“Then Peter stopped looking at Jesus and began to notice the difficulties around him. Seeing that the wind was so strong, he became fearful. He forgot for a moment that the strength holding him up on the water did not depend on the circumstances, but on the Will of the Lord… Peter began to sink, not because of the waves but because his confidence in him who can do all things wavered. He cried out to Jesus: Lord Save me!” (From ‘In Conversations with God’ Vol. 4 p. 335)
Sure it’s easy at the vigil when people walk by and say “thank you being there” or “God bless you” but how about when someone drives by and gives you the finger? Is that a big wave for you?
Does your confidence wane at times? Do you really believe we can end abortion? Do you find it hard sometimes to go to vigil to pray? Do you find it hard to talk about your pro-life views? The waves around you are sometimes big but you are not alone.
This past Saturday three mature women arrived at the vigil and were signing in and one of them stepped back inside the buffer zone and was quickly rebuked by a pp escort. I reminded them of the line and told them they are just trying to intimidate us and asked if they were upset by it. The three of looked at me all with the same look that said “Really? You think that upset me? Really? We’re a lot stronger than that!” What a great demonstration of Trust and being in the loving hands of Jesus! They didn’t see that incident as a wave. Barely a ripple in the water.
The underlying foundation of 40 DFL isn’t that we will end abortion with our efforts, which are showing great results, rather we are praying for God to intervene. It is by accessing HIS power that we will end abortion.
St. Augustine said “God does not demand the impossible. Instead, when HE makes a request, HE asks that we do what we can do, that we ask for what we cannot do and for His help to carry it out.”
We are in the back half of the campaign and the waves can big and the wind seems strong at times. But we can walk on water. WE ARE NOT AFRAID. We are having a big impact. If you have been to vigil consider coming again. If for any reason you haven’t been able to make it, there is still time.
Be bold. Share the joy. Bring a friend and family member. Help them to do something really important and meaningful. Wouldn’t it be something to say after you are asked “what did you do today?” and you can say “I saved someone’s life”.
If you haven’t yet brought your church group or want to come again, click SCHEDULE above to see the times when we need you most. Or come when it is best for you. Just come to the vigil. Ideally we would like you to sign but if you don’t that’s OK just show up. Stay along as you want.
Come Walk on Water. I know you can do it.
Today at the vigil we had prayer warriors from from several churches from Weirton and St. Alexis in Wexford plus lots of individuals.
Stop back to this site throughout the day as we will be posting pictures and stories from the vigil.
Peace and joy. Tim B.
The weather didn’t dampen the courage of these ladies from the Weirton Catholic Churches who stood vigil from 9-11 am.
From Nikki 11- 1 pm:
“I had a very quiet and peaceful shift today. When I arrived at 11 shift manager Jenni was there with this wonderful young mom and her precious children. They had come from Northhills Reformed Presbyterian Church of the North Hills and understood in the rain with Ginny.
What a beautiful witness for life they are!
After they left it was just me and a woman named Theresa from Saint Barbara‘s in Bridgeville. It was her first time there and she had been there for two hours. She left and soon afterwards Beth and came from Saint Alexis in Wexford. It was her and I during most of the shift. We prayed together and separately, received mostly positive remarks. It seemed like the clinic was not Busy. I don’t remember anyone going in except for a delivery of some sort.
Bethann was a great prayer partner today! At 11 the next shift managers sister team arrived, Beth and Rose. And also faithful Bill.
As I was leaving the next group from Saint Alexis came to witness. Thank you everyone for your perseverance in this battle!”
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Francis Thompson 1859-1907
To clone a person, you would have to clone their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first grade teacher, next door neighbors and so on until you have included all their people.
Lewis Thomas 1913-1993
In our audacity, we witness in prayer to change hearts. We know that heart changes are difficult and painful and take a lifetime.
History gives us a glimpse of the heart of the person who wrote “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Reading it, you can’t stop thinking about Jesus holding his arms wide open on the Cross.
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was baptized as an infant in the local Church of Ireland (Anglican).
Wilde’s mother was a lifelong Irish nationalist. She wrote poetry for the revolutionary “Young Irelanders” and read their poetry to Oscar.
The movement of the “Young Irelanders” may be said to date from the founding of the Nation newspaper, 1842. “Educate that you may be free” was the keynote of the new journal, which was destined to find its way within a year into nearly every household in Ireland. It preached temperance, patience, energy, and resolution. It held up the spirit of the people while it taught them tolerance and union.
Jane Wilde attended Mass with her sons in a chapel where Father Prideaux Fox, a Catholic priest, was the celebrant. Father Fox said, “I am not sure if she ever became a Catholic herself, but it was not long before she asked me to instruct two of her children, one of them being the future erratic genius, Oscar Wilde. After a few weeks I baptized these two children, Lady Wilde herself being present on the occasion.”
Wilde’s father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known surgeon. Anti-Catholic, he bitterly opposed Oscar’s interest in the Church. “I am sure that if I had become a Catholic at that time he would have cast me off altogether.”
In his student days at Oxford, Wilde met fellow student, Sir David Hunter Blair. Blair became a Catholic, joined the Benedictines, and eventually became Abbot at Dunfermline Abbey.
In his book, Victorian Days, Blair wrote that Wilde asked him many questions which revealed “how genuine were his own sympathies with Catholicism.”
Hunter-Blair’s evangelizing efforts had no immediate effect, and the two men parted, Hunter-Blair taking Holy Orders and Wilde turning to the literary world of London. Wilde was forthright about his motives. “To go over to Rome would be to sacrifice and give up my two great Gods: Money and Ambition.”
“I suffer a great deal from my Romish leanings, in pocket and mind. And now my best friend turns out to be a Papist!” One of his first friends was Robert Ross, a Catholic. Ross was with him at the end.
In October, 1900, Wilde sent a telegram to Ross. “Terribly weak. Please come.”
Ross went and later told how, after he arrived, “he rushed to the Passionist Church in Paris and brought back Father Cuthbert Dunne to attend spiritually” to Wilde. Father Dunne recorded following.
Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional Baptism, and afterwards, answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man (Wilde) was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious… Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last sacraments… And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition , Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me.
The next day Oscar Wilde died.
After he was laid out, Father Dunne “placed a rosary in his hand and put palm branches over him.” Father Dunne said the Requiem Mass at Saint Germain-des-Prés.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat – and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet –
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
Lewis Thomas, 1913- 1993. The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher.
Francis Thompson, 1859-1907. The Hound of Heaven. YOUNG IRELAND AND THE FENIANS, Taken fromA History of Irelandby Eleanor Hull
Holy Wisdom, Saint John XXIII and Saints John and Paul (Wexford) parishes filled the sidewalk with their beauty during these two shifts. Joining us were also people from Saint Michael Parish (Wheeling) and Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Enjoy the photos. These are just some of the people.
Jeannie, Shift Manager Injured reserve
The most important task of EMTs when they reach a head or spine injury victim is to secure the victim’s head, neck and body to prevent further injury. When this happened to me, — when my neck was braced and my cut, bruised, broken body was strapped to a hard board for transport to the trauma center, I could not believe the pain. It felt like there were nails on the board, particularly behind my head.
Just then, I had a glimpse of Jesus on the cross—his beaten, whipped, scourged body would suffer the further insult of being lashed to a hard, unyielding splintered piece of wood. During my 40 minute bumpy ride to the emergency room, every Pittsburgh pothole drew tears. Tears of pain, yes, but of grateful joy for what our Lord endured for me, his precious child. I was able to offer my suffering up because I know His Story! It changed everything.
That is what we are doing on the sidewalk—telling HIS STORY; bringing the redemptive, powerful love of Jesus to each of his beloved children, whether they are vulnerable mothers, scared friends, lonely fathers or misled abortion workers, our knowledge of the vast and enduring love of Jesus is the answer!
