Men’s Ministry Mentors at Pregnancy Center
By Erin Schurenberg
An important action before us as Catholics is to talk about our faith and take back our story,” said Deacon Nathan Beiersdorfer on his faith-based podcast, “The First Word.”
“Taking back the story” could describe the trajectory of Nathan’s own Catholic journey. After graduating in 1995 from Moeller High School, Nathan joined the Marine Corps and was, he said, a Catholic in name only.
In his late 20s, Nathan invited God back into his life. He promised God that, if given a loving wife and family, he would use those relationships to glorify God. God delivered, and Nathan set about to do the same.
This past April, Nathan became one of the youngest deacons in the archdiocese after spending six years in theology study and formation. Today, this full-time CFO is not only a devoted husband and father of three young children, but is also a very busy deacon at St. Cecilia Church in Oakley.
The Difficult Road to Parenthood
Nathan said that “learning how to suffer” describes the challenges of infertility he and his wife, Tricia, experienced. Ultimately, the couple’s road to parenthood led them to adoption, and the Rosary in community was a vital part of their journey. And then, they received the miracle of a daughter through adoption. A second miracle followed when they became biological parents with the birth of their son. And then another son followed in December 2019.
After their incredible adoption journey, Nathan wanted a way to give back. The couple’s adoption counselor, Sheryl Linne of Adoptions Professionals, connected Nathan with Nicole Santaella, then executive director of Pregnancy Center West (PCW). PCW is a pro-life ministry on the west side of Cincinnati that provides education regarding positive alternatives to abortion and offers assistance with pregnancy-related services.
Be More Men’s Ministry
Together Nicole and Nathan implemented the “Be More Men’s Ministry” at PCW. This program allows men from the ministry to form relationships with boyfriends and spouses of women in crisis pregnancy circumstances. By helping these men with their temporal, emotional and spiritual needs, mentors foster positive male relationships while also helping men understand the critical role a father plays in the life of his child.
“Many of these men had no male role models in their lives treating them with respect,” said Nathan. Eight mentors made up the first volunteer crew, mainly men that either Nicole or Nathan knew, including David Elmers and Jason Hemak. “These men are faithful husbands and really good guys,” said Nathan.
One of the original volunteers was particularly significant to Nathan – his father, David Beiersdorfer, Sr. His dad was “all in” from the start. Father and son would meet for a meal and then visit PCW, working four-hour shifts one or two nights a month. Volunteering together strengthened their father/son relationship.
Laura Caporaletti, current executive director at PCW, said while no one situation there is the same, having male mentors in the crisis pregnancy setting always makes for a positive difference to the process the potential parents face.
PCW has an ongoing need for mentors both during the day and in the evening.
“Although a pregnancy requires two people, the man’s voice has been stripped in this arena. It’s amazing how much sway the male partner has in the crisis pregnancy for the mother,” said Caporaletti. “If the father can show care and support for the woman carrying his child, this regard can often give the mother the courage to say yes to life. The prayerful presence of the male mentors definitely makes a difference.”
Although Nathan’s increased family and new deacon commitments no longer allow time to volunteer as a PCW mentor, he feels a tremendous sense of compassion for the people involved in a crisis pregnancy. “I have a much broader understanding of what people are going through who are considering abortion. They may be going home to despair or chaos. They often feel hopeless. The situations are so complex.”
To volunteer as a mentor at PCW, contact (513) 244-5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.