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“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.

“See the needs and make sincere offers of help — that’s the best thing anyone can do for single parents,” she concluded.

Although there’s nothing unusual about single parenting (U. Census data puts their number at 13.7 million), formal, pastoral support for single parents is unusual, with Catholic single parents’ ministries extremely rare on both the diocesan and parish level.

Brian Leandra discovered that in 2002, when a friend complained to him about the lack of help for single parents in the Church.

LA men tend to be in the entertainment business while women once again prefer marketing.

Strangely, in a city famous for its tacos, 43% of male singles are white while at 38% the highest percentage of LA women tend to be Asian! ) So what do these smarty-pants do with their shiny degrees?

“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.

But there was a solid network of Catholic family, friends and neighbors to whom he could turn.

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“But then I looked into it, and sure enough, she was right.Along with his co-workers, friends from his parish, his children’s Catholic school, and his Catholic alma mater came together during his wife’s illness and long afterward, supplying the family’s meals, transportation for the children, and the moral support Mendoza needed to parent on his own.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.“Without that strength, the family will fall apart.” Fallon’s friends have likewise supported her, both emotionally and financially, since her husband’s death.

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