I pray we continue to keep telling HIS story!
NOTES FROM THE SUNDAY SIDEWALK
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
Diane and Tom beat the sun to the sidewalk this morning, supplying and setting up all our vigil’s needs before dawn. The Bellevue Knights of Columbus were well-represented by Charlie, who also blesses the pro-life effort as a sidewalk advocate.
Devoted despite feeling under the weather, Vince arrived with his beautiful Scripture readings for each mystery of the Rosary, which we all prayed together. Jim, Charlie’s fellow Knight, joined us later and stayed on as Sue came to lead the next shift. She mentioned a woman who appeared nervous and defensive as she protested the vigil the day before. Sue astutely pointed out that the woman’s agitated demeanor may have been a sign that she was troubled by what she was doing, and that her heart may soon be ready to accept the truth. Sue graciously lead us in prayer for the woman’s conversion.
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
Yet another beautiful day to be outside. The sidewalk was very quiet this morning, likely due to the later Steeler game today. I was joined by Jim from the Bellevue Knights of Columbus, Regina from St. Clare of Assisi, Mary Jane from St. Francis of Assisi, Kelly from St. John Capistran, and Patty from St. Bernadette.
Patty pointed out that today in the Catholic Church is the Feast of St. John Paul II. We asked his intercession and prayed the Rosary, for saved lives, changed hearts, the closing of PP and Allegheny Reproductive, and the ceasing of abortions at Magee.
At one point a man walked by and said, “You’re here on a Sunday morning? Now that’s persistence!”
YES sir, persistence is what we are all about! We will persist in our vigil until abortion comes to an end in our great city — indeed, in God’s world!!
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
Quiet. Peaceful. Prayerful.
Even though we had many travelers passing on their way to the Steelers game I felt calm. I had great people to pray with!
A man from West Africa commented to a fellow prayer that he doesn’t understand how abortion exists in our country when there are so many resources to help women.
A young man yelled to us from his car, “Thank you! Thank you! My mom chose to keep me!” And then, he started to cry.
It was beautiful!!! And, finally, Ann uttered to us “Blessings, blessings, blessings”.
Thank you Jesus for a great shift!
KEN 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
This is my first shift manager assignment, and I was a little nervous going in. I sent a group text to immediate family for prayer. God is good. It truly was a peaceful, prayerful vigil.
I arrived to a warm greeting from the previous shift manager Maggie.
Father John from Saint John Fisher (Richmond OH), and Megan, from Mother of Sorrows (Murrysville), were my first prayer partners.
JOE W. 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
I was warmly greeted by our new SM Ken, Fr. Jack, and the women from Catholic Family Land. They were prayerfully singing. It was so
beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing.
The Starr family, from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 5-6 hour, prayed fervently and ended in song.
The men from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 6-7 hour ready to
serve our Holy Family. They prayed joyfully, sang joyfully and
amazingly( I’m jealous), and after my shift was over, prayed over me
joyfully. I’m grateful.
Catholic Family Land participants traveled from Brookdale, Ohio (a
long way). They came armed with the spirit ready to do battle for the
lives of our brothers and sisters. It was as authentic a witness as I’ve
experienced in my journey with 40 Days for Life.
Soooo, I would like to give yinz a Howard Dean campaign shout out,
“YaaaaaaaaaaHHaaaaaawwoooo awesomely well done.”
Thank you Jesus.
Since the first 40 Days for Life began back in 2004 in College Station, Texas, the prayer, fasting, and peaceful witness by about ¾ of a million people have yielded incredible results. Where our vigils have been held we’ve seen…
13,569 lives saved (that we know of)
156 abortion workers quitting their jobs (that we know of)
90 abortion centers closed
Now here’s a strange question for you. If you had to pick a favorite among the three above, the one that stirred your heart the most, which would you choose?
For me, it’s the middle one.
There’s not just one reason for that, but the first is purely personal. Nothing else moves my heart like a good conversion story. Abby Johnson’s UNPLANNED, is a great example. If you haven’t read it, you’re really missing one incredible story of God’s grace at work.
But beyond that, I think it’s the most surprising number of the three. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that it wasn’t even on the radar for David Bereit and Shawn Carney when they launched 40 DFL nationally back in 2007. Saving lives from abortion? This was something that was fully expected. Abortion centers closing? I’m sure it was a reasonable hope. But abortion workers quitting? Who saw that fruit coming?
And finally, there’s this. When an abortion worker quits – like Abby, or Ramona Trevino, or Sue Thayer – and then runs, like the Prodigal Son, back into the merciful arms of the Father, I don’t think it’s too presumptuous for me to say that, together, we’ve played a role in the saving of a soul.
So with that thought on your heart, please take a few moments right now to pray for that one soul who works for Planned Parenthood Pittsburgh who is most in need of our prayers. Pray that this brother or sister of ours is graced with the courage to leave the world of abortion behind and run to the Father’s open arms. Perhaps we could begin by praying the following on behalf of that person:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
And do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge Him;
And He will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
– Proverbs 3:5-7
AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS FROM THE SIDEWALK…
Tim B., 7-9
Wow did we have a great turn out for the sunrise shift. From the beginning we had prayer warriors on both sides of the entrance from several of the North Hills Churches and then, like in the old Western movies, “the cavalry arrived.” Fr. Tim and the faithful Guardians for Life pulled up in two vans and the faithful poured out. Prayer echoed on Liberty Ave. Plus, we were blessed today to have two priests at the vigil.
Three young men walking by stopped to stare at the fetal models and were very interested. We offered, and they accepted, a variety of literature to give out to their friends and agreed to consider participating in 40 DFL. What a blessed morning.
Sue D. and Sue M., 9-11
Sue and Sue share SM duties for Saturdays 9am-11am. We arrived at the sidewalk with Fr. Tim and his Guardians covering it with prayer! Dear Barbara and Holy Wisdom parish were also there. Holy Wisdom and St. John the 23rd adopted the full day as theirs to pray and offer sacrifice! Many people from Sts. John and Paul came also, as well as men from a church in Weirton! The sidewalk was full!
There were many women who entered the doors of PP today. Some took our cards offering Free Pro-Life help, despite the escorts being out in full force. Maria from Sion Iglesia commented how the Holy Spirit can cut to the heart and many, many prayers and rosaries were said today! SA Judy and Sue stood at the far ends to reach as many people as possible! God Bless everyone who came today and Sue on her Birthday!! TOS (The Other Sue)
Billy subbed as shift manager from 1-3 and wrote:
I was with Barbara who has been there since 7 am, she is such a trooper and is still there. I was with St. John and Holy wisdom churches and we were in such a movement of prayer, I felt God was there for the entire prayer. Nadine who had been with me last week was also there, and Sally, and I believe her husband too. There was one pro choice protester there, but we tried not to engage and debate. We did have a lot of people pass by and say they supported us. It was such a joy to fellowship and pray there.
I do apologize I didn’t have any pictures for this time. Thanks again for allowing me to lead,
God bless all of those who came..
I had thought about Deuteronomy 30:19 as we came today. Where God says choose life so that you and your children may live.
Jeff B. 5-7 (report by Pat M.)
During the early part of Jeff’s shift we were joined by four young people from Steubenville, OH, – three of whom are students (graduate and undergraduate) at Franciscan University. Even though dressed up from having come from a talk by Franciscan University professor Scott Hahn in Sharpsburg, this didn’t stop them from praying on their knees.
