Thanks to all the faithful who joined in prayerful song as we sang lots of Christmas carols.. We were reminded that when you sing, you pray twice. Despite the sadness of being outside pp it was joyful and I feel guilty saying fun (see the headwear on Sr Jolenta below).
Father M. started us off with Silent Night which we sang in German, Polish and English. Jeannie and Sr. Jolenta lead the way and tried to keep us in tune.
Thanks also to Randy who provided the beautiful music and to God for the light snow. It truly was a moving event.
Come all ye faithful to a Pro-Life Christmas Caroling event. It will be on Saturday December 8 from 8:30 am to 9:30 am outside of planned parenthood. Join us to celebrate the birth of our Lord and the life of all babies. Song sheets will be available so just show up. I hope to see you then. Merry Christmas. Tim B.
Our 40 Days for Life Team gathered together to close the fall campaign with a wonderful time of fellowship! Thanks to Catholic Charities for allowing us to use their welcome center all these many years!
I have been honored to meet and become friends with the world’s most wonderful people throughout the 8 years that I have led the 40 Days for Life campaign in Pittsburgh! Although we all work as a team, and each do our little part…we really don’t get to see each other that often. So when we do, it is a special time! Thanks to everyone who did their part on our team, and thanks to all those who signed up for a time slot at the vigil, and to those who coordinated times for their churches or groups to take part in our vigil! Thanks to those who prayed and fasted! Thanks to those who prayed and fasted from home and to those religious communities who prayed for us! Thanks to everyone who joined us in our “knock-out punch fast” on the final day of our vigil. I trust that God is hearing and answering our prayers!
We thank God for the 4 lives that we know about that were saved during these 40 days in Pittsburgh, and for the 2 lives that were saved during previous campaigns that we found out about during this campaign! I have no doubt there are many more that we may never find out about…but God knows. What we did was important. It mattered. Every sacrifice, no matter how small. Every fear and timidity that was overcome by holy boldness made a difference. Our flower memorials and humble prayers on our knees touched hearts and reminded people that life is important. God is important. In the middle of people’s busy lives, they were reminded of this.
Thank you for being a part of this important campaign. The Lenten campaign will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 6th and ends on Palm Sunday, April 16th. I hope you will join us then.
In the meantime, please continue to pray and fast for the intention of ending abortion in Pittsburgh. And enjoy these photos from last night’s closing event.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas! See you in 2019!
Joe was a pilot during WWII. He almost crashed on one of his missions. Asking Mary to intervene to save his life, he promised her that he would work to get a statue of her placed on Mount Washington where everyone would see it. He gave it his best shot, but the project did not work out.
Joe’s son is one of the men who regularly come to pray downtown with Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life.
Years later, Mondays year round, we cross from the north to south hills to babysit Joe and Mimi. When the sky is still dark, Saint Mary of the Mount church shines brightly from Mount Washington heartening all of us whose hearts stand tall as Catholics. Perhaps Joe’s project happened without his realizing it.
I photographed the church one afternoon as we approached the Fort Pitt Bridge. My definitely amateur picture showed majestic sky sharing space with the sturdy church anchored in the far right lower corner.
Joe worked hard to accomplish his plan. He remained optimistic. A loving husband and father he remained faithful to the daily duties of his vocation.
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
Many Americans become anxious when they learn that the government annually funds the abortion industry with millions of dollars. Many were worried as abortion morphed into Choice and became politically correct. Worry can be a good thing. It can ignite you to act.
A dead thing can go with the stream.
Only a living thing can go against it.
Irenaeus, the great second century theologian simply expressed the essence of Christianity.
The glory of God is a human being fully alive!
What Bishop Barron calls “right praise” brings us face to face, eyelash to eyelash with God.
Be still and know that I am God!
In awe, the person stands ready.
Here I am Lord. I come to do your will!
Leading her 17th campaign in the Steel City,
Nikki is as tough as…well…steel!
Shawn Carney, Day 39 Blog
So many people joined us on the sidewalk to witness and pray. Some could come only once. Others returned again and again. Some came from nearby. Some came from West Virginia or Ohio or traveled more than an hour each way. Others supported us from home with prayer.
Crossing the Veterans Bridge in early morning, to our shift on the PP sidewalk, we would catch a glimpse of the Church light on Mount Washington. Bach’s CHRISTMAS ORATORIO #43 CHORUS came to mind.
In this performance, Professor Joshua Law directs City Oratorio and Orchestra. Music students of City College of San Francisco form the chorus. The orchestra is composed of students, faculty and guests.
The chorus and orchestra are primarily amateurs. Bach is the composer.
Those of us standing ready to serve God are amateurs. God is our composer.
All is right with the world.
THANK YOU, DEE.
YOUR PRAYER OUTREACH WAS OUTSTANDING
THANK YOU, SISTERS.
MAY OUR FATHER CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!
NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK
As we expected, it was not easy to get around town or find a parking space this morning because of the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler race. But with Liberty Avenue closed to vehicle traffic, it at least gave us a very quiet morning on the sidewalk to pray earnestly for an end to abortion.
Thanks to all who have worked so faithfully this campaign to pray, fast, and witness. May God bless all of you, and all those we prayed for during this vigil!
