By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
SUGAR CREEK — Baby showers honor moms-to-be, and are a special treat for them. For moms whose pregnancies were unintended, but choose life for their babies, a shower shows support with the added benefit of needed gifts.
St. Cyril’s pastor Father Matthew Bartulica and the Altar Society blessed five expectant moms attending parenting and life skills classes at The Women’s Clinic in Independence with a baby shower May 19. The moms attended Mass along with Clinic staff members Gail Mayberger, R.N/ Nurse Manager and Carla Johnson, Client Advocate/Community Development, followed by a reception and the shower in the lower level parish hall.
For many years the Altar Society did a gift exchange at Christmas. Katherine Novak, the society’s secretary, said that several years ago, a former St. Cyril’s parishioner, Anna Guthrie, had mentioned that, instead of a gift exchange among themselves, why not purchase baby stuff for The Women’s’ Clinic to fill gift baskets given to the moms upon the birth of their baby. The gift baskets were a success, Novak said.
Then, this past Feb. 28, Novak and two other members of the Altar Society, Teresa Dumsky and Mary Puhr, attended the annual Respect Life Banquet with Father Bartulica and heard former Planned Parenthood executive, turned pro-life activist, Abby Johnson speak.
Dumsky said, “When I heard Abby Johnson mention many ways people could get involved in helping organizations like The Women’s Clinic, it got me thinking. Volunteering was one of the ways she suggested, but most of us couldn’t volunteer for one reason or another. So what else could we do?”
Yes, great minds often think alike. Dumsky and Father Bartulica both suggested a baby shower at the February Altar Society meeting, and “all were in favor of it,” she said. “Father Matt is a strong supporter of The Women’s Clinic, and when we talked about doing a shower, he suggested Mass followed by the shower, open to the parish. Everybody was gung ho to do the shower!”
The baby shower to benefit moms-to-be at The Women’s Clinic was announced in the parish bulletin a week or two before May 19; parishioners were invited. Parishioners who attended the shower brought baby items, including diapers and wipes, and the five baskets for the five moms were filled. Brunch was served, including fruit, homemade cookies, cake and punch provided by the ladies. Dumsky said she believed about 50 people came to the shower.
Since they made the commitment to life for their babies, the moms-to-be have regularly attended the weekly parenting and life skills classes at The Women’s Clinic and received information on pre-natal healthcare, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, infant CPR, Shaken Baby Syndrome and much more.
Father Bartulica said that “We asked the Clinic to name 4 or 5 moms-to-be that they thought would enjoy a shower and benefit from it. We then invited 5 girls to Mass and a baby shower here at St. Cyril’s. One of the girls was expecting twins, so it was a 6-baby shower. I think our parishioners enjoyed themselves and the girls seemed happy.
“The baskets were a big hit,” Father Bartulica continued. “I believe we’ll do this again, the Christmas gift baskets in December and the baby shower in the spring. I think one reason the Altar Society members liked the idea of a baby shower was that three of them went with me to the Respect Life Banquet. Listening to Abby Johnson tell her story, convinced people to do something about the issue of abortion on demand.”
Mary Puhr agreed that a good time was had by all at the baby shower. “There were at least 50 people there. It was really a shower — we had punch and cookies. The girls all seemed really appreciative. It was a different way of getting involved than just making a donation, although that helps, too.”
She added that if a person is interested in getting involved with The Women’s Clinic or any organization that helps people in need, they should “contact the organization and see what their yearly or monthly needs are, whether it is volunteer work, donations of food, clothing or cash, or what they need.”
The Women’s Clinic Executive Director Deborah Neel gave St. Cyril’s parish “high praise for their commitment to life. Their unwavering devotion to protect life for these precious babies gives hope and support to these young women.”
Father Bartulica said, “I think this was a great thing to do; it put our pro-life beliefs into action. The girls came to St. Cyril’s and joined us for Mass. Maybe they’ll come back. You know, if more parishes would get involved with organizations like the Women’s Clinic, it would be a great tool for evangelization.”