Who We Are
Elizabeth Ministry International
Mary was afraid during the Annunciation because in her culture an unwed pregnant woman would be stoned to death. She was also confused on how she could be pregnant. Angel Gabriel told her Elizabeth was pregnant in her old age, because nothing is impossible with God. She knew Elizabeth was barren and according to cultural practices should have been killed, but Zechariah had safeguarded her life. This witness gave Mary hope that her life would also be spared. Elizabeth being pregnant in advanced age gave Mary the help she needed to believe in the special situation of her own pregnancy. This gift of another person who would understand provided healing of her fears and she agreed to God’s plan. Just as Mary needed assurance that she wasn’t alone, so do all of us. Elizabeth Ministry offers companionship on the faith journey to do God’s will. This provides hope, help, and healing during the tender times of life, loss, and love.
The story of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth in Luke’s gospel is the inspiration for Elizabeth Ministry. (Luke 1:39-56) It is one of the most profound examples of faith-sharing in all of Scripture. The sanctity of life and the power of the Spirit is revealed in the common sharing of these two women. Throughout the generations, women have repeated this story as they support one another in bringing new life into the world. Elizabeth Ministry carries on this tradition of maternal mystery mentoring. Following the example of Mary and Elizabeth, we visit, and share the sacredness of life while offering practical support.
The Biblical account also offers insight on the righteousness of Joseph and Zechariah as they went counter-cultural to protect their spouses, follow God’s design for their marriages, and honor their roles as fathers. Elizabeth Ministry carries on their witness to the importance of paternal perspectives. Following the example of Joseph and Zechariah, we go counter-cultural to reclaim God’s plan for sexuality, childbearing, and relationships.
The Catholic Church’s morning prayer, Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus), and the evening prayer, Canticle of Mary (Magnificat), come out of the lived experiences of these four people. Elizabeth Ministry offers opportunities to convert these prayers into action in the home, the church, and the world.
What Approach Is Used?
Elizabeth Ministry efforts are faithful to the tenants and traditions of Roman Catholic teachings. While serving all people in need, everything is done according to our Roman Catholic origin and outlook. Elizabeth Ministry International seeks to provide support through sharing lived experiences, mentoring, prayer, blessings, scripture, church teachings, scientific research, consultations, referrals, trainings, retreats, programs, along with educational and inspirational resources. This is offered through direct support from our central office associates, from our affiliates, or by members of Elizabeth Ministry Chapters throughout the world.
Direct Support through phone calls, emails, consults, retreats and programming, such as RECLAiM Sexual Health, an online recovery resource for those struggling with pornography and other unhealthy sexual behaviors, are managed by associates of the Elizabeth Ministry International Headquarters. Volunteer Ambassadors help parishes inform their members of these needed resources.
Affiliates of Elizabeth Ministry International are organizations, such as Pregnancy Resource Centers, Hospitals, and Counseling Centers, that work in collaboration with us to support those in need.
Elizabeth Ministry Chapters are parish based efforts to support women and their families during the joys, challenges, and sorrows of the childbearing years. Volunteers offer maternal mentoring in the areas they have experienced. For example, an older woman, who has given birth and raised a family would visit a woman who is pregnant for the first time. She shares prayer, practical help, her lived experiences, and resources in the name of the parish community. Worldwide, over 700 parishes have registered as an Elizabeth Ministry Chapter.
The Elizabeth Ministry International Leadership Team coordinates expansion of the apostolate by enabling association of individual members, parish chapters, and affiliate organizations. It establishes policies and procedures while providing direction and leadership to the entire membership association. To preserve the integrity of Elizabeth Ministry, each individual, local parish chapter, and affiliate organization serves under the authority of their pastor and Bishop.
Why Is Elizabeth Ministry Needed?
In the past, the presence and support families needed was found in the structures of extended family, church, neighborhood, and community. Today, these structures are undergoing rapid change. Our neighborhoods are fragmented, leaving people isolated. Churches have members from an extended geographic area, often making it very difficult to create a hospitable, loving environment. Our mobile society causes extended families to be separated by many miles, making frequent visits impossible. Yet, the wisdom drawn from sharing stories of the many joys, challenges, and sorrows of lived experiences is still needed. The support, reassurance, and guidance usually given by the extended family is not always available. Elizabeth Ministry is one way to respond to this need.
We live in a confused cultural time. Scientific discoveries have transformed the experiences of fertility concerns, family planning, and pregnancy. Assisted reproductive technologies have a moral, ethical, and social impact that did not exist in previous generations. Elizabeth Ministry provides information and insight to evaluate the many options in the light of faith. The profound effects of a sexually promiscuous society, social acceptance of all varieties of non-marital sexual activity, contraception, sterilization, legalized abortion, increase of divorce, easy access of online pornography, gender identity or orientation confusion, and cultural redefining of marriage and family, have caused a crisis for families, social decay, and a culture of death. The medical, social, and spiritual consequences of these situations need to be addressed. Elizabeth Ministry offers recognition of the problems, insights on healing wounds, and suggestions for resisting cultural influence that attack God's plan for relationships, sexuality, and childbearing. In collaboration with others we can better defend the sacred design for humanity in a rapidly changing world and bring about authentic freedom with true fulfillment.
Elizabeth Ministry promotes life-giving opportunities to defend dignity, protect purity, heal hurts, mend minds, and save souls from disordered cultural conditioning. We stress mercy and compassion without contradicting the teachings of Jesus Christ, while proclaiming the power of grace to change lives. We are each called to transform our society by leading lives of deeper connection and meaning. Elizabeth Ministry International encourages ways to live a vocation of love in the day to day realities of our lives. We seek to bring Catholic clarity to a confused culture. All our efforts are designed to honor life, cherish children, encourage families, uplift the sanctity of marriages, and build community.