“Get a job!” “Why don’t you do something useful!” “Why aren’t you taking care of the babies who are already born?”
If you have spent much time witnessing in front of Planned Parenthood, you most likely have had words like these shouted to you. Sadly, it seems that most people do not understand the importance, or the VALUE of each and every human life.
If we were standing on the sidewalk handing out sandwiches to the homeless, I don’t think we would hear a critical word…in fact we would probably be commended. Yet, when we stand and pray to end abortion, we are often criticized.
Why do most people believe that killing a child by abortion is not that big of a deal? Even if half of Americans say they are pro-life…it is a very small percentage of them who are willing to be a WITNESS to life!
It is easy to see those who are hungry, homeless and needy…we can see them with our physical eyes. However, in order to see the suffering of the unborn…(which is hidden)…we need to see with SPIRITUAL eyes. It takes spiritual eyes to understand just how much God is offended when one of his precious, unique, one-of-a-kind masterpieces is desecrated by abortion. If we could see God knitting together all the individual parts of each child within his mother’s womb… giving each child his own personality, abilities and talents…and then in the middle of this creation…this genius symphony…it is brought to a screeching halt by the clumsy and cruel hands of an abortionist…we would understand just how terrible abortion is.
Of course, I am not saying that God is angry with those who have had abortions and repented. To him, their sins are as far as the east is from the west. But our nation has NOT repented of the sin of abortion. Today marks the 45th anniversary of legalized abortion, and sadly, the killing of 60 million unborn babies.
It is up to those of us who have spiritual eyes to repent FOR our nation. It is up to us to stand in the gap between our guilty nation and our righteous God…and to plead with him to bring an end to this atrocity. It is up to us to pray and fast, and peacefully show our neighbors that every human life is precious, through our suffering on the cold sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.
Our presence on the sidewalk…ESPECIALLY in cold weather…speaks more about the importance of every human life than any amount of words ever could!
We need YOU to help us to fill this 40 day vigil! As of now, we are less than half filled. 33 churches have signed up so far…will you please choose an empty time slot for yours? Go to http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ to see the schedule, and then reply to this email to get your church signed up.
40 Days for Life is uniting Christians all around the world! 13,998 lives have been saved, 170 abortion workers have converted and 90 abortion clinics have closed for good! Together we are strong. United in our faith in Jesus Christ, we can do all things through him who strengthens us! Please join us!
It’s me again! I am joyfully “back in the saddle” as the campaign director for Pittsburgh’s 40 Days for Life! Humbled and contrite…but joyful! Humbled and contrite, because I am ashamed that I tried to get out of doing what God called me to do. Joyful, because I learned an important lesson.
This may surprise you, but I used to be a heavy drinker. When God was preparing me to lead my first campaign, back in 2010, He asked me to give up alcohol. He knew there was no way I could do this if I was drinking. It was a terrifying moment when I told him “Yes”. I remember mentally consoling myself by saying that if Roe vs. Wade were ever overturned, then I could go back to drinking. I laugh now when I think back at that.
I used the same mental crutch with my commitment to lead the 40 Days for Life. I remember thinking that I would lead 12 campaigns…and then be done. Then I could go back to leading a “normal” life. (By normal, I guess I mean selfish.)
I don’t know why I chose the number 12…it seemed like a good number. I guess I just needed a goal to strive towards…to keep me from giving up. The problem was…I got to the 12th campaign, and Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh was still killing almost 3,000 babies each year! How could I quit?
I continued leading, but inside I was grumbling a bit, wondering if this work would ever end. So, I began asking around for someone to take over. A beautiful, kind, humble member of our team agreed. May God bless Sue for her “YES” to God! But, seeing her struggle with working full-time, and trying to do all that leading 40 Days for Life entails, made me realize that I had made a mistake. I had hurt her…a dear sister in Christ… but more importantly, I had disappointed God…
…God, who has been so loving and generous to me, who has changed my life so much during these past 10 years. He asks such a small thing in return. A very simple thing. A very specific and narrow thing:
To gather the Body of Christ in and around Pittsburgh, to pray and fast and peacefully witness to the sanctity of human life in front of Planned Parenthood for 40 days, twice a year.
That’s all. No big deal really. And do you know what? I CAN DO THIS!For Him! Just as I never want to go back to drinking, I never want to go back to living life selfishly either. I have come to learn a lesson. There is no “coasting” in the spiritual life. There is either sinking or swimming. If I am not striving to live a life that honors God, I will be backsliding.