For the bulk of the shift, however, it was just the two of us. The weather couldn’t have been better and the streets were on the quite side given that no major events had been scheduled. I only heard one negative passing comment and witnessed a lot of people walking by who would not have otherwise known they were passing an abortion clinic had we not had a presence on the sidewalk. One guy who gave me a fist bump of support was very likely a member of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals given his size and the size of the guy he was with.
MORE PICTURES AND STORIES WILL BE ADDED ON SUNDAY.
Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time
we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
We passed the halfway point in our fall vigil this week…and I’m ashamed to admit that I found myself losing steam. I was having a hard time getting up off the spiritual “couch.” The hectic pace of everyday life kept pushing me along and I just didn’t feel like pushing myself on top of that. I was longing to do something mindless and treat myself to the few little things from which I’m fasting.
I think Jesus understands. Fully human and fully divine, He may have even felt the same at times. But I’m sure He doesn’t want me to give in or give up. He certainly never did. So I looked around for some spiritual “caffeine” to get me up and moving. God provided just what I need through our beautiful 40 Days for Life family.
I was struck by the quote Pat used in his reflection the other day: “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way.” God gets that I’m tired, and mercifully, He won’t abandon me in my weakness…but with His help I can do better.
Sue offered comfort with her suggestion to “dream small.” I don’t have to make it through 16 more days of the campaign all at once…just one day at a time. Give us this day our daily bread. Please, Lord, help me to give it all I’ve got TODAY.
Nikki’s passionate warning about the danger of being lukewarm was perfectly timed, while her updates on darling Adrial, Rowan, and Wyatt were just what I needed to get some fire back. How can I ever get tired of fighting when this is who we’re fighting for?
Let’s pray for one another with TRUST that God will grant us the focus and energy to fight as hard as we can for the most vulnerable today. And then let’s do it again tomorrow. 😊
7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:
Sunrise treated us to a pink plaid glow. Richard and I were joined early by Diane and Rose.
We decorated the sidewalk with prolife items, trying to set a scene that could welcome mothers to choose life.
Bill, John, Beverly and Kim joined us. Cathy stopped by on her way to the airport. She is going to NC for a wedding.
Al and Sally are celebrating their 51 YEARS WEDDING ANNIVERSARY today. Caesar Emmanuel dropped by, chose a blue Rosary because it is on this week’s Pittsburgh Catholic front page, and asked us to give a shout out to Bishop Zubik. Life is good.
Today is an abortion day. We are trying to change hearts, one at a time.
1-3 PM, Regina:
My daughter Angela, faithful witness for life, Ginny and I had the great grace of being led by the pastor of North American Martyrs Parish, Fr. Joe Luisi, in all four Mysteries of The most Holy Rosary. The power of this prayer effort was tangible as we lifted up our hearts, minds and souls to God on behalf of the unborn, and in honor of the dignity of all human Life. Heavy foot traffic on Liberty Ave. ensured the opportunity to witness to the supportive, the offended and the indifferent alike. Thank you Fr. Joe! The witness of clergy speaks volumes on so many crucial levels. Hearts were clearly touched by Fr.’s prayerful presence! Some crossed themselves as they passed, while others stopped to engage and seek counsel. People are hungry for God, and need to believe in the geniune goodness of God’s people! That was quite evident today in front of the Gates of Hell. Thanks be to God, the victory is HIS!
3-5 PM, Lisa:
Quiet shift but loads of intercessory prayer covered the streets thanks to Ginny, Karen and Larry from West Hills Baptist, and the youth from St Monica’s!!!
Thank you for your witness, sacrifice, and love for women and children in difficult circumstances!!!
5-7 PM, Barbara and Richard (again, God bless them!):
Slowly the sun faded and a blue grey light washed the streets. Quietly, quietly, day faded into evening and then dark. Workers left PP, and the door locked behind each of them, one by one. Finally the building was empty, dark and hollow.
Richard and I were joined by Karen and Larry, members of West Hills Baptist. They were here 3 – 7 and appeared tireless. As people passed, so many stopped to talk with them.
And then, Diane and Tom came, gathered up the items, and drove away. Another 12 hour shift completed, as we promised. We witnessed outside, in full view of Pittsburghers, in honor of the tiny invisible babies whose lives were quietly, relentlessly taken here today.
A prayer request from Joan, vigil participant:
I was down there today and a young girl came out of Planned Parenthood very upset. I spoke with her for a few minutes and gave her info and then her friend grabbed her hand and whisked her away. I hope she makes the right choice! I could tell that she did not want to go through with the abortion.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.
I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Sometimes we feel like this… like we are crying to God “out of the depths.”
In what circumstances might we find ourselves when we are crying out to God like this? Perhaps depression, disease, financial distress, job loss, death… and perhaps abortion. Perhaps the agony of the decision as a couple discerns whether or not to bring their baby to term. Perhaps the abortion worker who struggles with her conscience.
There are many reasons for us ALL.
That next verse in the above psalm says that God has mercy upon us for our iniquities. How does that even make sense? How is that fair? If I have sinned, I deserve punishment. But according to God, I also deserve mercy… part of which MAY BE a punishment. But if so, it is all for the good of our transformation. According to one dictionary, “mercy” is kindness that goes beyond what is fair.
The last verse above speaks of our TRUST in the Lord. Yes, our theme for this fall’s campaign. TRUST. It also says that “[our] soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.” Why does someone in darkness wait for the dawn with such longing? Because they will finally be able to see clearly. To SEE what the newness of the day has in store. To bring HOPE.
40 Days for Life exists to bring HOPE. By praying each day for an end to abortion, what does that do but bring people’s awareness to the POSSIBILITY that something BETTER than abortion exists?? May we continue to help one another (especially those on the sidewalk) OUT of the darkness and into the HOPE of TRUSTING in what our God has in store for us.
Shift Manager Reports
Here are two photos from the 7 to 9 shift. It was great to see Tom and Diane and Peg when I arrived at seven. Joe came with me today. We had a peaceful, prayerful shift. It did appear that Planned Parenthood was open for business; two single girls and one couple entered while I was there. Chuck and Judy arrived for the 9 to 11 shift.
We had a good day at our vigil today. Chuck and I held down the fort with a couple special visitors (Randy & Bill). During our shift, there were 2 couples who went into PP, and we tried to offer them information about free services, but they just ignored us and went inside. They did not come out of PP during our shift. There was another lady who came out and was waiting for someone. I approached her and gave her the card with the contact information for free services. I asked her if she was in PP for an abortion. She seemed shocked and laughed and said that she was not, in fact she had 5 children.
We had a couple passersby who made quiet negative remarks or rolled their eyes about our presence there; otherwise, all of our acquaintances were very positive. One gentleman walked by us, stopped and turned around and came back, took out his phone and showed us a picture of his beautiful daughter who was just born yesterday. He allowed us to pray a blessing over his new daughter and family, and to thank God for a beautiful little life. Another young man came by and looked at the baby models, and we were able to talk to him. He had no idea that PP did abortions. He took out his phone and showed us pics of his 8 month old nephew and said there was another nephew due to be born soon. We had the opportunity to pray with him as well and prayed a blessing upon his little nephews and their family. Another gentleman stopped by, seemed to be a little troubled, but commented that he would like to get involved in 40 Days for Life once he got his life settled. So we gave him the 40 Days brochure and had the opportunity to pray over him and ask God’s blessing to work out all situations in his life.
We had a lovely surprise that Randy K. stopped by during our shift to encourage us…and it was very encouraging and uplifting to us. Bill also stopped by and joined us and encouraged us as well with a testimony of healing. We are praying that God changes the atmosphere on that section of sidewalk. Today, we noticed so many more positive responses to our greetings to people as they passed by…and the 2 negative comments and 1 eye roll were not aggressive at all, but one was somewhat polite. Thanking God for His presence and praising Him for changing the atmosphere!
