The Pastoral Care Ministry offers skill building and formation workshops for those interested in volunteering as a visitor to the sick, elderly, and homebound. The weekly sessions are offered for those who are currently involved in the Pastoral Care Ministry as a Coordinator, Parish Visitor, Faith Community Nurse, or Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.
For more information and dates, you can check here.
What if there was a medical team who worked hard for you and your baby to enjoy every precious moment together in a loving environment, turning the suffering into an occassion of sweet memories for your family?
Dr. Elvira Parravicini is the Director of Neonatal Comfort Care Program at at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Parravicini is the founder and medical director of a unique and innovative program for infants affected by life-limiting or terminal conditions. The Neonatal Comfort Care Program untilizes a multidisciplinary team to addresses the complex medical and non-medical needs of infants and their families. The team includes a nurse coordinator, social worker, speech pathologist, child life specialist, psychologist, and chaplaincy. They work together to establish a state of comfort for babies in a compassionate, loving environment.
Here is a talk by Dr. Elvira Parravicini from the GIVEN forum.
- Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis: A Catholic Perspective by the Family Life/Respect Life Office.
- Trisomy 18 daughter: A Gift from God by former Senator Rick Santorum.
- 20 Minutes in Eternity by Daniel Dumas. Written from a Catholic perspective, this story is about the journey of a husband and wife whose unborn son is diagnosed with a fatal diagnosis, and their decision to carry him to term
- Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum by Karen Garver Santorum. Karen Santorum, wife of former Senator Rick Santorum tells the story of their son’s brief 2-hour life, wile expressing the gift of life, family values, the bond between parent and child, the grieving process and the paradox of suffering.
- Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey by Michell Zuckott. Michell tells the story of a family’s journey with their daughter who had down’s syndrome.
- Holding on To Hope by Nancy Guthrie. A woman loses two infants to the same very rare genetic disorder, interwoven with the Biblical story of Job.
- The New York Times published an informative article, called “Laws of Physics Can’t Trump the Bonds of Love”.
- Be Not Afraid is an online outreach to parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis. The family stories articles, and links within the site are presented as a resource for those who may have been asked to choose between terminating a pregnancy or continuing on despite the diagnosis. These families faced the same decision and chose not to terminate. By sharing their experiences, they hope to offer encouragement to those who may be afraid to continue on.
- Prenatal Partners for Life provides support information and encouragement for carrying a baby to term with an adverse prenatal diagnosis and support for raising your child with special needs after birth.
- Isaiah's promise provides support for families carrying to term after a severe or fatal prenatal diagnosis .
- The Sisters of Life Visitation Mission - Given an adverse prenatal diagnosis? Let the Sisters of Life walk with you.
This training is for parishioners currently working with the bereaved of a parish and/or who will be setting up a bereavement support group in the parish. For more information and dates, you can check here
The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents is A Catholic Ministry in the Franciscan Tradition seeking to serve the spiritual needs of parents whose children of any age have died by any cause, no matter how long ago.
More information about this ministry and about retreats can be found by clicking here.
Retreat days in the Diocese of Albany can be found by clicking here.
The loss of a child due to miscarriage or stillbirth or ectopic pregnancy, or early infant death can causes great suffering for the couples and the family. As our hearts go out for you and we pray for your healing from this loss, we hope to provide you with information that will help you with various aspects of your loss.
Resources for Pregnancy Loss and Infertility
- Elizabeth Ministry is an international movement offering encouragement, hope and healing on issues related to childbearing, sexuality and relationships.
- Morning Light Ministry offers over-the-phone, one-on-one, or group support and informational materials.
- Miscarriage: A Silent Sorrow for those grieving and healing after miscarriage.
- A Mom's Peace supports families of miscarried and stillborn souls with bereavement, burial, and remembrance assistance.
- Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage - EWTN Resource
- After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing and Hope
Family Support and Enrichment
The Diocese of Scranton has family support and enrichment ministry that provides grief support. For more information you can click here.
