Preparing our Hearts and Minds for the Fall 2019 Campaign

On Tuesday, September 10th, about 300 pro-lifers gathered together inside St. Bernard’s Clairvaux Hall for a wonderful time of pro-life unity and to be inspired by the personal testimony of Melissa Coles.  Thanks to everyone who took part in this wonderful event, and thanks to Sue D. and Donna for organizing it!

We watched the documentary film, “I Lived on Parker Avenue”, which documents the story of Melissa’s change of heart while waiting for her abortion in 1993.  A pro-lifer had told her, as she was on her way into the clinic, “Your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes, and you are going to kill it?”  Those words stuck in her mind as she was laying on the cold metal table.  That, along with two other things led to her getting up off that table, and saving the life of her son!  “I Lived on Parker Avenue” is the story of this young man, as he embarked on the journey to meet and get to know his birth family.  It was very moving and highlights the amazing gift that each life is to the world!  If you missed the event, you can watch the documentary film for free at:

On Saturday, faithful pro-lifers gathered at St. Paul Cathedral to memorialize those who have been lost to abortion during the Day of Remembrance.  Thanks to Charlene for organizing this!  She reports: Fr. Adam led us in prayer and blessed the Memorial. We had a very prayerful crowd and laid daisies at the memorial as we left. Daisies are innocent and fragile like the Unborn. Jeannie was there, and Cecilia from 40 Days for Life. Jeannie jumped in to help when Mark and I had to talk to Fr. Adam. 40 Days for Life is so blessed to have dedicated team members! Thank you, Jeannie. I am ready for the sidewalk!!!  —Charlene

Next Tuesday, September 24th, there will be a Kick-Off Mass at 6 pm at Epiphany Church, celebrated by Fr. Chris Donley.  Following Mass, Fr. Donley will carry our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament as we prayerfully and solemnly process from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood for a short time of prayer on the sidewalk, in preparation for our 40-day prayer vigil, which will begin the following morning, September 25th at 7 am.  Please join us as Jesus prepares the way for a powerful 40 Days for Life campaign!

And please help us to fill some of the MANY empty hours on the schedule!  Sign yourself up at https://www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh or take a look at the schedule here:  http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ and then email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to get signed up.

Our theme for these 40 Days will be TRUST!  I know we have had that same theme in the past…but I think we need to continue to TRUST that God WILL bring an end to abortion, He WILL close Planned Parenthood and He WILL bring about conversion to those ensnared in this evil industry…IN HIS TIME.  Our part is to be obedient and to TRUST.

God bless you!

In Christ,

Nikki

Afraid of Commitment?

You know, I constantly have to fight against the fear I have of doing too much…of over-committing myself.  I’m afraid that if I take on one more thing, that will be the straw that breaks my back.  Can any of you relate to that?

I believe that that’s a tool the devil uses to stop God’s children from really working against evil. If enough good people are too timid and too afraid to go that extra mile, to give themselves away and we content ourselves with filling up our lives with spiritual exercises…you know, going to church and Bible studies…which are all good, but if we fill up all our time with that, and we don’t leave any room to actually do the work that God is calling us to do as his followers, then that plays right into the devil’s hands.  Then we have a bunch of good and holy people, sitting in churches, praising God while the rest of the world outside of our churches are in such desperate need, while we are too busy inside our churches to go out into the world to bring his goodness and his light and truth to those who are starving for it. 

Now I am not saying that I can go out on my own strength.  If I am maxed out and I feel that I just cannot fit one more thing into my life…and I just go ahead and commit to doing one more thing on my own strength…that won’t work.  I will collapse.  I’m to do this in his power, in his strength, trusting in him.  And as long as I make prayer a daily priority, as long as that’s my foundation, then whatever I commit to do, after that, on top of that, then God will give me the strength to do it. 

When I feel that I just can’t do anymore, what really endears me to God…to his most beautiful, sacred heart, is when I am afraid to take that next step, but I do it anyway.  Not in my own strength, but I do it leaning in to Him.  Leaning into His strength, trusting in Him.  Saying, “Jesus, I’m afraid to do this, I’m afraid this is too much, I’m afraid I’m going to fall, but I’m going to do it anyway, knowing that you’re in control, you’re in charge of me.  And if it is too much for me, and if I do fall, I’m going to fall pleasing you, and you’re going to pick me up, and you’re going to dust me off, and I’m going to be stronger for the effort.  And I’m going to be closer to you, for that effort that I put out there for you.” 

When I do this, I can never lose.  When I take that next step, when I don’t think I can do it, I do it anyway, in the strength of Christ, I can never fail.  He always uses it for good…for my good and for the good of others.