I arrived a few minutes late due to not knowing about the road closures downtown for the EQT 10 Miler today (that’s what I get for not reading the blog yesterday!). Many thanks to Jen for hanging out and waiting for me in her sweet and patient way!
My lone shift prayer companion, Julie, was such a light today, not only to me but to the sidewalk passersby and those running in the EQT 10 Miler along Liberty Avenue.
Walking toward the vigil after finally parking my car, and in an annoyed mood for having arrived late, I felt like that lone fish in those pictures of a school of fish all swimming one way and the lone fish swimming the other way.
I told her of my feeling and how alone I felt with them all running past us, seemingly concerned with nothing but a worldly race, when we were there for a much more noble cause. She listened and sympathized.
And then, the Holy Spirit decided to work through her. She actually started cheering the runners on! “Go! Go! Go! You can do it! Keep going, you’re almost there!”
Talk about humility. Julie happily, genuinely, and very enthusiastically bolstered THEM in their cause, and in turn elicited lots of smiles, waves, and thumbs up from them to us. The Lord was working through her not only to create a positive, supportive environment for the runners, which in turn created positivity toward our cause, but also to turn my self-centered and yes, rather holier-than-thou thoughts to thoughts of compassion and inclusion. Her genuine enthusiasm served effectively to put me to shame in my grumbly, all-these-people-care-about-is-running thoughts that I had not even been fully aware of.
We did pray, too, in between the cheering. And a few of those runners did not appreciate our signage and saluted accordingly, even as we cheered them on to the finish line.
But all in all, the response was positive. Because of Julie. And because of her willingness (conscious or subconscious!) to let the Holy Spirit work through her. THANK YOU, Julie, and may God bless you.
KATHY K. 1-3
Many people came to pray. Grateful to God!
Don and I talked with Cameron who stopped to look at models then stayed to talk. He took 40 days info and wants to come pray in spring. Holy Spirit prompted Don to tell him about informative emails and Cameron signed up.
Two lovely ladies from Saint Bernard Parish were praying the Rosary on the farside of the circle. A woman stopped with dog and said loudly, “Doggie, poop on these bad people ( foul language).”
I went and stood with teenagers as they petted her dog and diverted her attention. She left. Then she reappeared by the bookstore, screaming foul language.
We prayed for her, guessing she had an abortion.
One of ladies said, “First time I was ever scared down here. I have been down here a lot.” She continued her prayers.
God is with us! And the dog didn’t poop!
Meet the spirit filled, energetic members of Viewcrest Presbyterian in 84; Elise, Brice, Heather, Sue, Matt, Holly, and Philene and Mary.
Last week on the sidewalk, I watched an employee of PP walk out and pour water on the musings of my favorite street prophet which read: “Every Human Life Saved is > any $ Amount “ The chalked message was a response to the pledge-a -picketer message PP has posted. The PP employee took time and used paper toweling to attempt to scrub the words off the sidewalk . She was definitely bothered by it what the message said, which means SHE READ AND UNDERSTOOD IT and she felt she had to remove it — It GOT TO HER!
Another PP employee addressed me about the baby photo I was wearing. She said “You know they don’t look like that, don’t you?” (referring to the innocent ones killed in the clinic) . I said “Well, I know you don’t look like you did when you were 2 years old, but you are still you — it is still a child!” She through up her hands and walked angrily away.
Many of us have experienced similar instances where folks are “acting up” in response to our presence. It may just be showing us that convenient middle finger, or using the phrase that often accompanies that gesture, or maybe a shake of the head or an audible “tsk”, sometimes these poor souls even lose control of their drool (if you know what I mean). I know it is easy to become upset or unsettled when folks approach us with this impolite behavior. I react viscerally as well…. it is a bit nerve-wracking.
But ….. once things settle down (and they always do) we must realize that this behavior means that
WE ARE CHANGING THINGS ON THE SIDEWALK.
I think we can safely say that WE Are getting under the skin of the PP employees/supporters. They read our signs, they see our images, they witness our commitment and …… THEY REACT. If our message didn’t hit home, didn’t stir something within them —- if we were insignificant, or clueless, would any of them bother with us? I think not.
I pray that we are given the peace to react to these angry acts of PP supporters by acknowledging them as the beginning of the conversation on abortion people in our country need to have.
Perhaps, now that we are under their skin,
we can make it to their HEARTS!
Shift Report from Tim, 7-9am
Thanks to Father Tim and the Guardians for Life who made such a powerful witness on the sidewalk with their prayers and presence. Liberty Ave was closed to traffic so we really stood out on the sidewalk.
The Saturday morning “regulars” mentioned they were saddened by the end of 40 DFL. It gave a sense of being part of something so much bigger than their individual efforts. And they really liked the extra prayer warriors to give witness to life. Never the less, this dedicated team will be back next Saturday morning and every one thereafter. God bless them all. Tim B.
Shift Report from Sue:
I arrived this morning to the faithful Guardians for Life finishing out a Rosary, and they stayed and prayed until around 10:00. Dan from St. Maria Goretti joined us, followed shortly afterward by Rosemary and Tom from St. George Orthodox Church in Bridgeville. I for one am blessed every vigil by Tom and Rosemary’s lovely sung prayer, and this vigil was no exception. SA Judy also arrived around 10:00.
