Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6, the 12th day of Christmas. (In some places, Latin Rite Catholics observe it on the closest Sunday to that date.) The celebration marks the arrival of the three Magi in Bethlehem, where they worshipped the newborn Son of God with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Epiphany provides Catholics and all Christians with the chance to reflect on what Christ’s birth means for pro-life efforts. Like the wise men, we too can recognize, celebrate, love, and support the parents in our community, especially new parents and single mothers. We are called to serve the Lord by serving one another; what better time than Epiphany to reach out to parents in need with gifts tailored to their beautiful calling to love the children God entrusted to their care? Here are some ideas for showing love to parents in your parish or neighborhood:
Bring over a healthy, hearty meal, like a vegetable soup with fresh bread.
Volunteer to babysit. You could start small by watching their child in their home so the parents get a chance to nap, shower, or do household chores.
Offer to vacuum, clean, cook—any task that you feel comfortable taking on.
If you don’t know the parents well yet, bring them a bouquet of flowers or some pastries to break the ice.
Be open to talking about their children but recognize that they may crave some conversation about other topics as well, like books, sports, or the news.
Listen patiently without offering advice, unless specifically asked for it. Parents are already bombarded with enough “dos” and “don’ts”.
If you see a family at Mass, especially one with a baby or toddler, smile at them or chat with them afterwards.
Hearing “You have a beautiful family,” or “Great seeing you all at Mass!” is very encouraging for parents heroically bringing wiggly children to church every Sunday.
Ask parents what their community needs to make it more child-friendly, and then help them accomplish that goal.
If you don’t know any parents well enough to try the ideas above, you can always volunteer at a diaper drive or pregnancy care center; both are crucial resources for mothers in need.
All the above ideas should be paired with prayers, especially through the intercession of the Holy Family. As you reflect upon the wise men honoring the baby Jesus, consider how you can live out the Gospel of Life by supporting the parents near you.
Anna Rose Riccard is a Program Associate for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information about the bishops' pro-life activities, visit: www.usccb.org/prolife.