RELATED PROGRAMS FOR HEALING provided through the diocese of Buffalo
BEGINNING EXPERIENCE: is a weekend created to help people who have worked through the first stages of grief after death or separation/divorce of one's spouse. For more information check out the website at www.beginningexperience.org or call (585)987-1750.
Separation and Divorce are very painful situations and best not traveled alone. Connect with the services of Catholic Charities for marital and spiritual counseling (716) 839-4406.
Online Support Group
While as a diocese we currently have no in-person divorce support group, here is a Catholic online group that provides resources, workshops and support for this time in your life. https://divorcedcatholic.com/
- The USSCB website provides information about bereavement and funerals.
- Catholic Bereavement Books
- Resources on Grief and Loss Compiled by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Family Life Office
- Ministry to the Bereaved
- Death of a Spouse
- Resources for Those Who Are Grieving or Supporting Others in Grief:
- Other Resources Online:
- Prayer preparing for Christmas after a loss
- Grief Counseling Resource Guide from the New York Office of Mental Health: Free, printable “Field Manual” for caregivers and those in grief.
- Rainbows: Resources to help children in grief
- How to Grieve by Larkin Warren, AARP Magazine
- Office Memorials by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz
From Good Grief Resources
- Good Grief: Grieving Resource Links
- Crisis, Grief & Healing Pages
New York State
- For a list of Crisis Pregnancy Services in NYS within the Archdiocese of NY, you can click here
- For a list of Abortion Counseling and Alternatives Resources for pregnant women in crisis in Brooklyn or Queens, you can click here.
- To get help in Long Island you can check the Rockville Diocese Respect Life Office by clicking here.
- For a list of resources in the Diocese of Albany, you can click here.
- In the diocese of Utica, you can refer pregnant women to the Good News Center.
Palliative care provides comfort care specialized in providing patients relief from pain and other symptoms pf serious illnesses. The videos below can help you understand more about end of life care (palliative care and hospice care) and end of life decisions.
The Archdiocese of Melbourne in Australia has created lot of resources to educate the laity on palliative care and euthanasia which can be accessed below.
The USCCB website provides an article highlighting the difference between palliative care and assisted suicide. It can be accessed here.
End of Life
Does your family need guidance on how to think through the decisions facing you as a loved one nears the end of his or her life?
This Catholic Guide by the NYS Catholic Conference is designed to explain the moral principles of Catholic teaching in end-of-life decision-making and outlines the options that exist in NY State for advanced care planning.
For more clarity, guidance and resources go to Catholic End of Life Website
For resources in your state, click here
- Now and at the Hour of Our Death A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decision-Making can be downloaded here.
- End-of-Life Decisions A Catholic Perspective a Health Care Directive for Rhode Island
- Support for your aging loved one in the Archdiocese of New York can be found here.
Many resources are available on this issue on the USCCB website and some are listed below.
- Beyond Terminal Illness
- Bishops Approve Items on Marriage, Reproductive Technologies, Medically Assisted Nutrition And Hydration
- Bishops' Statement: To Live Each Day
- Caring for Grandma Helen
- From Voluntary to Involuntary
- Guidelines for Legislation on Life-Sustaining Treatment
- Human Dignity in the 'Vegetative' State
- In Newsday Op-Ed, Bishops' Official Says Terri Schiavo Deserves Nourishment and Care, March 24, 2005
- Letter to the Senate on the Pain Relief Promotion Act
- Moral Principles Concerning Infants with Anencephaly
- Pope's Speech is About Human Dignity
- Prayer Resources
- Q&A on Nutrition and Hydration for Patients in a "Vegetative State"
- Seeing People as God sees Them
- Statement on Uniform Rights of the Terminally Ill Act
- To Live Each Day with Dignity
- To Live Each Day with Dignity with Links
While many people are seeking to make abortion legal and accessible during the nine months of pregnancy, the number of couples struggling to try to achieve pregnancy is on the rise. Infertility is a real disease impacting 1 out of every six couples in the US. It is certainly, as the USSB website states, "a great burden for couples to bear, especially when they so deeply desire to have a child and live out their vocation to be open to life and welcome the gift of children from God. It is important to remember that despite infertility, couples "can have a married life that is filled with love and meaning." (see Married Love and the Gift of Life) As Saint John Paul II has said, infertile couples are able to be fruitful when their married love is "open to others, to the needs of the apostolate ... the needs of the poor ... the needs of orphans" and to the world. (John Paul II, Homily, 1982; quoted in Married Love and the Gift of Life)."