So I am JOYFULLY writing this letter to you, once again, to ask you to please consider helping us to fill our 40 day prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh! From Wednesday, February 14th (Ash Wednesday) through Sunday, March 25th, we need faithful prayer warriors on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood! Will you help us?
Christmas caroling, in front of an abortion facility? Why? Well, an article was written last year (2016) in the National Catholic Registerto explain why. Below, I have included some excerpts from that article:
The Christmas caroling, organized in San Bernardino, was part of a wider movement of caroling in front of abortion businesses during this Advent season called “Peace in the Womb.”
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, which began the singing event in Chicago  years ago, told the Register that the inspiration for the caroling came from a friend who had studied St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Bodycatechesis. Scheidler said she had suggested this perspective: For women facing the trauma of aborting their children at the holidays, hearing Christmas carols might connect them “to God’s healing and mercy.”
“So there was a double purpose: to plant a seed for future healing, so that Christmas becomes a channel for them to overcome the abortions they’re having at Christmastime,” he said, “and on the other side of it, inspiring people with the Christmas story so they don’t go through with those abortions.”
Scheidler said that they have seen both of those things happen.
One Spanish-speaking couple they met said the carols had drawn them outside the abortion center. They opted to go to the local pregnancy center.
The songs resonate with many, helping them to change their minds about abortion. And the carols don’t just reach Christians. [In 2014], another couple that opted not to have an abortion was Muslim, but had admired the Christmas singing, changed their minds — and ultimately left the abortion center’s waiting room.
The singers want people to know that their unborn children are “Christmas babies” and that Jesus came into the world “to give life, that we may have it more abundantly.”
The carolers have touched hearts beyond the women and their family members going into the abortion centers. In Sarasota, Florida, he said, one of the abortion escorts complimented the “Peace in the Womb” carolers on their singing.
Another group in Tempe, Arizona, he added, had 120 people turn out, including a group called “Dancers for Jesus” from nearby St. Margaret Catholic Church.
Overall, the response has been positive.
In San Bernardino, a pro-life ministry saw a total of three women during their carols cancel their appointments and tell the carolers that they chose to keep their unborn children. [One of the participants said that] in pro-life ministry “you struggle to have the right words to say” sometimes to women seeking abortions.
But at this time of the year, approaching the feast of Jesus’s birth, caroling made it “so simple.”
She said, “We didn’t really do anything, other than to sing and pray.”
And that has made a blessed difference for babies and parents alike.
Our group participated here in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning, Dec. 16, from 9-10 AM. We had a nice-sized group. We were happy to have Randy accompanying us on accordion, and Jeannie and Julie provided us with hot chocolate and donuts. Thank you to them, and to all who came! And thanks be to God Who provided us with a bit of “warmer” weather (around 30 degrees)!
Here are some photos we wanted to share from our time:
On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Why would anyone do this? Why help others who have no way of repaying? Why give of ourselves and expect nothing in return?
I think it comes down to one word: LIBERTY.
But 933 Liberty Avenue is a location with a misnomer.
A better address might be “933 Sadness Street,” or “933 Regret Road,” or “933 Prisoner Place.” Being a prisoner of one’s past… being a person filled with sadness or regret… this is NOT what the Lord wants for any of His people. And yet, so many WILLINGLY step through those doors in pursuit of one thing: LIBERTY.
Perhaps they desire liberty from the shackles of parenthood… or from the guilt of an illicit sexual relationship… or from the financial burden that a new life might create. There might be many things they want to “liberate” themselves from, but they don’t know that the very facility they are entering- with that hope of liberty- is the place that will make them forever BOUND (not free) with guilt, regret, avoidance, sadness, pain, and many other things.
At 933 Liberty Avenue, true liberty is a LIE.
Jesus, however, brings us HOPE. He tells us that He has come that we might have LIFE, and have it to the FULL (cf. John 10:10). St. Paul tells us that “it is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
For generations, Lady Liberty has stood as a sign of hope for those who seek freedom, who seek liberty. So yes, she is one important sign of liberty:
But…. if I may…. I think THIS one is a BETTER sign of true liberty and freedom:
And because we are Christians- those who follow Jesus Christ- we follow Him and His example. So rather than saying to the abortion-bound couple, the abortion worker, or the post-abortive couple, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed!” (cf. James 2:16), instead we must say, as the Gospel above reminds us,
“I INVITE you into true freedom.”
