Aurora Catholic Moms Get Together to Share Faith, Fun
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
April 25, 2019
‘I found it would be important that as mothers we could get together in fellowship, support each other in our journey, and strengthen our faith,” said Mia Handell, founder of the Catholic Moms Group at Holy Angels Parish in Aurora. 
“There was a mothers’ group at our parish in the (19)90s and 2000s,” Handell added, “but now my generation has come along. and it was on my heart for a while to see if we could start it again.”
The group has flourished, grown, and adjusted since it began in January 2018. They hold weekly informal meetings at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays in the Connor Hall lounge at Holy Angels. 
Over 20 young mothers attend meetings on a regular basis. A core group of women plan activities, but there is no formal group leadership or officers.
The children’s ages range from pre-school to pre-teen. While the mothers are creating friendships, their children are learning and developing relationships with each other, too. 
“Most moms who are active in our group are lifelong Catholics and Holy Angels parishioners,” said Handell, “but we also have had some moms attend who are non-Catholic or new to the Catholic Church.” 
The four weekly meetings a month have evolved into three weeks devoted to playtime for the kids. 
“Our primary focus remains as we take part in discussions, conversations, and faith nourishment through prayer and the recitation of the rosary,” Handell said. 
“ I joined Moms’ Group when it first started over a year ago,” said Melissa Roberts. She and her family came to Aurora just over two years ago from Niagara Falls, N.Y. Their children are Sam, 8; Paige, 7; and Georgia, 4½. 
“This moms group was just what I needed to meet local moms who have a faith base and morals similar to mine,” Roberts said. “These moms — friends — have been a support system that I have come to rely on during troubled times and joyful times.” 
Each quarter the group takes part in discussions of inspiring books of faith. 
“Right now we are discussing ‘Victory Over Vice’ by Archbishop Fulton Sheen,” added Handell.
Previous book discussions included “Getting Past Perfect: How To Find Joy and Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood” by Karen Wicker and “A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe — The Saint of Auschwitz.”
The moms also take time for fun as they occasionally meet for dinner and a social evening out. 
“We all have such a variety of backgrounds, but, at the core our Catholic faith serves as our common ground,” Handell said.
Handell and her husband, Nicholas, a lifelong member of Holy Angels Parish, have four children, Clark, 7, Penny, 5, Emmett, 4, and Clara, 2. They are expecting a boy in May. 
“I grew up in the south suburbs in Park Forest,” Handell said. “I went to St. Mary’s Catholic Grade School in Park Forest and then Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights. My husband on the other hand attended Holy Angels grade school and Marmion Academy in Aurora. 
“We met in college at Western (Illinois) University and came to Aurora after we were married and started a family. 
“The moms group has given me time to meet so many wonderful women here at Holy Angels,” Handell said.
The group has become less structured and a little more “laid back” according to Handell. “We’ve had a Valentine’s Day party and just enjoyed a fun Easter Egg Hunt.”
Roberts agrees that the moms group has been a special benefit for the kids, too. 
“My children have also grown to know and love their moms group friends,” she said. “This group positively impacts my children by allowing them a safe place to be and learn from our church family. We are truly blessed to be a part of this group.”
Area moms who are looking for strength, friendship and support are welcome. 
“They are not required to attend every meeting and can just drop by on Wednesday mornings as their schedule permits,” Handell said. 
“Bring a friend, too,” she added.  “We welcome everyone and you do not have to be a member of Holy Angels Parish to be part of our group.”
“I hope Mia’s story can inspire all of our young (people) to take a chance and go with the call being asked from them, from the Holy Spirit, to continue to build God’s church,” said Rose Gatze, director of outreach and social justice at Holy Angels parish.