Christ.
Life is God's greatest gift. Life is what we proclaim and celebrate. Life is the foundation or our faith. The Gabriel Project sign is evidence of our faith in action.
Ministering to the mother's and unborn baby's physical and medical needs are urgent requirements. Gabriel Project Angels and Auxiliary attend the mothers to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Medicaid/CHIPS insurance providers, physician offices for prenatal care, WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) offices, local hospitals, grocery stores, laundromats, and others.
Ministering to the mother's spiritual and emotional needs is the most important aspect of Gabriel Project. The Gabriel Angel is not a psychologist, analyst, or social worker. It may be an over-simplification, but what we would do for a mother in our care is what we might do for a niece, a neighbor, a friend. We try to just be there for her. We might call her each week to ask how she's feeling, tell her how much God loves her, send her a birthday card or cheery note, sit and listen to her, take her shopping or to lunch, pray with her and for her, drive her on errands or to the doctor, invite her to church, offer to baby sit other children.
Almost by definition, a woman's pregnancy becomes "stressful" if she is living a lifestyle at odds with God's commandments. Those who support her -- in particular the Gabriel Angel -- have the privilege during these few brief months to help her seek God's will in her life. The Angel may ask the mother to come to Mass with her, where she may introduce the mother to the Pastor. The presence of this stable "father figure" can be very important to the mother at this time; he represents both God's protection of her and His love for her child The mother may also be introduced to parish moms groups, scripture study groups, and a host of other parish ministries.
Today, the sad fact is that one in every four pregnancies results in abortion. If the Angel learns the mother is post-abortive, she can refer her to Rachel's Ministries of North Texas and Rachel's Vineyard. Catholic Counseling Services provides free counseling for mothers who choose to place for adoption or to parent. Mother and Unborn Baby Care in Fort Worth, Texas provides free pregnancy testing and counseling away from abortion. Loreto House in Denton, Texas provides free pregnancy testing, counseling away from abortion, free ultrasound, pre-natal, parenting, and sexual dignity classes. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity operate the St. Teresa Shelter in Dallas, which offers temporary housing for expectant mothers. Transitional housing may be provided by local community services.
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Michael A. Demma