And while 933 remains a killing facility, that liberty will NOT be found on Liberty Avenue.
And so we invite.
Last evening (Sunday), we held our closing rally to close our 40-day vigil. Thank you to all who came all during these 40 days. This was a celebration of life… and several lives (at least three) were saved this vigil alone! Praise God!
Some photos from our prayer on the sidewalk:
Photos from the time of fellowship
at Catholic Charities:
Others who spoke at Catholic Charities:
Thank you again to all who attended this special event, and especially all those who gave of their time to come and join us in prayer. Let us remember what we are about…. PRAYER. And let us remember Whose we are…. HIS. And let us bring others- INVITE others- to know Him too…. especially those on the sidewalk and inside that building. Despite Liberty Avenue’s name, the Lord Jesus is the ONLY one who can make them truly FREE.
to honor those who have sacrificed their lives during the war.
America’s Wars (1775 -1991)
651,031 Battle Deaths
America’s Abortions (1973 – 2015)
58,586,256 Baby Deaths
Where is the cemetery families can use to bury the body of their aborted child?
Ordinarily when a family member dies the rest of the family has a grief process. If successful, the grief process “closes the wound.”
Our culture resists, and is even hostile to, admitting the reality that abortion kills a child, a member of a family.
America permits abortion to
kill their child
wound the mother
strip the parental rights of the father.
If a man’s pregnant partner seeks to have an abortion, the father’s consent isn’t legally required.
A woman may choose to terminate a pregnancy against the objections of the father.
The father does not have a legal right to be notified of an abortion.
If a prospective mother seeks to abort a pregnancy against a father’s wishes, an attorney may be able to draft an agreement where the father agrees to pay the costs of pregnancy and obtain full custody after birth.
Arthur Shostak (Bachelor of Science, 1958, Cornell University; Ph.D., 1961, Princeton) accompanied his partner to a well-groomed suburban abortion clinic in the early 1970s.
They had both agreed abortion was best.
Sitting in the waiting room proved to be a “bruising experience”.
When he left the clinic, he was shocked by how deeply disturbed he had become.
Shostak spent the next ten years studying the abortion experience of men. His study, published in 1984, covered 1,000 men who accompanied their wives or girlfriends to abortion clinics. This study is still the benchmark study in the field. Here are some of his discoveries.
BIG BOYS DON’T CRY
Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity.
While a man is expected to be strong, abortion makes him feel weak.
A man is expected to be responsible. Abortion encourages him to act without concern for the innocent.
It encourages him to destroy any identifiable and undesirable outcomes of his sexual decision making and/or attachments.
They feel sad. They feel curious. They feel a lot of things.
But usually they have talked to no one about it. It is taboo.
More than one in four equated abortion to murder.
Slightly over 80 percent said they had already begun to think about the child that might have been born.
29 percent said they had been fantasizing about the child “frequently”.
68 percent believed men involved in abortions “did not have an easy time of it.”
47 percent worried about having disturbing thoughts afterwards.
Many men began to cry during the interview.
When asked if the man and woman should have an equal say in the decision, 80 percent of married men agreed. Fifty-eight percent of single men agreed.
Many expressed frustration and anger about the failure of women to consider their wishes and feelings.
In a subsequent interview Shostak said:
Most of the men I talk to think about the abortion years after it is over.
With a man, if he wants to shed a tear, he had better do it privately.
If he feels that the abortion had denied him his child, he had better work through it himself.
He does not share his pain with a clergyman, a minister.
He does not share it with a close male friend.
It just stays with him.
And it stays for a long time.
According to Dr. Vincent Rue, one of the nation’s most experienced psychologists in the field of post-abortion issues:
Typical male grief responses include remaining silent and grieving alone.
A guilt-ridden, tormented male does not easily love or accept love.
Men have reported a large number of problems that they claim were a direct result of their abortion experience. These include:
risk taking and suicidal behavior,
increasing feelings of grief over time,
feelings of helplessness, guilt, depression,
greater tendencies toward becoming angry and violent, and
feelings connected to a sense of lost manhood.
If we listen to the national professional mental health organizations, abortion carries no psychological health risk, certainly none greater than child birth.
