By Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer - Caroline Cercone speaks at the Mom's group at St. Mary's Parish Center in Swormville.
Often, busy moms with young children can feel disconnected from the world at large. With this in mind, a new ministry at St. Mary Parish in Swormville is reaching out to mothers.
The St. Mary’s Moms’ Group was started by Angela Mancini, mother to four young children under the age of six, as a way for mothers to gather and share their faith. The group has had four meetings and already has more than 30 women on the list of interested mothers.
“I think St. Mary’s needed a ministry for moms because there are so many young families in the parish,” said Mancini, who has been a member of similar groups at other parishes before coming up with the idea to start a group at St. Mary’s.
At the fourth meeting on April 20, a group of 11 moms was able to chat and share snacks in the parish center while their children played, before listening to speaker Caroline Cercone talk about St. Joseph.
“We’re here to support each other in our growing faith as moms and that’s the main focus of the group,” Mancini said.
Cercone talked with the group about her family’s devotion to St. Joseph, who was husband of Mary and stepfather to Jesus.
“I find St. Joseph sometimes even more relatable than Mary when talking about the Holy Family,” Cercone said.
She went on to explain that thinking about St. Joseph is very comforting for her as a parent, because he was a normal person who did the best he could in an extraordinary situation.
“Jesus and Mary were the only two people born without sin,” she said. “St. Joseph was just like us.”
What makes the group unique as opposed to other groups for mothers is the focus on Catholicism, explained member Hope Chavanne, mom of two children.
“We had all participated in groups outside the Church and found them missing that component of sharing our faith,” she said.
While children are currently allowed to attend meetings with their mothers and play while the moms meet, this may change in the future.
“We’re still evolving,” Chavanne said. “Today we’re going to see how many kids are here, and if it seems like too many for moms to concentrate, there’s a playroom next door and I’m going to take them to the playroom.”
Mancini said that she hopes the group can branch out into other activities in the future, including outreach to the Church community, establishing a link between moms of preschool age children and school age children, and lending support to other ministries in the parish.