Brenda Ezman, left, is hoping to spearhead a mothers’ group at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church in Toronto with Liz Santoro, middle, and Liz Nicassio, right. Dorothy Pilarski, second from the left, is leading the archdiocese-wide effort to create more mothers’ groups.
Photo by Jean Ko Din
Archdiocese commits to fellowship groups for mothers
TORONTO – Dynamic Women of Faith and the Archdiocese of Toronto are joining together to initiate fellowship groups for mothers in parishes across the Greater Toronto Area.
Dorothy Pilarski, founder of the Dynamic Women of Faith conference series, had hosted monthly mothers’ group meetings in her kitchen for years. She began the Dynamic Women of Faith conference to expand the message to more women and now she wants to bring it back home. Better yet, she wants to bring it back to the parish.
“The thing that’s been on my heart is that if one little, tiny mothers’ group around my kitchen table… can be so fruitful, what could happen if there were more of these groups?” she said. “We need a diocesan commitment for this ministry to flourish. We need training. We need support.”
Pilarski — author of Motherhood Matters, a Catholic Register Books publication — said she is on a mission to “revive the vocation of motherhood.” She will be spending this year meeting with “mom leaders” across the archdiocese to initiate groups in about 12 parishes. She reached out to her network of Catholic mothers and said the response has been encouraging.
“Catholic moms need Catholic moms,” said Brenda Ezman, a Catholic mother interested in starting a group at St. Vincent de Paul parish. “I just find that we need to extend that invitation to have faith-filled friendships to develop ourselves as mothers and as wives.”
Ezman said when she was raising her young children, she spent a lot of time on the Internet reading books and blogs, like CatholicMom.com, but she said she still craved that human connection with other women of faith. This is what she hopes to create for the group at her parish.
Pilarski met with a handful of mothers in late April at St. Vincent de Paul Church to brainstorm what their particular parish community needed. They met at 10 a.m. when the older kids are at school and the church is quiet.
Liz Nicassio said she is looking for a spiritual friendship that will help her explore what it means to be a Catholic mother in today’s society.
“If someone is going through a hard time… Let’s say someone’s mom has cancer, let’s do a novena for that mom for nine days and that person will know that someone is praying for her,” said Nicassio. “It could be a prayer support, plus whatever we can do with actual support.”
Nicassio and Liz Santoro both expressed topics they want to learn more about in their vocation of motherhood. They wanted to know how to keep their kids Catholic and how to keep their marriage holy. They also suggested more practical topics such as natural family planning and protecting their children from dangers online.
“(The project) depends on the gifts of the group,” said Pilarski. “Very often our view of what it means to be a Catholic woman is limited. But what does it mean to really be open to God’s will in your life? You meet a woman who is authentic in her faith… you get inspired.”
Pilarski has many big dreams for this new project. She said the project is in its early stage, but she is excited to meet again with Fr. Ivan Camilleri, chancellor of spiritual affairs for the Archdiocese of Toronto, to discuss the kind of support the archdiocese will provide moving forward.
This summer, she is also working to have a web site to provide resources and communication for parishes. She is looking at logos, social media campaigns, connecting with guest speakers, collecting resources and sources of spiritual inspiration.
*** This article originally appeared in the Catholic Register May 10, 2015