This flies in the face of thousands of stories that I have heard – the stories that you hear from women and men impacted from abortion, both in this country and abroad.
Post abortion treatment is a human issue because abortion represents to those who are negatively impacted by it an intentional death experience.
The American Psychological Association, in 2008, provided a report to the American people that basically says that abortion carries no increased relative risk.
I would submit to you that this is incorrect. It is incorrect scientifically and there is abundant research, some 385 studies, that would ague in opposition to what the APA said.
“Project Rachel: The Psychoanalyst’s Role.” Vincent Rue, MSW, PhD
NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK
Jeannie, designer of this happy note, continues to grow in wisdom and grace.
NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDEWALK
PAT 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
Today was the day I signed up my parish, St. Regis in Trafford, to stand from 7-9 AM…and I worried. I worried about the weather forecast (scattered thundershowers). I worried about the fact that the EQT 10-Miler would close down Liberty Avenue “sometime around 7 AM”. And I worried that Jeff, who was bringing the materials to the sidewalk for Diane today, might not get in before Liberty was closed down. In short, I forgot that TRUST was the theme for this campaign.
All worked out better than I could have reasonably expected. Steph, my wife, decided late that that she would come with me. Two of my brother Knights of Columbus, Mike and Albert, came. Albert’s wife, Yolanda, and their daughter, Susan (from Saint John XXIII Parish), also came. We had a good mix of prayer and good conversation. Many thanks to all of you.
MARSHALL 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
Today was one of the most interesting experiences I have had at 40 days. It was the day of a 10 K race that goes right through the 40 days site, so just to get down and travel through the city was a minor miracle.
There was a “pro-choice advocate” cheering on the runs while she held a sign proclaiming her support for PP. God gives us the grace to work for His cause, the cause of Life. She was loud, and I believe that we were prayerful. Many runners, especially women supported her and thanked her, so we are reminded to pray for our nation. Hopefully, they act in ignorance.
I am grateful for Kathy, Vince, Theresa, and Bill for standing for 40 days for Life. It rained during the entire two hours, and it was quite heavy by the end.
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
Praise God good weather for my shift.
I had a wonderful family with 6 kids keep me company and they prayed one rosary after another. I had a few individuals join me for the end of my shift.
Praise God for all his love and care!
DAVE 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
Bill and all these people filled the sidewalk with life and prayers. Not only was the weather warm but, so were the hearts!
“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child,
how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Those are the words Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., in 1994. I’m asking that the individuals who read this blog who either work at Planned Parenthood or who support abortion pay particular attention to them – and perhaps even meditate on them. Because in light of those words, I have to ask what your reaction was to the terrorist attack in New York a few days ago? Or to what happened in Las Vegas a few weeks ago? Surely you saw the injustice of it, and were disgusted, as we were, by the total disregard for human life.
But here’s what I’m truly curious about: On what rational or moral grounds do you object to these mass murders? Yes, people were killed who didn’t want to be killed. We can agree upon that. But, isn’t that also what happens several times a week inside of 933 Liberty Avenue?
You may argue that the babies aborted are not yet “persons” (mental gymnastics that simply escapes me), but you can’t argue with the science which clearly tells us that, biologically speaking, human life begins at conception. Isn’t that “Embryology 101”?
So, whether you’re calling “the product of conception” a “person” or not, there can be no question that what is being snuffed out is a human life.
40 Days for Life will be leaving your doorstep on Sunday evening, and won’t return until Ash Wednesday when (if necessary) we’ll be back again for another campaign. But in the meantime, I urge you, please think about these things.
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love,
but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the
greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta from that same speech
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR TOMORROW, SUNDAY 11/5:
–Due to the EQT 10 Miler race, Liberty Avenue and other streets will have closures and parking restrictions until almost noon. See maps below for helpful information.
–The Fall 2017 Campaign Closing Rally begins with prayer in front of PP at 6:30 PM, followed by a pot-luck social at Catholic Charities just up the block at Liberty and 9th. Please join us!
7-9 AM, Tim:
Saturday morning started as usual, dark and cold but then things it brightened up. The sidewalk advocates Virginia, David and Joe were on post standing vigil along with year round Saturday regulars Stephanie, John M., Bill H. and Bill S. Then two white vans pulled up and Father Tim, the Guardians for Life and the Knights of Columbus poured out. The sidewalk was then filled with the faithful and song and prayers rang out echoing on Liberty Avenue. As my shift was ending a large group of students from Grove City College arrived and began to pray. What an encouraging site to see such a large group of students. What a bright, beautiful, blessed morning it turned out to be.
