December 23, 2011

Be Our Guest / Sr. Diane Carollo, S.G.L.

More Birthline volunteers needed in the archdiocese

I often joke that Birthline, an outreach of the Office for Pro-Life Ministry, is one of the best kept secrets in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. However, it is certainly no secret to the more than 2,000 mothers and babies living in poverty who receive material assistance from Birthline annually.

Since April 2000, more than 22,000 women and babies have received needed clothing, supplies and equipment at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

Not bad for an organization that relies on a network of approximately 50 volunteers! These same trained volunteers have provided life-giving options to hundreds of women considering abortion on our hotline.

For those of you unfamiliar with Birthline, volunteers provide material assistance to women and their babies on Mondays and Wednesdays. Agencies throughout the city refer impoverished women, many of whom are single mothers, for a basic layette, crib, toys, etc.

Most outreach workers initially think that the Birthline staff consists of paid employees of the archdiocese. When they learn that Birthline is powered by a network of volunteers, they express amazement. Through the years, they have commented on Birthline’s efficiency, professionalism, dedication to the poor and Christian charity.

Some Birthline volunteers answer the crisis hotline or schedule appointments from the comfort of their homes. Recently, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Birthline crisis intervention volunteer received a call from a woman considering abortion.

After responding to the caller’s desperation, confusion and fears, the volunteer was able to rescue the young woman from an abusive situation and reunite her with a close family member. With her basic needs met and a promise for a more hopeful future, the woman abandoned her original plan to have an abortion. “Saves” on the Birthline hotline are not uncommon.

The beauty of the Birthline hotline is that the women reach out to us by simply calling the hotline at 317-635-4808. Their cry for help is always met by caring volunteers who respond with compassion, truth and love. That is probably why many reconsider their decision to abort.

Birthline is currently in need of volunteers who are unconditionally pro-life and have a heart to work with the poor or abortion-minded individuals. Spanish-speaking volunteers are important to the ministry since one-third of the clients that we serve are Latinas. Training for all aspects of the Birthline ministry is conducted at the Catholic Center. Could God be calling you to be a Birthline volunteer?

Birthline depends on financial contributions and donations of new or gently used items for babies and pregnant women.

For more information, contact Jena Hartman, our new Birthline coordinator, at 317-236-1433 or send an e-mail to her at

(Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo is director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-Life Ministry.)

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