Hope & Life December 2020

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Photo Monica Defendi Photography

Hope & Life December 2020

The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.

Floor Leadership


Person in Charge (PiC) Lisette Jas

About Us Message from the Chair


Deputy Person in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo

Walking with Love


Christmas in 2020



Catholic Social Services WA


RIP Michael Quinlan


Support Us to Support Others


Our Lady of Guadalupe Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton

Thanks to our volunteers

Board Chair Deputy Chair Secretary Treasurer Board Member Board Member

Thank You Laura Craig Vacant Sarah Paverd-Joyce Ralph Bergmann Thomas Seeber Veronica O’Brien

Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabeth’s House 195 Lord Street, East Perth 6004 T 9328 2929 E info@pregnancyassistance.org.au Visiting Hours Mon - Thu 10am - 3pm Fri 10am - 2pm Phone Hours Mon - Fri 9am - 3.30pm You are welcome to visit us in this quiet

oasis in the city. Mass is celebrated here and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel. If you would like to celebrate with us or spend an hour with Our Lord in adoration please contact Carmel or Lisette on 9328 2929.

After hours by appointment

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About Us Who are we and what do we do? Pregnancy Assistance Inc. is an independent Catholic organisation initiated by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1996. We provide compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post birth. We also offer counselling for women and men impacted by pregnancy loss (miscarriage, still birth and abortion). Our services are extended to all people irrespective of religion, race, demographic or personal values. Our free and confidential services include: • Pregnancy testing • Pregnancy care consultation • Professional counselling • Post abortion care & grief counselling • Accommodation assistance • Practical support – bassinets, baths, nappies & clothes, maternity clothes • Financial assistance • Advocacy & support services referral Who knocks on our door? Anyone effected by pregnancy who is in need of support! We provide assistance to pregnant women who are distressed due to one or more of the following; • Unexpected pregnancy • Abortion concerns • Financial hardship • Domestic violence • Homelessness • Relationship breakdown • Mental health • Grief/loss • Drug addiction

Our Centre (lovingly nicknamed Elizabeth’s House) in East Perth is open for appointment (telephone or face to face) and allows for pop-ins. Individuals are also welcome to metaphorically ‘knock on our door’ by contacting us via e-mail or Facebook. What method do we use when talking about abortion? We utilise Heartbeat International’s L.O.V.E. approach when pregnant women come to us in distress over whether to keep, adopt out or abort their baby. Pregnancy Assistance was founded on Christian values and offers its services as an alternative to abortion. We believe our counselling approach allows the woman to focus on her own needs. We try to awaken a vision in her for a healthy life for herself and her baby. We share information about options she needs to consider to make a life-giving decision. However, under no circumstances do we believe we have the right to impose upon a woman’s decision. We will continue to support and welcome back individuals who have made choices that differ with the personal values of Pregnancy Assistance’s volunteer base. Who supports us? God supports the operations of Pregnancy Assistance by providing the right resources at the right time. And you are part of that providence! Pregnancy Assistance operates through the generosity of its supporters and we thank you. Your support gives Hope and Life, so please (if you haven’t already) donate and get involved. We especially thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth for providing our rental costs.

Message from the Chair Dear Friends of Pregnancy Assistance, As we come to the end of 2020, we are reminded not just of the trials that the year has challenged us with, but also the many blessings which we are thankful for. At Pregnancy Assistance, we have been particularly thankful that we have been able to welcome back Veronica O’Brien to the board who will be contributing to the areas of Marketing and Events. We are also delighted to welcome Ralph Bergmann in the role of Board Treasurer. ‘We thank Eric Jas for his six years of service on the board, five of which were as Chair of Pregnancy Assistance. Eric has contributed to Pregnancy Assistance in numerous ways during his time leading the board and bought great stability and structure to our charity. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts’. We extend a heartfelt thanks to all involved at Pregnancy Assistance for their contribution this year – thank you! It has not been the easiest year for generous giving, whether through time, support or donations, and we particularly thank those who have in various ways gone above, and beyond this year, you know who you are. Our focus is steadfast on our mission which is unchanging and is contained in our Constitution: ‘to provide relief of poverty, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution or helplessness for pregnant women of all sections of the public irrespective of race, colour or creed’. During our lead up to Christmas, and the birth of Jesus Christ, this reminds me of his teachings on the Good Samaritan. Loving our neighbour was commanded, but we do it not out of duty, but out of His abundant Love to us, remembering all He has done for us. God Bless, Laura Craig Chair