Thank you so much to all of the beautiful people who came to pray today during the 11-1 shift. Thank you, Judy and Chuck, who had the shift before me and got to meet my husband. Thank you for being the prayerful, Spirit-filled people you are!! Beth Ann, our faithful “non Shift Manager” (but she kinda is) was there, filled with charity and peace as usual. Thank you!! And the group from Holy Spirit and St. Nicholas was a joy to meet and pray with. Thank you to all!!
One scene struck me as I was preparing to leave. A man was talking to me and so I didn’t feel that I could call out to the couple entering the doors to PP at that moment. It made me so sad, for two reasons: first, when anyone enters those doors, my heart is saddened. We all know the dangers, the pressures, and the influences (demonic as well) that are present in that place. I wish to see NO ONE use their “services.” So that was sad to begin with.
But then what made it more profoundly sad to me was this. As the couple walked in, the man had his hand over the woman’s back, as though her were “helping” or “ushering” her in the door. It made me ill to see how a MAN- who should be protecting women- would do such a thing… leading her and their child right into the literal jaws of death. It made me angry- maybe for the first time in a long time on the sidewalk. Our men need to be standing up for women!! Please, any men who are reading this- please continue to be the wonderful witnesses for life that the Lord has called you to be…. and that includes protecting the women in your life.
One of the sad and terrible realities of some abortion days:
Please keep the woman in prayer who was taken by the ambulance. Thank you.
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and somewhat different. When I arrived at 5:00 PM, there was a lady taken out of Planned Parenthood on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. Please pray that all goes well with her while she is in the hospital. Please also pray for a man who was crying because his wife had an abortion years ago.
I would like to especially thank Dave from Oil City, Billy from Plum, Jim from St. Maurice, and Jane, Peggy, Sam, and the other faithful parishioners from St. Bernadette in Monroeville for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. Let’s keep the prayers up while at the vigil, and not let any distractions keep us from praying the rosary and other prayers.
May God bless you and your families always!
We began this post with the Scripture passage that reads, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord….”
Pittsburgh may not be the largest city around, but there are lots of things going on here every day. For most people who were in our city today, they did not know that preborn babies were killed. And they did not know that a woman was taken away from an abortion facility in an ambulance.
But we cry to God “out of the depths.” We cry to Him for mercy. May we entrust our city and its families, its women, its children… to HIM.
Here we are on day 22…more than halfway there. The weather has been beautiful and our witness for life and for Christ on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood has been going strong! Our numbers are sometimes small, but as Sue wrote so beautifully in her post from yesterday…we are to “dream small“! I LOVED that reflection! However, today, with the faithful prayer warriors from St. Louise de Marillac in Upper St. Clair, Guardians for Life and many dedicated individuals…our numbers were anything but small! AND A BABY WAS HOPEFULLY SAVED TODAY! (Read about it in shift manager Hank’s report at the bottom of this post.)
Last week I watched a video of Abby Johnson, pouring out her heart and her frustration over the fact that 40 Days for Life leaders all around the world are having a hard time filling the vigil hours. In the video, she says, through tear filled eyes, “I just don’t understand why it is so hard for CHRISTIANS to PRAY for an hour!” It was the 8 year anniversary of her conversion…8 years from the day that she was asked to assist in an ultra-sound guided abortion…and she watched with her own eyes, a tiny 13 week baby boy struggle to move away from the abortionist’s device…and ultimately lose his struggle. As you probably know, she had a conversion and is now a pro-life advocate…assisting other abortion workers to leave the industry. You can watch the video yourself by clicking HERE.
But, after I watched the video…I have to admit that it had the effect of making me feel sorry for myself! And I felt a slight bitterness creeping in. Especially when I don’t get response from my emails asking for help when we have empty hours at the vigil. It is then that my little interior pity party begins…and I start thinking, “Why doesn’t anyone else care?” Now, don’t get me wrong. I KNOW that there are MANY people who DO care…and who are praying, fasting and coming to the vigil if and when they can. And I KNOW that we are making a difference through these 40 day campaigns! I stand there and see the expression of folks walking by, especially when they look at the fetal models. I see many young people looking…and I BELIEVE that we are planting seeds that will reap a harvest some day. But still…I wonder whey there aren’t MORE of us???
I read something last week that has really stayed with me…Fr. Richard Heilman posted on his blog:
Satan’s most powerful force; his “Elite Fighting Force” are the indifferent, the dispassionate, the halfhearted … it is the lukewarm. These are Satan’s “Special Forces” because they are the most effective in winning over a multitude of souls for the devil. Why? Because many are easily swayed by their “version of lukewarm religion.” One that sets every other thing, noble or not, ahead of participating in building the kingdom of God. And, lukewarm church-goers are the elite among the elite in Satan’s fighting force, because they “set a powerful trend” of this empty religiosity, with no urgency to go much beyond church attendance. This is VERY contagious!!
I always thought it was interesting that God speaks so harshly about the lukewarm…saying He will spit them out! I mean, being lukewarm is better than being cold…isn’t it? Isn’t a little of something better than none at all? But, after reading this refection above, I can begin to see why being lukewarm is so dangerous. Because it is like thinking we can have our cake and eat it too. We can be Christians and still be comfortable. We can live like the world, as long as our “mouths” say the right words. That reminds me of a joke that I heard a priest tell a few weeks ago. He said,
“There was a woman who wanted St. Peter to give her a tour of Heaven, so she could check it out. St. Peter agreed, and as he was showing her around, she noticed a large hole…it was full of tongues. She asked St. Peter what that was all about. St. Peter answered, ‘Oh, that is for those whom only their tongues made it to Heaven.'”
If there was no suffering in the world…if no one was hungry or homeless…if helpless babies weren’t being killed by abortion…then maybe we could get away with being lukewarm. But we are in a battle here. Satan is fighting hard for souls. So we have to fight hard also. And we know that our side wins in the end, so we can be encouraged to persevere! And speaking of encouragement…I want to share with you a couple updates on babies that were saved from abortion at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood. We believe that many lives are saved from abortion through our prayers and witness…but it doesn’t happen very often that we actually get to find out, or to follow up on those lives. Here are two that I do keep in touch with:
I met Carita at Planned Parenthood when she came to have an abortion. Confused and fearful, she thought she had to do it. God used our pro-life family in Pittsburgh to help her choose life. We had a baby shower for her and also collected money to help her to buy a car. Her little girl, Adrial, is the light of her life, and her relationship with God is stronger than ever! I asked Carita to write a little message to our 40 Days for Life family for this blog. She wrote:
I just want to say God is good all the time and I just want to give him thanks for everything that he is doing for me and for everything that he did for my daughter. I want to specially thank the 40 day for life team for being there for me throughout my pregnancy. Thanks a lot to you too Nikki. Word of encouragement… life is preciously given from God, so we should preserve it.
Carita is also asking for prayers. She is living in a neighborhood that is not safe for her kids, and is going to look at another house to buy this Saturday. Please remember to pray for this intention for her.
These two little cuties were also scheduled to be aborted at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood…but because of our caring pro-life community, we were able to help their mom choose life. A baby shower was held and money was raised to help their family.
So, I hope you are now encouraged to continue these next 18 days! We have some empty vigil hours coming up that I hope we can fill! This Sunday from 1-3, shift manager Maggie will be all alone if no one signs up! Monday morning, from 7-9am shift manager Jeff will be alone. Monday from 5-7pm shift manager Sue will be alone. I hope I will get some responses to help fill these hours!
