DAY 26: THANK YOU; CMU Newman Club, Pittsburgh Oratory; Assumption Church, Bellevue; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Jim and Cathy S.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him,

upon those who count on his mercy,

to deliver their soul from death,

and to keep them alive through famine.

Psalm 33

___________________________________

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God

who is sending a love letter to the world.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.

What we need is to love without getting tired.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

ADOPTION

THE CHOICE THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN LIVE WITH

They were orphaned, lost, and alone.

Yet a generation of World War II Polish child refugees

found a new life and happiness in distant New Zealand.

Three septuagenarians smiled and told me of the tragedy they had lived through as children.  All three were born in eastern Poland, and were arrested and deported, along with hundreds of thousands of other Poles, after the Soviet invasion in 1939. Soviet soldiers and police packed their families into boxcars and exiled them to Siberia or central Asia, where many died of illness or starvation. Only in 1942, after Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, were survivors released.  But some of their children were already orphans, having lost their parents to hunger or disease. An international appeal went out.

A number of countries offered shelter. Thanks to the efforts of Countess Maria Wodzicka, the wife of the Polish Consul in Wellington, and the New Zealand Prime Minister and his wife, New Zealand invited 800 Poles for the duration of the war. Because of the political situation in Poland after 1945, they were accepted for permanent settlement in New Zealand.

The refugee orphans made a harrowing journey from Poland through Russia and Iran, to reach New Zealand on October 31, 1944. Of this group, 734 were orphaned children. The remainder were their caregivers.

Mrs. Krystyna Skwarko was a schoolteacher in Poland. First her husband, and then she and their two children were arrested and deported to Siberia when the Russians overran Poland.   Later, Mrs. Skwarko helped to care for the children on the voyage in an American troopship. She was one of the people who nurtured the refugees and guided their education at the Polish Children’s Camp at Pahiatua.  After her death, Mrs. Skwarko was buried in Canberra, next to her husband.

Like all the other Polish refugee children, I was very excited. 

Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who had invited us to New Zealand,

came aboard the ship.

There were speeches and we were given sweets by kind ladies,

and then we were taken in the train to our camp at Pahīatua.

Hundreds of New Zealanders met them at the port.  More people lined the roads and waved as the train carried the orphans through the countryside to a refugee camp created for them in Pahiatua.

In Pahīatua we got into a routine where we knew

we were going to get three square meals a day

and anything we wanted.

Then we then started really recuperating.

 In my opinion the most interesting chapters are the final ones, where we learn that the social work in the Polish community was gradually taken over by the capable young hands of the former children of the Pahiatua Camp. Many of them achieved high educational qualifications and are now holding responsible positions. But whether they’re in professions, working as tradesmen, office workers or mothers dedicated to the task of bringing up the new generation, all of them are contributing to the development of New Zealand’s economy and culture.

Marian Szczepanowski
Chairman of the Polish Historical Society in Australia

___________________________________

Watch the children.  They tell you their story in this 18 minute film. “New Zealand National Film Unit presents Story of 700 Polish Children,” (1966).      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NO3FC2NB0o

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_hive/2013/05/pahiatua_s_polish_world_war_ii_refugees_a_group_of_young_poles_made_a_new.html

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/video/pahiatuas-little-poland-roadside-stories

http://www.polishheritage.co.nz/theinvited/publishersnote.html

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

 JEN M. 7-9

A very quiet and cold morning on the sidewalk gave my “shift buddy” Vince, and I the opportunity to pray and reflect on Scripture.  So grateful to him for being there and for his spiritual leadership!

We were blessed to see Bill when he stopped to pray, and left the vigil in good hands when Sue and Ken came to take over.  I’m sorry that I forgot to take any pictures.

I’d also like to thank all who encouraged me to try kneeling in prayer…we did so as we meditated on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary.  It’s amazing how powerful the experience becomes when body and mind are united.  Being down on the sidewalk added a sense of urgency, a stronger awareness of how desperately the horror that happens inside that building needs to stop.

May God have mercy on us all, and may He use us to end abortion NOW.

___________________________________

SUE Mc 9-11

For the second year in a row I’ve been honored to have one of my 40 Days shifts fall on my birthday.  What better way to spend a birthday than praying for LIFE?!  Yesterday morning on my shift I met a lovely sister, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who said her own birthday had been a few days before and that was one of the reasons she was there praying.  She inspired me to make this become my own new tradition.

With all the Pittsburgh sports teams on bye this week, it was a very quiet morning on the sidewalk.  Ken, my shift buddy, was with me and we prayed a lot.  With his deep faith and devotion, he has been such an inspiring shift buddy to me during this campaign.  He pointed out that the markings that the bar next door to PP has on their door for Halloween look like something satanic.  I agreed, but whether their intent is just seasonal or something deeper, we both agreed that they have no power over any of us.

The lovely “R” family showed up for a bit to pray.  “R” stands for Real and Refreshing, and indeed, they are!

The passersby this morning were mostly quiet, but as I was leaving, to be succeeded by Roseann & Rich, a woman walked by and said “I am a [insert certain Christian denomination], and you are all #*%! insane!”  We held our tongues, and we prayed for the woman after she passed, that her heart would be softened and that she would realize and accept her own church’s true teachings and the beauty of human life.

Lovely “R” Family
Real and Refreshing !!

 

___________________________________

ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1

Today was the day to get out those winter coats, hats and gloves and if you did not, you would soon regret it.

It was nice to have Pat (a faithful participant at 40 days), Victoria and Nora from CMU Newman Club to witness and pray with us.

We had a young man, Jim, who lives in the neighborhood stop by and offer some prayers to end abortion. He stops by occasionally but today was the first time we had the pleasure of meeting him.

A young woman, obviously disturbed we were there, kicked our flowers and little stuffed animal because she said they were not to be over the yellow line.

Another woman professed her Christianity and then had a few choice words for us and told us we were crazy.

There is always someone who does not like our message. Hopefully someday it will not be so.
Jesus and Mary, I love you.  Save souls.

Pat, faithful participant and
Victoria and Nora from CMU Newman Club

___________________________________

RICK 1-3

The 1-3 PM Shift on Sunday, Oct. 21st was prayerful and peaceful.  Special thanks to Dan, Luisa, Anna and Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their prayers and witness for Life during the entire 2 hour shift.

 A man passing by requested and was given information to give to his niece, “A”, who was considering having an abortion.  Please pray for “A” that she chooses life for her unborn child.

Thanks and God Bless!

___________________________________

JOE W. 5-7

Big thanks to Marge, Cathy, Jim and especially Nadine for keeping me company during my shift.

We are blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this grace filled movement.

God is so good!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And God saw that it was good.

___________________________________

Day 25: Thanks to Guardians for Life, Holy Child (Bridgeville), St. John & Good Samaritan in Ambridge, and others

“KIDS TODAY!” — SHEESH

It is true that  pro-life activism and in particular, 40 Days for Life does not lend itself easily into the lives of young adults.  They are busy with school and  school activities, sports, arts, jobs and job pursuits.  BUT just because we do not see scores of young people at the 40 Days for Life Vigil, make NO MISTAKE about their ability to carry the pro-life message forward.  They are the FUTURE of this critical movement.  And… “KIDS TODAY” are actually doing some really great things:

For those of you who don’t know it yet, Pittsburgh is home to the very vibrant and effective  REHUMANIZE INTERNATIONAL organization, founded by our very own CMU-educated Aimee B. Murphy, who has long joined us on the sidewalk.   From their mission statement:    …. We work to ensure that each and every human being’s life is respected, valued, and protected.  As such, we oppose all forms of aggressive violence, including but not limited to:   abortion, unjust war, capital

… from the ReHumanize International Website. Lots more edgy graphics are available for download

punishment, euthanasia, torture, embryonic stem cell research, assis

PRO -LIFE Duquesne University Students

ted suicide, abuse, human trafficking, police brutality, etc…  

I recently attended the annual REHUMANIZE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE held at Duquesne University and hosted by  the Duquesne University CEL- Consistent Ethic of Life  Club.

I heard there that EVERYONE matters – every human being– yes, the guy with mental issues, the senior with Alzheimer’s , the baby conceived in date rape, the prisoner being mistreated by guards or cellmates, the wheelchair bound young woman who relies on intermittent oxygen for life….EVERYBODY matters!

 

One of the most moving parts of the conference was the ARTS component– several young people entered visual art entries on the theme of respeoct for human life.. it was

So whenever you worry that the next generation is not “getting it” over abortion, YOU are getting it WRONG!!!

