For Catholic Christians, Mary is the model of affirmation and acceptance of God's will. When the angel Gabriel announced that she would be the mother of the Messiah, Mary asked, "How can this be?" But the angel told her, "Fear not! Nothing is impossible with God." Mary responded, "Let it be," trusting that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled. Project Gabriel carries the same comforting message from the Church for mothers who may be frightened and along: God is faithful if we trust. Like Gabriel, our mission is to announce the good news of life today and hope for tomorrow.
Project Gabriel began over twenty years ago at St. Michael's Parish in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston when a pastor placed a sign in front of his church offering help to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy. In 1990, it became an apostolate of the Corpus Christi Diocese, and within a year, fifty churches in that area, Catholic and non-Catholic were participating in Project Gabriel. Shortly afterward, the Galveston-Houston Diocese began formally implementing the program, and at present over sixty parishes are directly supporting Project Gabriel. Since then it has spread to other diocese in Texas including Austin and Tyler, as well as the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, and Maryland. In 1994 the program was launched in Dallas as part of the Bishop's Pro-Life Committees Five Point Plan which seeks to witness to all persons-and in particular the Catholic faithful-about the sanctity of human life. The Bishop's Five Point Plan includes prayer, education, public witness, political action and supportive services. As of June 1999, sixteen parishes in our diocese advertise Project Gabriel by means of the 972-BABY-DUE Gabriel Signs, with plans for more in the coming year. Other parishes do not have signs but contribute financially to the work of the program.
Project Gabriel is a compassionate and caring way a parish can carry out its mission to proclaim and extend the Gospel of Life. Gabriel Angels are diocesan-trained volunteer who ministers directly to the woman during and immediately after her pregnancy. Although most Gabriel Angels are women, the program welcomes men who are partnered with a female Angel. Angels are trained in Scriptural and Church teaching on life issues, interpersonal communication, diocesan resources, and pro-life spirituality.
The 972-BABY-DUE hotline is a direct connection to the White Rose Women's Center, the only Catholic crisis pregnancy center in Dallas. When a woman calls the number, a trained counselor invites her to the Center for a free pregnancy test and a personal interview. At that time, the counselor suggests a Gabriel Angel and if the mother wishes, her name is referred to the Gabriel Angel Coordinator.
The Project Gabriel sign is often the first point of contact for the mother to a network of numerous church-affiliated agencies in our diocese offering assistance to mothers in crisis. It says to the mother ''Your baby is God's gift. Please say YES to life. We are here for you.''
More information about Project Gabriel, Gabriel Angel Training, Project Gabriel Signs may be found through the Catholic Pro-Life Committee Project Gabriel, 972-235-5554.