Hope and Life

Walking with love We find ourselves in October; pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. With current Australian statistics suggesting that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a loss, the emotional toll felt by so many is still little talked about. Even more seldom discussed is the resulting emotional trauma felt by people who have been affected by an abortion decision. One beacon striving to shine light on this trauma, and provide alternatives and support, is the Walking with Love project. Walking with Love (WWL) describes the loving, gentle way in which we are called to support vulnerable pregnant women, including their husbands, partners, and families to choose life. It also involves the embrace and support of those who suffer the effects of an abortion. A pastoral response to abortion, pregnancy loss, and unexpected pregnancy, the resources of WWL seek to educate and affirm the importance of meeting

pregnant women where they are at, and walking with them on their pregnancy journey – without judgement, and ensuring no one feels like they must make the journey alone. “...it is only the mother who can directly nurture her unborn child; all the rest of us can do is nurture the mother.” Dr Brigid McKenna, Common Ground, p.189 The WWL practical guide, which can be downloaded from the WWL website, walks the reader through the steps of supporting someone who is struggling with an abortion decision, and addresses common concerns surrounding disability and life-limiting conditions. In its opening pages, it speaks to those burdened with the effects of a past decision or pregnancy loss: …thank you for your strength in finding your voice and giving words to your suffering. You face fear and darkness, and are surviving. Each day is another victory. Thank you for pressing on, living and breathing a little stronger every day. Being open to sharing your journey with others enables you to reclaim your power, and affirms others in their desire so to do. We build a Culture of Life through our relationship with others. More information can be found on the Walking with Love website: www.walkingwithlove.org.au

Hope and Life


Christmas in 2020 One Christmas remains the most memorable in my mind (2008) and the most akin to how many might be feeling about this upcoming Christmas in 2020. My father had come to my house on Christmas Eve to visit me. I did not have much time for his unexpected visit and decided spontaneously to ask him to watch my young son while I made a quick trip to the shops for some lastminute Christmas shopping. I did not know how to tell him at the time that the gift I was yet to purchase was for him. My dad was notoriously hard to shop for. Many presents I had bought him had gone to zero use or had been regifted at the first opportunity. My mind wandered to his 60th birthday in which he had in fact given away his present (one which we had painstakingly bought him several weeks before) at the same lunch! In all fairness, I reasoned to myself, if he were not so difficult to buy for, I would have got him a gift already? My father agreed. My dad was always more than happy to spend time with his young grandson, who he adored. I 4

felt the urgency of wanting to have his present off my to-do list and reasoned that I would see him the next day and could chat more then. The shopping went well. The gift I found was one that even he could not dislike. After returning home, we found it was too late in the day to have a drink, and he took off for his home where I would see him the next day for lunch. My husband and I both have family members from each of our sides to celebrate Christmas with, and on that particular Christmas day, it started with a family breakfast with my partner’s family. On our drive back to our house in between Christmas events, I noticed my Mum was calling and picked up the phone. She told me that something had happened to my dad, but she did not want to tell me about it while we were in the car. Drive home, she said and call me from there. Once home, I was told my father had gone for his morning run and had collapsed. He had been found by a fellow jogger, and he has been taken to hospital. Later that day, I found out my father had had a heart attack and had been put into a comatose state so his body could restore.

Hope and Life

On the morning of December 27th, two days later, my father was still unconscious, and I decided to go home and get his Christmas present for him. Perhaps it would give him some peace while in a coma in a strange place. He never got his Christmas present. As I watched him dying later that day, I read the words in my small brown bible to him as he passed. He always had a copy of the John with him just in case someone he met needed it. I would find copies of the Gospel of John for months and years later (in his car, in his work desk, etc.). I started at John 1 and managed several verses until I knew that where he now was, he no longer needed my words. Later that day, at home, I found his Christmas present. It was a CD of Johnny Cash reading the New Testament in his distinct voice. It gave me much comfort as I listened to it over the next weeks. My Christmas from 2008, reminds me a lot of what people may be experiencing in their Christmas in 2020. Some of us have had loved ones suffer, some have been isolated, and others kept from family members this year. Stress has also been at an all-time high, and some might be suffering from an unattainable to-do list that has crept up on you, as I had that year. I encourage you with this thought – when I think back to my 2008 Christmas, I realise that that Christmas was a testament to God’s Love over

my family. Those 24 years I had with my father still feel like more than a lifetime. God calling my father home also instigated my Mother asking Christ to come into her heart on the same December 27th. Those two days when Dad was in hospital moved her to talk to God. My father had also had two and a half years with his grandson, who would be the only grandchild he would meet this side of heaven. I had my son young, through an unplanned pregnancy, and this would be another blessing I would add to the long list, that the conception of my son had given my family and me. Our external circumstances do not always indicate the reality of the state of our life. ‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.’ I encourage you this year, in 2020, to look with eyes that see and hear with ears that hear. Can you see God’s heart for you even in your trials? His Love for you is as big as the mountains and as deep as the sea. If you are having trouble for a place to look, look no further than the baby that was born, who is our greatest hope and would demonstrate how far a loving God would go for those he loves. May the peace of Christ guard your heart. Anonymous