 

Shift Reports from today:

Irene and Terri– Guardians for Life!

Shift notes from Tim 7-9 am:

Guardians for Life takes it to the street!

Thanks to the Guardians for Life, including long time prayer warrior Irene, who made a strong presence with a witness, prayers and songs. Several couples went into pp but thankfully, a few of them accepted literature .   Thank you so much Pat M. and Kathy L. for giving up part of your Saturday to stand and pray with me today.

When I arrived there were lot of young women going in and out of P.P. I couldn’t tell if they were conducting some sort of training session…One young woman waited until she was ready to cross the street and hurriedly kicked at our 40DFL sign, knocking it on it’s side. (down,  but not out)  —-dedicated Sidewalk Advocates Virginia, Joe, David and Terri. Let’s hope we planted a few seeds. 

 

 

Shift Notes from Susan, 9-11:

 

Knights of Columbus continues an AWESOME commitment to the unborn!

This morning presented yet more evidence that the 40 Days folks are truly family.  This morning, I slept in for the first time in I cannot remember how long.  Something went wrong with my alarm, and for some reason my body didn’t wake itself up like it usually does despite the alarm working or not working.  I woke up less than 10 minutes before the start time of my shift!  Appalled at myself and embarrassed, I called Tim, and he just chuckled and said not to worry.  I arrived to find Joe K. covering for me.  God bless these men!!!  

When I finally arrived, the Guardians for Life were just packing it in for the morning, and I was joined by Tina and Brigitte, two lovely prayer warriors who had made the trip all the way from St. Clairsville, Ohio.  There were a lot of people entering PP today, both for services and for what we could tell was some kind of training session, making for a heart-rending morning.  We reached out to all of them, with very little response.  One passerby, a pretty, statuesque young woman, made it a point to pose right next to the window bearing the Planned Parenthood logo to have her companion take her photo while saying what a good organization PP is.  Most of the folks we were able to hand literature to were passersby, not even going to PP.  Judy, my SA partner, was able to get several brochures, including one for Rachel’s Vineyard, into the hands of a grandmother who had come out to the sidewalk to have a smoke while her daughter was inside having an abortion.  She said she herself has six children.  We prayed for her.  We got a lot of prayer in this morning, thanks to Tina and Brigitte, who knelt to pray for a good portion of the time.  There was a lot to pray about.

Notes from Dean, 11-1 shift :

Thank you so much Pat M. and Kathy L. for giving up part of your Saturday to stand and pray with me today.
When I arrived there were a lot of young women going in and out of P.P.    I couldn’t tell if they were conducting some sort of training session, or what was going on. One young woman waited until she was ready to cross the street and hurriedly kicked at our 40DFL sign, knocking it on it’s side.   (down,  but not out   😉 )  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes from Kathy, 3-5 shift :

Prayer Warriors Christine, Beverly, Mindy and Joe

Beverly and Minda from Good Samaritan in Ambridge prayed on one side of circle as I prayed on other side. We prayed together as we were joined by first timer Christine from Zion Christian in Carrick. 
Christine brought a poem she had written:”When you were born!”
We were grateful that she shared it and prayed with us. Gave her 40 Days brochure to share at her church. 
Shared diaper info with 2 moms-to-be:  First one greeted us by pulling up her coat and rubbing her belly. “I am having my baby ,” she beamed.  She is due in February. 
Second one.:   “I am due any day,”she glowed. Penelope will be her name.
Both were glad we were there. Many positive comments. 

 

 

Notes from Billy:

Good afternoon I was with Holy Child – St. Barbara Parrish in Bridgeville today. 
We had a huge turn out today of pro-lifers which was incredible, I got to meet some lovely people.
There was a Terese, there was a Nancy and Bill, Audrey, Vince, and Shelly just to name a few, and we prayed, we discussed  about the Gosnell movie —– if you haven’t seen it you have to!  It  will be playing until Tuesday now to my knowledge. It was humbling, and reinforced to me why I am down here with you all ——  we are here to fight for babies and their right to be born!  We are fighting for babies not blobs, but  actual babies.  We had a passerby watch us as we were reading from stations of the cross, and two pro-life girls walking by us that encouraged us as well.  A couple people went in and out of Planned Parenthood, and this week the door was open but we didn’t have a lot of issues today! It was a good day!

Day 24: Thank you to St. Joseph Parish, St. Thomas More Parish, Round Hill Presbyterian, and Individual Volunteers!

Humility: the state of being humble

40 Days for Life is based on a Scripture passage about humility:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

We need to humble ourselves in order to recognize that we don’t have the power to defeat this problem on our own.  We have to turn to God, Who alone can end abortion forever.


Humility: From the Latin root humus, meaning ground.

The international headquarters of 40 Days for Life is emphasizing this need for humility with a new slogan:  “Knees on the Ground to End the Local Violence of Abortion”  Kneeling in prayer puts us in an outward posture of our inward state.  Kneeling reminds us–and everyone who sees us–that we are weak and in need of God’s help.


Humility: the theme of the Fall 2018 campaign of 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh…straight from the Holy Spirit to Nikki’s heart.

An inward state of humility and an outward posture of kneeling are so important for what we want to accomplish on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.  I love this theme and I’m grateful to Nikki for listening to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Despite all that, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t kneeled on the street yet.  I guess I’ve been embarrassed by what people might think.  Not even the people passing by so much as the people with whom I’m praying…like I’m trying to show off or something.  I know it’s ridiculous…just proves that the devil will use any little angle he can to keep us from moving closer to God.

With God’s help, I plan to get over myself this week and kneel before Him on the sidewalk to ask for the immediate and permanent closure of Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh as well as an end to abortion everywhere.  Won’t you please come with me?

Here is a link to the schedule…  https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/  You can use it to find a good time to join us, or you can just show up when the Holy Spirit moves you to.  We’ll be at 933 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh from 7 AM to 7 PM now through November 4th.  When discerning whether or not to bring children with you, please be aware that there are passers-by who engage in varying degrees of aggressive behavior.

~Jen


Scenes from the Sidewalk, Friday 10/19

7-9 AM, Nikki:

We had an awesome presence on the sidewalk for the 7 to 9 shift this morning! There were four of us from Saint Joe’s in Verona: Bob, Joyce, Tim and myself. Faithful Sally and Al were there also for our entire shift. Before my shift was over, a large group of Pittsburgh homeschoolers arrived, there must have been at least 15 of them! And also parishioners from St. Thomas Moore church in Bethel Park arrived for the beginning  of their church’s time slot which goes until three today! It was so inspiring to see the dedication of many people who are willing to come out in the cold morning to witness to the sanctity of every human life! There were couples beginning to enter the abortion clinic around 8 o’clock, some did take the information, others did not. The most inspiring thing that happened, I think, was that a young man named Mark stopped to talk to me to share his personal conversion with me. He was miraculously delivered from drugs, alcohol and homosexuality through direct help from Jesus and Mary! He is going to St. Mary of Mercy Church in town right now and carries a picture of Jesus with him everywhere he goes, which he took out of his bag and  showed to me. I am praising God for His miraculous works! Mark wants to get involved in 40 Days for Life and is planning to come to the sidewalk tomorrow when we have a need in the afternoon.  He told me to look up the testimony of a woman named Mary Catherine Baxter, which I will do. Supposedly she has books published all around the world. She supposedly received visions of heaven which showed her what happens to aborted babies. According to Mark, and according to this book which I will look up, every time a baby is aborted there are two angels on either side of the woman. They take the soul of the baby and put it in a white box. The soul is supposedly something like a gray mist. They carry it to Jesus, he holds the soul in his hand and breathes on it, and it becomes a full-grown nine-month-old baby. The baby is then named “precious”, unless the parents on earth have given the baby a name, and in that case, the baby receives the name given to her by his parents. I thought that was just beautiful, and it rings true to me. It was a blessed time on the sidewalk this morning! Thank you to everyone who came! 

St. Joe’s group
Faithful Sally & Al, celebrating 62 years of marriage tomorrow!
A touching Memorial left by someone on the sidewalk today
Catholic Homeschoolers of Pittsburgh along with Saint Thomas More parishioners

 

9-11 AM, Kathy:

When I arrived, Nikki and the group from St. Thomas Moore and a family of homeschoolers were receiving the rant from a woman stating her opinion as to why they shouldn’t be there on the sidewalk. As she left, she yelled, “…and Kavanaugh is going to overturn Roe vs Wade!”  We hope he and the other justices do soon, but remember this woman, and others like her, in your prayers.