PP business today was pretty “average” for a Saturday – “average” of course always being too much. We offered cards and literature to each person going in, and we also prayed for each person going in. For the first time in my years of coming to the PP sidewalk, I witnessed a PP escort accompanying a woman OUT of the clinic and down the street. I am pretty certain I saw this woman go in; thus, she likely did not have an abortion, but all the same, I’ve never seen this happen. At one point, a passerby said to us “Just adopt!” and I replied “Amen – perfect idea!”, although I believe her intention was to imply that we should do that instead of being on the sidewalk. Judy, as she regularly does, told each PP escort that their lives are profound and have been since before they were born. Today, one of the male escorts replied to her that he had talked to God and that He was going to forgive us. Amen – may God forgive us and the escorts and every person who loves Him, and may he break hardened hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit!
Shift Report from Dean:
Peaceful shift for the first hour and a half, until the last half an hour a man came to pass out tracts. He was trying to get into an argument about differences in Christian religions. Happily, we were able to avoid arguing with him.
Shift Report from Billy:
Today I was accompanied by 2 volunteers named Maggie and Tammy. I was visited by a guy named Chuck and while he was talking to me a lady walked by with her son. She explained to us that she went with her friend to take her friend to the particular clinic we were at and explained in detail and even expressed to her son this clinic was an abortion clinic. Then we had Mimi come visit. Out of all the people who I had recognized going 6 went in and 4 came out. Out of the four the one woman definitely seemed to not be comfortable there and seemed to work else where. All in all it was pretty quiet today. Billy
Shift Report from Kathy:
Mimi arrived just as I arrived. She commanded: “Say Rosary.” God provided Joan, John,and Mike from Bentleyville at just the right moment.
Mike led the Rosary and Bridgette joined us. Afterward, Mimi shared all she would do tonight and we watched as she crossed the street and zoomed down Liberty.
Praying on her knees Bridgette was observed by many as the concert preparations were underway, touching hearts —- including mine. Jim joined us, too.
Prayers continued until we were delighted to see Diane and Tom.
Liberty Avenue is closed to traffic from 3 AM Saturday until 12:30 PM Sunday
Saturday Vigil: 7 AM to 5 PM at 933 Liberty Avenue
(closing early due to concert on street)
Final fast: 7 PM Saturday until 7 PM Sunday
Sunday Vigil: 7 AM to 7 PM at 933 Liberty Avenue
Closing rally: 6:30 PM at 933 Liberty Avenue,
followed by food and fellowship at nearby Catholic Charities
Friends, we’ve made it to Day 38 despite so many challenges…physical, mental, and spiritual. We can easily see that we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without God. What a beautiful, grace-filled way to learn humility!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
There are still two days left and we want to finish strong. Nothing would give satan more relief than to have us throw up our hands and say, “Close enough…I’m done.”
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
It’s not going to be easy. The race and concert on Liberty Avenue this weekend will mean more trouble finding a parking space and a potentially greater number of antagonistic passers-by. And Nikki has asked each of us to join her in a final 24-hour fast from 7 PM Saturday until we gather for the closing at 7 PM Sunday. We will have to rely on God for the strength to meet these challenges. But we know from the last 38 days of experience that He will not disappoint!
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Here are reports and pictures from today’s vigil!
Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:
The city felt warm, dark and damp.
Always an original, Diane was warm, sunny and bright.
She arranged the shift manager supplies swiftly, chatted for a moment and, tickety boo, zoomed away.
Her creativity is mind boggling.
Our shift buddies Al and Sally took up their post and our shift officially started.
Already people were going to work, taking the kids to day care, going to school and catching the bus home after night shift.
Sean, Cathedral Parish, had almost missed coming this fall..
Their new baby has kept the family awake and busy. Baby has big brothers, Peter and John.
One woman told me that her going to PP was none of my business.
“You are my business,” I answered. “You are my sister!”
God plants the seed. We till the soil.
It feels like a blessing to have been a part of Pittsburgh 40 Days this fall.
Kathy, 9-11 AM:
I spent time praying and passing out literature until Theresa from Heidelberg arrived. Thank you for coming, Theresa.
Bookstore owner, Eric, sends the 40 Days family his appreciation for the card sent to him from the group. He and his family are not members of The Tree of Life but still were affected by the shooting as were the rest of us. Daniel Lager, Barb’s friend and also Eric’s, who was wounded in the shooting is improving thank God.
Two passersby stopped. The first, a man from SC, attending the chemical engineering convention inquired about the vigil. He was very interested and accepted a 40 Days brochure and thanked me for being there. The second, a woman named Della, stopped at the fetal baby display as Ginny and her grandkids arrived, to tell us that 18 years ago she asked God to give her a baby. God did and Della’s second request to Him was that the baby would love Him. Della shared that her daughter, now in college, has a heart for God. Touching!
Some negative comments, but most were positive.
Marie, 11 AM-1 PM:
We said lots of prayers with Megan , Bill, Barbara and her husband, Brooklynne and Cayesen, Marie, Ginny, and a tall guy.
We also witnessed lots of people making the movie, actors, extras, and crew members.
