Starting a Catholic Mom's Group:  Steps to Consider
by
Lori Ann Williams
SS. Peter & Paul MOM's Group

CatholicMom.com would like to thank Lori Ann Williams for sharing this helpful information.  If you have experience with Catholic Mom groups in your parish to share, please email Lisa@catholicmom.com and we will share your story or announcement here.


 

Listed below are some steps that you might consider when forming a Catholic Mom’s Group at your own parish.  Subsequently, there is a list suggestions for meeting topics and group activities.

1.  Speak with your Pastor about forming the group.  Let him know that you would like to reserve a room in the church basement, social hall, or ministry center one evening per month.  Also ask permission to advertise your new ministry in the church bulletin.  Find out when the Parish Council meets to discuss a possible budget request.  If your parish is fairly small and does not have the funds to support you group, don’t despair, the cost to get started is very small.  Many groups are financially supported by their members. 

2.  Determine the time and place for your monthly meetings.  It is beneficial to keep them the same day of the month, every month.  For example, our group meets the second Monday night of each month at 7:15.  

3.  Put an announcement in your church bulletin letting people know that you are forming a new organization in your parish for Catholic Mothers.  Include the date, time and location of the meeting.  In our bulletin announcement we always list what we will be discussing at the meeting, any activities that will be taking place in the following week and the following blurb just to let people know who we are:  The MOM’s Group (Meet Other Mothers) is an organization of Catholic Mothers committed to family, motherhood and service to our community.  We meet monthly for support, friendship and the affirmation of our role as Catholic Mothers.  Our fellowship opportunities include:  Weekly Playgroups, couples activities, meals for mom’s, Rosary’s, Mom’s Night Out and Children’s Activities.  Please Contact Lori Ann Williams at (630)-555-1212 for more information. 

4.  When people call you (from your church bulletin announcement) to get more information about the group, explain to them that it is a really fun group and what your plans are for the group’s activities.  Take down their name, address, phone number, husband’s name, children’s names and dates of birth, the member’s birthday and their e-mail address.  Our group at SS. Peter & Paul has 87 members and 77 of them are e-mail accessible.  This makes life much simpler in terms of communication and saves a lot in the cost of postage when it is necessary to communicate to the group. 

5.  When the day of your first meeting arrives, gather the following supplies to make the evening a success: refreshments (cookies, soda, or what ever you would like to serve, but keep it simple), a membership sign up list to for “walk in – New Members” to sign up, name tags (I bought these at a Dollar Store 30 for 1.00.)  Also, make a sign up sheet for members who would like to take a leadership roll on one of the committees. 

6.  Let members socialize for about 30 minutes just to warm up the room, then begin the meeting by introducing yourself as the Chairwoman of the MOM’s Group and start your meeting with a prayer. 

7.  Explain to the group that the group’s activities will revolve around many different aspects of being a Catholic Mother.  There will be a Children’s Committee, a Social Committee, Spirituality Committee, Service Committee which will each require a Chairwoman and you will also need a volunteer to organize playgroups and be in charge of the bulletin announcements each week.  If you only have 7 or 8 members show up the first month, try to get each of them to agree to one of these jobs.  Your group will grow continually as people read your bulletin announcements and find out what fun and interesting things your group does each month. 

8.  Explain to the group that there are no dues for this organization, however, each month you will pass around a basket and ask everyone if they could donate one dollar to help offset costs of supplies (i.e. name tags, copies, speaker fees if applicable).  Do try to always keep costs down so that anyone in your parish can afford to participate in your group.   

9.  As soon as you have your list of women who have agreed to be Committee Chairwomen, organize your first planning meeting.  At the planning meeting you will determine the schedule for the year of what will be done at each of your monthly meetings.  You can find local professional people, clergy, and business people to assist your group as a speaker for your meetings, many times at no cost.  At the end of this document I will include a list of possible activities for monthly meeting and each committee. 

10. Make sure that each chairperson knows that they will be responsible for getting information to the volunteer from your group who is in charge of bulletin announcements. (Tip – find out from the parish office who is in charge of preparing the church bulletin and how far in advance of publication they need your information.  Our church needs bulletin information ten days in advance.) 

11. Once you have your meeting calendar set, each Committee Chair determines what additional activities that their committee will offer each month.  Each Committee Chairperson will not only be responsible for forwarding their plan to the Bulletin Volunteer but also to the MOM’s Group Chairwoman.  The MOM’s Group Chairwoman will then use this information to publish a monthly newsletter.  In addition to listing the activities for the group each month in the newsletter, I try to fill it with creative ideas or information that I think will be helpful to our members. Use the internet to find craft projects for children, holiday ideas, prayers or what ever you think will be of interest to your group.

12.  Our group usually starts off the year with a New Member Social.  This is just a social activity so that we can welcome the new members to our group.  We reserve the Ministry Center basement, have each member bring either an appetizer, dessert or beverage (we usually do this by last name…if your last name starts with the letter A – D bring appetizers, E – J bring dessert, K – Z bring beverages.)  If you have no budget from your parish, use the funds from the dollar basket to purchase paper plates and plastic cups.  It also helps to have a sign and/or brochures in the back of church, or request a pulpit announcement from your priest to announce the New Member Social.  Try to get to know the new members and make them feel welcome.  The more members involved in your group the better.  Each new member adds something to the group in the way of expertise, contacts for speakers, volunteers for projects and fundraisers.  The friendship, education and support that we receive from our group at SS. Peter & Paul has been deeply enriched by each additional member.

13. At the end of each year it is beneficial to pass out a survey to each of your members.  You can give them this form at the last meeting.  The survey asks what activities they liked or disliked.  Ask about the meeting, time and level of convenience.  I like to include a sentence at the end of the survey to be completed by the member “If I were in charge of this group I would _________.”  This survey will help the planning committee when determining the schedule for the following year.

14. Each year we end our calendar with a Year-End Social in May (we don’t meet through the summer months except for play dates in the park…summer is too busy for some families).  We use any money left over from the dollar basket to offset the cost of dinner at a local restaurant and all go out to dinner.  (It might be wise to save a few dollars from the dollar basket to purchase name tags, supplies for New Member Notebooks for the following year.)

 

List of Possible Meeting Topics

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School Meeting – Have two mothers from Catholic School, two mothers from Public School and two mothers who have home schooled sit on a discussion panel to speak about their experiences in each of the different systems.

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Raising a Catholic Child – Contact your religious education office and ask someone in charge to come to a meeting and speak to your group about good ways to teach your child about God.  You can usually get someone to speak about this for free.

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Ask the Pediatrician Night – Contact a local Pediatrician to speak to the group about general child rearing questions.  Hint:  ask your group to give you a list of their questions the month before your Pediatrician speaks so he or she can be well prepared for the discussion.

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Find a local Psychologist to volunteer to discuss topics such as dealing with sibling rivalry, stress management techniques or setting limits for your children.

 

Additional Resources for Starting Your Group