What is miscarriage ministry?
Miscarriage ministry is a parish-based ministry that aids women, couples, families with support, education, and compassion following the loss of their unborn child, whether it was very recently or many years ago.
The experience of those grieving their baby lost to miscarriage can be very isolating. There are many questions during the time of miscarriage: Why is this happening? Where can I go for support and answers? Can we have a funeral or memorial service? Should we name the baby? How do we talk to friends and family who have lost a baby? This important ministry helps those grieving find answers and comfort.
The Church encourages a funeral and burial or a memorial service following the loss of a child from a miscarriage. Acknowledging the baby’s, life no matter how short, affirms the dignity of that life and assists in healing from the loss. In addition, the Church offers a special liturgical blessing for grieving parents.
Consider starting a ministry in your parish!
Parents who lose a child before birth or shortly after often mourn the inability to physically embrace that child.
Statistics tell us that more than 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, meaning that many of us have experienced this loss and grief.
EXAMPLES AND RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED!
LEARN BY EXAMPLE: The Council of Catholic Women at the Church of St. Mary in Sleepy Eye, is one of the first in the diocese to begin a miscarriage ministry. (Read more about their ministry.) Following are a list of examples of what their ministry is offering to grieving women, couples, and families to help them through the grieving process.
- Ceramic crosses as a memorial of the child;
- Cross lapel pins for fathers along with prayer cards as a tangible remembrance of the child;
- Printed resources for women and couples including activity books for young siblings as they too move through the grieving process;
- Parishioners willing to bring a homemade meal to healing families;
- Prayer shawls made by members of the parish to give to women as a symbol of "wrapping" those who are grief stricken in prayers from the community;
- Resources and guidance. Did you know that you can contact your Catholic parish to plan a memorial service, funeral or request prayers?
DOWNLOAD St. Mary, Sleepy Eye miscarriage ministry brochure "EMBRACE," to use as an example of how to develop your parish brochure.
As you are starting your ministry, if you would like to talk to someone who has helped start this ministry or have questions about the process, contact Katie Braulick of St. Mary's Council of Catholic Women firstname.lastname@example.org
AND, IF YOUR PARISH BEGINS A MISCARRIAGE MINISTRY . . . please be sure to contact the Diocese of New Ulm Office of Family Life, email@example.com; (507) 233-5328, to be listed in an area resource directory. You will also be included on a list of those to be contacted for notices about diocesan events and/or information to be shared with other parishes who have a started a miscarriage ministry.
CHECK IT OUT! (Online Resources to Help You Begin Your Parish Miscarriage Ministry)
Catholicmiscarriagesupport.com (information for families experiencing miscarriage)
Elizabethministry.com (an all-encompassing ministry with resources for this kind of ministry)
Allembrace.com (national charter of similar ministries)
Nowilaymedowntosleep.org (local remembrance photography)