That opportunity, Leandra said, is an invaluable aid in managing the stress of single parenting.
For those reasons and more, he advised Catholic single parents or those interested in helping them to approach their pastor about launching similar groups in their parish or diocese.
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Today, they continue to offset the difference between her family’s financial needs and the earnings from her part-time job.“Along with the love and affirmation my friends give me, as well as the willingness to listen, that absolutely has been the most helpful thing people have done,” said Fallon.“The generosity has been overwhelming.” Regardless of whether it’s something as significant as providing financial support or as simple as volunteering to watch a child for an hour so the parent can take a nap, every gesture of support individual Catholics give, said Walker, does a great deal to help single parents cope with the challenges they face and, equally important, feel like the Church hasn’t forgotten them.From treating him to special evenings out to phone calls and words of encouragement, Mendoza said that his friends and family “have blessed him beyond words,” enabling him to be the father he needs to be.“The surviving or single parent needs strength and support so he can be the leader of his family,” he said.Brian Leandra discovered that in 2002, when a friend complained to him about the lack of help for single parents in the Church.“My first response was, ‘That can’t be true,’” Leandra told Our Sunday Visitor.“But then I looked into it, and sure enough, she was right.My research turned up exactly one support group for Catholic single parents at the time. K.” With the help of the friend who made the complaint, Leandra put together a presentation on the needs of single parents and took it to his pastor.“The Church only has so many resources, and the pastor can’t do everything,” Leandra said.“It takes people to recognize the need, step forward, and meet it.” Unfortunately, not every parish or diocese will or can be as accommodating as Leandra’s, nor can all single parents find the time to attend support groups. When Rob Mendoza, a father of four from Pittsburgh, Pa., lost his wife, Debbie, in 2009 after a grueling three-year battle with cancer, there was no support group at his parish.