Infertility presents couples with an unexpected cross. Marriage is inherently called to bring forth new life, and those couples unable to conceive suffer from this unfulfilled, natural human desire. No one can fully comprehend the grief, the pain and all the emotions that the couples go through as they are faced with such heavy cross unless if they lived through it themselves. It is true that infertility is not cancer yet it is very painful and can be worse than cancer for some people. I personally call it "the silent cancer"; couples struggling with infertility endure its pain alone most of the time while people who have cancer are surrounded by their family members. Instead of receiving support from their family members, infertile couples experience the disappointment of parents and siblings to the absence of grandchildren, nieces and nephews they desire to have which places more pressure on the couples and adds to their stress. Infertility can also impact a couple’s relationship and jeopardize the stability of their marriage if they don't know how to deal with it. I know this for sure because my husband and I were there one day. (Marise Frangie)
This cross can weigh very heavily on the couples if they try to carry it separately and away from the Lord. Together united and trusting in the Lord and His Will for them, they can come to embrace the cross and allow it to bring them closer to each as a couple and to the Lord. The acceptance of this cross and resolving to morally acceptable treatments can restore healing, hope and peace. I can attest to that based on my own personal journey of infertility.
Let us offer as much support as we can for couples around us suffering with the inability to get pregnant by praying for them, being there for them, providing them with resources that offer morally acceptable treatments, that restore hope and healing to their marriage.
(You can read Marise Frangie's full story here.)
"Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology" (USCCB, 2009)
The USSCB website provides a great document titled "Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology" in which many questions related to different treatments are addressed. Below are some excerpts from it.
There is hope. The Creighton Model FertilityCare System, used in conjunction with NaPro TECHNOLOGY – a medical approach cooperating with natural hormonal balance of the human body, can increase a couple’s potential to conceive a child.
According to its website, NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) is a new women's health science that monitors and maintains a woman's reproductive and gynecological health. It provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system. It is a fertility-care based medical approach rather than a fertility-control approach to family planning and gynecological health. NaProTECHNOLOGY uses the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System biomarkers to monitor easily and objectively the occurrence of various hormonal events during the menstrual cycle. NaProtracking provides valid information that can be interpreted by a woman and by physicians who are specifically trained in this system.
Unlike common suppressive or destructive approaches, NaProTECHNOLOGY works cooperatively with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential. Women now have an opportunity to know and understand the causes of the symptoms from which they suffer.
NaProTECHNOLOGY is offering great hope for couples and women dealing with infertility and miscarriages. Using a NaProTECHNOLOGY approach for the treatment of infertility can be highly effective and even more effective than current approaches to infertility. You can read more about it and about different cases of infertility by clicking here and watch videos below.
Diet & Lifestyle changes
In many cases, changes in diet & lifestyle (less stressful) may be enough to improve fertility cycles and chances for conceiving and sustaining a much desired pregnancy. For more information on how your diet can affect your fertility, check out Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition: How Your Diet Affects Your Menstrual Cycles & Fertility
Women's Healthcare That Reverences Your Life... And The Life Of Your Family
Below you will find information for women of all ages who want a natural approach to women's healthcare that reverences her fertility and health. The resources contained within uphold Catholic teaching and support women in understanding their fertility to identify and correct any underlying abnormalities and restore her back to health.
In particular, these resources are vital for women struggling with infertility. Our hope is that this page -- and its prayer and information resources -- will encourage renewed hope and consolation.