Another homeschooling family came and prayed together on the other side of the circle.  Thank you, family.  The others and I read today’s devotional and sang the hymn, “All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name”.  It was the first time they heard this hymn.
Many folks passing by accepted literature.  One woman entering PP took a picture of both sandwich boards.  When she exited the building, I asked if she would like a pamphlet on fetal development which she declined.  She said that PP does other things than abortion that are good but appreciated my concern.
Dan and Bob from St Thomas More Church
Many roses brought today

11 AM-1 PM, Marie:

St. Thomas More stood witness for the entire day.  Several of their parishioners were present during my shift.  They took pictures they planned to send to Nikki.  The shift was uneventful except for some disgusting and perverted art work being taken into Planned Parenthood.  They must have been planning to have a function because they were also taking in service ware.

1-3 PM, Dave and Noreen:

We had a pretty quiet day today during the 1 – 3 shift.  We had some great people from St. Thomas More parish, as well as a couple other prayer warriors.

David, Mary Jane, Rose Ann and Leslie

David, Toni and Adriana
Carolyn and her daughter Karen

3-5 PM, Sue:

When I got there for the shift, Mary Jane was still there and Julius and Bob from Round Hill Church were already set up! It was busy on the sidewalk. Lots of people passing by. We handed out as much information as we could. We got some negative looks as well as positive comments. It always strikes me as odd when people glance at the baby models and than give you a negative look…they are biologically correct fetal models…! A woman who I recognized and recognized me, passed by and showed her displeasure that we were there. She was quite a ways down the sidewalk when she returned to have a discussion with us. We came to no agreement on our views, but Bob was really attentive and a good listener. She thanked us for that as she left, which I thought was a big step forward! I also want to relay a story from Cathy, who came to bring a flower after work. On her way down the sidewalk, she stopped to say a kind word to a woman with a disability. As they were chatting, the woman asked Cathy where she was going. When Cathy told her, the woman said that she knows ayoung lady who is in PP recovering from an abortion today. Cathy laid her flower on the sidewalk for that baby and will pray for the Mom. She took some post-abortion information in case she could pass it on to the woman on her way back. Lori, her daughter and daughter’s friend from Round Hill Church came to stand with us just as next SM David showed up as well Claire to pray the psalms and Jim on his way home from work.

Julius and Bob from Round Hill Church
Lori, her daughter and daughter’s friend from Round Hill Church
Cathy who dropped by after work to bring a flower to the vigil

5-7 PM, David:

We had a nice evening to pray and witness. An artist, Chiaka Howze, came by and wowed us with his gift of artistry evident in the picture he drew of Matt and Mayim. I wish I would have taken his picture. He was quite a character. It was the typical passersby. We had a few negatives and a few positives but it was good that we were there!  God Bless!

Round Hill Presbyterian minister Matt and his daughter Mayim
Chiaka Howze’s impressive sketch!
Memorial for precious lives lost at Planned Parenthood
Kaylee, Rayli, Benson, and Lori. The ladies are from Round Hill Presbyterian.
Rayli, James and Claire from St. Bernard’s, Lori, and Kaylee

Day 23: Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Pittsburgh Area Byzantines, St. Bernadette Catholic Church (Monroeville), and all of our Shift Buddies and other prayer volunteers!!

40 Days for Life

I chose you from the world

to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

cf. John 15:16

 

I was thinking about this verse a lot last evening…. and I’d like to share some reflections which hopefully relate to our vigil.

First, the Lord says, “I chose you.”  Do we realize how amazing it is to have been CHOSEN?  To choose someone is not random.  It is quite purposeful.  When I am chosen for anything- even if it is something I’d rather not do!- or something I don’t think I’d be good at- I still feel honored at having been CHOSEN to do it.  How much MORE should we feel honored at having been CHOSEN by Our Lord to be HIS?

The Lord also says, “I chose you from the world.”  Remember the old “duck pond” game at church festivals?  I used to love that game when I was little.  Out of all the little plastic ducks in that plastic swimming pool, I had to choose ONE.  And I’d excitedly turn it over to see what my prize was going to be, as it was written on the bottom of the duck.  It was a moment of suspense for a little child, to search the “pond” with shrewd eyes and decide “Yes, this is the one!!”

A rough and crude analogy, to be sure… because God doesn’t work that way…. exactly.  But He DOES look shrewdly upon His people, and CHOOSES some to do His work.  We see that clearly with people who are universally acknowledged as being chosen to do God’s work: St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), Pope St. John Paul II, Reverend Billy Graham, etc.

But what about us?  Has God CHOSEN us to do His work?  Let me tell you, if we are involved in any kind of pro-life ministry, then I say a resounding YES.  This is not a ministry for the faint of heart.

And finally, the Lord says, “I chose you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last.”  What is this “fruit”?  When the Lord says that He wants us to bear fruit, of course, this could mean lots of things.  And sometimes, the fruit we bear at any given moment depends upon the work in which we are currently involved.  In our pro-life work, then, the fruit we bear might look like some of the following:

 

HELPING WOMEN

 

BRINGING FLOWERS TO THE SIDEWALK TO MEMORIALIZE THE UNBORN WHO WERE KILLED AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD

 

OFFERING POSITIVE MESSAGES TO THE WOMEN, ENCOURAGING THEM TO CHOOSE LIFE

 

SAVING LIVES LIKE THIS LITTLE GIRL’S…. SO SHE CAN BE HELD AND LOVED

 

THROWING OUT A VIRTUAL LIFE PRESERVER WITH OUR WORDS AND PRAYERS, SO LIVES AND FAMILIES CAN BE SAVED

 

BEING PASSIONATE, SHOWING UP, AND PRAYING

 

PRAYING FOR MEN

 

PRAYING FOR WOMEN

 

PULLING SOMEONE OUT OF A DIFFICULT SITUATION

 

SEEKING OUT THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED OF HELP

 

SAVING SOMEONE’S LIFE FROM A PATH OF DESTRUCTION AND REGRET

 

SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE FEEL TIRED

 

ALL of these are ways we can bear fruit in this ministry.  So let us not grow weary in doing good!!

 

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki:

It was a quiet and peaceful shift. We had a nice group From Manordale Knights of Columbus with us for our whole shift. They brought a large bouquet of pink roses, which Peggy distributed around the circle. Peggy and I knelt in the crosswalk facing the doors and prayed. Thank you to everyone who came!

Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus!!

 

Beautiful roses from the Knights, to commemorate those who have been aborted.

 

Thank you to the next group for the next shift– Pastor Joe, Jessie, and Judy!! Tell Chuck we missed him!!

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived on the scene for the changing of the guard at 9 AM – so nice to see Nikki and Peggy on this crisp sunny morning. Meredith, Jessie, Judy and Pastor Joe represented LPNaz and we were soon joined by Katie…a very bright spot in our day. A big thanks to Katie for bringing so many resources and “good” things to hand out to people…and her zeal and determination to connect with people.

I started my shift out on my knees in front of the doors, and immediately the Lord impressed upon me to pray for the babies being murdered inside the building … In my mind there was one particular baby and the Lord led me to pray for Jesus to shield her (I think) from the pain of the brutal slaughter and for Jesus to receive her precious life into His everlasting arms. I was so overwhelmed by the prayer and my mind’s picture that I began to cry. After I finished praying, a young man (“B”) came out (he actually came out a couple times to smoke). I tried to approach him a couple of times, and finally he let me talk to him. I found out that his friend “S” was in there having an abortion. I gave him our resource card and told him she might need some support after the abortion. He allowed me to pray with him and he went back in and waited. I realized then that this was that baby I was praying for. He came out again before I left my shift and even though he was talking on his phone he stopped so I could talk to him. He asked me to pray for S. I told him about my experience of praying for the baby and that the baby was safe in the arms of Jesus and assured him that I would be praying for S. So, let’s all be lifting S up in prayer, that God will bring healing to her life.

         Another lady went in and didn’t totally ignore me but didn’t stop. When she came out, I had an opportunity to talk to her because she had to wait to cross the street. She said she brought someone else in who couldn’t get services anywhere else (not sure what she meant by that), but she was very interested in our resource card and took two. She said she didn’t believe in abortion…so I told her the statistics of our PP and urged her to not support them. Even though she was in a hurry, she took the time to hear the information. She went back into PP a little later and then she came back out with her friend and her little baby. Pastor Joe asked the mom if he could bless the baby and she was happy to receive that. We all joined in that joyful prayer.