Brooklynne said we had a few haters , but lots of good people.
Dave and Noreen, 1-3 PM:
It was a nice day today. We had more positive comments, hand shakes and fist bumps than ever. Dave and I were joined by Jerry from Beaver County and Kaitlin from Turtle Creek. Barbara was also from Beaver County, and Ann from Clairon. We had some long distance travelers come to pray with us today.
Pat, 3-5 PM:
While I only had two individuals from my parish show for this, our second 2-hour shift of the vigil, I was glad to have brother Knight of Columbus, Gene and his faithful wife, Louise, with me for the first hour. Also with me for the first hour were Rich and Diane. Mary Jane joined a little after 3 PM and we all prayed together the Rosary for the unborn given to us by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Of course, I also had Fran, my very faithful Shift Buddy there with me until the end of my shift. At that point, SB Bill showed-up and I handed the badge over to him since Mary Jane was going to stay until about 5:30, by which time I expected the next SM, Marshall, to have arrived.
Marshall, 5-7 PM:
Note from Jen: A huge thanks to Shift Buddy Bill for filling in when the Shift Manager was unexpectedly detained at work and couldn’t get to the vigil by 5:00. A huge thanks to Shift Manager Marshall (who was kindly substituting for a teammate) for still coming after a long day of work at a site over an hour from the vigil. And a huge thanks to young volunteer Benson, whose faithful presence means so much to all of us. This 40 Days for Life team–family, really–is so blessed!
After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”
Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
~Revelation 7: 9-10, 13-14
I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Cathedral in 2005. It was a memory that has stayed with my husband and me for all these years, and probably always will. The reason was the artwork of the saints…. unlike any we had ever seen before.
All of the tapestries showed multiple saints– some canonized and some “regular” people like you and me– all facing in the direction of the altar. Such a beautiful sight during Mass, making it easy to remember the reality of those in heaven being right there with us.
If you can enlarge the images below, you might be able to make out the names above or below the saints.
What is the “time of great distress” that St. John talks about in this passage? I can only speculate that he is referring to our time on earth– our time in this vale of tears. It is a time of spiritual battle. And this battle we fight EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Whether we are considering whether to commit adultery or tell a lie, whether to slander a co-worker or have an abortion….. these moments, these decisions, large and small, are battles we fight every day.
But the SAINTS are the ones who fight the battle…. lose…. then win…. then falter…. then win….. then forget about striving for holiness….. then fall…. then win. Ultimately, the Lord wants us to WIN. To overcome our sin. To desire Him MORE than we desire sin.
May the saints in heaven pray that we can “survive the time of great distress.” That we, too, can wash our robes and make them WHITE in the Blood of the Lamb.
The Lord has shed His precious Blood for us. Let us not forget that our sins— even the ones related to abortion— can be FORGIVEN, and lives can be changed and healed.
Shift Manager Reports
My shift from 7 to 9 started out peacefully as usual. Peggy and I had the first hour to pray, and although it was wet and rainy, it was nice and warm. We prayed in the dark and in the rain. I prayed on my knees in front of the door as usual. As I meditated on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, I thought about Jesus being immersed in the water of baptism, as I was being immersed in a puddle of water. I thought about his first miracle, changing the water into wine, as water was all around me. I thought about his preaching of the kingdom of God and his call to repentance, as I kneeled in repentance before the place that kills so many innocent babies. I thought about his transfiguration on the mountain, and imagined that day when this place of death will be transfigured into a place of life. And, I meditated on his self-giving, the giving of his very own flesh to us at the Last Supper, and I thought about how profound are the words “this is my Body, given for you,” and I thought about how the enemy has twisted those words into meaning something totally different. “This is my body” now means that I have a right to kill somebody else because they are dependent on my body for life.
We were in the middle of praying the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel, when the first couple arrived for an abortion. They allowed me to speak to them for a few minutes, and took the information that I offered. The girl seemed very passive; the man did all the talking. He explained that they already knew about their options, and understood that this was a human life, but had decided that this was what they were going to do. I had the feeling that this young woman felt that she had to go along with what he said. Sadly, he will most likely end up leaving her, after she has also lost her child. They sat in the waiting room right next to the sidewalk for about half an hour. That gave me the opportunity to pray a second rosary on my knees literally a few feet away from them. I sent my prayers to that little child, and I know that child will know that people were praying for him. Peggy and I also asked our guardian angels to go in and assist the guardian angels of that woman and man, and of that child.
Unfortunately, many other couples began entering those doors. It was a very busy abortion morning. Quite a few of them took the information. They were all polite. One woman who was bringing a friend in for an abortion even agreed that she believes abortion is wrong, but she still brought her friend there. A very sad day, but our trust is in the Lord! These babies did not die alone, we were there to show that their lives matter!
Today we had Meredith and Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Later we were joined by Mary Jane from St. Bernard and Dave from St. Philip. It was a nice day with mild temps and the rain stopped shortly after we arrived for our shift. There were a few people coming and going out of Planned Parenthood, but not as many as usual. I encountered the young man that I had prayed with two weeks ago who had lost his girlfriend to an overdose. He was doing better. There were two different couples going in (at separate times) and I offered them our resource card but they declined. There were a couple of ladies going in and I was able to have a conversation with them. I told them about the abortions that were performed at PP, and one of the women said she didn’t want to go in, but the other one was the one with the appointment and she said she wanted to go ahead and “take care of herself.” She came out later with a bag of pills. They took the resource card, and I encouraged them to get services other places that did not kill babies. There was another lady who was going in and I was able to connect with her and tell her about other resources and she willingly took the card and went on in.