Saint Peter’s Gianna Center of Manhattan
Anne Nolte, MD
15 E. 40th Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 481-1219
Fax: (212) 481-1423
Gianna Center of Long Island
Paul Carpentier, MD, CFCMC222
Gianna Center of Long Island
1000 Montauk Hwy
West Islip, New York 11795
Phone: (631) 376-3232
Gianna Center of Philadelphia
Delia Larrauri, MD, FACOG
Barbara Rose, AGPCNP, CFCP
2705 DeKalb Pike, Suite 207
East Norriton, PA 19401
Phone: (844) 204-0005
Gianna Center of Albany
Jan Patterson, MD, DABFM, CFMCMC, FCP
242 South Central Avenue
Mechanicville, NY 12118
Phone: (518) 779-5225
Gianna Center of Syracuse
Karen Dalton, MD
127 Chapel Drive
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 488-3139 ext. 16
Mercy Care for Women’s Health, an Affiliate of The National Gianna Center
Cynthia Mangubat, MD
819 S. Governors Ave
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 883-3677
Fax: (302) 736-6951
Morningstar Family Health Center
Jean Golden-Tevald, DO, CFCP, FCP
Eddie Fleming, MD, NFPMC
54 Old Route 22
Clinton, NJ 08809
Phone: (908) 735-9344
Fax: (908) 735-7136
Gianna Family Care
Terese Bauer, MD
Angelique Pritchett, MD, FCMCr.
10820 West 64th Street, Suite 202
Shawnee, KS 66203
Telephone: (913) 890-2555
Fax: (913) 890-2550
St. Gianna’s Center in FL
the Smart Sixty-Six office center at 2360 66th St. N, Room C2 in Largo, FL 33773.
- “Embracing the cross of Infertility” by Dr. Marie Meaney
- “Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology” by the USCCB
- Infertility Journey a booklet by Jeannie & Bruce Hannemann
- Waiting for Gabriel: Learning to Pray through Infertility
- The Infertility Companion for Catholics by Angelique Ruhi-Lopez and Carmen Santamaria.
- Dealing With Infertility by Julie Kelemen, discussing what the Church teaches about assisted reproductive technologies and offers comfort and advice on how to deal with the emotional, financial, and spiritual challenges of infertility.
- “New Hope in Infertility” by Dr. Anne Nolte, founder of the Gianna - Catholic Healthcare Center for Women.
- Facing infertility: A journey of faith, hope and love by Mary Louise Kurey
- Seven Considerations While Navigating Infertility
- NBC News has a great article titled Many Couples struggle with infertility in silence
USCCB Guidance & Prayers
Artificial Reproductive Technology is an umbrella term used to describe different technologies that either create (outside of the womb) or assist, by intervening in the natural process of conception, in the reproduction of a new life. Artificial Technology Includes:
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Intrauterine Insemenation (IUI)
- Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
- Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- Donor Eggs
- Donor Sperm
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization):
Conception occurs outside the body ‐‐ "in a glass."
Ordinarily, the woman is treated with hormones to stop her natural cycle and stimulated to ripen a number of ova. The ova are harvested from the follicle with a needle under ultrasonic guidance. The needle is inserted either through the vagina or abdomen. Ova are incubated in the laboratory with a carefully washed and adjusted specimen of semen to allow fertilization. Prior to implantation in the woman's uterus, embryos are examined in order to select the "best." Sometimes, one cell is removed for genetic testing. To date, visual inspection of the embryos has been totally unrelated to their subsequent course‐‐health or otherwise. Usually at least two embryos are implanted; in some centers, as many as four are implanted with the hope of getting at least one live baby. At times, three or four embryos thrive. Some clinics then offer the mother "embryo reduction" (selective abortion) to allow only one or two fetuses to develop further. Because the endometrium is considerably changed by the stimulation of ovaries to produce eggs, it is the practice in some centers to freeze the embryos and to implant them in a subsequent natural cycle. Success rates vary considerably due to the age of the woman, the health of the uterus, the quality of semen, etc. The disposition of frozen embryos varies with the wishes of the parents. "Spare embryos" may either be preserved, donated to other women or to researchers, or destroyed.