         There were three very young ladies who went in. Two of them were in the waiting room and the blinds were open. I had offered them the resource card on their way in but they were not interested. As the two were sitting in the waiting room I stood in front of the window and offered them the card again. They were able to see the picture of the pregnant mom on the sign around my neck. One of the girls looked distressed and seemed to be wiping tears. Meredith mouthed that she would drive them somewhere else for services. When the two girls came out and crossed the street Katie was able to engage them and offer them resources. They at least looked at the material but did not accept them.

         A young man came by who needed prayer. His young girlfriend had died of an overdose in September. It was very tragic. He showed me her picture and she was so beautiful. I acknowledged the tragedy and his loss and was able to pray for him. I can’t remember his name, but perhaps all of you can lift him in prayer that God will continue to mend his grieving heart and be a help in his time of need.

         There were a couple of passersby who could also use prayer…one individual said we were wasting our time. One passerby had a choice name for me and told us to stop talking but he didn’t linger or do any other confrontation. So let’s pray that God turns their stony hearts into fleshy hearts and reveals Himself to them.

         There was a young man riding his bicycle past PP and stopped at the models and was talking to our group on that side of the walk. He explained his past life of addiction and hard circumstances. He said that he was now a Christian. Pastor Joe had an opportunity to pray with him.

         Meredith had an encouraging word for today…she has the sense that this PP is crumbling from the inside…the entire inside is crumbling. As she explained it I envisioned that picture in my mind, and I am claiming that as answered prayers and fasting. Perhaps we can all envision that in our minds and claim it to the glory of God. …The end of abortion at 933 Liberty Avenue in the Mighty Name of Jesus!!!

 

Faithful ladies, Meredith and Jessie

 

Thank you to Meredith, Jessie, and Katie!!

 

Lisa K.:

Today was a sad day, as it was an abortion day, and many people who passed by didn’t seem to want our information.  But at the same time, those who refused were generally polite, not mean.  At least that was good.

Judy mentioned “B” in her report, and he did come out again during the 11-1 shift, this time with “S,” and Katie had seen that S was crying.  Deacon Paul went over to talk to them, and suddenly a woman– a stranger– came out of nowhere and gave Deacon Paul a hard time for coming over to them!!  It didn’t seem like B had a problem with the deacon, but he just told him that S needed a little space.  So Deacon Paul gave her that.  As Judy said, please pray for them.

I am very thankful for all of those who came to pray with us today, including the Pittsburgh Byzantines, as well as Dan, Bob, John, and Lisa.  The Byzantine prayer service we had was beautiful!  Thank you all!

 

Fr. James led us in prayer.

 

Thank you, Dan, for your faithfulness!

 

Byzantine prayer service

 

Pittsburgh Byzantines: George, Patricia, Fr. James, Deacon Paul, and Gerri. Thank you all!!

 

Helen:

Dee and Mary Frances came from St. Bernadette, Monroeville, to pray. After we prayed the rosary, Dee gave away several rosaries to people who saw the red, white and blue ones in her hands, and liked them. Benson took his usual place beside the pole near the new fetal models. I did not know until today that he comes to PP after school every day.

At Mass this morning, I prayed that NO ONE would go into PP while I was there. The only person who went in while we were there was a UPS man delivering what looked like a load of paper.

The crispy cool in the shade was alleviated somewhat when the sun came over the top of the local skyscrapers.

 

Thank you to Benson, Dee, and Mary Frances!!

 

May the Lord help us

to continue to do His work,

and bear much fruit that will last. 

God have mercy on us all.

 

Day 22…Thanks to St. Paul Seminary, Knights of Columbus (McKeesport Council #955) and many dedicated individuals!

I’ve been thinking a lot about saints lately…

What exactly is a saint?

Technically, a saint is simply someone who is in Heaven.  Hopefully we will all be saints someday, right?  However, when we talk about people being “Saints“…usually we are talking about people who have lived with such extraordinary faith that their lives inspire others to strive to imitate them.  In other words…a Saint is someone who not only gets themselves to Heaven…they help many others to get there as well.  Saints are like luminaries, lining a dark path, which leads to everlasting life with Christ.  Our journey through this life is difficult.  There are those who would prefer to drag us down, rather than lift us up.  I thank God for placing certain people in my life that have been saints to me.  These people help to lift me towards Heaven, and I am very grateful for them.

I would like to talk about Al and Sally Brunn.

Without embarrassing them….I just want to express my appreciation for the impact their lives have had on my life. This past Sunday was their Magee Picket.  Six times a year, (always on a Sunday from 1-3 pm), they stand in front of Magee Hospital with large signs.  Their signs are meant to educate passersby that Magee does abortions, and what abortion actually does to a baby.  Usually Sally texts me a couple days before the day of the picket and I try to make it if I can.  I am sorry to admit that my heart wasn’t in it as I began the drive to Oakland this past Sunday.  I was thinking of all the other things I would rather do on my Sunday afternoon.  But as I stood on the corner of  Craft and Forbes, holding a large sign that showed a 12 week baby who had been ripped to shreds during a suction abortion, I began to watch the expressions on people’s faces as they drove by.  I especially noticed that many young girls and women, who were passengers in the cars, would strain their necks as their cars passed…so they could continue to look at my sign even after they were past me.  I saw many wide eyes and mouths.  It reminded me of a powerful scene from the Gosnell movie, which I had just seen the previous evening.  In that scene, the prosecutor was making his closing statement to the jury.  He had large photos of “Baby Boy B“, (one of Gosnell’s victims), which he was showing the jury.  One by one, he showed each member of the jury the photo.  The expressions on the jurors faces actually made ME cry!  Seeing the shock, sadness and grief of those jurors…gave me hope in the overall goodness of mankind.  People can philosophize abortion and say they are pro-choice.  They can try to make it a political issue.  But when they see it for what it really is…naked and uncovered…most people are horrified.  I cried during this scene and I was glad that I was crying.  It was good to know that my heart isn’t dried up and that I can still cry over abortion.  I have seen the pictures so much, and for so many years, that they don’t make me cry anymore.  But seeing OTHERS see them for the first time, and crying over them…THAT made me cry.

Standing on that corner on Sunday afternoon, I realized….there wasn’t anything more important that I could have been doing on my Sunday afternoon.

If it weren’t for the faith and perseverance of Sally and Al, I would not have been there.  In fact, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be leading a 40 Days for Life campaign and probably wouldn’t even be involved in pro life activity at all!  Why?  Because when God first broke my heart over abortion in 2009, and I didn’t know another soul who cared about abortion, when I got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood all alone…who did I see standing there?  Al, Sally and Bob Newman.  If they weren’t there every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, all year round…I would have never had the courage to continue to go and stand all alone after that.  In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we wouldn’t even have 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh if it weren’t for them.  So, Al and Sally, you have been saints to me.  You have helped pull me up.  And I thank you for that.  Happy 62nd anniversary (this Saturday) to you both!  May God continue to bless and protect you!

What this world needs now is more saints!  People who are willing to give up their own lives for others!

Many of us are willing to give to a certain extent.  But we hold back.  We don’t give radically! I am in this camp, I must admit.  But knowing Al and Sally has made me want to be better.  I want to be like them.  I want to give my WHOLE life, even to the point of foolishness…for Christ.  I hope I never feel that I have done enough.  At the end of my life, I want to be like Saint Paul, and be able to say;

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

If you haven’t yet seen the Gosnell film, it’s not too late!  I think this is a movie all pro-life people should support.  The cast does a superb job and the movie is not disgustingly graphic.  It is playing at the Pittsburgh Mills on Wed., Fri., Sat., and Sunday.  It is also playing at three other theaters through Monday…. Loews at the Waterfront, Mt. Lebanon, and AMC Westmoreland 15.    You can find the times and directions online.


Read on for reports from the vigil today…

Charlene reports from the 7-9 am shift:

It was very peaceful and prayerful today. The temps said it was warmer but the winds made it feel colder. Diane and Peggy were setting up when I arrived…it’s nice to start the day with cheerful people. Peggy and I did the devotional together…and she did her first rosary “knees to the ground”. Peace seems to come to people’s faces when someone is praying on their knees. We were joined for an hour by Bill who prayed and handed out literature.  I want to end this peaceful shift with another quote from Matthew Kelly ,”The world will change. It always has. Will it change for the better? You and I, one moment at a time, get to answer that question together”. Prayer warriors on the sidewalk. Charlene

Peggy had her knees on the ground in prayer this morning!
sidewalk memorial

Cathy wrote from the 9-11 am shift:

No pictures today.  Hopefully someone in a later shift is sending one of the seminarians.  I was hoping to get Barb and Rich to take one, but by the time Rich came all but one of the guys had left to go to DU for class, planning to come back later.  I told them they better get good notes for the one who stayed, skipping class!