The final thought I want to share with you is this; Yesterday I got to talk to a woman who has been coming to our vigil regularly to “support Planned Parenthood“. She is upset that we want to “take away women’s healthcare” by closing down Planned Parenthood. When I answered her by saying that I am just one person and that I don’t have the power to close Planned Parenthood, I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke through her when she said in reply: “Yes, you do have the power to close Planned Parenthood! One person is powerful!“
So there you have it…straight from an opponent’s mouth…we DO have the power! It is not OUR power, of course. It is the power of GOD working IN us! Thanks be to God!!!
Now for today’s reports from the sidewalk…
Kathy L. 7-9am:
Thank you to St. Louise de Marillac Church members who came today and prayed. Dennis and Chris arrived first. We read today’s devotional together and then took our posts. Dennis greeted many passersby and most responded back with a friendly greeting. Chris left at 8 but then Brad joined us. He and Dennis prayed the rosary and then Maryann, Karen, and SM Cathy arrived to cover the next prayer shift.
St. Louise de Marillac pray-ers continued on….Karen and Denny were there when I arrived and stayed til around 10, when Seamus, Mary, Diane and Jason came – great group! The clinic was not very busy, we got some smiles and positive comments from passers-by. Just before 11 the faithful Guardians of Life began to arrive.
Hank 9-11am (Reports of a possible baby saved!!!)
What a beautiful day the Lord gave us today. We had a lot of prayer warriors out for the 11-1 shift and pray we did. I was expecting the building to shake from the power of the prayers. The Guardians for Life with Fr.Tim and the K of C were out in force and St.Louise DeMarillac was very well represented along with Bill from 1st Presbyterian and Ken from Greenburg. Among the group were two side walk counselors. Terri, one of the counselors, encountered a young woman who was on here way to PP. She is in her second month of pregnancy and her boy friend wanted her to have an abortion. Terri was able to direct her to another facility for a sonogram and the young lady was grateful and asked for Terri to be in contact with her. Please pray for A. We were warmly greeted by many people….so encouraging!! We distributed a good number of Precious Feet pins.
When I arrived for my shift, I was told the great news that there had been 23 prayer warriors on the sidewalk during the previous shift. Wow! I was joined by John, George, Ginny, and Andy during most of the time. Later, Claire and Jim joined us. Jim, a visitor from New Jersey, spent part of his birthday praying with us. What a blessing! There was very little foot traffic in and out of PP. One angry young man, who I’d seen walk by during previous shifts, spewed profanities and tried to engage us in an argument for about 10 minutes. He believed we were harassing women just by being there and that the developing baby was just a single cell. Andy calmly tried to reason with him and told him, yes, we all started out as a single cell, with unique DNA, DNA that is different from the mother, a unique individual. The man continued to rant and it was clear that trying to reason with him was futile. Thankfully, he went on his way. We received several “God Bless Yous” from passersby and we prayed multiple Rosaries in the beautiful weather.
Barbara & Richard 3-5pm
Sunny and warm described the sidewalk today. It also described the people walking by on the way to the bus, on the way home. After all this time, we recognize familiar faces. One woman, Mary, stopped to congratulate Ginny for coming to pray noting that she took extra effort due to her wheel chair.
Another woman noted, “I have all my kids!” How many? She raised 4 fingers, smiling happily.
One man looked quizzically at my 40 Days for Life sign. “They do abortions here,” I said. He looked away.
It is never a waste of time to stand downtown in front of PP to call attention to the outrage perpetrated behind these glass, usually locked, doors. They say the doors are locked and a fob is needed for access to keep us violent people outside.
Babies are methodically torn to shreds by appointment in there. How do you define “violent?”
Joe K. 5-7
A special thanks to Barbara and Richard for holding down the fort as I was a few minutes late today…
Beautiful evening and eerily quite… Didn’t seem to be that much vehicle / foot traffic… and no long lines of folks waiting for their bus…
I was surprisingly joined for the entire shift by my fellow Knight of Columbus, Mike, who shared his strong pro-life story – adoption and teen pregnancy…
Minimal reactions from passerby’s, other than one young man stopped briefly to indicate his support for us and how terrible it is for Planned Parenthood to sell baby parts…
The fetal models got many looks-n-glances today…
The shift did end with a woman questioning the “truth” of what we do and how we do it… which did jog my memory of an article I read earlier in the day that essentially stated – “…a minority of truth will prevail as long as it is heard…”
My brothers and sisters, let us continue to be “heard” through our truthful witness…
Let us be little people, dreaming small and trusting in God to make it BIG!
Sometimes we worry about accomplishing something BIG and we are busy “dreaming big” but then we miss out on all the very important “small stuff” that God places in front of us.
Carolyn relayed a story to me… about simply telling a lady going into church that she liked her scarf…the woman was overwhelmed by the small loving comment and told Carolyn that she just lost her husband. It was her first time in church without him! The seemingly small comment made a BIG difference in the woman’s day!
Barbara says in a blog post…I offered her our quite small, two sided, 2 x 3 ½ inch black and yellow card. I believe Barbara’s small gesture of handing out our small yellow cards can lead someone to seek Pro-Life help and have a BIG impact in someone’s life!
And I ad-libbed an observation Nikki made yesterday…Many people look at the fetal models. I really think the small babies make a BIG impact and plant many seeds, especially in young people. I think we are sowing small seeds that will reap a BIG harvest someday, bigger than we can know!
I pray that as we continue our 40 Days journey, that we can see and take advantage of all the “small stuff” that God has planned for us and rejoice in those accomplishments… Hearts are being changed and lives are being saved even when we don’t know it. We have many interactions every day with our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers… so I pray we all take time to “dream small” and make a difference in their lives as well…
God can use small people with faith like a mustard seed to move mountains. We are willing to put aside our fears and feelings of inadequacy in order to step up to the platform (sidewalk) God has placed in front of us and let Him speak through us.
We are Little People, Dreaming Small and TRUSTING in God to make it BIG!
Busy day at Planned Parenthood, lots of single women and couples. But 40 Days was right there, praying and witnessing and perhaps, giving Planned Parenthood a little well-deserved grief. (memo to Planned Parenthood employees who read our blog: our grief to you comes in the form of a reminder to your conscience; you know abortion is wrong, and you know it’s time to stop, we’re praying that you have the guts to do so.)
Suzanne, our wonderful Tuesday regular was with the crowd from St. Robert: Father Brennan, Carolyn, Mary S., Mary R., and Helen. Suzanne asked me if I noticed that the same woman had escorted three different young girls into PP and then after the last one, she walked back to the 9th street garage. So can we now assume that Planned Parenthood has an escort, middle aged, black woman, medium, height with hair slicked back on each side, working on Tuesdays if our guess is right? So much for offering woman the opportunity to hear of another “choice” the one for life.
Wow….what a shift! It took “a village” to get through our shift today. God put us all where we needed to be. Bernie came by with her beautiful painting of the pre-born Jesus which helped to sustain us. Here they are:
Pastor Adam Stump from Clarks Mills UMC led us off in a beautiful prayer. While we were in the middle of praying, “K” came by with her PP sign and waited to argue and distract us. Thankfully Pastor Adam was able to address her in such a calm and peaceful manner. Some of us chimed in here and there but we did still manage to keep the prayers going and reach out to those passing by. She first wanted to know how we could work together to decrease the number of abortions. But she didn’t like most of our answers (abstinence, NFP…). We explained some of the problems with contraception and the false sense of “protection” they give. We did agree that offering support services to mothers and their babies afterwards is a good thing. (That’s where our $ should be going, to support life, not to end life!) We got on to many other subjects. She commented that the size of the baby models were wrong. I asked if it really mattered to her whether they were a week off. Would she still think it was OK to abort at any stage, and she said ‘yes’. There were many other subjects discussed that I did not catch. But I thank God for Pastor Adam for his words of wisdom to her and to us! Please pray for “K” that she finds the peace and truth that she seeks and comes to embrace life.