On a side note, there was a lady I have seen every week crossing the street in front of Planned Parenthood. I have tried to get her attention every week but she completely ignores me. She carries a “Literacy Pittsburgh” satchel/bag. So this morning I spoke and she ignored me and she had to stop to wait for the light. So I approached her and asked if she worked for Literacy Pittsburgh. She gave me her attention, and said she did. I was able to open a conversation with her because our church has a partnership with Literacy Pittsburgh and we do a lot of work with ESL and GED classes for refugees. I was also able to fill her in on other things we were doing with refugees. (They have a heart for refugees). She just melted right in front of me and was so appreciative and grateful…she could hardly thank me enough. I hope this softens her heart to what is going on in front of PP now, rather than possibly thinking we are a bunch of protestors who should just be ignored. I hope she will also begin thinking we are doing very valuable work at PP which is also a very necessary thing.
I am so very thankful to David, who came to pray with me from 11-1. We had a relatively quiet shift, with each of us on either side of the circle. Some people did enter PP, and only one woman seemed genuinely interested and thankful to receive the information we gave.
I was feeling a little bit emboldened because of Shawn Carney’s visit on the 22nd, and also because of the Catholic Women’s Fellowship conference that I attended last weekend, where I heard a powerful speaker who encouraged us to not be afraid to speak the truth to people. Some things they said have really stayed with me. So I found myself saying things on the sidewalk I normally don’t say…. but things that are good and true nonetheless. Maybe that was the Holy Spirit kicking me a little more into gear.
Also, I had the experience twice today of groups of people not knowing what the flowers and stuffed animals were for on the sidewalk, and in both cases, they were so saddened to hear that it was a memorial for those babies who had lost their lives at Planned Parenthood. I think it really struck them. I thank God that it did.
I also had a really amazing experience on the sidewalk today. Since David and I were praying on opposite sides of the circle, I had MUCH opportunity for MUCH prayer. I had a good time of prayer, almost all the way through the shift, and then this happened. A woman going into PP had ignored me as I tried to talk to her. I stood in front of the doors, watching her, and just praying for her like crazy. I began repeating, “Come, Lord Jesus… Come, Lord Jesus….” And then, this crazy thought struck me out of nowhere– something like, “Where ARE YOU?” “Why aren’t You COMING???” And it startled me that I was suddenly so frustrated, as if to say, “Where is God????” I realized right away that this was probably satan trying to get me to despair, so I began to pray…. without words…. just waiting. And suddenly, one by one, several people walked by me and said, “Thank you,” or “Thank you for being here,” one right after the other!!! I was amazed! I realized that it IS important that I was there today!! It DOES matter!! And the Lord IS with us in the battle!!! I felt a strong wave of the Lord’s presence wash over me. I stood still and reveled in Him for several moments, just thanking Him. And THEN– as I was praying my thanksgivings with my eyes closed, I felt a hand on my arm. I opened my eyes, and a lovely young woman smiled at me and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH for being here.” I was SHOCKED. I said, “Would you BELIEVE…..” and I told her about what I had just been praying about…. and she smiled and thanked me for my witness. After that– I had this strange feeling that everyone was “looking” at me…. like it was “different” somehow. I was about to leave the vigil, so I walked over to Carolyn and David and asked, “Do I look any different to you than I did a minute ago?” They said no…. but I sure FELT different. And I told them the whole story, and how I thought that maybe my encounter with the Lord had changed my appearance (like Moses after conversing with God or something!!). But even if not outwardly, the Lord CHANGED ME INWARDLY…. to know that YES— HE IS THERE with us at that awful place. He is THERE. And it MATTERS that WE are there too. I thank and praise the Lord!!!!!
I did not realize that Mimi (in photo above) comes to pray every day. She said she prays at St Paul and she comes to PP and then she goes back to St Paul.
As we prayed, it started to sprinkle.
Counting Jeff, who came to help Carolyn, there were 12 of us at PP for the 3-4:00 hour.
Let us especially ask for the prayers of the Blessed Mother, Mary, who is known as Queen of All Saints.
We need all the help from heaven we can get. Why not ask the Lord’s Mother? He wasn’t afraid to ask for help from her. Let’s imitate that.
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”
Jesus of Nazareth (Luke:13)
Jesus said we must STRIVE…but what does striving look like?
After 35 days of holding a prayer vigil on a sidewalk outside of an abortion facility…I doubt I am alone in feeling a kinship to the strain on this woman’s face. She (and we) are obviously STRIVING when we put ourselves out there to be a prayerful witness to the value of every person’s life, but why do we do it? What exactly are we striving for??? We know that Jesus paid the price of our salvation on the cross, and therefore there is nothing we can do to “earn” eternal life…so why do we strive? Why does our Lord tell us that we must???