So I encourage you, if you’re afraid to sign up to come to the vigil, if you feel that you just can’t do any more in your life…as long as you’re putting Christ first every day in prayer, Bible reading and worship or Mass, then you don’t need to fear.  Go ahead, sign up, make that commitment.  I’m not telling you that just because I’m trying to fill up the vigil  hours, which I am…I’m telling you that for your own good…for our own good as the Body of Christ!  You know, Jesus tells us that if we try to hold onto our lives, that we will lose them, it’s when we give our lives away that we find true life.  And he doesn’t lead us astray.  He tells us this because he knows we’re afraid.  We’re afraid of giving away too much.  We’re afraid of being empty if we give away that last bit of energy that we have.  And… That’s the devil’s lie.  The more that we give away of ourselves…the more that he fills us with His strength and his power.  And once we do it, and we taste it for ourselves and we see it, then we want to do it more because we know that it’s true!  But we have to do it that first time!  We have to take that step in fear and trusting in God, and doing it anyway.  Do that, and I promise you, you will not be sorry.

Here are the times that we most need help during this fall campaign (which runs from September 25th – November 3rd:

  • EVERY WEDNESDAY 1-3 pm!
  • EVERY SATURDAY 5-7 pm!
  • (1) Wednesday 9-11 am (Oct. 23)
  • (2) Tuesdays 12-1 pm (Oct. 8 & Oct. 29)
  • (3) Fridays 3 – 5 pm (Sept. 27, Oct. 25 & Nov. 1)
  • (2) Saturdays 3 – 5 pm (Oct. 26 & Nov. 2)

Of course if you cannot come during any of these times, we still need extra coverage ANY time from 7 am to 7 pm EVERY DAY from September 25th through November 3rd! Sign up when you can or just show up! We need to show the world, God and ourselves that WE CARE about the sanctity of each and every human life…and THIS MATTERS TO US!!!

Contact Fran to sign up. Email her at franmac98fmc@gmail.com

Letter to Nalani, in Heaven

Dearest Nalani,

I just wanted to write to you in Heaven, to tell you that I am so sad about what happened to you.  You were so precious…beautiful and innocent.  I didn’t know you or your family, but you lived near me.  I am glad that you are in a better place now.  This world that I still live in is almost unrecognizable from the world that I grew up in.  Children used to be cherished.  They used to be cared for and protected.  Now they are prey for the evil one.  Satan is furiously hell-bent on destroying innocence and fomenting anger and hatred.  It almost seems like he knows his time is short, so he is making the most of what he has left.

You are now safe in the arms of your Heavenly Father.  From Heaven, you can pray for your earthly family, as I am praying for them too.  Please pray for me, that I will be able to continue to stand firm against the evil that is all around me.  Pray that I won’t give in to discouragement and that I will always trust that God has a plan, and that He is working it out for good.

May your short life on earth serve as a reminder to those of us who remain, to always be vigilant to fight against all evil and to do everything we can to defend innocent human life.  Until the day that Jesus comes in his glory…and makes all things new.

Rest in peace, sweet Nalani.

______________________________________________________________________________

For those of us who are still fighting the battle:

Can you feel the fury of hell all around us?  Do you sense the spirit of chaos and destruction?  Do you think that God is on the move and that our years of prayers and fasting have something to do with it?

We voluntarily suffer for the innocent children who are killed by abortion.  We stand and pray.  We try to offer hope and help.  We freeze.  We get rained on.  Our feet and backs hurt.  We get insulted.

An innocent 2-year old gets abducted…and her precious life is violently ended.  Why?

Why would someone want to kill a child?  It is unfathomable to me.  Simply unfathomable evil.  Pure, unadulterated evil. 

How should those of us who love goodness, truth and beauty respond to the evil in our midst?  What can we do?  It is a helpless feeling to live in this world, at this time, and to be powerless to make a difference.

The only thing I can think of to do tonight is to stay awake for Nalani.  I was so sad, and felt so unsettled about the news of her body being found tonight, that I just couldn’t bring myself to lie down in my comfortable bed.  I decided that since I have no power to defeat evil, that I would simply do the little that I can right now…and that is to suffer in spirit for her, and for her family.  

Nalani, I will sleep on the floor for you tonight.  It won’t make a difference to anyone, I know.  But maybe God will look upon my little bit of suffering, in solidarity with you and your family…and maybe He will extend some extra grace to them to help them get through this time.

The same goes for you, little ones in your mother’s wombs…who will be killed this week at Planned Parenthood.  I will come to the sidewalk to be there for you.  You won’t be alone in your suffering.

As for our response to evil…we really have two choices.  We can cower and hide…pull the covers over our heads and hope it passes us by. Or, we can let it make us strongerWe can be all the more determined to react to evil in equal degrees of goodness.  Yes…we can match the degree of evil with the same amount of goodness.  Equal and opposite reactions.  For instance…look at this pile of baby gifts in my foyer. 