- GIFT (Gamete IntraFallopian Transfer):
- Nearly ripe ova are obtained from the woman's follicles by ultrasonically guided aspiration techniques as for IVF. But one ovum, separated with an air bubble from a prepared seminal fluid sample, is immediately reinserted with a plastic tubing into the woman's fallopian tube so that conception will occur within the body. Pregnancy rates are similar to IVF.
- ZIFT (Zygote IntraFallopian Transfer):
- Ova and sperm are obtained analogously to IVF, but the zygote, that is the newly fertilized embryo, is immediately transferred into the woman's tube with a catheter threaded through the uterus. This does not allow examination of the embryos as it would for IVF. The live birth rate is similar to IVF.
- ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection):
- When men have low sperm counts or other problems, such as blocked ducts, spermatozoa can be obtained either by masturbation or, in the absence of a normal ductal system, by needle aspiration from the epididymis or even from the testis itself. A single sperm is then injected through the membrane of the ovum and the embryo cultured in the laboratory until it reaches the 8‐16 cell stage, when it is inserted into the uterine cavity. Because the "natural selection" which occurs when sperm enter through the cervical mucus is excluded by this procedure, a number of birth defects have been recorded when conception was effected by ICSI.
- AIH (Artificial insemination with husband's sperm):
- Sperm can be placed into a cup which is placed over the cervix. This technique is also used in AID ‐ artificial insemination by donor. IUI (intrauterine insemination) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse) but technologically prepared semen sample. The sperm are collected from a perforated condom after normal intercourse, washed, and then injected into the uterine cavity, bypassing the cervix to avoid "hostile" mucus. Cervical mucus hostility is an immunological reaction brought about by several known, and some unknown factors. A postcoital test would find no living sperm in mucus during the fertile phase. Other treatments for cervical mucus hostility include abstinence for two years to allow the antibodies to diminish or disappear, or the use of condoms (not acceptable for Catholics). Various treatments with steroids have been tried without much success.
Technologies Compatible with Catholic Teachings:
- Observation of the naturally occurring sign(s) of fertility (Natural Family Planning). Time intercourse on the days of presumed (potential) fertility for at least six months before proceeding to medical interventions.(2)
- General medical evaluation of both spouses for infertility.
- Post‐coital test to assess sperm number and viability in "fertile type" mucus. These tests are undertaken after normal intercourse.
- Appropriate evaluation and treatment of male factor deficiency. Seminal fluid samples can be obtained from a non‐lubricated, perforated condom after normal intercourse.
- Assessment of uterine and tubal structural competence by imaging techniques (e.g., ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram, etc.).
- Appropriate medical treatment of ovulatory dysfunction.
- Appropriate (usually surgical) correction of mechanical blocks to tubal patency (the state of being open).
Reproductive Technologies under Discussion (neither "approved" nor "disapproved"):
- Gamete intra‐fallopian transfer (GIFT). (The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not yet pronounced on the subject.)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) of "licitly obtained" (normal intercourse) but technologically prepared semen sample (washed, etc.).
Reproductive Technologies in Disagreement with Catholic Teachings:
- Obtaining a sample of seminal fluid by masturbation.
- Artificial insemination by a non‐spouse (AID), or even by the husband (AIH) if the sample is obtained and handled by non‐licit means (masturbated specimen).
- In vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intra‐fallopian transfer (ZIFT), and intracytoplasmic
"How do I know when a reproductive technology is morally right?"
The rule of thumb is:
- Any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral
- Procedures which add a "third party" into the act of conception, or which substitute a laboratory procedure for intercourse, are not acceptable.
1. The guidelines are drawn from the document Donum vitae (1987). See also Dignitas personae (2008).
2. Some women may have to wait longer for their fertility signs to appear due to the effects of recent use of chemical contracpetives(e.g., the pill, depo‐provera, norplant, etc.).
"It is quite legitimate, indeed praiseworthy, to try to find ways to overcome infertility. The problem causes great pain and anguish for many married couples. Since children are a wonderful gift of marriage, it is a good thing to try to overcome the obstacles which prevent children from being conceived and born."