God knows that it is in our human nature to strive for SOMETHING. If left to our own devices, we will strive for things we think are good for us. We will strive for money, success, power, acceptance, praise, comfort, pleasure and ease.
God, in his wonderful goodness, knows that all those things are dead-ends. If we spend our lives in pursuit of such things, we will end up being weak, selfish, vain little creatures that will never have the STRENGTH to enter through the NARROW DOOR that leads to eternal life!
So God commands us to strive for HOLINESS! That simply means striving to live by his teachings and to obey his commandments the best that we can. When I strive to obey His will by standing up for the sanctity of unborn human life, it requires effort. I have to go against my selfish desire for comfort and ease…as I stand or kneel at the vigil. I have to give up my desire for acceptance and esteemwhen passersby insult me and tell me to get a real job (or worse!). I give up my desire for power and control,as I humbly accept the fact that I cannot save the lives of those precious babies that are being carried through those doors to their deaths…even as they are still safely tucked away in their mother’s wombs.
There is nothing more important than human life. We can see that by watching the news. The massive flower memorials on the sidewalk in front of Tree of Life synagogue speak loudly to the value of the 11 lives that were taken so tragically on Saturday.
Those lives were important enough that the president of our country made the trip from DC to Pittsburgh, along with his family, to pay his respects to those who are grieving and to encourage those who were wounded. Even with the hard-hearted and arrogant snubbing from our local and state politicians, and crowds of protesters with cruel messages…he stood strong in his decision to affirm the human dignity of those who were killed.
Just as our president took time from his schedule to show his respect for eleven precious lives lost…we do the same as we pray at the site where approximately sixty precious lives are tragically and unjustly ended each and every week. The world is rightly grieving right now…as it should! Let’s pray that one day the world will also grieve for those who are killed by abortion and forgotten. Those millions of little ones that have no one to grieve for them.
Strive with me until this day arrives…will you?
Scroll down for today’s vigil reports:
Cathy did a double shift today, from 7-11 am! Thank you Cathy for your sacrifice this morning!
Here is her report…
A peaceful morning with the company of a number of fellow pray-ers. My fellow St. Juan Diego parishioner Mary joined me for the whole morning even though our official parish time was only 9-11. Peg was there for 7-9, and David, Priscilla, Beth and Dan prayed at various times throughout the morning. We got the “You should be ashamed of yourselves” comment, and a worker from the clinic came out and picked up flowers that were in the circle, saying that we can’t put them there. I’m guessing they got dragged there by the foot traffic. Also received thank yous and”God bless you”s.
Hank managed the vigil from 11-1 and stood with Anna Marie and her husband Bob, from St. Mary & St. John parish in Export/Delmont. He wrote:
It was a sunny and relatively quiet shift and little traffic into PP. There were many passers-by from the International Convention of Chemical Engineers some of whom gave us a warm greeting and a thumbs-up. Bob and Anna Marie from St.John and St.Mary Export were present for the entire shift and we prayed the rosary and other prayers and greeted many people. Nikki stopped by to kneel and pray the rosary and Lisa from River City Church joined us toward the end of the shift. Most passers-by seemed positive and only a few flashed dirty looks or made negative comments. Praise be to Jesus, Lord and Savior.
Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:
I was joined by three prayer warriors from Bridge City Church- Pastor Gary, Mona Lisa, and Vicky, along with Marie from my parish, St. John Neumann. Such joyful people to be with!
We received more than several “Thank you for being here” and Thank you for what you do” comments from passersby. A man stopped by with a full bouquet of flowers, saying that his wife asked him to bring them to us! One lady, Michelle came by to offer us snacks- she works nearby and prays at PP when she can. Like several shift managers have mentioned over the weeks, I, too, had been hesitant to put my “Knees on the Ground”. But today was the day, my last shift of the campaign, to trust God, kneel, and pray. I prayed the Rosary using my special Rosary of the Unborn (pictured below) that displays an image of an unborn child in each bead.
Jeannie was the shift manager from 3-5. She sent in these pictures of the faithful group from CIM-PA:
We had a rainy but lovely time on the sidewalk with folks from Cultural Impact Ministry- CIM. They are dedicated to bringing to light issues in the culture that Christians should be active on. What a delightful group. Since it was raining I decided to stand in front of Planned Parenthood and sing in the rain. Don’t worry, I didn’t cause any kind of scene lol. One of my better numbers was actually a song that my son used to sing in grade school— Rain down rain down rain down your love on your people. Rain down rain down rain down your love Lord of all!!!
Joe K. managed the vigil for the final hour:
It was a extremely quiet / peaceful, but soppy last Wednesday evening shift of the campaign.
I was joined by another large group of folk for the evening. Led by my faithful Shift Buddies Benson (St. Anne’s) and Jim (Holy Child) as well as a wonderful couple from Cultural Impact Ministries – Linda and Dave. The group was rounded-out with Lynda from Central Highlands United Methodist.
We shared, we prayed and before we knew it, the shift was over…
This 40 Days I have been approached several times on the sidewalk and told that Planned Parenthood does
“a lot of good”
The Planned Parenthood on Liberty Avenue reports that they do about 3000 abortions every year in Pittsburgh.
How can someone defend thatstatistic alone? but what is the best way to answer a “FAQ” or statement if given the opportunity?