All these were donated by our 40 Days for Life team this week.  They are to be given to a 14-year old girl who went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion last April…but courageously decided to let her baby girl live to see the light of day. 

When the world sees evil getting stronger…we can let them see goodness getting stronger as well.

We can love each other…in word and in deed.

We can pray for each other.

And we can share in each other’s suffering.

Nalani, we will keep fighting the good fight.  For you.

In our loving Lord Jesus,

Nikki

Fall Kickoff & National Day of Remembrance Coming Soon!

September is going to be a mighty month for the ProLife movement in Pittsburgh! We have an amazing guest speaker lined up for the 40 Days for Life Fall Kick-Off Event on September 10th, an opportunity to participate in the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on September 14th, and the official start of the 40 Days for Life fall campaign on September 25th. Please scroll down to see all the important details on the flyers below.

While you’re visiting the website, please be sure to check out the September issue of Parish Life News under our “About” > “Resources/Links” tabs (or just click here!)

Finally, we are thrilled that Planned Parenthood has chosen to withdraw from the Title X program due to the new Protect Life Rule, which separates abortion from family planning services in taxpayer funding. However, we are now more likely to encounter people concerned about losing certain services they get at PP. One alternate resource you can direct them to is GetYourCare.org, sponsored by such organizations as CareNet and the March for Life. (Please be aware that the clinics listed there do provide contraception, which is not truly pro-life.)

The Lazy River of God…

The Texas-shaped lazy river that we enjoyed during our time in Houston…read on to find out how this compares to participating in 40 Days for Life!

I wish to write about my experience of attending this past weekend’s 40 Days for Life symposium in Houston, so that all of our 40 Days for Life family in Pittsburgh can, in a small way, share some of the blessings that we received by attending this wonderful symposium.

This symposium was special because of two amazing trips that we were taken on…read on to hear about them:

First, when we arrived in Houston on Friday, the very first thing we did was load all 200+ leaders into four large buses and drove to the mega-Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Houston, which is the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world.

I had seen pictures of it many times before, but I was surprised at the emotional reaction that I experienced when I actually saw it in person. I took a picture of my face, and as a remedy to my own vanity and pride, I will post it to show you my initial reaction to this monstrosity of evil:

Here is a photo of the people sitting behind me on the bus, you will see in many faces the same look of sadness and horror:

The temperature outdoors was about 3 degrees cooler than hell, as one leader aptly put it. I tried to offer my suffering in the heat for those whose lives have and are being lost in that building, but it was tough.

Pro-lifers poured from the buses onto the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood
Dr. Noreen (center) is a former abortionist, now pro-life. Pictured with two local 40 Days for Life leaders, Kathy and Jane.

Although the heat was intense…especially for us Yankees…It was the perfect way to begin our symposium. Standing in front of the largest abortion facility in the world was the stark reminder that I needed to remember why I was at the symposium in the first place.

Members of the national and international team spoke during the rally in front of Planned Parenthood

I want to share one thought that I had, as our bus stopped in front of this terrible building: While I was still in my seat, feeling so overwhelmed and discouraged…I looked out the window to see many men who are leaders in this movement. They were all busy organizing and directing the gathering crowd. These men included; Shawn Carney, Matt Britain, Steve Karlen, Robert Colquhoun, Brian Wilson and Rev. Brian Walker (among others). As I sat there, wanting to find a hole to crawl into…looking at these strong male leaders, I sensed that they were our warriors. I had the feeling that I was on the front lines of a very dangerous battle and I did not have the strength to fight, but I was so thankful for the leadership of these godly men. I had the thought that fighting abortion is like being in a war, and men are the ones that God equipped to really fight the hard battle on the front line. Me, as a woman, can fight behind the scenes, Through prayer and fasting and organizing people to show up on the sidewalk… which I know, is also on the front lines… and we women also do battle. But still, I really have a sense of gratitude for these spiritually strong men who have answered the call to lead us! I just wanted to say this. I realize that it may sound old-fashioned and not politically correct these days.

After our time at Planned Parenthood we had a gala event with a wonderful dinner and many great speakers which motivated and inspired us, including Ante, whom we met here in Pittsburgh.

40 Days for Life leaders and team members gathered at the Houston Marriott Marquis for a wonderful evening Gala on Friday

The following day, on Saturday, was an all day symposium with many speakers, including testimonies of those who chose Life and also those who suffered from abortion. One of the most powerful speaker panels included two former abortionists, one former abortion clinic manager, and a post abortive women. As they role played a scene from how an abortion would take place, they were unexpectedly brought to tears as they reenacted the scene.

In the above photo, two former abortion doctors, along with a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager, re-enact an actual abortion appointment with a post-abortive participant. It was more emotional than they expected.
This woman gave a powerfully inspiring testimony of being pressured by her doctor to abort her daughter (the young woman seated beside her), who is a beautiful young woman who loves the Lord and who also shares her story with people all around the country.