My dear friend Barb, who drove us down, felt called to stand vigil across the street. She went over there with Joyce. As the Lord would have it, a girl standing for the bus walked up to them to get more info about why they were there. Joyce called me over to interact with them and we come to find out that she is a refugee from Ethiopia. She has been here a year. She cannot return to work until she heals from a surgery so she is living with a “nice guy”. But she is now about 1 month pregnant. Her boyfriend says he cannot afford a child since he sends money to support his family in Africa? so he suggested abortion. She was shocked to learn that it is legal in the US. She is scared but does not want an abortion and will consider adoption. We first took her to Catholic Charities to learn about resources that they had to help her. But ended up at Duquesne University to meet up with Joyce’s Uncle Father Vince who use to be a missionary in Ethiopia. He spoke 2 of the dialects very well and provided food for us while we made calls and shared more info with her. Please keep her in prayer. Pray that her boyfriend is supportive. If not, pray that she finds housing and is safe. Pray that she is strong and stays with her decision to keep the child. Pray that she can make the best choice for the future of her baby. We will stay in touch with her. Thank you Fr Vince for driving her back home and a BIG thanks to my friends Joyce, Provie, Patti and Barb who were flexible with their day and willing to travel all over town to help this special girl in need.
I also want to acknowledge Beth and Bob who came down to stand vigil during my shift! It is nice to have the faithful come back time and time again!
This time was significant since we had 5 new pray-ers from St. Catherine of Sienna. They got busy praying, and were taking in the new experience that was relatively quiet and peaceful. Many people thanked them for being there. Then we had a couple of women who decided to tell us off and scream their disagreements with us. For me it was just confirmation that our prayers and presence are working. PP is not happy about us being there. But we can be confident our prayers and presence matter. Nancy
Great group from St. Catherine of Sweden Church making a BIG impact!
Today the weather was beautiful as it has been for this entire campaign thus far. I was pleasantly surprised to find Nikki here at PP to be with me during my shift. We were blest to have others stopping by to be with us throughout the shift. God bless you special persons.
A passionate and vibrant friend of PP named Karen was present during the 1-3 shift and for most of my 3 – 5 shift. She has been with us at other times as well. Karen was respectful of our campaign and eager to present a defense for the importance of PP. We agreed to disagree and Nikki did a great job of dialoguing with Karen in a respectful, assertive and professional manner. Karen held a small sign over her head which said “Honk 4 Planned Parenthood.” Karen was relentless and indicated we had the power to close this PP facility. I suppose she was right, however if a closing is to occur, it would be the result of our 40 DFL campaigns and the Lord’s divine intervention. We are merely vessels for Him and any power we may be perceived to have comes from the Lord. When Karen left, she wished us well and we did the same. It appears the other side may be feeling intimidated by our presence and may be doing their homework and know that over 90 abortion clinics have closed since 40 DFL began its first campaign in Texas a dozen years ago.
A peaceful shift. Thank you to Jeff and Jim who stayed over from the previous shift to be with us for a while. Thank you to my Catholic Daughters who came to the call to stand with me for the 5 to 7 shift. Pictured, Johanna, Lisa and Donna.
Do your friends know how strongly you believe in the sanctity of life and that you are a pro-life warrior? When I first got involved in pro-life activity, I didn’t tell many, if any people let alone my friends or co-workers. Looking back I’m not sure why but I’m guessing it was a concern with “what would they think?”. Would they think less of me or ridicule me? I’m guessing it was some of both. Perhaps it was that pride or vanity or fear thing. Oh, and let’s not forget how uncomfortable I was praying downtown in front of everyone passing by.
However, slowly I became emboldened. I went from “praying only” at pp, to holding a bumper sticker as a sign (wow, how’s that for bold). But slowly my signs got bigger and my prayers longer and louder and involvement in 40 DFL deeper. The little mustard seed started to grow. And I became more joyful.
Working in God’s vineyard does make me happy.
So then I started telling friends, family and co-workers and you know what? They were interested and wanted to get involved too. They just didn’t know how. Let’s be clear, they all didn’t jump at the chance. Some just politely said “oh”.
Abby Johnson said, “Abortion is a silent tragedy”. People don’t hear about it or think about it. I believe there are many good Christians out there who would stand against abortion but they don’t know how.
So now I tell people about 40 DFL, how it adds purpose and meaning to my life and then how to get involved. And you know what? They get involved. Of course not all of them but some. After this calling is not for everyone. “Some are apostles, some prophets, some evangelists…”
My advice to you is “BE NOT AFAID” tell your friends. Maybe forward them a good blog (like this one) or invite them to join with you when you are going next to pray at the vigil. Or sign up to go again. Or just show up. Click SCHEDULE above if you want to sign up.
Just tell them. Peace and joy.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) for the last two shifts (3-5 & 5-7) we need prayer warriors, so that Michael and Lisa M. will not be there alone! Stop by if you can even if for only a few minutes.
Today at the vigil we will or have had St. Mary of the Assumption (Glenshaw) and Holy Apostles Parish (South Hills). We will be posting pictures and stories from today’s vigil throughout the day so stop back.
Here’s from Shift Manager Sue D. 7-9 am:
“It was a really quiet morning on the sidewalk! It just didn’t seem like there were even that many people in town….I focused my time praying quietly, it is so important that I decided not to even attempt to engage passersby or hand out any information. I let the baby models speak for themselves! Several workers went into PP this morning but overall it was pretty quiet. Bill stopped by and told me a story about how someone prayed over him this weekend and he is healed from arthritis! He was feeling very limber and was trying to remember how to do the Teaberry Shuffle, LOL!! As I was finishing my shift, a person made a comment “my body, my choice”….I just glanced at the baby models and wonder if she ever considers the baby’s body? Ginny arrived for her shift right on time, it is such a blessing to meet so many faithful people!” ~Sue
From Ginny SM 9-11 am:
“My son was on his way to the bus station. He spotted me in front of PP and stopped to pray.”
“A couple his first time at 40 Days and her second They spent an hour praying. It was a very quiet morning otherwise.”
From Beth S. 11-1 pm:
“Today it was as chilly on the outside of Planned Parenthood as it must be on the inside of Planned Parenthood, considering their business. When Peg and I, from St. Elizabeth of Hungary arrived, Rose and Mary Angela from Holy Apostles were waiting. We were joined by Anna Marie, also from Holy Apostles, to continue praying until Nikki came around 3 p.m. There were a few negative comments, my favorite coming from a woman who kept asking me if I was voting for Trump. She seemed really annoyed with me when I told her the election was over. Well, sometimes life comes at your fast. There were also quite a few positive comments, thank yous, thumbs up, etc. All in all, a peaceful, prayerful occasion.”
From Nikki 3-5 pm: “I had a very peaceful, prayerful shift from 3 to 5. It was great seeing Beth when I arrived along with her friend from her Parish, St. Elizabeth. Also there was Peg, from holy apostles Parish. After they left, I was joined by faithful Bill and my dear friend and fellow shift manager Lisa, who had come to make sure I wouldn’t be alone. We had many positive comments, I don’t remember any negative.
A few times, people stopped and just wanted to chat about the importance of life. One man stopped and asked, “is this an abortion clinic? I had no idea!“. One woman wanted to pray with us, which we did. Most of the shift, we just prayed silently and while I prayed, I watched people‘s expressions. Many, many people look at the fetal models. I really think they make a big impact and plant many seeds, especially in young people. I think we are sowing seeds that will reap a big harvest someday, bigger than we can know! We just have to keep going, as Beth always says. Thank you shift manager Hank and Joe for filling in for the 5 to 7 shift tonight!”