9-11 AM and 11 AM-1 PM, Sue M. (thank you, Sue!):
Today I pulled a “double”, although it did not feel that long to me as it was full of prayer and just great people. So many prayer warriors today. I arrived to the faithful Guardians for Life, and shortly after that a large group of Grove City College students arrived to pray. Then came folks from St. Maurice in Forest Hills, St. Patrick in Canonsburg, St. Katharine Drexel in Bentleyville, and St. John XXIII on the North Side. These folks meant business — so much prayer was going on. For the second shift, a huge group arrived from St. James in the West End, including a beautiful baby girl “G” who was just an angel!! Bill H. in his Holy-Spirit-led way, was in and out during the two shifts. Regulars Billy and Bob stopped by.
PP seemed today to be a bit busier than usual, unfortunately. We had many remarks from passersby, I’d say about an equal amount of thumbs-up and thumbs-downs. “K” from the PP-supporting side was there, and several of the ladies dialogued peacefully with her. The quality of the thumbs-ups and encouragements more than made up for the negative comments from passersby. One gentleman was waiting for the bus across the street and made a point to cross over to thank us for being there. A young family in town from Syracuse thanked us and took some literature to distribute in their hometown. And a gentleman who was emptying trash cans on the sidewalk suddenly stopped to pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be with us.
God is working. I believe we can now see only a very small percentage of the workings of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts as we pray on the sidewalk — not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If we stay faithful, we will someday see His glory revealed and the end to abortion forever! Come, Lord Jesus!
1-3 PM, Dean:
As this campaign comes to a close, I encourage all of us to recharge over the next few months. Thank all of you for being God’s hands, feet and mouth on the sidewalk. It has and continues to be a pleasure serving alongside such dedicated Christians. Have a memorable Thanksgiving. I plan on serving in the upcoming Lenten Campaign. May the joy and love of Christ be with each and every one of you.
3-5 PM, Kathy:
Beautiful group from St. James was with Dean when I arrived. Ruth was engaging a woman who held a large “I support Planned Parenthood” sign in conversation. When she left the whole group was very pleasant to her. Truly a loving peaceful witness.
My friend, Marian, came with me to pray. It was her first 40 Days shift. She had taken me to my first March for Life in the early 90’s. We were joined by Bill, Marie, Bill, and Ken.
God provided great prayer warriors, prayers, and fellowship. Very grateful!
So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
-John 21: 3-6
Peter spent several years as one of our Lord’s closest friends, following Him all over and helping with His ministry. He watched as Jesus was executed; then saw the risen Lord. And yet, after all that, he momentarily said to himself, “Hmm…now what? Well, I guess I’ll go back to being a fisherman.”
We’ve spent the past 38 days praying, fasting, and reaching out to those affected by abortion. Yet my calendar going forward shows nothing but the kids’ activities, holiday events, etc. It’s as if I’ve said to myself, “Hmm…now what? Well, I guess I’ll go back to my old life.”
Don’t get me wrong…I truly believe that God is pleased with our sacrifices and efforts in the Fall 2017 campaign. We also know from Scripture that He has ordained a time for every purpose under Heaven, and that Jesus Himself took His disciples off to pray and rest when they needed to refresh. So I think it’s okay for the intensity to go down for awhile after the campaign ends this Sunday.
But I really can’t just go back to the way things were. My brothers and sisters are being hurt and killed at Planned Parenthood year-round, so I need to keep fighting for them year-round.
There are basic ways to keep going. I can pray daily for hearts to be converted and for abortion to end. I can fit fasting into my week, maybe choosing a day when I know abortions are taking place on Liberty Avenue (currently Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.)
There are also more powerful ways. Sidewalk Advocates for Life, who courageously stand vigil and offer life-affirming alternatives to PP clients on abortion days throughout the year, welcome and train new members regularly. (Next training session: Sunday, November 12th from noon-5 PM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.) And silent sidewalk prayer partners are also needed to uphold them and to offer them fellowship in their challenging but crucial ministry.
We all know Peter didn’t go back to fishing in the end. Jesus had a lot more planned for him…as He does for us.
