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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.

For parents like Victoria Fallon, a widowed mother of seven who lives in Toronto, Ohio, that type of opportunity is rare.

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.

“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.

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