Q: Where can I get information about Visitation/Elizabeth ministry in honor of Mary?
A: Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach by the parish community to women during the childbearing years. The purpose of this ministry is to affirm, support, encourage and assist women and their families by providing a direct response to their specific needs. An Elizabeth Minister offers a link between the broader church community and the families of the parish. The different areas of involvement are: pregnancy support, celebration of birth, infant/child crisis, adoption, miscarriage infant/child loss, waiting to conceive - infertility, and grandparent support.
For more information contact:
Coordinator of Elizabeth Ministry
Elizabeth Ministry Family Ministries Office
155 East Superior Street Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: 312-751-8351 Fax: 312-751-3858
Vision of Elizabeth Ministries Founders
"Our dream is that this ministry will help the church truly celebrate the gift of each child conceived and born, and fully mourn each miscarriage and infant death. This will be a strong witness to our belief in the dignity and worth of all life! By assisting those suffering infertility, encouraging those in the adoptive process, and supporting the families experiencing an infant crisis, we will be a strong and consistent voice for life in our parish, community and world."
What is "Elizabeth Ministry"?
Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach to women in special times of motherhood. It is based on Jesus' vision of the radical goodness, beauty and truth of human life. The purpose of this ministry is to affirm, support, encourage, and assist women in response to their needs during the childbearing years.
Why is it needed?
In the past, the presence, intimacy and support needed during childbearing years were found in the structures of family, neighborhood, and church. Today these structures are undergoing rapid change.
Neighborhoods are fragmented, leaving many families isolated. Churches have increased in size making it difficult to create a warm, hospitable, personal and loving environment. Mobility has caused many extended families to be separated by miles that make frequent visits improbable, and presence impossible.
The wisdom of sharing stories about the joys and trials of childbirth is still needed. Reassurance and advice that used to be given by the extended family, now needs to come from another source. The search to fill this need has resulted in Elizabeth Ministry by sharing their stories and experiences women serve one another in an atmosphere of faith, love and hope.
How does it work?
Elizabeth Ministry follows the example of the scripture story of the Visitation by bringing women together who share a similar story. This ministry is an opportunity for like to like ministry through personal visits. An Elizabeth Minister will be a link with the broader church community.
The Elizabeth Minister presents a special "Gift & Resource Kit" to the person she is visiting. These visits may take place at home, the hospital, or church. Follow-up contacts are made in person, by phone, and by mail. This outreach fosters a companionship based on personal experience, formal knowledge, the acquired skills of the participants, and the mutual love of God. Women become mentors for one another in the magnificent adventure of bringing new life into the world. The sharing of life experiences brings a caring commitment and a sense of connectedness. Each Elizabeth Minister represents the church and becomes an instrument of its care,
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