I went to the 40 Days for Life APP…it is a really good tool to have on the sidewalk! You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play, and there is a section that has Pro-Life answers to FAQ’s. This is the response to “But Planned Parenthood does a lot of good”
Planned Parenthood does provide services beyond abortion, but no amount of cancer screenings can erase the horror of killing even one innocent baby. The taking of innocent life simply cannot be offset by any other perceived good. Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services are meant to distract clients, community members and voters from the barbarity of abortion. Some of these other services don’t even exist. For example, while Planned Parenthood has clamored for taxpayer funding in order to provide women with mammograms, not a single Planned Parenthood facility was certified as a mammography facility . Planned Parenthood provides fewer than two percent of manual breast exams and less than one percent of pap tests in the United States . Meanwhile, the abortion giant provides nearly one third of America’s abortions .
In addition to the above response, Planned Parenthood charges quite a bit for their services. Follow this link to read an article that shows the price list for services provided by a Planned Parenthood.
Hopefully we are ready on the sidewalk with some answers to this FAQ and the phone number for FREE services at a Pregnancy Help Center 1-800-712 HELP or alternative clinics in the area that do not do abortions (getyourcare.org)
Continue reading for the updates from the sidewalk for today:
Joe sent in these photos from his shift:
How wonderful to see Tracy and Ashley from Steubenville along with Al, Sally, and Jackie when I arrived. Shift manager, Joe had everything under control. Ed joined us soon thereafter. Ed never met a dog he didn’t like and has become our Ambassador on Liberty Avenue, changing peoples opinion of pro-lifers from meanies, to people who even like pets. Beth Ann brought her friend from St. Alexis, Diane and Jaime. Thanks so very much for braving the chilly weather and standing as witness for the babies. Cecilia brought new pray-ers with her and another day at PP added more prayers to the “shut this place down” request line headed upward.
Regulars on way to work or lunch break
It was a beautiful day to pray today. Thank you to my friends Karen and Sue from our church, St. Thomas Anglican Church in Gibsonia.
We handed out a lot of cards and 40 Days For Life pamphlets and had many positive comments and quite a few said “God Bless You”. One negative comment where someone said “Get away from me”. One passerby thanked us and walked up to PP and placed her hand on the building and prayed. A PP worker came out and told us to move a flower that was inside the yellow line. It wasn’t ours but we moved it and made sure our roses were outside the line. There was a lot of activity at PP today. One girl walked past PP and we gave her a pamphlet and card and she realized she passed it up and went in with our information. As she walked in she looked at the information and us and said huh. Someone came by and handed us the booklet that says Love The Jewish People and another man came by and handed us the card that says GOSPEL on it. On the other side is a business advertisement for a Flag Specialty Shop.
Earlier today I was in the Dollar Store and a women behind me asked to see the back of my God Loves You t shirt. She asked me where I got it and I told her I had them made and that I had them in my trunk if she wanted one. I explained to her why I had them made and why I was wearing it. Her name was Patti and she said she prays everyday for an end to abortion. Thank you Father for all your faithful prayer warriors.
Well, things were a bit eventful today. We had Fr. Jason from the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie stop by for a few minutes to pray. He said it was his first chance this campaign because he’s been so busy and he feels terrible about it. We had a woman carefully study our fetal models for a few minutes and then say that she was very pleased to see that the people who are trying to spread God’s word finally have fetal models that accurately depict God’s biology. We had an older couple tell us that they had just gone into PP to make a pledge to PP for us being there. The woman then asked each of us individually if we had ever adopted a baby. We had President Trump’s motorcade pass by only a block from us. And we had the resulting back-up of traffic on the streets and people on the sidewalks (who were waiting for buses that couldn’t move).
But I think the highlight of it all was having a young traveler named Matthew stop and pray with us. He’s from Minnesota and he’s worked with a pro-life group called Red Rose Rescue in the Detroit area. He is traveling the tri-state area on bike and found us by looking for a Planned Parenthood. He didn’t know if there would actually be a 40DFL vigil going on, but was pleased to find us. What a nice surprise both for him and for us.
Finally, I want to thank fellow SM Jeff for coming out to make sure that I wasn’t flying solo, and faithful Benson, who I was happy to be able to pray with once again.
An evening with an international flavor.
Tonight as we spend our last Tuesday evening 5 – 7 shift for this 40 Days campaign the streets were busy! This evening Johanna and I had more people stand with us and several very positive interactions with those passing by. Johanna and I are very proud to be members of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. My court is Court Westinghouse #759 out of the Turtle Creek valley and Johanna is with Court Allegheny #664 with members from the North Side. We were joined by the organization’s State Regent, Peg, who is a member of Ct. St. Rene #1868 comprised of ladies in the Monroeville area. Judi joined us again for a prayer filled evening. Jim did his usual quick stop as he is leaving the city for the evening. Peg knows Jim as a fellow parishioner of St. Bernadette Parish in Monroeville. Next, Peg saw a life time friend Lisa who also works downtown.
When we arrived this evening, Matthew from Minnesota was on his knees. He was very interesting to speak with. He advocates for Life as he free spirits along on his bicycle. Another lady joined us for a while but I apologize that I do not remember her name. The street was filled with a lot of people from the convention center. Notably a young woman from Jordan and a young gentleman from Venezuela spent time with us discussing their conviction to Life in their home countries.
