A place that literally allows miracles to be born

A place that literally allows miracles to be born

Father Joseph Pham, pastor of Infant Jesus Parish in Woodbury Heights, stands with Rich McDonald, Grand Knight of the church’s Knights of Columbus, and Bill Klatt, part of the leadership team of Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey, with the Father Benedict Groeschel Life Award, presented to Infant Jesus for Outstanding Commitment to Sanctity of Life and support of the home. The parish received the award at Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey’s annual fundraising banquet on Oct. 27.
Photo by Peter G. Sanchez

CINNAMINSON — Pregnant and abandoned by her friends and family, “alone, ashamed and confused,” Alexa found herself in front of an abortion clinic, preparing to make a difficult decision.

However, she “became frightened at what I had witnessed” there, she said, and sought another path.

Alexa said she had the “good fortune” to meet two women who gave her pamphlets about alternatives to abortion.” That eventually led her to the Good Counsel Homes organization, which provides a safe haven for pregnant women and their children.

“I called the emergency help line and I was welcomed into the Riverside home,” she recalled. The Riverside facility is one of six shelters the organization runs throughout New Jersey, New York and Alabama.

“The Good Counsel staff was at my side during my pregnancy and lifted my spirits during a difficult time. I no longer felt alone,” she recalled.

Just miles from the new home for Alexa and her 11-month old daughter, Harper, the 25-year-old shared her journey with the hundreds gathered here at The Merion on the evening of Oct. 27, during Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey’s 10th annual fundraising banquet.

In addition to Alexa’s words, guests heard remarks from Father Robert Hughes, Vicar General of the Diocese of Camden, who was the keynote speaker for the night.

Praising the staff who provide life skills training, daycare services, and other needs for mothers like Alexa and their children, Father Hughes thanked them for “being present, listening” and accompanying the home’s residents on their difficult journeys.

“Good Counsel allows miracles to literally be born,” he added.

Begun in a former convent in 1985 by Chris Bell and Father Benedict Groeschel in Hoboken, Good Counsel Homes opened its Riverside location six years ago. Since then, it has served more than 100 women and seen the birth of more than 60 children.

The organization presented its Father Benedict Groeschel Life Award, given for outstanding commitment to sanctity of life and support of Good Counsel Homes, to Infant Jesus Parish in Woodbury Heights, and its Knights of Columbus Council 13259.

Alexa noted the “great advice offered without judgement” that has been one of the many positives of her experience, along with “the environment of openness and honesty (that) helped me to relieve the great stress I had been experiencing.”

When not cooking for her housemates (a skill she was taught at the home) or meeting with her life coach, or caring for Harper, Alexa walks 40 minutes three days a week to a job where she is supervisor. An eventual exit from Good Counsel, self-sufficient living, completing college, and getting a master’s degree are her dreams.

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