Priests, lay ministers and other parish leaders are invited to the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis’ upcoming Equip Day on March 19 to learn more about accompanying families who are experiencing miscarriage and infertility.

The workshop, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will be led by Matt Selby, Director of Adult and Marriage Formation for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, and the director of Behold Your Child, a parish-based ministry for families who have or are experiencing prenatal or infant loss or stillbirth.

Attendees will also hear from Krys Crawley, Director of Life’s Connection, a local organization whose Hearts of Hope program offers support for families suffering a loss, as well as from Catholic Cemeteries, who offer free burial and support for those who experience miscarriage and stillbirth.

The workshop will be held at the Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center, St. Francis.

These are issues facing a large percentage of Catholic families, noted Doug Ulaszek, Associate Director of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

“It happens so much,” said Ulaszek. “And people don’t always talk about it.”

Research indicates that anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of known pregnancies will end in a loss, while the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that one in five married couples in the United States will struggle to achieve pregnancy after one year of trying.

As more Catholics who are encountering these struggles look to the Church for answers, clergy and lay ministers are being called upon in greater numbers to provide resources and support.

“When people come to the Church, sometimes priests get caught off guard and look back and say, ‘Man, I wish I knew how to handle that better,’” said Ulaszek. “We want to give our parish leaders the tools to, when they hear about it or when someone does come forward looking for support, help them in the immediate term and support them in an ongoing way. It’s not an issue that we solve in one meeting. It’s a grieving process, and we want people, parishes and clergy to be able to really walk with and support parents and couples.”

The workshop is open to all members of the public, though Ulaszek emphasized that the programming will be geared toward equipping parish staff and leadership with ministry strategies.

This Equip Day is just the latest in a series of workshops that have been hosted over the past few years by the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. Each workshop focuses on a different pastoral reality encountered by clergy and lay ministers, and aims — fittingly — to equip them with knowledge about the issue, resources for those experiencing it and pastoral strategies for ministry.

Past Equip Days have focused on gender theory, forgiveness, internet safety and sex exploitation, and Ulaszek said there’s a long list of topics the office hopes to cover in the future.

“We just want to prepare our parish leaders to be able to welcome and walk with families and individuals who come to them in these specific areas, where they (parish leaders) might not always feel confident in how to approach it — or maybe even they don’t know that the issue exists,” said Ulaszek. “Sometimes we just don’t appreciate how often our people are dealing with some of these situations in their life.”

Registration for the March 19 Equip Day on Miscarriage and Infertility is $10. Those interested can register by emailing Jennifer Murphy at or by visiting  by 5 p.m. March 11.