Saturday night was such a fun time, as we were fed a Texas style barbecue and had the opportunity to learn how to country line dance, which I enjoyed!

Judy and Nikki, having a blast line dancing to country music! I discovered that flip flops are not the ideal footwear for country dancing…next time I will bring my boots!
Pittsburgh team: Beth, Judy, Nikki and Lisa

On Sunday those of us who are Catholic went to Mass together at a beautiful 150-year-old city parish called “Church of the Annunciation”. The church was PACKED and we heard a wonderful sermon about the importance of praying in front of abortion clinics!

Historic 150-year old Church of the Annunciation in Houston was packed with pro-lifers on Sunday!

After Mass, all of us had the life-changing and profound experience of taking a two hour bus trip (four buses packed full of 40 days for life leaders), to Brian/College Station, to visit the former Planned Parenthood building, which is now the site of the International 40 Days for Life headquarters!!! This was truly the icing on the cake of a magnificent weekend!

Group photo of everyone in front of 40 Days for Life headquarters
Dr. Haywood Robinson spoke in front of the former Planned Parenthood where he used to do abortions. Now he works there providing medical care to women who are being assisted in choosing LIFE for their babies! Only God could write a story like this one!

Dr. Haywood Robinson stood in front of that building and told us that he used to do abortions in that same Planned Parenthood…before he met Jesus Christ and was transformed by grace. I was moved to tears to see God‘s power and His Hand in this movement! To see that man standing there speaking to us… to see the transformation in his life and in the lives of so many other former abortionists and workers who were there… brought me to tears. This time they were tears of joy.

Haywood made the analogy of 40 Days for Life being like a lazy river of God. When you stand there, looking at that former abortion clinic, which now serves as the headquarters of 40 Days for Life …and all those former abortion-workers who are now on the side of LIFE… you can’t help but see how 40 days for life is a movement completely of God! With that knowledge, we can feel safe and comfortable (as in the lazy river), because we know that we are in the center of God’s will… as we float along in this movement. It is a wonderful analogy, although I must admit that sometimes I don’t feel like I am floating. I feel more like I am paddling upstream, but that is just because I have the continual fight against my own weak human nature and my own laziness and selfishness! But really, we are in the lazy river of God when we participate in 40 days for life!

Shawn Carney, President of 40 Days for Life, welcomed us to their headquarters in College Station
Pittsburgh girls…Judy, Nikki, Beth and Lisa
Kruno and Ante join us for a team photo…we will miss these guys!

Dr. Robinson made the analogy of 40 days for life being like a lazy river of God.

He probably came up with this analogy because we had a really cool lazy river at the Marriott Marquis, where our 40 days conference was held. This lazy river is in the shape of Texas! (Texans are mighty proud of their state!)

Ante, along with many 40 Days for Life leaders enjoy a Texas barbecue in front of the 40 Days for Life headquarters.

The 40 Days for Life national team had a delicious Texas-style barbecue lunch for us. They truly treated us like kings and queens all weekend! I am so grateful to all of their generous donors who made this weekend possible!

It was amazing to walk through those same doors that Abby Johnson walked through every day to work at Planned Parenthood.

We were given a tour of the building, including one of the rooms in which abortions were performed. Unlike the experience of being in front of the mega-Planned Parenthood in Houston…which was so dark and unsettling…inside of this former abortion facility…which has since been exorcised and blessed…I felt nothing but gratitude and joy.

This is the reception desk, where thousands of women paid for their abortions. This desk has now been redeemed. Notice the iconic photo on the wall behind the glass…the now famous photo of the Planned Parenthood sign being torn down!
We were told that before the interior of the building was painted, but after the exorcism, church congregations were invited to come in and pray…and the entire wall area was COVERED with scripture verses, which members of those churches wrote on the walls. So this space is now LITERALLY covered with the Word of God! This photo was taken of the inside of a closet, which still has a verse of scripture visible.

We went into the very room where the abortions took place, which still contained the table that the women would lay on, (now covered with roses)…but the darkness was not there. Only redemption.

Dr. Haywood Robinson, standing in the very room in which he used to do abortions.
Former bed of pain, now redeemed.

They also showed us the plans for a memorial which they are going to build in the backyard, which will be a large granite wall with 6,400 gold crosses… to memorialize the lives that were lost there.

Plans for the memorial…
This plaque and angel statues will be part of the memorial.
Dr. Haywood and Dr. Noreen…two former abortion doctors, now working to save lives from abortion!
The very hallway where Abby Johnson walked, and so many poor women and babies were destroyed.
I just had to take a picture of the sky as we were standing on that holy ground…God is with us!!!
Photos hanging in the reception area…

This beautiful figurine of Mary, pregnant with Jesus is displayed in the board room

So what are you waiting for? The lazy river of God is waiting for you to JUMP IN!!! Sign up here for the fall campaign:

https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/

Inspiring events this week! Croatia Pro-Life Leaders in Pittsburgh!