The ones who came were Nick, Eli, Alec, Dan, Brian and Dan, plus Clare and James.

I was joined this morning by six wonderful Pittsburgh seminarians and the parents of one of them.  Several women/couples went into the clinic, including one who thanked us enthusiastically for being there so she knew where to go.   Two girls, one carrying a bag, accepted the resource card when leaving.  One woman stopped to talk on her way out.

(Nick, the seminarian from St. Paul’s Seminary who coordinated the group), took these photos and sent them in:

Dan in prayer
Seminarians Eli and Brian in praye

Richard was the shift manager from 11-1

Shift manager Richard with John Paul, a seminarian

Barbara was under the weather today, so hubby Richard held down the fort…but no shift report.  I (Nikki) stopped to pray during his shift, and took this photo.  I didn’t get a picture of Nick, who was the seminarian before him.  While I was there, I knelt in front of the door to pray.  My eyes were open, so I watched as people walked in.  One couple went in and I watched as the man pulled his card out of his wallet and handed it through the receptionist window.  Payment for an abortion, I guess.  He turned and looked at me.  Our eyes made contact for a brief moment.  No expression that I could tell, but I wonder if it made him think that his child must have value…if someone was willing to pray on their knees in the street for him.

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 pm and wrote:

What a joy it was to pray with five men who have chosen the priesthood and are studying at St. Paul’s Seminary.  I was joined by John from Butler, Adam, Sean, John, and Dan.  A man stopped to tell us the story of his daughter, Mackensie, who suffers from Crohn’s disease and is in danger of losing her health coverage.  As he left, we told him we’d pray our next Rosary for her, and we did.  Mary Jane, my faithful Wednesday prayer partner, lovingly offered pregnancy resource cards to every passerby.  Mimi joined us toward the end of my shift and joined us in the Rosary.  There was very little traffic in and out of PP and I didn’t hear one negative comment.  More than a few people said positive things as they passed by and we heard several “God Bless yous”. Thank God, especially in this culture, for young men who hear God calling them and answer His call.

Seminarians Adam and Sean
John, Mimi and Dan
John and Mary Jane

Jeannie had the 3-5 pm shift.  She wrote:

Just another beautiful day with pro lifers in Pittsburgh! I was lucky enough to cross paths with two seminarians Dan and John —who happens to be my nephew. What joy! Mimi rounded out the crowd at three and we engaged in the rosary with the Knights of Columbus men from Corpus Christi in McKeesport. Mary Jane stayed over from Saint Bernards & Pius 10. The sun came in and out but our mood stayed up the entire time. Many positive comments and a few negative ones. The great part is we are available to talk to anyone in a peaceful prayerful way, and that is wonderful.  Debbie from north of Butler was in the city taking her dad shopping and she stayed with us to pray. I told her the best people in the world are on the sidewalk praying at Planned Parenthood. I believe it.

Mike, Mimi, Joe and Debbie
Faithful Mary Jane
Mimi praying to end abortion

Joe K. manned the final vigil shift of the day and sent in this report:

Extremely blessed to start a blustery shift with my fellow parishioner and fellow Knight of Columbus, Mike. along with a perfect trifecta of Faithful Shift Buddies – Benson, Audrey, and Jim.  Just can’t say enough about my appreciation for my Shift Buddies – “yinz” are the best!
The evening was overly calm – a few positive comments and only a single head-shake
Jim from St. Maurice stopped by on his way home from work.
A woman, who stopped by a few weeks ago to discuss her views and prior abortion, stopped
again and after looking at the fetal models further discussed her situation – I offered her info,
though she declined – she’s obviously still hurting after all these years – please pray for this woman…
Got a pleasant surprise visit from an ole Sidewalk Advocate, Jim – who stopped by to pray.
During one of our group prayers just as someone was reading (Matthew 17:5) about the Transfiguration
“While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from
the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am will pleased;
listen to him.”
Blinding sunshine broke through the clouds down Liberty Ave. (The Point end) on us…
Audrey’s students from Duquesne U.. Katie and Joe, who had been there a few weeks
ago, joined us towards the end of the shift – awesome to have the next generation present…
Tom arrived to pack it in, but there was one lasting memory from the evening – as Mike and
I started to walk back to the car, I noticed a young woman had picked up some of the flowers
left on the sidewalk around 933 and was getting her picture with them – thought it was cool
she was getting some enjoyment out of them, but I also hoped she realized why they were
there to begin with (“Both Sides Now”, eh?)…
Shift Buddies Benson and Audrey, Mike (Knights of Columbus), and Shift Buddy Jim
The whole crew…
Lower – Joe & Mike (Knights of Columbus)
Upper – Shift Buddies Jim and Audrey flanking Audrey’s Duquesne U. students Katie and Joe

 

Day 21: Thank you St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church (McKeesport); St. Joseph (Cabot); Bridge City Church (Brighton Heights)

I had a chance to see the Gosnell movie this weekend. The most striking part of the film for me was the testimony of an expert witness during his trial.  Alexandra DeSanctis from the National Review describes the scene from the movie:

In his effort to get Gosnell off the hook, the defense attorney cross-examines another abortionist, who testifies that she, unlike Gosnell, would never snip a living infant’s spine, never allow unlicensed staff members to administer anesthesia, never let a woman die on a table in her clinic. She’s a good abortionist.

She says she has performed more than 30,000 abortions, many of them in the second trimester. The defense attorney slowly walks her through the procedure used to legally terminate those pregnancies. He shows a sonogram of a 23-week-old fetus, has the abortionist explain just where she’d inject a needle to stop its heartbeat. He has her explain how she evacuates the brains of the fetus in the womb to allow for its removal, how she’d use scissors to aid in the process. And what would she do, he asks, if a fetus happened accidentally to be delivered alive?

The abortionist hesitates only a moment before saying she’d provide “comfort care,” which she describes as keeping the fetus warm and comfortable. “Eventually it will pass,” she adds.

“So basically you’d let it die?” The defense attorney finishes the thought for her. “Seems like it’d be more humane to just take a pair of scissors. …” He trails off and grins; he’s made his point. How can Gosnell be punished for doing what every abortionist does? They all ensure that unwanted fetuses are killed. The means by which they do so is a secondary concern.

The Gosnell movie is pro-life because it unflinchingly exposes the fact that all abortion necessarily involves the death of a human being.

I am reminded  of what Nikki said in her blog a couple of weeks ago: “The Lord is answering our prayers. He has removed the cover of darkness and exposed evil…making it clear. No more deception. People are now free to choose good or evil”

You can still see the movie through Wednesday 10/17 at AMC theaters in Waterfront, Mt Lebanon or Westmoreland.

 

7-9: Charlene and Dick

This morning we needed layers, gloves, and hats. But Dick and I were joined by vets: Al,Sally, and Helen from St. Robert Bellarmine…all dressed to the 9s in warm gear!
Helen, Sally and Al
I was thinking all week about the discussion at the team meeting (even though I wasn’t able to be there) about the closing of Planned Parenthood…so many others have closed…why not this one? I know God’s time is not our time. I know God will win in the end. But the human part of me wants it NOW!!! What more do we need to do? Matthew Kelly has a thought on that…”Do what is necessary ; then do what is possible; and the impossible will follow”. We are doing the necessary…praying on the sidewalk. Doing what is possible is up to each of us…we each know what one more step after necessary would be for us.Then we can keep moving forward in God’s plan and nothing will be impossible. Thank you Lord for keeping each of us on the road to the closing of Planned Parenthood!  Charlene

9-11: Beth

Fellow pro-lifers, it was cold outside PP today but absolutely soul-chilling inside, judging by those entering this morning. Charlene and Dick waited patiently as my bus took a surprising, longer route.  But I was there in time to see the abortionist and five associates walk past me in stone cold silence as we said that we would be praying for them.  Ed continued to make friends, furry and human, handing out doggie treats and literature to pets and their owners.

And today made up for a slow last Saturday.  Lots of sad-looking clients and workers in more than the usual amounts .  Beth Ann and Theresa arrived to offer warm-hearted prayers, especially for the young woman who had to be in the last trimester and came back out soon after, still mightily pregnant carrying a sheet of paper.  Who knows what that was. And to add to the frigid atmosphere, the biomedical waste truck parked down the street and three huge boxes were taken out by PP employees.

Finally, Cecilia and Joyce and Sandy and Vivian came to the rescue with warmth from friendship and prayer.