Dear Lord, please call us and strengthen us to continue defending your children even after this campaign ends. As we cast our nets to catch up those who are vulnerable, please fill them to overflowing with men, women, and children who have been saved and can sing Your praise!
7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:
Friday morning, before dawn, felt silent, warm and sweet. People quietly bustled. Rose arrived. Jeff arrived with our daily supplies.
Harry arrived just in time to help us unpack and arrange items for DAY 38 of our 40 DAY, 12 hour witness. Harry is from St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford. His son (youngest of 5 children) and he are going to a Boy Scout event this weekend.
Al and Sally arrived and took up their prayer stations. Faithful prolife veterans, they have publicly witnessed for life in the Pittsburgh area for decades.
One by one, someone unlocked the PP doors for a worker who went in just as the door closed and locked behind them. At some point the doors remained unlocked. At least 3 couples went in. They looked away as we offered prolife help.
Greeted with, “God bless you,” a young man looked away and said, “Shut up!” Great! I thought. There’s a sign of life.
Actually signs of life flourish in the faces and in the hearts of passersby. So many smile, nod or give us a thumbs up. We are not wasting our time, or theirs.
11 AM-1 PM, Marie:
Today’s 11-1 shift had a good group of faithful prayer warriors. Fr. Frank from St. Margaret Mary was also part of the group. There were both positive and negative responses from those passing on the sidewalk. This group did a good job of faithfully standing in witness for the unborn.
1-3 PM, Pat:
Not being used to this time, it was a little strange to see so many people – both workers and clients – go in and out of PP. I was there with groups who came to pray from faraway places such as Moon Township and Greensburg, which gives some idea of how far our footprint extends. While only there for about 15 minutes, Nikki showed-up since she had some time available. (Now if I had her schedule, and had some “free-time”, well, let’s just say that coming down to the vigil would have even crossed my mind.) This gave me the opportunity to leave a little early and head back to work. Thanks again, Nikki!
But while I was there, I did have an interesting conversation with Theo (not his real name), a young man in his early 20’s, who has been in the U.S. for only a few years and grew-up in the African nation of The Congo. The conversation started because he didn’t understand what my sign meant. It read: “Shouldn’t human rights begin at conception?” This lead to an interesting conversation because he really had no idea that abortions were legal in the U.S. and happening, at a rate of about 3,000/year, right inside the building we were standing next to. He was having a hard time grasping this…as he should.
Please check back throughout the day as more pictures and stories are posted!
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR SUNDAY: Due to the EQT 10 Miler race, Liberty Avenue and other streets will have closures and parking restrictions on Sunday morning, November 5th, until almost noon. See maps below for helpful information (thank you, Pat!)
Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Can we see what the Lord is saying here? His love is so great for us. He wants NONE of us to be lost. Yet in the world of abortion, there is so much darkness, confusion, and even despair. But Jesus came that none of us would be lost, and that we might all have the opportunity to have eternal LIFE.
Let us pray that the abortion-bound women and men on Liberty Avenue- and around the world- may come to KNOW this, whether through our witness or not. May the Lord work mightily in their lives to bring them to know Him and to have eternal LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a calm and peaceful early morning shift. The weather was much milder than I thought it would be; it was very pleasant. I had my faithful partner and friend, Peg, with me for my entire shift. We prayed together and separately during our two hours. Towards the end of our shift there were couples entering the clinic, appearing to be abortion bound. One woman came out and started smoking a cigarette. She looked rather distraught, but would not take any information from me. I prayed for her. We got quite a few positive comments, and some negative ones too. One young woman actually shoved her middle finger right in Peg’s face, almost poking her with it. It gave us an opportunity to live out the Beatitudes and we asked God to bless her.
It was a blessing to see Chuck and Judy, as always! The Holy Spirit works powerfully through them with love. Thank you everyone for continuing on this 40 day journey!
What a busy and full shift we had today! When I arrived, Judy and Chuck told me that many people went in to PP this morning. Sad news, to be sure. Then they told me about a woman who had gone in and out a few times, but she had not wanted any information from them. They pointed her out to me as she came outside again, and she didn’t want anything from me either. But then Mary arrived, from St. Juan Diego parish, who had volunteered to pray with me at 11. She was in God’s place at God’s time, because when the woman came out again, Mary was able to listen to her and share some helpful information with her. They talked for a long time. I just prayed for them all the while. The woman’s daughter was in PP for an abortion, so we prayed for her as well.