This has been a whirlwind week with the funny, energetic and passionately pro-life 40 Days for Life leaders from Croatia! From the minute I picked Kruno and Ante up at the Pittsburgh airport (last Friday), through today, I have enjoyed these two wonderful young leaders as they speak and show their inspiring new documentary, “40 Days…”. They stayed with Joe and I for their first three nights and it was like having two new sons in my home. They even started calling me “Mom”. Their film has inspired many people and will undoubtedly save many lives! You can watch it for free on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAzm0ftoqsg&t=115s

Here are some photos from this week’s events:

SATURDAY

On Saturday, Ante and Kruno spoke and screened their film after 5pm Mass at St. Nicholas Croatian Church in Millvale. During the event in the church hall, Bishop William Waltersheid blessed our event and added his inspiring thoughts on the importance of the pro life movement by Christians. We are grateful to St. Nicholas parish and Bishop Waltersheid for a heart-changing evening! Bishop Waltersheid was presented with a DVD copy of the film in gratitude for his attendance.
Saturday night showing at Saint Nicholas
Lisa and her daughters brought Kruno and Ante to see our Vigil site
Saturday in front of Planned Parenthood

Ante
Kruno and Bill
Our protection and our hope

SUNDAY

Fr. Jason Charron, from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie hosted Kruno and Ante at his church on Sunday with a showing of the film following the 11am Divine Liturgy. It was a beautiful afternoon of pro-life fellowship and many were inspired by Ante and Kruno’s enthusiasm and their love for the Lord!
Many people came to watch the film, from Holy Trinity Church and elsewhere.
At Fr. Jason‘s church, everyone watching the film attentively
A nice showing at Fr. Jason‘s church
Lisa, Kruno, Ante, Nikki
After we left Fr. Jason’s Church, I took Kruno and Ante to meet two of my heroes, who also happen to be my mentors in the pro-life movement and in my walk with God…Sally and Al Brunn. Although they are in a nursing home now, since Al had a stroke in December, their minds are sharp as pins and they are full of peace and joy. Kruno and Ante were very inspired by their visit with Sally and Al.

MONDAY

Pizza-Man Joe…making his homemade pizza at Monday’s cook-out at the Bruni’s!
It was a fun time of food and fellowship at our home. Everyone enjoyed Joe’s pizza and other goodies on the backyard pavilion.
Everyone’s attention was focused on the film. Even the children did not take their eyes off of this moving and inspiring documentary!

TUESDAY

Many pro lifers gathered inside of Catholic Charities Welcome Center on Tuesday to see the screening of “40 Days” and to hear Ante and Kruno’s inspiring message of 40 Days for Life in Croatia!
Ante’s enthusiasm for saving lives is contagious!
Kruno and Ante meet another Pittsburgh pro-life legend, Helen Cindrich, Executive Director of People Concerned for the Unborn Child…PCUC, the OLDEST pro-life organization in the USA!
Lisa took them to the Croatian Federation in Monroeville

WEDNESDAY

Pastor Joe Stump and the wonderful worship team at Lincoln Place Nazarene led us in a beautiful time of song.
Kruno with hands raised to the Lord.
Kruno opened the event with a short presentation on Croatia…its natural beauty, history and people.
Ante inspired many with his passion for saving lives through 40 Days for Life in Croatia!
Joe and Ante say goodbye…Joe was full of emotion…these young men really got into his heart during our time together. He will miss them.
Saying goodbye to daddy Joe
Saying goodbye…
This pro-life mom will miss her “sons”. This old German lady is taken by surprise by these Europeans ready display of affection…but in a good way!
Ante loves to clown around…and he loved his American “Coke”
After staying at the Bruni’s house for their first three nights in Pittsburgh…Ante and Kruno left for the Koslosky’s for the following two nights. Here they are, clowning around at Lisa’s house. It looks like they are having fun…yes?

THURSDAY

Pastor Joe and Judy Stump hosted Kruno and Ante for their final two nights in Pittsburgh. Here are some photos of their sight-seeing!

The dynamic duo with Pastor Joe and Judy Stump
At the Carnegie Museum with the Stumps
With the dinosaurs
Ante-saurus
Ante and Kruno had a great day with Pastor Joe and Judy

On Friday, we will all fly out to Houston for the International 40 Days for Life Symposium. Check back next week for a blog post about that event.

Croatian film director and producer to screen “40 Days…” film in Pittsburgh four times.

