Pre-Evangelization in Today's World

Experience mother & child

Supporting New and Expectant Mothers in Four Specific and Practical Ways


Julio Victor Manzanares Lopez

A Gift Not Expected
Before the project started, the friars already had a member, a first volunteer, and someone who would push the ministry into reconditioning old strollers.
Her name was Camila. She presented herself at the parish with her child of one week strapped to her chest. Over the following weeks, these visitors from Mexico became well known to the friars.

"When Camila got pregnant, the visit became a prolonged and expensive stay," recalled Ricardo, her husband. "Camila met Padre Jorge, and Mother-and-Child became part of the family."
"I needed a stroller," added Camila. "But we never expected he would fix and clean an old stroller, much less give to us for free." 
Unknown to them, the request for a baby carriage altered plans. An e-mail to Health Canada confirmed that used prams, whether resold or given away free, had to meet parliamentary safety standards. Ministry staff carried on-site inspections. Did the project dare get involved? Because the parish already dealt with food inspectors, one more inspection did not pose a major hurdle. The ability to give safe, good strollers to mothers who could not afford to buy new ones proved popular. Prams afforded mothers the mobility they needed. Safe prams brought peace of mind. Camila's need, six weeks before opening day, changed hearts at Mother-and-Child and added baby carriages to the list of things the project would stock.
Unknown to the ministry, Mother-and-Child had a big impact on the family. The project does not preach the Gospel, instead it sets to live it. This approach reached our Mexican visitors.
“Not that I reject what Jesus taught,” explained Ricardo. He upheld Judeo-Christian values. The problem was he never found God, nor anything else to suggest God. For him, the Church was pointless and priests failed in what they preached. Camila never stopped coming to the project and using the church. The exposure to Mother-and-Child helped her meet Jesus. She became the first volunteer in the baby store, and the first member to donate back everything the baby did not use.
Unfortunately, her stay in Toronto was not long enough to eradicate that spirit of unbelief that has permeated whole segments of our world. The family is back in Mexico. Camila dreams to raise Julio Victor in Canada. Toronto, Mother-and-Child, and the friars are still important to them.

 

The story is true only the names have been changed.


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Stories From God's Vineyard
 
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL COLUMN ABOUT GROWING THE OUTREACH
With Easter, the weather lifted and Friar Boss (as the volunteers called him) resumed his search for women in need of Mother-and-Child. At 2:30 PM baby carriages were few, and the people behind them looked like grandparents. He gave out no brochures. Each glossy, colour page cost a dollar twenty-five to make. The information was directed to the young parent, mothers in their teens and twenties. Besides, the flyers were too costly to blow.
According to Stats Canada, the neighbourhood had close to fifteen hundred births a year to unmarried women. High rises thrive near the intersection of Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, so Friar Boss did not question the number. Immigrants make for a large percentage of the population. As a priest, he knew these women valued children. They did not abort. Mother-and-Child was built to reach-out to the fifteen hundred.
On the way home, a teenage mom refused the brochure. She shook her head no, with fear. While she did not wear a burka, he understood and retreated. Many Muslim communities still punished their women should they be seen talking to Christian clergy. When he reached home, he continued to reflect on the incident. The Franciscan habit served him well. It helped identify him. Jeans he wore often, but never to do ministry.

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No Sales. No Handouts.

Mother-and-Child is a club for new and expectant mothers. Nothing is for sale. There are no hidden fees. Everything the club sponsors is covered by the $2 membership fee.


No Shame.

The Baby Store is the first and the main program Mother-and-Child sponsors. More programs are planned for the future.


$2 Membership. Pass-it-Forward.

Membership is for one month at a time. You don't have to pay for missed months. In order to be a member you must have a child under 2 yrs of age. Unborn children count.