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On Saturday, 15 February the Union of Catholic Mothers held their Annual General Meeting and study day at the Hallam Pastoral Centre.  The day began with Mass concelebrated by Bishop John and Fr Andrew Browne.

The study day speaker was Eileen Holland from Catholic Care Leeds, who is Director in the UK of the Gianna Project, which specifically assists young women with individual and personal difficulties in their pregnancy.  They offer support and encouragement from prenatal care to the child’s birth, delivering continuous help until the child’s first birthday.

The name Gianna comes from St Gianna, patron saint of mothers, doctors and unborn children.

Eileen’s idea came from hearing of the Cardinal Winning’s Project in Glasgow.  Along with support the project delivers packages of clothing and equipment, parenting courses and contacts, eg school family nurse practices.  The project currently involves 71 families in need of support, working in Bradford, Leeds and Keighley.  Eileen brought with her a young mother, Paulina, who came to Britain from Holland and who spoke of being single and pregnant at 17.  With the help and loving support given to her, she was able to celebrate the birth of her beautiful daughter, Natalia.

Eileen Holland, Veronica Andrews, study day officer, and Paulina with Natalia

Eileen Holland, Veronica Andrews, study day officer, and Paulina with Natalia

The afternoon was given over to Committee reports and information regarding the UCM annual pilgrimage to Walsingham which, this year, sees our Diocese, along with that of Clifton, acting as the lead Diocese.