Hope and Life


Catholic Social Services WA (CSSWA) CSSWA’s director, Steve McDermott, and I visited Pregnancy Assistance in Lord Street (next to HBF Stadium) to introduce ourselves to our newest member. We were welcomed by Lisette, one of the senior counsellors for the centre, who then took us for a tour of their facility. The centre welcomes and offers free assistance to EVERYONE (including guys) who may have doubts or issues with their pregnancy journey: starting from pregnancy testing, counselling to budget assistance. This was reflected as we enter one of the meeting rooms. It gave us a sense of comfort and calmness, especially in the little chapel room. There were books and baby products available should the client need them. We found Pregnancy Assistance’s dedicated staffs and volunteers to be most welcoming. Their mission is to provide hope and a safe haven, especially to those who are vulnerable and distressed. As an ACNC registered charity, the centre solely relies on donations and volunteer’s assistance to continue their excellent work.


Hope and Life

RIP Professor Michael Quinlan Michael Quinlan, a well known physician and one of the founders of the University Notre Dame Australia passed away early October. He is remembered as a man of great integrity, knowledge, skill and energy who had a sustained commitment to his profession and the advancement of health care generally. Michael was a big supporter of Pregnancy Assistance and was instrumental in bringing St John of God Hospital to the table in setting up Horizon House. Horizon House provides accommodation, care and intensive support to young pregnant women aged 16-22 who need a safe and stable place to call home.

Support us to Support Others It is our aim to have the baby room tidy and well stocked. As we rely solely on donations we are always in need of :

Formula Nappies Toiletries for bub Toiletries for mum Wipes Baby baths Bassinets Baby clothes Maternity Clothes The mums-to-be benefit so much from all you donate and so we thank you for your generosity!

Hope and Life


Thanks to our volunteers This Ministry could not function without the many volunteers who give their time freely and gracefully. Each one of them has received a gift, a gift they use to serve one another. In 2020 we welcomed two new volunteers to our team, Kathleen and Liz Why Pregnancy Assistance After attending a Thanksgiving Mass I realized this is something to which I might be of service. I love babies and children, the marvelous work of God’s creation of new life. My husband and I have 3 wonderful and healthy offspring. They have blessed us with 7 healthy, delightful grandchildren aged from 21 down to 7 years of age. I had been considering some volunteer work for some time as I counted my many blessings and I wanted to “give back” in thanksgiving. It is uplifting to see the goodness in people who donate clothing and bedding etc, organisations giving of their products and monetary donations to Pregnancy Assistance to help others in need. Yes, I am glad I now count myself as belonging to a group of people who do, what I see, as God’s work. Kathleen. .

Kathleen (on the left) with her grandchildren and husband John 8

Hope and Life

Give back As a happily married mother of four children and seven grandchildren, for a long time I’ve wanted to be able to ‘give back’ to God for the wonderful graces He has given me over thirty-two years of marriage. A ‘chance’ meeting with Lisette, and a chance comment from myself about volunteering, brought me into Pregnancy Assistance with the possibility of being able to help women who found themselves in difficult and/or impossible circumstances. Listening to their stories, and being honoured by their simple trust in asking for help, I have been unexpectedly blessed. My intention was to ‘give’ and be a ‘gift’, but it turned out to be somehow the opposite. And not just from the clients, but also from those whom I’ve so far met within Pregnancy Assistance who so willingly give of themselves and their time to help others. More than that, who go the extra mile to make sure the ladies who most need their help are not left to struggle alone. My admiration is immense, as is my gratitude for being allowed to be part of such a wonderful team. Liz

Liz and her husband Ralph, our new treasurer Hope and Life


Thank You Thank you for continually supporting us in achieving our principal objectives – “To provide relief of poverty, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution, or helplessness for pregnant women of all sections of the public irrespective of race, colour or creed.” Pregnancy Assistance Inc. solely relies on private donations. We are an ACNC registered charity, and all monetary donations above $2 are fully tax-deductable. Your generous support gives and changes lives and allows people to taste just how sweet and good hope and life truly is.

Your Donation Makes A Difference

The Archdiocese pays for our rent but for all else we rely entirely on GOD speaking to your heart! Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 T: (08) 9328 2926

Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible Name/Corporation:

Date: Address:


Email: I make the following donation to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. of $ once only


By cheque/money order: made payable and addressed: Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 By Direct payment: Pregancy Assistance Inc. | Westpac | BSB 036014 | Acc 306953 Mastercard


Card Number:


Name on card: 3 digit verification number:


Online: www.pregnancyassist.com.au By including us in your will.



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