11-1: Cecilia

Cecilia and her group from Saint Joe’s in Cabot along with individual volunteers who showed up for 1 to 3 shift

The sidewalk was beautifully adorned with many flowers, thanks to this generous husband of a vigil participant from yesterday.  He brought them today!  What a blessing!  There are many good people in this world!

        

Bob
Joyce, Sandi and Vivien

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1-3pm Nikki

 It was a gorgeous fall afternoon to pray and witness for life today! It was nice to see Cecilia and Joyce and their group from Saint Joseph in Cabot when I arrived. They are such faithful witnesses and such wonderful sisters in the Lord! I brought my good friend and shift buddy, Carol, with me for my shift. It was a blessing to Pray and chat with her.

Nikki and shift buddy Carole

Also,  it was a nice last minute blessing to see Jeanie‘s two sisters, Claire and (I’m sorry I forget the name of the other one), they brought a beautiful homemade sign that said we love you which they held as they prayed the Psalms during their shift. Maryjane been so faithful to come just about every day, and she was there for my entire shift and was  planning to be there for another hour after I left. It was a very peaceful shift on the sidewalk. No negative comments at all, and quite a few positive ones. I love looking at the fetal models that Diane brings. They make such an impact on so many people notice them! Shift manager Mike showed up for his 3 to 5 shift, along with the pastor from Bridge city Church, Gary, and Vicky arrived to begin their time of prayer.  Others were expected to be arriving shortly, as I left the vigil in the capable hands of Mike, the next shift manager.  God is good!

Faithful Mary Jane

 

3-5: Michael

Pastor Gary, Andy, Inky, Vicky of Bridge City Church in Brighton Heights and Benson from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon
Vickie from Bridge City Church and SM Michael

It is sunny with a chill in the air. There is something different about being at PP this campaign. I cannot put my finger on it. My gut tells me the PP staff is weakening.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part, but it appears to me they are afraid to make eye contact with us when they walk by. Are they being told to do that or are they afraid if they do look us in the eye,then maybe they will weaken and become vulnerable to admitting to the reality of what they are doing is wrong??? The Lord works in mysterious ways.  If these people have a conscience and we know they do, sooner or later, reality will set in.  If one person gives in and wakes up, then others will follow. We must keep praying for His will to be done. No glory for us, Him alone.

Some devout Christian people blessed our vigil today. They are from Bridge City Church in Brighton Heights (North Side of Pittsburgh). Pastor Gary, Andy, Inky and Vicky prayed so beautifully and fervently, making my shift so very memorable and meaningful. God bless their Church and congregation. These are the kind of people our movement needs and are truly blest to have. Amen for now.

 

5-7: Lisa

A peace filled, knees to the ground, prayerful time this evening.  A blessing to have Lori, Denise and Johanna with me tonight.  We definitely felt a fall chill!

Lori, Denise, and Johanna

 

Day 20: Harvest Baptist Church

Perspective

I gave this humility thing a try while at pp. I got down on my knees to pray. I’ll admit the getting down part was not so easy but once there my focus changed. I was no longer looking up and down the street. I was focused on my conversation with God. I stared at the flower placed on the yellow line. I thought about what was going on just a few feet in front me behind those doors. My knees didn’t hurt. I prayed that God ends abortion here, in our country and in the world and I know God heard me.  You see “Heaven never fails to hear me”. I felt both a sense of peace as well as confidence. We will win sooner or later.

What a great change of perspective. I suggest you try it. I’ll admit the getting up part forced a groan out me but I felt renewed.

As Abe Lincoln said “No man is so tall as when he stoops to help a child…”

Thanks to the faithful from Harvest Baptist Church for coming to the vigil today.  Here are today’s reports from the vigil.

7-9 am From Sue D.:

We brought baby’s breath and a rose to the sidewalk this morning in memory of the babies who lost their lives here. It was a quiet morning. A lot of school children passed by. Many workers went in to pp. Most could not get in the front door, so seemed to go down the alley to go in the back. There was a slight mist as Rose handed out about 40 flyers and we prayed the rosary and divine mercy. It was nice to see Lisa, the next “sub”shift manager since our paths rarely cross on the sidewalk! We had a couple minutes to share our thoughts on the Gosnell movie which we both saw this weekend. Thank you, Sue

From Lisa K. 9-11 am:

This morning, I was warmly greeted by Shift Manager Sue D. and Shift Buddy Rose. God bless you, ladies!!

Today was an amazingly prayerful shift. It was very quiet, not many PP clients at all (if any). I was so thankful to have Shari from Harvest Baptist Church there with me for two hours. She was a first-timer, and a dear soul. Thank you, Shari!!!

A young man walked by with a smile. His t-shirt said, “Of course your opinion matters….. just not to me.” Fine, not a problem. But then at the last second as he passed me, he said nastily, “Get a life.” I didn’t respond, of course, but my first instinct was to laugh! I couldn’t help but think that the sentiment on his t-shirt was exactly what I was thinking about his words to me!! 🙂 I did pray for him, though.

A man out for a run went running by, saying, “Way to go, way to go,” with a thumbs up. That was much appreciated.

A pregnant woman passed by. We smiled at each other. Then as she stopped and waited for the light to change to cross Liberty, she read the sign next to her about the development of the unborn baby. (See Photo)

Then, there was a large group of high school students passing by with their teacher. The teacher seemed to be walking briskly, intentionally not making eye contact with me. One of the students must have expressed some concern about walking past us 40 Days people, because I heard the teacher reply as they shot nervous glances in my direction, “You’ll be okay…” And I thought, seriously? As though anyone has anything to fear from US?? Sigh. What a mixed-up world.

One last thing. There seem to have been so many issues with that Planned Parenthood door sticking this past week….. and today, there seemed to be more issues. A man from Guardian security was there to work on some aspect of the door. So much time spent on that door today!! So much discussion!! Every time anyone came to the door and talked about its problems, it just gave me more opportunity to PRAY about that dang door. I never prayed so hard for those doors to break!! To be stuck!! To be closed and locked permanently!! And I kept praying, “Not for anyone’s harm, Lord, but FOR THEIR GOOD.” May the King of Kings, who holds all power in His hands, close those doors forever!!!

From Ginny 11-1 pm:

We prayed many rosaries, passed out lots of literature today.
We got many positive responses. Also, a few negatives, but more positives.
We had good weather no rain. Praise be to God. Some people passing by stopped to pray with us.

From Beth S. 1-3:

Rose and I had wonderful prayer partners today at PP. Edith, Mary Alice and Sandy came for the entire 11-3 shift. Edith gave out lots of literature. Many people thanked us for being there. Maybe our message and peaceful way of handling things is getting through to the general public.
There wasn’t much activity today except weather-wise. By the time Claudia joined us at 3, the wind and brought a steady downpour. Rosalind and Francis took over and braved the elements as Rose and I left.

Day 19: THANK YOU to Saint Maria Goretti Parish, Bloomfield; Saint Killian Catholic Church, Cranberry; Transfiguration Church, Russelton; Carmelite Nuns of Erie PA; Scheduled Volunteers Deacon Joe D., Patty M., and Jim and Cathy S.

Blessed the man who follows not

the counsel of the wicked

Nor walks in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the company of the insolent,

But delights in the law of the Lord

and meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 1

MY CHOICE

One of the saddest scenes I see on the sidewalk is a man accompanying “his woman” to her scheduled abortion.  Americans are free to choose abortion as the solution to their crisis pregnancy.

According to Bishop Robert Barron, our country defines “freedom” quite differently than the Bible does.  Here is a quote from the Supreme Court decision, Casey v. Planned Parenthood, 1992.

It belongs to the very nature of liberty

to determine the meaning of my own life and

my own existence and,

indeed,

the meaning of the universe.

 

Here’s the Biblical understanding of freedom.

Freedom is about the disciplining of desire

to make the achievement of the good first possible;

and then, effortless.

Bishop Robert Barron

 

For freedom Christ set us free;

so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

When love first beckons a couple, they experience beauty and joy.  Consider this scene from a Christmas classic movie, HOLIDAY INN.  Fred Astaire and Virginia Dale dance in delightful synchronicity with each other and with the music.  Watch and listen as Astaire leads with dazzling masculine confidence and charm.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/1376358/Holiday-Inn-Movie-Clip-You-re-Easy-To-Dance-With.html

I could dance nightly just holding you tightly,
my sweet.
I could keep right on because you’re so light on
your feet.
You’re easy to dance with.

There is no doubt in the way we stand out in
the crowd.
Though it’s called dancing, to me it’s romancing
out loud.
You’re easy to dance with.