The film “40 Days for Life…” which documents the significant growth and impact of the pro-life movement resulting from the participation and witness in the 40 Days for Life Campaigns will be shown 4 times in Pittsburgh. The producer and director, ANTE ČALJKUŠIĆ, also President of 40 Days for Life – Croatia along with KRUNOSLAV PUŠKAR Regional Coordinator of 40 Days for Life – Croatia will be present at all of the screening.
The film includes Pope Francis who appears in the film met with Ante and was given a copy.
The film powerfully shows the pain and sorrow of abortion and along with the joy and triumph of the Croatian 40 DFL community. 40 DFL is the same organization shown in recently released film “Unplanned”
The film team truly believes 40 DFL worldwide will bring about the end to abortion.

There will be four free screenings in Pittsburgh:  CLICK HERE for a downloadable flyer with all the details of the screenings!


First Screening

Saturday, July 27 after 5:00 PM Mass

St. Nicholas Croatian Church

24 Maryland Ave; Pittsburgh, PA 15209

412-821-3438


Second Screening

Sunday, July 28 at 1:00 PM

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church, Parish Hall (basement of church)

730 Washington Ave; Carnegie, PA 15106
412-279-4652

Reservation required–please call or email holytrinitycarnegie@gmail.com.
Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (all English) is at 11 AM followed by refreshments and a screening of “40 Days…” in the parish hall. All are welcome!


Third Screening

Tuesday, July 30 from 6:00-8:00 PM

Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh

212 Ninth St; Pittsburgh, PA 15222

412-456-6999

 Seminar includes showing of the film.


Fourth Screening

Wednesday, July 31 at 7:00 PM

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene

5604 Interboro Ave; Pittsburgh, PA 15207

412-977-4091 (ask for Judy)

Join us for a potluck at 6 PM (please bring food to share) before the screening at 7 PM, followed by a question & answer session.

Open Letter to Rep. Brian Sims

Dear Rep. Brian Sims,

Although I have not fed or clothed any poor children yet today...I am responding to the video you recently posted that shows you harassing the “old white woman” in front of Planned Parenthood. As a grandmother of four, and one who prays weekly in front of Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh, I think I am qualified to write this letter.

You may think that, as a young, affluent, influential person, you can intimidate us “old white ladies” to just go away. I mean, how difficult can it be to scare us old ladies? How can we possibly endure pressure from politicians who give us a hard time? We will certainly succumb in fear and trepidation and slink back to our kitchens where we belong…to bake cookies or something.

NOT!!!

The mistake you are making is your assumption that we so-called “pseudo-Christians” will be deterred by humiliation and intimidation from other people, even from those who are supposedly in a position of human authority. You see, as TRUE Christians…we have already humbled ourselves to the authority of GOD…as He has given us to know Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ! HE is our example, and HE is our authority. As he willingly suffered from the “authorities” in his day, so we also count it a privilege to suffer for him…if he asks us to.

Actually, It is understandable that you would make such a mistake. After all, people tend to assume that others are just like they are. If somebody is a liar, they never trust anything that anyone says to them. A husband who cheats on his wife is always suspicious of her, thinking she is doing the same. The same thing goes for a person who is proud and arrogant…one who desires the respect and esteem of other people. A person such as that assumes that others can be manipulated in a way that they themselves could be.

It always amazes me how two people can sometimes look at the same thing, yet see two totally different realities. For example, surely you have seen photos of abortion. When I first saw the torn, mutilated corpses of abortion victims…it broke my heart! I cried and sobbed after viewing those photos. But what do you see? A woman’s choice? When I hold a newborn baby…such a tiny, fragile life…I am moved to compassion and the desire to tenderly care for that child. I am amazed and in awe of the miracle of new life! But what do you see? A burden to be eliminated?

You stated in your video how important it is for you to be involved in this great “civil rights” movement…which is very ironic that you would say that, because it IS in fact a civil rights movement…just in the OPPOSITE way that you think! The unborn human is the one being killed and oppressed here…NOT the pregnant moms!

Did you see the faces of the parents in Colorado, as they frantically searched for their children, following this week’s tragic school shooting? The expressions of anxiety and grief in their faces brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that there is truly no greater bond (humanly speaking), than that of a parent for their child! In fact, I would bet that if you randomly polled 100 people on the streets, and asked them what the worst possible thing they could imagine happening to them would be…I would bet that most of them would say experiencing the death of a child. Yet, you think it is a good thing for women to walk into Planned Parenthood and pay money to bring about that same result! The ONE thing that everyone fears most…in your eyes is somehow good, and should be applauded. In fact, you think it is SUCH a good thing that you are willing to rant and rave and try to intimidate those who are trying to save parents who are in danger of experiencing that grief.

Just look at the faces of those parents in Colorado.

