Stiripentruviata.ro, Sept. 14 — Representatives of the world’s most extensive network of pregnancy crisis support centers have gathered in Bucharest this week. Three Heartbeat leaders participated on Monday and Tuesday in the National Conference of the Support Centers for Pregnant Women, organized by the Association for Pregnant Women and Family Support.
The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which is the main church of Romania, hailed the event in a message read in the opening of the conference by Fr Ciprian Ioniță, Patriarchal Counselor with the Social-Philanthropic Sector of the Romanian Patriarchate.
Patriarch Daniel: Our pro-life actions, expression of God’s merciful love
“The activity of these centers is a concrete example of communion and fulfillment of the divine will, because we, as Christians, see each human person who has been conceived as part of God’s will to work good deeds into the world,” transmitted the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
“Our Church has recently celebrated the Nativity of the Mother of God, who has been essential in God’s plan of building the Kingdom of Heaven together with man. The Mother of God gave birth to our Savior Jesus Christ, despite the fact that she was not married and had devoted herself to spiritual matters. Yet, to the angel who announced that she would conceive from the heavenly Father and through the power of the Holy Spirit, she resolutely answered: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). This shows us that the Mother of God conquered her hesitation and her worries by faithfully abandoning herself to divine providence,” continues the message.
“Moreover, the conception and birth of the Holy Virgin Mary from elderly barren parents also show us that every child who comes into the world is fundamentally the fruit of a spiritual work: that of partaking in the life-giving gift which comes exclusively from God, being sourced from the love of the Holy Trinity, and is offered to people,” the patriarch affirmed.
“For Christians, giving birth to children never reduces the woman to a purely biological reality; on the contrary, it proves her spiritual force, which resides in her capacity for sacrificial love. Our pro-life actions become the expression of God’s merciful love and providence and remind the woman of her unique power and vocation: that of giving life.”
“Yet, most often, overwhelmed by the difficulties they are confronted with, parents – and especially single mothers – do not find it easy to accept the child as a heavenly gift. Then we are entrusted with the mission of restoring their faith in God by becoming ourselves His merciful and loving hands,” added Patriarch Daniel.
In his message, the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church also emphasized that “continuous effort is needed to bring help to mothers in difficulty from every county of Romania. At present, such centers are functional in only 16 of the 41 counties of Romania and not all are at an optimal development level”.
“There are many ways in which we can become God’s hands of merciful love into the world. But helping a child to be born is the most generous deed of Christian love, because it does not save only the children’s bodies, but also their souls for the Kingdom of Heaven – and, with them, their mother’s souls, by giving them back their hope.
At the same time, it is a work which redeems us as a community, a work in which individualism is surmounted through an exercise of solidarity according to God’s will,” concluded the Patriarch of Romania, who also sent his blessing to the conference participants.
The National Conference of the Support Centers for Pregnant Women: How to offer pro-life help
The American guests of the Romanian conference were Jor-El Godsey, Executive Director of Heartbeat International, and his colleagues, Andrea Trudden, Communication and Marketing Vicepresident, and Ellen Foel, International Relations Coordinator. They spoke of how to manage pro-life centers and how to communicate the pro-life testimonies to a larger audience through mass-media.
Călin Juravle, Art Director at the Romanian company Wincero, which works in communication and branding, spoke of the importance of visual identity for pregnancy centers, Tedora Paul presented the four types of reaction to the issue of pregnancy crisis, Romanian Mariana Cuceu, co-founder of the American “Saint Paraskeva Orthodox Charity”, presented fundraising tips, while Adelina Fronea, founder of Life Call, a Romanian pregnancy support organization, sustained a presentation entitled “Searching for the Meaning of Life in Pregnancy Crisis”.
The doctor’s perspective was not neglected, either: Dr Maria Cloțea, a resident Ob-Gyn from Bucharest, spoke of the gynecologist’s role in supporting women who go through a pregnancy crisis.
On the second day of the conference, various experts with expertise in working with women in pregnancy crisis presented concrete methods of support for pregnant women who are in toxic relationships, are victims of human traffic or a history of psychological trauma.
The ROUA Centers
A novelty for Romania was the launch of the new visual identity of the support center network developed by the Association for Pregnant Women and Family Support. The network was given the name of ROUA (DEW) Centers.
Dew is the expression of heavenly blessing and symbol of regeneration, explained the organization’s representatives, who quoted two Biblical verses:
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”(Deut. 32, 2)
“But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” (Isaiah 26, 19)
The leaders of Heartbeat International continue their pro-life involvement in the Capital city of Romania this week: Thursday, September 15, 2022, sees the start of the 2022 European Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit.
Heartbeat International is the world’s most extensive international network of support centers in pregnancy crisis. It was founded in 1971 by Margaret (Peggy) Hartshorn, professor at the Franklin University in Ohio, USA. After she started hosting women in pregnancy crisis at home, she decided to develop this type of support on an institutional level. At present, Heartbeat International has 3,000 affiliates on 6 continents, of which 1,800 in the USA and over 1,200 across the world.
2022 European Pregnancy Help Leaders Summit is organized yearly in another European Capital, to encourage the involvement of local pro-life leaders in setting up pregnancy support crisis centers.
The Association for Pregnant Women and Family Support established two centers in Bucharest, Romania, which offer counseling and support for large families, single mothers and women in pregnancy crisis: the St Alexandra the Empress” Center and the “Holy Empress Helen” Center. Alexandra Nadane is the President and Executive Director of the association.
The National Conference of the Support Centers for Pregnant Women is organized twice a year and reached its 6th edition on September 12-13, 2022. The event brings together experts working or willing to work in pregnancy crisis support: psychologists, social workers, priests, doctors, coordinators of centers and volunteers who want to develop professionally in this field of work.