"In our day many techniques and therapies have been developed to overcome infertility. In the United States an entire 'industry' has emerged with little or no governmental or professional regulations to protect the interests of the men, women or children who become involved. Women receive fertility drugs which can result in their conceiving four, five or six children at once, risking their own health and the health of their children. Some have several eggs fertilized in vitro (in a glass dish) without realizing that this may lead to the destruction of these embryos or their being frozen for later experimental use.
The many techniques now used to overcome infertility also have profound moral implications, and couples should be aware of these before making decisions about their use. Each technique should be assessed to see if it is truly moral, that is, whether or not it promotes human good and human flourishing. All these technologies touch in some way on innocent human life."
"In 1987 the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document known as Donum Vitae ("The Gift of Life"), which addressed the morality of many modern fertility procedures. The document did not judge the use of technology to overcome infertility as wrong in itself. It concluded that some methods are moral, while others—because they do violence to the dignity of the human person and the institution of marriage—are immoral. Donum Vitae reaffirmed an obligation to protect all human life when married couples use various technologies to try to have children. Without questioning the motives of those using these techniques, Donum Vitae pointed out that people can do harm to themselves and others even as they try to do what is good, that is, overcome infertility. The fundamental principle which the Church used to assess the morality of various means of overcoming infertility was a rather simple one, even if its application is sometimes difficult.
Donum Vitae teaches that if a given medical intervention helps or assists the marriage act to achieve pregnancy, it may be considered moral; if the intervention replaces the marriage act in order to engender life, it is not moral." - USCCB Website
Is there an alternative? Does the Catholic Church approve any method of infertility management?
Yes! The Catholic Church does approve NaProTECHNOLOGY. NaProTECHNOLOGY assists the couple in conceiving a child by cooperating with the natural act of intercourse. For more information you can access our page about infertility.
There is hope. There is healing. There is a way out of your pain. You can find acceptance, healing and unconditional love in a safe confidential environment.
There are literally millions of women and men who, alone and abandoned, suffer some of the most serious psychological and spiritual consequences of abortion. If you are one of these many, we understand and are here to help.
These organizations provide healing services to men and women who have suffered abortion.
Sisters of Life
Sisters of Life provide day/weekend retreats, & f/u gatherings.
Toll free: 866.575.0075 or
A ray of light in abortion's darkness
(718) 881-8008 or (877) 586-4621
Contact Theresa Bonapartis for more information. Lumina provides referrals for peer group support, post–abortion ministers & clergy, professional counselors.
There is hope after abortion
Project Rachel – www.hopeafterabortion.org
Project Rachel, the Catholic Church's ministry to those who have been involved in abortion, is a diocesan-based network of specially trained priests, religious, counselors, and laypersons.
Rachel’s Vineyard – www.rachelsvineyard.org
Hope Alive – www.messengers2.com
Ramah International – www.ramahinternational.org
Healing Hearts – www.web-light.com/heart
P.A.C.E (Post Abortion Counseling and Education) – 800/395-HELP
How to Speak to Post-Abortive Men & Women
Here are some suggestions about how to speak to someone who has had an abortion from the USCCB website:
What to Say
- Ask how she is
- Show care and concern
- Say you are sorry she felt she had to do this
- Allow her to talk
- Allow her to express anger regret and remorse
- Watch her for isolation
- Allow her to grieve
- Keep her confidentiality
- Be there for her
- “Forget about it; it is in the past, move on”
- “You did what was best at the time” (she knows this is not true)
- “Abortion is wrong” (she knows this too)
- “You can have other children” (this does not make up for baby she aborted)
- “It was not a baby yet”
- Don’t tell he how she should feel
- Don’t try to find a positive
- “It was your decision”
- “You should be over this by now”
- Don’t say you understand if you don’t
- Don’t tell her she was not ready to have a child
- “It is for the best”
- “You will get over this”
- “At least you only had one” (how do you know?)