Parental Leave Policy (DOSP Employees): Forming the Family in the Faith: Parental Leave, effective January 22, 2024
The birth or adoption of a child is an exciting time for expecting parents and for their families whether they are giving birth to a child or receiving a child through adoption. The birth or adoption of a child is an opportunity for the family to form how they will grow in faith and nurture the domestic church. The Diocese of St. Petersburg supports its married employees to fully embrace their God-given role as husband and wife to become parents. The Diocese provides eligible married employees up to eight (8) weeks paid parental leave (separate from paid vacation, sick or short-term disability leave).The purpose of the leave is to allow the mother to recover and for both parents to bond with their newborn or newly adopted child, to form or re-invigorate the spiritual foundation of the family, and to achieve a balance between their employment and their new family obligations.
Paid parental leave will allow for the family to have time to spiritually bond without financial hardship or the stress of pastoral ministry commitments.

Welcome to Parental Leave!
Congratulations on the birth of your child! These initial months of bonding are invaluable to your child’s wellbeing, to your own health and in your relationship with your spouse. Best wishes in all the joys, challenges, and especially opportunities for spiritual growth that this time of transition will bring to your family. The Church, especially through your parish, looks forward to partnering with you in embracing the great mission of family life.

Parental Leave is a great gift to the family…

Benefits for child

  • Parents have time to recognize child’s needs and personality
  • Parents have time to be attentive to and to develop methods for meeting child’s needs – routines for feeding, changing, sleeping, cuddling, exercising, stimulating the brain, and playing
  • Parents can observe developmental milestones and notice how the child takes in his/her world through the senses – reacting to sounds/name, focusing eyesight on objects, body movements, etc.
  • Parents have time to develop family rituals for prayer, play, exercise, eating, sleeping, etc.
    • Child learns how to play differently and receive care from each parent
    • Determine what needs to be let go of in family’s current situation so that the child can thrive physically, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially
  • Parents have time to prepare for child’s baptism and to discuss how they will hand down the faith.

Benefits for parents/spouses

Pope Benedict XVI once told parents to “first of all remain firm forever in your reciprocal love: this is the first great gift your children need if they are to grow up serene, acquire self-confidence and thus learn to be capable in turn of authentic and generous love” (Family, 44).

  • Spend time with each other and communicate.
    • Discover how to expand your awareness and understanding of each other.
    • Pray together, attend Mass together, read Scripture together – How will we continue to lead each other to Christ?
    • Carve out time to date one another and develop a healthy partnership.  Make time together special, even at home.  
    • Share with each other daily, the joys that your child brings to your life and family. Remember that God used your love for one another to create a brand-new person.
    • Make decisions about what I/we must change/let go of, so that our relationship will grow
    • Discover new ways to approach everyday responsibilities – share, divide
    • Discern how I/we will plan to keep all work at the service of family life. (work/life balance)
  • Facilitate personal time for prayer, sleeping, eating, exercising, showering!
  • Accept help (food, cleaning, babysitting, accompaniment) from family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, SCC, parishioners
  • Plan for child’s Baptism – connect with parish if you have not already started the process
  • Form your domestic church. Have ongoing discussions of how we will pass on our faith to our child. How will we continue to invite the parish to accompany us in helping to form our family’s faith and to mission that faith?
  • Find in-person and online communities for parent support
  • Talk about childcare and interview providers
  • Show gratitude to your spouse and to all who accompany you

Resources to help you grow together in holiness and to form or reinvigorate the spiritual foundation of your family…

Curated Websites
Strong Catholic Family Faith – Resources for Catholic parents and parish leaders (DOSP and others)
Welcoming Children (USCCB)

Saints of Interest
St. Anne – Patroness of pregnant women, grandmothers, and housewives.
St. Anthony of Padua – Patron Saint of pregnant women. 
St. Gerard Majella – Patron Saint of expectant mothers, children, and safe childbirth.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla – Patron saint of doctors, mothers, and unborn children.
St. Joseph – Patron Saint of Fathers.
St. Jude – Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.
Ss. Louis & Zelie Martin – Patron Saints of illness, mental illness, marriage, parenting, and widowers.
St. Monica – Patron of those dealing with a difficult husband or child.
St. Nicholas – Patron Saint of children.
St. Philomena – Patron Saint of Babies, Infants, and Youth.
St. Zita – Patron Saint of Domestic Workers.
The Blessed Mother – Patroness of mothers and safe childbirth.
Saint of the Day (Catholic Online)
7 Great Saints for Mothers (Love and Messiness)

40 Ways to Foster Prayer in your Home
Cuarenta Formas en Promover La Oración en el Hogar 
Prayer: Family Life (RENEW International)
Prayer for Families (USCCB)
Prayer for Bringing a Child into the Home (USCCB)
Thanksgiving for a Newborn or a Newly Adopted Child (USCCB)

Establishing Rituals
How to do Ritual & Tradition @ Home (Leif Kehrwald)

Surviving the First Year of Parenthood, Sarah Hammond
Why “Date Nights” Matter, David Gibson

Seven From Heaven: How Your Family Can Find Healing, Strength and Protection in the Sacraments (Elizabeth Ficocelli)
Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood (Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak)
Motherhood: An Extraordinary Vocation (Dr. Kathryn Rombs)

Catholic Living and/or Religious Goods
Be a Heart – Blog
Catholic All Year – Teaching Families to Live Catholic All Year – occasional emails, marketplace, membership
Catholic Family Crate
Catholic Icing
Faith + Family Collective
The Catholic Kid
Trinity House Community – A Catholic ministry that inspires families to make home a taste of heaven for the renewal of faith and culture.

Church Documents
Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love (Pope Francis)
Familiaris Consortio – On the Family (St. Pope John Paul II)
Letter to Families (St. Pope John Paul II)
Patris Corde – With a Father’s Heart (Pope Francis)