We had a conversation with a hurting homeless couple who recently had a baby that they were encouraged to abort because their baby boy would be born very ill. They loving carried their child to almost term as he was born premature and lived on this earth only 8 hours. She was able to hold him, love him and have pictures taken to have with her always. The baby was cremated and she has kept his ashes with her. Prayers for this sad situation.
“Lord, if it is thyself, bid me come to thee over the water”said St Peter. “Come” was the response.
St Peter didn’t see the violent waves and howling wind threatening him. He only saw Jesus. He didn’t cling to the boat, he jumped right in.
Isn’t this similar to what we have going on around us. The pro abortion industry, the media and so many other segments of our society all seem to be threatening us. We want to cling to our comfortable lives. Yet we jumped in. We have stood up to the world. We heard the words “Be not afraid” and we came to witness to life, despite the “world’s” opposition, the big waves and at times even in harsh weather.
WE WALK ON WATER!
“Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid”. If you haven’t yet been able to make it to the vigil, there is still time this last week of the vigil. Come even if only for a prayer or two. You might just save a life and a soul. Forward this on to your friends and family and let them experience the joy of walking on water.
And if you can’t come while this 40 DFL Fall Campaign is underway, know that there are faithful Sidewalk Advocates and prayer warriors outside of pp every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (and Katie is often alone), Friday and Saturday mornings usually from 7 -11 am and join us.
“O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?”Come walk on water. Tim B.
Thanks to the faithful from Weirton Catholic Churches, St. Margaret Mary (Moon Twp) and
Presbyterians Pro Life
HERE ARE STORIES FROM TODAY AT THE VIGIL: (this will updated throughout day)
7-9 am: While there was no church group, thank you to Rose S. who was with me for the bulk of my shift. Things were nice and quiet on the sidewalk this early morning which made praying a lot easier than it is on the Friday afternoons where I have my usual shift.
We did have one young man, “J”, who approached Rose with some questions. We found out that his girlfriend (also “J”) is pregnant and her family is pressuring her to have an abortion. This young man clearly does not want his girlfriend – and future wife, he tells us – to do this. It was unclear where the girlfriend herself was on the issue, but how about if we all try to say a short prayer today for the both of them. Pat M.
9-11 am: When I arrived for my 9 to 11 shift, I saw the earlier shift manager, faithful Pat, alone on his knees in silent prayer. That was a beautiful witness to his trust in God! His shift buddy, Rose, had to leave to prepare for Mass, but she had been with him for most of his shift. Carolina had signed up to be with me for my shift so I would not be alone. Thank you Carolina! The two of us had a very peaceful and prayerful time on the sidewalk. We got no negative comments and a couple positive ones. There were only employees going into the clinic, so we were able to focus on prayer. Carolina is from Mexico, and although she speaks very good English, when we prayed the rosary, she prayed her responses in Spanish, which was beautiful for me to hear! We truly are one body in Christ, no matter what language we speak! She was asking me what happens after the 40 days are over, and if we still have a witness on the sidewalk. I explained to her that we do not have the signs or the baby models, but there are a few individuals who do come throughout the year. We always need more though! It is so important to keep our presence there on the sidewalk! Many hearts and minds are changed because of it. I encourage everyone to keep the prayers going after the 40 days are over, and pray and ask God if he is calling you to come to the sidewalk on a regular basis even after the 40 days are over! Nikki
11-1 pm: Sheila and Collin from Weirton Catholic Churches prayed and passed out a lot of literature with me today.
1-3 pm: A million thanks to the people of St. Mary, St. Catherine and St. Joseph combined parish for praying with Rose and me on a cold, cloudy afternoon. Denise and Stephen, Jackie, Robert, Dominic, Lou, Dorothy and Ralph and Maureen were joined by Fr. Frank their fearless leader as we sent our prayers heavenward from 933 Liberty Avenue. PP had few visitors, looks like it’s “get out the vote” time for them to insure they continue to receive federal and state money every day. Big convention of chemical engineers in town; we received smiles and stares. Again, thanks, to all who came to the cold outside praying to end an even colder inside at PP. Beth S.
3-5 pm: I stood with Marie from Presbyterians for Life. We both had literature that we were handing out, but we were both aware that we are there to pray. It was the usual after work crowd queing up for the buses. In the second hour, a highschool aged boy and girl approached us and said that they support Planned Parenthood, but will give us 2 minutes to change their minds. We were right in from of the fetal models, so we discussed the scientific fact that a pregnancy is a human being. They asked us a series of questions after that like “what would we say to a pregnant woman in a very difficult situation”….to which we responded “How can we help you? What are your needs?” and showed them the resource card. They also asked us about abortion in a case where the mother’s life is in danger and our thoughts on abortion vs adoption. I told them about the documentary “I Lived on Parker” so hopefully they remember to look it up, since it is from the perspective of someone who lived the adoption experience. Here is a link if you have not seen it. https://www.ilivedonparkerave.com/ Andy came to finish the last shift of the day and when I left, Marie was praying with a man who had approached us earlier. Thanks to everyone who came today, Sue