Loving you the way I do
makes you easy to dance with.
That is why I’m always right on the beat.
All those charms in one man’s arms
makes you easy to dance with.
I can hardly keep my mind on my feet.

Let’s dance forever.

Come on, say we’ll never
be through.
It’s so easy to dance with you.

Irving Berlin

The joy and finesse Astaire and Dale celebrate are elusive.

Initially couples dance together so easily.

They do not understand the magnitude of their undertaking.

They do not realize that their feelings might bring them to a life or death decision.

They do not realize that choosing abortion will bring death to each of them as well as their child.

 

We are wired for God.

Bishop Robert Barron

Since the beginning, God has shared all the information any couple needs as they share their love welcoming His company.

For this command which I am giving you today

is not too wondrous or remote for you.

No, it is something very near to you,

in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.

Deuteronomy

 

Jesus answered and said to him,

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

Gospel of John

PRAY FOR FAMILIES

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

JEN 7-9

Warm hearts on a cold street this morning…Diane and Tom came to supply all our vigil needs; while Shift Buddy, Vince and Dan from St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Bloomfield were there to pray for an end to abortion.

Vince has prepared beautiful booklets with Scriptural reflections on each of the 40 mysteries of the Rosary followed by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  He uses them each Sunday morning in May and June to hold vigils at PP in honor of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  We were happy to be able to pray through them today.

Most people passing by seemed indifferent to us today, with the exception of one friendly woman who requested a Precious Feet pin.  And faithful Bill stopped by on his way to Church–always a blessing to speak with him.

We left the vigil in good hands as Sue came to welcome parishioners from St. Kilian in Cranberry, including Lori and “F”.

God bless you all for sacrificing your time and comfort to pray for and reach out to those in danger and pain!

Vince, Jen, Dan
Saint Maria Goretti Parish
Jen, Shift Manager

___________________________________

SUE M. 9-11

The sidewalk was quiet and peaceful today, as it is on many a Sunday morning, and even more so with no big home games happening today.  The kind of quiet peacefulness that could easily lure one into a temptation to believe all is right with the world.  We know, however, that all is not right with our world as long as abortions are being committed in our hometown (really, of course, anywhere).  And so we continue to appear and fast and pray, and await that great day when there will be no more abortions in our city.

This morning was the first time during this vigil that I’ve felt ….chilly.   OK, I’ll be honest and go a little further ……. COLD.  We broke out the hats, gloves, scarves and winter coats, and also stood on the kneeling pads.  Yikes.  80 degrees to this, so quickly!

Yet our group was warm and friendly. The prayer within our group was warm, and so were our heartfelt discussions about faith and issues surrounding abortion.

I was joined for my entire shift by Gerry and Lori from St. Kilian, along with “F”, a first-timer at the vigil who told us he had only decided for sure this morning that he was coming down and was feeling the first-time apprehension about praying on the sidewalk that we’ve all felt.  (He did give me permission to tell that little story about him!)

I hope to have the honor and pleasure of praying with all three of them again soon!

Sue, Shift Manager
Lori, St. Killian Parish

___________________________________

ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1

We are blessed to have such faithful souls to pray with us at 40 days.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon with no negative feedback. A couple people thanked us for being there which is always encouraging.

One woman stopped to ask for some material on birth control for her daughter and we were happy to oblige. She thanked us and was grateful.

Eric,
Shift Volunteer Deacon Joe,
Bill, Pat, Karen, Mary

 

Rose and Mary Jane

 

Karen and Mary
Knees to the Ground

___________________________________

JEFF 1-3

Parishioners from Transfiguration Parish in Russelton stood with me today from 1 to 3.

Praying with Jeff for Life   
Parishioners of Transfiguration Church
Russelton

___________________________________

JEFF 5-7

Thanks to Joe W for switching 5-7 shifts with me so I could be with my family Saturday night (last night).  Committing to 40 Days as a shift manager has the benefit of a 40 Days family to back you up when you need it.  It makes me want to back them up when they need it.  That is how I ended up covering 1-3 and 5-7 today.

I got to see Judy from Transfiguration along with her crew as well as Cathy and Jim from Saint Gregory’s, all great folk I met through 40 Days for Life on the sidewalk.

Lots of positive comments from passers-by help to bolster my committment to the pro-life cause.  You don’t get that sitting at home watching the news, pettin’ pussycats.  You can see hope on that sidewalk alongside the hopeless, people lifting you up and others tearing you down…..making you stronger in the process.  You hear the arguments against life that you need to be ready to defend at a moment’s notice.  Your confidence rises as no one can present a pro-abort argument that can make you doubt yourself.

You witness what would happen if you weren’t on that sidewalk….people passing by without giving life a second thought….no seed of doubt planted in an angry pro-abort. Children wouldn’t be staring and commenting on the fetal models, seeing what preborn babies look like before someone tells them what to think about it (usually accompanied by an adult uncomfortable with the encounter). Pittsburgh’s 40 Days family never knowing you cared the way they cared.  God not knowing you cared…..the way He cares. For you.

Let God see you…on that sidewalk.  You got family waitin’ there.

Cathy and Jim
Saint Gregory Parish, Zelienople
Harry
Saint Alphonsus in Wexford

___________________________________

DEE

PRAYER OUTREACH

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Your request for prayers and fasting for 40 days for Life Pittsburgh came just as we were beginning the fast

of our Order (September 14  – Easter Sunday).  We are only too glad to add your intentions for Life to our prayers and sacrifices, especially now when it seems the devil is throwing all he has at his disposal to stop pro-lifers from getting a foothold in his domain.

Pope Saint John Paul II once said, “I plead with you – never ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

Seventeen campaigns to close a clinic/mill on (of all places) Liberty Avenue can seem daunting, but your efforts will not go unrewarded.

May God bless and Mary keep you for all you do for His little ones and their mothers!

Sincerely, in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Your devoted Carmelite Nuns,

Carmelite Nuns of Erie, PA

And God saw that it was good.

___________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18: Thanks to St. Elizabeth of Hungary /Pleasant Hills, St Sebastian /Ross. Twp. Mt. Zion Baptist/Butler

“IN THE EVENT OF A CABIN EMERGENCY, SECURE YOUR OXYGEN MASK FIRST BEFORE TENDING TO YOUR CHILD’s”

I  may be one of the vast MINORITY of  airline passengers who listens to the safety instructions given by the cabin steward/s.  I guess part of me thinks its rude not to look when someone’s speaking.  I always count the number of seats I’d have to pass before my exits, and look around to see others on the flight who made need a bit of help.  It has been years since I travelled with a minor, but one direction I am sure I know is this:  IN THE EVENT OF A CABIN EMERGENCY, SECURE YOUR OXYGEN MASK FIRST BEFORE TENDING TO YOUR CHILD’s.      I’ll admit to hearing that for the first time and thinking “this is backwards– children are in the most danger in risky situations, they need to be aided first” …  After thinking it through I eventually realized that the direction given by the cabin steward was most certainly correct.  You must stabilize your own well-being IN ORDER to help someone else.

Same with Abortion!   If we want to provide assistance to an unborn child who is threatened by abortion, we must ensure HER MOTHER is OK–

For years the pro-life movement has been relaying the stunning development of a fetus.  We know so much about these innocent little  beings– how truly unique they are, even showing left or right handedness in the first trimester.   We have rallied around the FACT that an individual growing human life exists before birth.  It is important information.

EXCEPT…. This beautiful child lives within her mom.  A Crisis Pregnancy is not a Pregnancy in Crisis— It is a pregnant MOM with a Crisis.   

The baby is NOT the crisis. He or she is naturally, wonderfully, developing within mom without any special assistance from anyone! I’d suggest that the baby is VERY self-sufficient in utero.  Moms don’t even have to feed unborn babies- they help themselves!   The womb is often seen as a symbol of warmth and peace and comfort.  Indeed it is.

It is the outside world that generates the  crisis— A woman  not be capable of providing for a child, the father of the child not supportive or even violent,  the woman’s work environment will not support her pregnancy,  the woman still needs to finish her education……. !

As we move forward in this important mission of LIFE, we must commit every resource possible to ELIMINATE the Crisis from a Pregnant woman’s life instead of eliminating her Child.  As we stand outside the Abortion Center, we must remember that the  VERY BEST WAY to give hope to children threatened by abortion is to GIVE HELP and HOPE and LOVE to their mothers.

Be that person who everyone knows will love and not judge, will be generous to a fault, will listen and understand.

Let’s  “Secure Mom’s Oxygen Mask” so SHE can in turn be able to care for her child.