A little while later, Beth Ann came to join us. The three of us- Mary, Beth Ann, and I, stood in three separate areas, and prayed silently. It was powerful. Regular volunteer, Bob, came for some prayer time and left. Thank you, Bob! Then Kim and Janet joined us, having driven all the way from Wheeling. Then Joan, Megan, and Ginny joined us. Thanks be to God, it was a crowded and prayerful shift. They were all veterans, and so we all sort of took separate “prayer posts” and there was a lot of silent prayer. Amazing. I thought it was beautiful.
After Mary’s hour (and having talked to that woman outside for a long time), she left. But a little while later, she came back. The Holy Spirit was MOVING in Mary!! She asked if the woman and her daughter had come back out; they hadn’t. But as Mary stood there waiting, the woman came out AGAIN, as if on cue. Mary and Sidewalk Advocate Joan went over to talk to her again. So beautiful…. women helping women.
And then, a very bizarre thing happened. As we stood there in silent prayer, a police SUV pulled up right in the middle of the circle. We all watched silently, very attentive. We didn’t know whether some “situation” had happened inside of PP that required police attention. But no…. as we watched, a male officer got out, then a female officer. They opened wide both of the side doors of the vehicle, so they could assist someone. Suddenly, we saw a small, young woman– in handcuffs and legcuffs- both with chains- being escorted out of the vehicle, and into Planned Parenthood. It was such a foreign concept to my brain that I just stood there with my jaw dropped. I had so many questions that we will never know the answers to. It was very disturbing….. Let us pray for that WHOLE situation!!
Ginny cared enough to come. She has sleep apnea, so she doesn’t sleep much at night.
Minnie used the chair that “nobody took.” She and I prayed a rosary and then she had to leave.
A young woman came by and said she prayed for all of us yesterday on All Saints Day. She thinks we will all be going to heaven.
A young couple came by and admired our babies (preborn models). They were happily delighted to see how much development a baby has at such a young gestational age. The young woman thanked us for being here and sharing the images of the babies.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and truly a blessing. Thanks so much to Pam from Crossroads Church in Weirton, Noelle from Grandview Church of God in Beechview, Dave from St. Pio Church in Blawnox, and Jim from St. Maurice Church in Forest Hills, for their prayers and faithful witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. Your commitment to protect and defend life is truly an inspiration. Thanks also to Jeff for filling in for Tom and Diane today.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with each of you. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the closing rally on Sunday. God Bless!
“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person…. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’.”
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.”
1 Corinthians 12:26
We sure have been reminded of this a lot lately, haven’t we? Still reeling from the Las Vegas shooting, where 58 people were killed, and 546 injured… yesterday we were hit with the senseless tragedy in New York City. These sad events bring us to our collective knees.
The question on many of our minds is, “How do we respond?”
I read a quote from Dorothy Day this morning which seems very relevant to our world today. She wrote:
The stink of the world’s injustice and the world’s indifference is all around us…
Compassion – it is a word meaning to suffer with. If we all carry a little of the burden, it will be lightened. If we share in suffering of the world, then some will not have to endure so heavy an affliction. It evens out. What you do here in New York, in Harrisburg, helps those in China, India, South Africa, Europe, Russia, as well as in the oasis where you are. You may think you are alone. But we are members one of another. We are children of God together.
Did you know that Dorothy Day may one day be recognized by the Catholic Church as being a saint? And… she had an abortion before her conversion. Her’s is a beautiful story of redemption. God wants to use all of us…scars and all.
For the past 36 days, hundreds of individuals have come to our vigil at Planned Parenthood to pray, witness, and suffer in small ways.
During that time, approximately 300 tiny babies have been put to death behind those doors while we were outside praying.
While I was there for my shift on Monday, I watched as a passerby…noticing our signs…stopped for a second in front of the doors of Planned Parenthood, and made the sign of the cross.
As Dorothy Day said…”We are members of one another.”
I was struck by a another quote this past week from Barbara. She wrote in her shift report last Friday, “Thank you God for this opportunity to love you out loud!” I LOVED that! That is exactly what we are doing when we witness and pray publicly…we are loving God OUT LOUD!
