Central Valley Embrace was formed as a ministry to help families who have experienced loss from miscarriage, still birth or early infant loss. We operate out of Hanford, California, but would love for our ministry to grow throughout the Diocese of Fresno.
The Family Life Ministry Council of the Diocese of Fresno has officially recognized Central Valley Embrace. We are the first Charter of Allembrace out of Atlanta and operate under their non-profit division 501c3 status.
We have memorial events throughout the year, including a Mass the week before Mother’s Day at St. Bridget’s Church, where we read the names of the babies as each family lights a candle. The children’s names are entered into the Book of Life we keep in the church safe.
For infant loss month in October we hold our Remembrance and Healing Walk, which starts at St. Brigid’s Church and ends at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in the Garden of Life. While listening to beautiful singing, we release butterflies.
Every December we arrange a Christmas gathering, where we decorate Christmas ornaments to honor our babies on the family tree. Families can also make a tile to go on the Grotto of Our Lady of Fatima statue at the Garden of Life.
We hope to add a retreat in Three Rivers next spring. The ministry is also trying to form monthly support groups, a newsletter and parish resource boxes. Another goal is to assign Embrace Companion Couples, who would walk through the first 13 months of the grief process with the family.
We have helped several families coordinate the burial of their babies at St. Peter’s Cemetery. We believe this is a very important aspect of our ministry, because it helps in the grieving and healing process.
We also believe this is a wonderful testament to the Church’s stand that life starts at conception. It is in showing respect for the tiniest of souls that we show the world that they are in fact babies.
We have a weekend of training events coming up at St. Brigids’ Hall for anyone interested in this ministry. The sessions are as follows:
- Medical staff training, 8 to 10 a.m. Friday, May 1. Breakfast is included.
- Clergy training, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 1.This will be a working lunch.
- General information session for all interested, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2. Lunch included.
- Follow up, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, for anyone interested in leading an Embrace team in their parish.
To register go to www.bookwhen.com/embrace We pray that Embrace Central Valley will be able to provide resources, healing and comfort to the Fresno Diocese for a long time. Thank you for your time.
Embrace Logo copyright Embrace Ministry, used with permission