Sadly, maybe you will never personally experience the joy that comes from having a child, created by God, through a loving union of man and woman. But those of us who have been blessed with children understand what a treasure our children are! They are a gift from God! Even now, although my children are grown and have children of their own…if any sort of physical injury befalls them, when I learn about it, I experience an actual physical pain…like a twinge…in the innermost part of my body. There is still a connection. You cannot separate a child from the mother. There is an eternal bond. God it made it that way in order to show us the same bond that exists between Him and all of his children.

So, Rep. Sims…I ask you…just who are you trying to intimidate? Those of us who are already bowed down as low as we can be? We are already face down on the ground (spiritually speaking)…and you want to trample on us? We count it an honor to be trampled on for our Lord. So, if you thought that you could intimidate us by your call for increased persecution….you have made a fatal mistake..

You see, you may think you are only fighting against “old white women“…when in fact, you are actually fighting against GOD.

Good luck with that!

Nikki Bruni


Thanks for a great response on the sidewalk last weekend! Diaper Drive and “Stand with Abby”!

Last week, in response to the harassment of an elderly pro-life woman by PA State Rep. Brian Simms, (CLICK HERE to read my open letter to him)…thousands of pro-lifers showed up in Philadelphia to make the statement that we will not be bullied! Thanks to the many people who showed up here in Pittsburgh, in solidarity to those in Philadelphia! Here are some pictures from last Friday:

Faithful early morning prayer warriors Rose, Mary and Fran
Woman from Steubenville made a powerful witness praying on her knees.
Nancy, me and Fran
Walt, Charlie and Ken pray for vulnerable human life to be protected.
Rain didn’t keep the pro life witness away!
Many prayers said for the babies
Great witness for life!

Charlene reports that the Diaper Drive was a success! Thank you for all who donated! She wrote:


Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Diaper Drive! We had the car almost full of diapers, wipes, toys and baby items. We also had cash donations which I am sure Catholic Charities will find good use for!  And this does not include the Friday contributions.  Some passers by commented on the contrast between a diaper Drive and an abortion clinic. I hope that sunk into many heads!!! Thank you again!!! Charlene

Charlene

Although the 40 Days for Life is over for the summer, year-round sidewalk advocates continue to reach out to abortion-bound couples to offer life-saving alternatives! Sue McGrath will be holding a sidewalk advocate training on Saturday, June 1st at the Bellvue Knights of Columbus Hall. It is not too late to register! If you are interested in attending this one-time, four-hour DVD training, contact Sue at susanmcgrath526@comcast.net

It is true that for many of us Sidewalk Advocates, we often are discouraged by our seemingly fruitless efforts in front of Planned Parenthood. We lovingly reach out to couples who are walking in to Planned Parenthood in those final moments while their child is still alive, to offer them life and hope…but it is rare that we see someone actually change their mind.

I just have to share this photo with you. It is an ultrasound photo of a baby that was saved a few weeks ago, when his or her mom came to PP for an abortion. The family member who accompanied this young woman told us that she had prayed to God for a sign if they weren’t supposed to do this. She told me that she believed that we were that sign. I had the privilege of going in with them to see the ultrasound at Women’s Choice Network, after we left Planned Parenthood. I watched this precious 13 week old baby moving around, waving little arms and legs…which would have been mercilessly torn off by Planned Parenthood’s abortionist, if not for our presence on the sidewalk.

Why does God choose to save some, while he seemingly allows others to be killed by abortion? I don’t know. That is why he is God and I am not. All I know is that WHEN he decides to save a child, it is through US that he does it! And what an amazing privilege it is to be used by him in this way!

As Fr. Thomas More Sikora said, at a Mass that he had for our 40 Days for Life team last fall…he said:

I believe that the babies saved from abortion will be the future saints of the Church!

Fr. Thomas More Sikora

I wonder what plans he has for this child? I thank him and praise him for all that he is doing through our pro-life prayers and witness!

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 31st!

You may remember that two years ago I was invited by the 40 Days for Life leaders in Croatia to come and visit during their national conference, which I did…accompanied by our dear Lisa K.! It was a life-changing experience, to be able to see first-hand how God is using 40 Days for Life in Croatia, and to meet such wonderful people who have suffered so much from communism, but who are now using their new freedoms to fight for unborn life! 40 Days for Life is exploding in Croatia, with 26 cities taking part in that small country! Ante, who is Croatia’s “Shawn Carney”, along with our dear friend Krunoslav, will be visiting Pittsburgh on July 31st! Pastor Joe and Judy Stump will be hosting a screening of the Croatian 40 Days for Life film that they have produced, along with a reception for Ante and Kruno, at their church, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene.

I hope you will come and give a warm Pittsburgh pro-life welcome to these two courageous pro-life warriors who are travelling all the way here to meet us! Here are the details:

WHAT: 40 Days for Life in Croatia Film screening and reception for Croatian 40 Days for Life leaders, Ante and Kruno!