So, why should we suffer with those who suffer? Why not avoid suffering when we can? If it doesn’t directly affect me or my loved ones…why should I care? I will answer this with another quote. This one is from St. Catherine of Siena. She wrote:
Then we rise up with immense desire to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Everything we do we direct to God. We do everything for the glory and praise of His name…this is how we progress from being merely servants to friends. That is how we progress from slavish fear and self-indulgent love for our own consolation to true servanthood, true friendship, true filiality.
I can’t fool God. He knows how much or how little I love Him. It doesn’t matter how much I say it or don’t say it. He knows. When I pray in front of an abortion clinic, there is no other reason for me to be there other than love for God. I can be sure that I have no ulterior motive. I will not get human praise, riches or power. In fact, I will probably get exactly the opposite.
If you worry that your love for God is either slavish…or self-indulgent…come to the vigil. There is nothing selfish about praying in front of an abortion clinic. God already knows how much you love Him, but maybe you need to prove it to yourself. We need someone today (Wednesday) from 6-7 pm so shift manager Joe won’t have to stand alone. On Thursday we need someone from 2-3 so Carolyn won’t be alone. Please let me know if you can come.
And join us this Sunday at 6:30 to officially CLOSE OUT our 40 day vigil at Planned Parenthood! Fr. Jason Charron, pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church in Carnegie will lead us in prayer. Then, join us in the Welcome Center at Catholic Charities (corner of Ninth and Liberty) from 7 – 8:30 for a fun time of pot-luck food and celebration! I hope to see you then!
Now, here are the reports from today:
Kathy L. 7-9
A rainy, dark, and cold morning was brightened and warmed by Dianne’s and Peg’ s cheerful morning greetings. I copied their example to passersby by saying “Good morning, choose life,” which was received with a nod, smile, or silence. Only one negative comment from a young woman. Even the pp security guard said “Good morning.” A gentleman, on his way to mass, said that he would pray for our cause.
Peg and I spent time in quiet prayer for awhile and then together offering up the baby picture prayers provided by Jeannie. Bill H stopped by briefly.
Cathy Z. 9-11
A relatively quiet shift – a few people went in and a couple and individuals came out, no one took the info cards offered or wanted to talk. Many thanks to Kathy who stayed overtime from her 7-9 shift to be with me until someone came. A real sacrifice given the cold and rain! Dave, from St. Bonaventure, came alone as his family was sick, and got right to praying. Shortly before 11 Anna Marie and her husband arrived to share the next shift with Hank.
Hank reported that he had a peaceful shift, spent praying with the wonderful folks from St. Mary and St. John (Export and Delmont). Thanks to everyone who sacrificed and suffered in the miserable weather today!
Tears from Heaven falling on Planned Parenthood. That’s how I chose to view the rain on the sidewalk during my shift. Can we imagine God’s sorrow at what His creations have wrought through abortion? My shift was relatively quiet, with little foot-traffic in and out of PP, just several workers and clients. I was joined by steadfast prayer warriors Bob, his wife Annamarie, and Christina from the combined parishes of St. John/St. Mary’s churches in Delmont and Export. We prayed the Rosary, receiving only positive comments and thumbs-ups from passersby. At the end of the shift, a Lutheran pastor, whose ministry is the college campuses in Oakland, joined us for a final prayer.
Barbara and Richard 3-5
What a sweetly chilly 2 hours Richard and I spent praying downtown this afternoon. The rain misted us continually and felt refreshing.
As we arrived, a couple from Delmont, Saint Mary, John Parish was leaving after their prayer witness since 11am. A Pastor with Lutherans for Life came by to join us in prayer.
Anthony stopped and asked if they did abortions there, indicating PP. I gave him our 40 Days for Life handout. He is caring for his 87 year old mother at his home. How wonderful.
Joe and Mike, Knights of Columbus, arrived and Richard and I left for Mass.
Life is good.
Joe K. 5-7
Last shift of the campaign started with a drive by “big hello” from a
passerby even before I could greet our vigil participants.
This evening, I was truly blessed and surprised as I was supposed to be
by myself, but was covered for the entire shift by Bill, Mike, and Jim –
No other comments the rest of the evening, but there was an unusually
number of sirens and police presence down on Ninth – enough that we
prayed for the responders and all involved…
The night ended with faithful Tom & Diane packing up our setup
to re-deliver tomorrow morning!