SHIFT REPORTS:

7-9 Report from Tim

It was a brisk yet very blessed morning. There were no pp escorts which we took to mean no abortions were being performed and lives were saved today. While the group from St Elizabeth’s  was standing vigil a young woman walked by and erupted into the pro abort rhetoric   However, we starting in a lower tone talking with her and she opened up for a back and forth discussion. She voiced her concern with the possible abuse that could occur with adoption and then shared with us that she had an abortion. After several group hugs she apologized for her harsh words and accepted the Rachel’s Vineyard pamphlet.  Please pray for her healing.  Tim

Morning Joy

9-11 Shift report from Sue:

There were no escorts at PP when I arrived this morning! Very few people entered during the first hour, so we are hoping that PP did not do abortions today. Although in the last half hour it seemed to get busier with several couples and women who were alone entering their doors. I was joined by a nice sized group from St. Michaels in Wheeling. It was one of their participants first time on the sidewalk and he led the Rosary and Divine Mercy. Mike prayed on his knees on the sidewalk. Dean and St. Bonaventure’s showed up for the next shift with bouquets of flowers in memorial for the aborted children. Thank you for remembering and thank you to all who came to pray today! Sue

 

11-1 Shift Report from Dean

There was a strong show of support for 40DFL by St. Sebastian of North Hills and St. Michael’s of Wheeling, WVA when I arrived this morning. 
A young woman talking with one of the faithful from St. Michael’s, tried in vain to prove her point that a baby isn’t a person until the baby is outside of the womb.
God has a destination and a purpose for all the lives that He has created.

St. Sebastian prayer Warriors

Praying from St. Michael’s West Virginia

Shift report from Billy

Today, I was accompanied by a man named Tom and his family and Libby and Vince from St. Sebastian . We ended up having a conversation about the catholic teachings of life and we ended by seeing two adorable children walk by. I was also accompanied by Mary Jane. Tom was reciting Psalm 51 by memory and it was word for word because I was following along with my Bible ! A gentleman stopped and told us it was beautiful.

Another gentleman stopped to talk about an abortion. Mary Jane and he had quite a conversation. The next group arrived early from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and Tom repeated Psalm 51 I read Isaiah 53 l

I forgot to mention this last week planned parenthood‘s door was not working properly , and it still today so praise God for that.

Shift manager Marshall 3 to 5:

The weather has turned but we strive to grow in the grace of our Lord. Today from 3 to 5, it was so wonderful to see men at the clinic.

Generally, it is mostly ladies which is a good motherly witness and presence, but we do need men to stand for life as well. Thanks to the men of Zion Baptist whom stood with me and others. Also, we met a mother of a Franciscan University student. She stopped by from her hotel to pray. She sat a the closed door of PP as an independent silent witness. It was beautiful. God bless!

In the photo. Larry, Tim from Zion Baptist in with Marshall (SM) and Bill is hiding in the back.

Day 17: Thank You to St. Bonaventure, Holy Sepulcher, West Hills Baptist, Harvest Baptist, and Individual Volunteers!

As we near the halfway point of the campaign, we may be feeling a little worn out.  After all, it’s not easy to sacrifice our time and our comfort for 40 straight days.  But there’s no better way to recharge than to remember why we undertake this difficult task.  If your strength needs a boost, listen to these words of encouragement from people who have devoted their lives to ending the pain and suffering that abortion causes.

“I am in this movement today because of ordinary people who took on an extraordinary task. My former abortion clinic is closed because of their sacrifice. Babies are alive because of them. Women are no longer being hurt by abortion in their community. You can do this. You can save a life. I now stand alongside you in this 40 Days for Life movement.”

ABBY JOHNSON, FORMER PLANNED PARENTHOOD DIRECTOR

“40 Days for Life is a testimony to the power of prayer and what can happen when we’re consumed by a magnificent obsession, namely that life is sacred and every baby at every stage of development deserves to be protected under law. God is on the move amidst the darkness.”

JIM DALY, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

“40 Days for Life helps us to be spiritually aware of the need to pray for our unborn brothers and sisters, empowering us to be on the front-lines, reaching out to mothers and fathers with a message of hope. There is no movement more important, and 40 Days for Life is leading the fight, spiritually, and practically, in the trenches every day.”

LILA ROSE, LIVE ACTION

“Fasting and praying with 40 Days for Life unifies pro-life energies and illuminates us with grace in our efforts to conquer the culture of death. I strongly encourage every person and organization that believes in the dignity of life to join the 40 Days for Life campaign to end abortion, restore families, and renew communities for life.”

PEGGY HARTSHORN, PH.D., HEARTBEAT INTERNATIONAL

“Historians will write about the crucial role that 40 Days for Life played in the end of legal abortion. We encourage each young activist that we train to become involved or lead a 40 Days for Life campaign in their community because we believe it is one of the most effective ways for our movement to abolish abortion.”

KRISTAN HAWKINS, STUDENTS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA

These encouraging quotes are from https://40daysforlife.com/, where you can find lots of other uplifting news and stories.  One small way to fast today is to give up some time spent watching TV or checking out social media and instead, head to the 40 Days for Life site to feed your soul.  Then, with renewed strength and passion, go to https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/ to tell us when you’ll be joining us on the sidewalk as we stand for Life.  Or just show up at 933 Liberty Avenue any time between 7 AM and 7 PM from now until November 4th.

Thanks, and God bless you!

~Jen M.


NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:

Pro-life witness takes to the street.
Tony, David, David, Theresa accompanied by two little boys; St. Bonaventure parish
Letting the world know why we’re in front of Planned Parenthood.
Friday morning arrived downtown as we helped Diane sort her sidewalk supplies.
Diane drove away and St. Bonaventure witnesses filled the sidewalk.
Tony, Theresa and David were joined by Saint John XXIII parishioners, Al and Sally.
David arrived with his two sons. Terry came and completed our sidewalk pro-life team.
Two young women declined help and went into PP.  One of the women came out soon after for a cigarette break.
She said that her friend already had two little children.  The dad was not helping.  Her friend felt she could not have another baby.
She then went on to say that she was alive because her mother had aborted a baby just before she became pregnant with her.
“I am alive because my mother had an abortion.”
We offered our hearts and our information.  That was not enough today.
We pray that some day the hearts of the people who had an abortion this morning will choose life and repent.

 

9-11 AM, Kathy:

Thank you to St. Bonaventure’s church members and Fr. John.
Thank you to SA Pastor Bryan, Fr. John, and a youngster from St. Bonaventure Church. The woman in the yellow jacket is Camille.
Before entering PP, Camille asked Theresa for a yellow card.  After 20 or so minutes, she exited PP and told me, with tears in her eyes, that 6 years ago, the sidewalk people (40 Days) helped her choose life for her daughter Serenity, now 6 years, old and that she also became a Christian that year. Camille accepted resources for a doctor and Pastor Bryan prayed for her before leaving us.  Please keep Camille and family in your prayers.
A few negative comments but more affirmations.

11 AM-1 PM, Marie:

The 11-1 shift was without incident.  Holy Sepulcher had two representatives on my shift and several more came at 1PM.  Please see the pictures in Noreen’s report below!

1-3 PM, Dave and Noreen:

Juanita, Debbie, Rich, Bob, Gretchen, Walt, George and Dave from Holy Sepulcher Church in Butler
Fran, Mystery Man Bill, Bonnie and Mike. Bonnie and Mike are from St. Bernard Parish.
A woman shared her story with Mary Jane about how 30 years ago she chose life and placed her daughter for adoption.
They prayed together and shared a hug.
A good day on the sidewalk today.  Several people stopped to talk to us with words of encouragement.  One man shared that his ex-girlfriend had an abortion at about 20 weeks.  That’s what broke them up but she recently contacted him and said she was sorry she did it.  We assured them we would pray for peace and healing for both of them.
Bernadette came by today with her beautiful picture of the Blessed

3-5 PM, Michael:

Two married couples (Larry & Karen seen here; David & Sara not pictured) from West Hills Baptist Church in Moon Twp along with Fran from St. Joseph in Verona and Michael, Shift Manager, from St. George.
 Delightful people who prayed fervently together. Much colder outside, but very warm volunteers with warm hearts and abundant love for the Lord. It was a peaceful and quiet vigil without incident.

5-7 PM, Sheila:

Sabrina, Debi, Joyce and Sam from Harvest Baptist Church in Natrona Heights; faithful Benson.
Benson of St. Ann Castle Shannon with Shelia, Shift Manager from Weirton, WV.