From Joe K. 5-7 pm:
“Well, today is the half-way point and this was the first day that reminded me that we are truly into the fall season – hoodies-n-coats…
The shift transitioned from Nikki, Lisa, and Bill to Hank and I must say that it was a little bit of a different evening… First, I was honored and thankful to have the opportunity to share the shift with Hank.
Passerby “A” also transitioned shifts and offered support, shared some Bible verses, and also asked for prayers. One scripture passage shared was Psalm 92, the King James Version (KJV), which is one of the places that mentions a unicorn…
Not that I didn’t believe (the reference), but when I got home and looked it up – there it was in verse 10 – “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn”. I could definitely to do a better job of TRUSTING… Thanks & prayers for “A”!
One gentleman stopped by in his Range Rover to gloat over the downfall of a local leader… Another veryangry young man made sure (multiple times) to expresshis “displeasure” with my personal participation in our vigil. This was mixed-in with occasional thanks and support from passerby’s to balance out the evening.
Hank provided many of the passerby’s with friendly hello’s!
A young person from a local college working on a “project” interviewed / photographed Bill, Hank, and myself at various times… I believe we were all open and TRUSTING. I do hope and pray that not only do they publish the TRUTH about the issues and our movement, but that this TRUTH is self-recognized / realized.
Hank and I utilized the rest of the shift to pray and share – talking about, among other things, Trust, Forgiveness, and Healing…”
Let’s listen to what some great minds have said about the mystery of BEAUTY
To me, team work is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.
Mike Krzyzewski 1947
Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
John Muir 1838 – 1914
Iam among those who think that science has great beauty.
Marie Curie 1867 – 1934
O, thou art fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
Christopher Marlowe 1564-1593
A great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
Pablo Neruda 1904 – 1973
By plucking her flowers you do not gather the beauty of the flower.
Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.
Percy Bysshe Shelley 1794 – 1822
This is the beauty of the soul
the splendor of the light of human reason,
of divine reason and wisdom,
breaking forth from the soul to give life and beauty to the actions of man.
Walter Farrell, O.P.
The soul has a double principle of order;
the reason of man
the reason and wisdom of God
Both of these carry with them the notion of light, of clarity, of splendid illumination.
The one is the light in the hands of a wayfarer, guiding each of his steps, sweeping about the dark world around him in a constant revelation of truth, of goodness, of
The other is the powerful creative beacon that calls into being the path followed by the pilgrim man, that creates the beauty he sees, and that calls him home to the source of all beauty.
Walter Farrell, O.P.
Sin is the enemy of beauty, for sin is the enemy of virtue.
Walter Farrell, O.P.
We can picture venial sin graphically as the ropes that securely bind the hands and feet of a man; they do no intrinsic injury to man’s ability to act, but certainly they hinder his activities.
There is, then, a grave danger in venial sin, the grave danger of slipping bit by bit into mortal sin and so into the eternity of hell’s punishment.
Walter Farrell, O.P.
These statements are based on the SUMMA THEOLOGICA by Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225 – 1274). They are not easy reading. Chesterton can explain why this complexity is inevitable.
When once one believes in a creed, one is proud of its complexity, as scientists are proud of the complexity of science. It shows how rich it is in discoveries. If it is right at all, it is a compliment to say that it’s elaborately right. A stick might fit in a hole or a stone a hollow by accident. But a key and a lock are both complex. And if a key fits a lock, you know it is the right key.
G. K. Chesterton ORTHODOXY
One early Friday morning this fall I was witnessing at PP. I noticed a young woman standing alone nearby, finishing a cigarette. I removed my prolife sign and walked over. As we talked, I offered her our little yellow and black card that outlines Pittsburgh area free help for crisis pregnancy. Although she accepted the card, she walked into PP telling me that she “was just going in for a checkup.”
Was it was outrageous of me to bother this young woman whom I did not know? But I do know her. And, what I offered her was just a pin point of light.
I offered her our quite small, two sided, 2 x 3 ½ inch black and yellow card.
The light of hope offered on this tiny card is available due to the beauty of the love of too-numerous-to-count volunteers who stand ready to help her and her baby in their crisis.
She and I had just begun to talk about beauty. She deserves that as much as I do. It is what her Father created her for.
NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK
JEANNIE Shift Manager/ Injured Reserve
A month ago I was cycling and was hit by a car. Lying on the pavement immediately after the accident I was acutely aware of my surroundings—noises of traffic and pedestrians (a few had stopped to assist me), horns and radios… I also heard the hysterical voice of the driver who hit me screaming that she had just “killed someone on a bike”…. I tried to do my best to let her know I was alive, but all I could utter was “I’m OK. I’m OK.” It was a truly chaotic situation.
As I lay waiting for help, and aware that I was unable to move, I purposefully envisioned handing God my broken body. I entrusted Him (again as always), to care for me in that very moment and all that would follow. I suddenly felt a wave of peace. I had no idea how hurt I was, or what lay ahead for me. All that mattered was that God was in charge, and I trusted Him. Everything was going to be OK!
The EMTs soon arrived and the severity of my injuries became clear as I described my pain to them. Trust in the Lord prevailed and allowed me to calmly explain who I was, what had happened, and who the police should be in contact with. I’ve always believed I’ve trusted in God, but that evening, as I lay broken on the pavement, trust in Him brought me holy peace in body and soul.
As my fellow shift managers witness for life on the sidewalk, I pray that you can each feel the true peace that comes from turning this effort for LIFE over to God. Place into God’s hands all those who the devil has conscripted – He alone can bear the burden of this holy battle; TRUST HIM alone!
With gratitude for the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I unite my daily prayers to yours as we labor to build the Kingdom of God on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood. Trust brings Peace!
DEE sends us GOOD NEWS.
The Carmelite Nuns of Erie PA
Praised be Jesus Christ!!
We are remembering the 40 days of Prayer in our prayers this month, grateful for all the prayers, efforts and sacrifices made by the participants on behalf of God’s little ones under attack in what should be the safest place for them — their mother’s womb.
Yes, our battle is not with earthly powers, but with the principalities of darkness, the kind that Jesus said could only be cast out by prayer and fasting. God grant success to your work of love and may Our Lord ever be your strength and Our Lady your comfort in this struggle for life. The fast of our Order is September 14, until Easter, so we are with you.!!!”
Sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Your devoted Carmelite Nuns
Carmelite Nuns of Loretto PA
40 Days for Life is being remembered in the prayers and sacrifices of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux.
Be assured of our prayerful support during Pittsburgh’s 40 “Days for Life Campaign September 27 – November 5. May St. Therese obtain choice graces to assist mothers, save babies and end abortion!
God bless you!
Mother John of the Cross, OCD, and Community
Passionist Nuns of Pittsburgh
We join with 40 Days for Life in praying that pregnant mothers will love and cherish these babies ande there will be an end to abortion.
May God bless your work and save many babies and keep all of you safe during your vigils.
While we pray for this intention throughout the day, we pray especially during Holy Mass at 8:00 and from 5 – 6:30 PM during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every day.
Sincerely in Christ,
Sister Mary Ann, C. P.
Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Nazareth
We will be praying the daily Rosary in community for your intentions. The Sisters will do penance privately.
NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDEWALK
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
After learning several days ago that the People of God Covenant Community had adopted this morning’s vigil hours, I found myself really looking forward to my shift on the sidewalk. It’s so uplifting to spend time with men and women who truly love the Lord and strive to live in a way that pleases Him. Thank you to Pat, Ben, Bill, Patty, and Tom for the prayers, songs, witness, and fellowship. And thank you to Sunday regulars Vince and Dan who have become like family…it’s always wonderful to share the vigil with you. Lots of passers-by were happy to accept the yellow resource cards, the dear woman who always asks about Sally stopped to chat, and Bill came by to pray on his way to church.
ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
Thanks to the wonderful people from St. Bernard’s who came today.
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
I arrived to the sight of the large, very faithful “P” family who hail both from my home parish and from People of God Covenant Community. I’ve been blessed to share vigil hours with this family and Community in the past, so I knew they have a very effective way of bringing the Holy Spirit to the vigil. This time was no exception! More members of the Community joined us as the shift went on, and we sang and prayed the whole time. The light breeze blowing this morning was not the only wind blowing at the vigil today – the Holy Spirit made His presence known!
About halfway through our shift, a very nice couple respectfully approached us and asked if I could please move my van, which I had parked on Liberty in front of PP on the west side. The Acro Cats bus was back in town! I moved the van, and the couple pulled the bus up and parked it, leaving its motor running for the rest of the shift. As it did recently during the vigil, the phrase on the bus “foster and rescue” (meaning cats) struck one of our participants as ironic. We prayed that it might strike passersby the same way – specifically, how much more important fostering and adopting humans is than doing the same for cats.
A woman came by asking for literature regarding rape and domestic violence. She noted the card I gave her that listed contact info for women’s shelters and said she would try calling them, and I assured her they would have the information she needs. I did not get her name. Please pray for her.
DAVE 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
These three prayer warriors prayed the rosary with great fervency. It was like a shower of grace that people walked through as they went to the cat circus. The cat bus was pouring out some fumes but, luckily there was a nice breeze.
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
Regulars Jim and Cathy from St. Gregory’s in Zelienople joined me for my shift. Beautiful people, beautiful souls, pleasant shift. How delightful to witness for our Jesus.
Thankfully, I don’t get anxious about many things. But last week I was having a minor case of “high anxiety.” I had taken a leap of faith and made a commitment to my parish to take on something that was completely new to me – and which would require a great deal of preparation. And then, the very next day, something unexpectedly happened which all of a sudden ate-up a large chunk of the precious little free-time I have in my life which I had set aside to make those preparations.
How did I react? Not well. And not with a whole lot of trust in God. In fact, the one scripture verse which kept coming to my head was this one: You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped. (Jer 20:7)
But as I shared my frustration with some trusted friends – and tried to pray about it – things began to unfold in such a way that I got to the point where I could see that things were going to be alright. And just as I was beginning to see this I read Jen’s post from Friday which began with the following scripture quote:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
Ah, yeah. I needed to hear that.
So what’s my take-away from this? No one involved with 40 Days for Life is without some level of trust in God. In fact, I would say that by the very fact that we regularly stand on a public sidewalk and very publicly pray for an end to a practice that many see as a “sacred” right, have a level of trust which is significantly higher level than that of average Christian.
But here’s the thing. Remember the expression: “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way?” You see where I’m going with this? God uses our trust in him to do great things. But eventually, he asks us to grow in that trust. And when we let Him stretch us, we can do even greater things in Him.
AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS…
Saturday mornings always start peacefully. It’s dark and there are few on the streets. Today we were extra blessed as the streets did not have the pink vested pp escorts which are the norm for Saturday morning. We took this to mean they were not performing abortions. Praise God as many babies were spared today. We were also blessed to have the Choices Pregnancy Services’ mobile sonogram today at the vigil. A woman was entering the clinic and we offered her the services of the mobile unit. She said she had to go into the clinic for something but would consider the mobile. About a half hour later she came back out and we escorted her to the mobile. The prayers of those from St Maria Goretti, Living Hope Church and the Saturday regulars were heard today.
Tim B., 7-9
I shared shift-managing duties today with Sue D. — always a wonderful pleasure. We were thrilled to see NO ESCORTS on duty this morning!!!! This can only mean there were few or no abortions scheduled this morning. Indeed, although PP was open, it did not appear that anyone going in today was abortion bound.
We were blessed to have Dan and Pat with us from St. Maria Goretti. Eloisa, from a Spanish church, sang beautiful hymns in Spanish. I was blessed by her singing and her vibrant faith as I stood with her. She challenged me to learn some Spanish. Funny that I’ve been toying with that idea myself. We’ll see!
“M,” a young man who works at the library downtown, stopped by on his way to work. He told me about his girlfriend who adopted her nephew due to the birth mother having drug problems. He said the little two-year-old, obsessed with cars and trains, is the light of his life and that to his surprise, he has found himself wanting more children. He told me he himself is pro-life but he sees reasons to keep abortion legal for people for whom children would be too much of a problem. Please pray for a complete pro-life change of heart for him and also for marriage and more children for him and his girlfriend.
Later, “L” came by with his girlfriend, “S,” who is in the very early stages of pregnancy. They are both homeless. L was very sad and was encouraging S to have an abortion. We talked to her and she does not seem to be abortion minded, although she is still deciding. She told us she has six children in the foster care system whom she wants to get back. Please pray that L and S will choose life for their child and seek help via the abundance of information we gave them. We do see L on a semi-regular basis, so I believe they will be back around and will be in touch.
Keep praying, and, as Beth S. always says, “just keep going!”
Sue M., 9-11
Pictures from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Robinson who was there from 11-3.
We had quite a bit of negativity but a few encouraging people as well. It was a new experience for me to pass out the cards and precious feet. One young man was impressed with the fetal models. I gave him one and he asked if he could please have another. He also wanted 2 pins and 2 cards. Dean and I were able to enlighten him on what PP does and doesn’t do and their blob of tissue lie. I think he probably wanted the things to give to other people.
There were a few different occasions where people who looked middle class, educated, and possibly pro-life turned out to be BRUTAL. There is evil out there. A nice young man stopped and asked if we were a pro-life group. He had never heard of 40 Days but thanked us and shook our hands and told us his mother is director of a pro-life pregnancy center in California.
Sharon G. (substitute SM), 11-1
First up, thanks Bill for allowing God to use you in the way that He sees fit. Second, thanks to the group from Holy Trinity that showed up in big numbers and prayed strong today. One passerby took issue with the group using the name of Mary in prayer. One of Trinity’s women engaged him in conversation for a while. I prayed for a peaceful outcome and for wisdom if the situation deteriorated. Thankfully it didn’t and thank God for giving me the sense to know when to act and when not to act.
Lastly, thanks Billy who came to relieve me as shift manager. While he had participated before, this was his first time as a shift manager. Next time he will be a seasoned pro.
Dean D., 1-3
This was my first time ever being a shift manager and I didn’t exactly know what to do, so I pretty much was pretty laid back.
I was standing today with a wonderful lady named Nadine from Edgewood and a lovely Pastor from Mt. Zion Baptist Church from the Butler area named Ben, a father of 4.
I came when the previous group was praying I want to say a Litany to End Abortion and the one Psalm that stood out was Psalm 139:13-14. “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderful made. Wonderful are your works.”
From 3 to 5, there weren’t any incidents, there weren’t many people going into the clinic, a lot of them leaving the clinic. We had a couple conversations with people passing by. One gentleman came back and asked us “What are we doing here?” My response was “For babies, their right to life.” I think that’s important that people remember why we are here, we are doing this. Not because we want to be better than people, but because we care about the unborn. Another girl came and read one of the signs as I approached her to give her a card, she said she was pro-choice she walked away, and then another woman came up and started discussing her thoughts and said it was just a fetus in the womb. I walked back and forth talking to both of the volunteers and the time just went quickly. I got to hear a story from Nadine about I suppose one of the volunteers who was in the military who almost lost his baby from his wife while in the military, and it just made me think this man who couldn’t leave understood what it felt like to be trapped which most of the girls who look for abortions feel like. Just also hearing that it’s good to have guys here standing for babies when most don’t think we should have an opinion really feels good.
Thanks again for allowing me to lead for you all,
Billy L., 3-5