WHEN: Wednesday, July 31st at 6:30 pm

WHERE: Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, 5604 Interboro Ave., Pittsburgh PA

Thanks to all of you for keeping our pro-life community vibrant and alive here in Pittsburgh! May God bless you this summer! Hope to see you soon!

In Christ,

Nikki

Day 41: Thanks be to God for another amazing campaign!!

We are so thankful for the wonderful 40 days you have shared with us on the sidewalk! We have prayed together, and shared many moments together that have been difficult, powerful, heartbreaking, and beautiful…. all of these and more. A sincere THANK YOU to all who participated in any way. It is YOU who make our time on the sidewalk bearable, and YOU who make it a HOLY time as well. Thank you.

The First Reading from our Palm Sunday liturgy began with these words:

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.

-Isaiah 50:4a,b


I recently heard Bishop Zubik offer a reflection on this verse from Isaiah. He mentioned how his first grade teacher had taught him and his classmates how to put letters together to become words, and how they could use those words to say important things. He later compared that education to this passage, saying that the Lord, also, has taught us, His followers, how to speak the words God needs us to speak.

There are times in our culture and society– like now– when many things go awry and when many hearts go astray. Bishop Zubik reminded us that WE are to be those ones who have a “well-trained tongue.” And WE are the ones who can “know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”

I connect this to the LIFE issue in this way. So many of those people who pass by our prayer vigil are pro-abortion. Many of our family members and friends are as well. The abortion workers and the clients going inside might think that abortion is helpful or caring (in some irrational way). And there are many things we cannot do to change their minds or hearts. But there are other things we CAN do to make a difference in their lives. We can use our “well-trained tongue” to speak words of love and life to them. We can speak truth and hope. And as we speak, perhaps they will be “roused” out of their hopelessness… or their confusion… or their pain.

And to support one another in this “training our tongues” and “speaking rousing words to the weary,” we held a prayer service to close our vigil last evening (Sunday). We followed up with a potluck, fellowship, and sharing about the vigil. It was quite well attended; one of our team members estimated about 60 people joined us! Thank you to all who came and shared that special time with us.

Photos from the Closing Events:

Fr. Thomas More leading us in prayer on the sidewalk
Shift Manager Tim
Many wonderful people gathered in prayer
Thank you, Fr. Thomas More, for your inspirational words!
Later at Catholic Charities.
Thank you to Jeannie for our amazing dessert table!!

Nikki setting up drinks
Sweet baby colors for our napkins
Joe greets Kevin
Dee bringing in her lovely sweet potato casserole!
Shift Buddy Pastor Bryan greeting some of our wonderful volunteers
Thank you to everyone who came!
Many pro-life heroes at these tables!
Melissa shared her amazing testimony of choosing life for her son!
Thank you, Melissa, and God bless you!!
It was really a full house! Thank God!!
Shift Manager and Sidewalk Advocate Sue gives information about
the next Sidewalk Advocate training on Sat., June 1.
Shift Manager and Knight of Columbus Charlie is forming a plan
to have Prayer Buddies for the Sidewalk Advocates!! WONDERFUL idea!!!

Contact Sue for more information at susanmcgrath526@comcast.net.
Our local 40 Days for Life director, Nikki, testifies to the power of prayer!
Dedicated souls!!
Shift Manager Donna encouraging us and asking for prayers for
a young couple whose unborn child may have a difficult diagnosis.
Nikki giving a gift to the team– a photo collage of all the Shift Managers and Shift Buddies!
Meredith explains about the Magee Project: Praying for an end to abortion at Magee Hospital. For more information, contact Meredith at meredith@rescuepittsburgh.org.
Nikki and Shift Manager Donna
Thank you, Joe– what would these events be without you as M.C.??
Pastor Bryan, sending us forth with words of encouragement and a blessing! Thank you!!

Several years ago, my family and I began cheering for the Pittsburgh Marathon runners. We loved doing it so much that we have done it every year since…. But our involvement has evolved such that my husband’s band has been an official marathon band for the past three or four years. It is an amazing experience, mostly because of how we see the power of the music elevate and motivate the runners when they might be otherwise in a potential slump.

My husband has directed the band members on which motivational songs will work well for those “slump” moments. Our best-received, by far, is…. the theme from “Rocky.” One moment, some of the runners are starting to lose their stamina….

But then, they hear my nephews begin with this awesome trumpet riff below….. and WOW!! It changes the world.

At least, it changes the world for those runners at that moment.

And so, I encourage all of you, those of you with “well-trained tongues….”

Speak words to the weary that will ROUSE them… and bring them life and freedom and joy!!! We have the good news; we might want to show it– and SHARE it!!

God bless you all during this sacred time of Holy Week. And hope to see you all soon!!