Revealing that which was concealed…

“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Matt. 10:26-28

When God first broke my heart over abortion back in 2009, (through a sermon called “Stop the Holocaust” by Dr. John Guest )…it was like an awakening for me. The horror of abortion was revealed to me and it truly broke my heart. One of the worst things about that time in my life was that I didn’t have anyone else to share my grief with. It seemed as if the rest of the world was oblivious to what was happening. It was as if I were a little girl in Nazi Germany, who saw the trainloads of suffering people screaming out for help, but when I went to tell my mommy…she didn’t believe me. The most frustrating thing about our culture at that time was the abortion industry’s propaganda that they put out to the world. They portrayed themselves as seeking to offer compassion and care to women in crisis. They wanted to be seen as the “good guys“. And we pro-lifers…how were we portrayed? We were the angry, self-righteous religious zealots who wanted to take away women’s rights. Abortion was not the killing of a baby, but just the removal of a clump of cells, and most people mistakenly believed abortion was only legal through the first trimester.

My goodness, how the times have changed! The new abortion laws in New York, which are calling other states to follow suit, are awakening people from their slumber. People who were uninformed or apathetic in their views are now being awakened. God is on the move and He is using us!!! The anti-life forces are no longer hiding behind the mask of compassion. Evil is being revealed for what it is. That which was concealed is being revealed! It is God who is doing this, and He is using 40 Days for Life as an important instrument in this work! In fact, as you probably know, Abby Johnson, the former director of the Planned Parenthood where 40 Days for Life began, had a radical conversion, left the abortion industry and now leads a ministry to help other abortion workers to leave! The writers of “God’s Not Dead” have made a film about her conversion (and the role 40 Days for Life played in it!) that will be released on March 29th, which will have a showing in Pittsburgh. I don’t have the details yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do. For now, you can WATCH THE TRAILER HERE and mark your calendars for March 29th!

While I was watching the State of the Union Address last week, I was struck by the image of the “women in white” sitting stone-faced while the rest of the room broke out in explosive applause, following President Trump’s call to repeal the barbaric late-term abortion laws, which basically amount to infanticide. I found myself shouting to the the television screen, “Come on you dumb women…stand up and clap! How stupid can you be? To openly defend the killing of full term infants? Really??? That is what you are going to hinge your political platform on? You are so fearful of losing your “rights” that you are willing to condone the killing of babies as they are being born? Ladies…you are on the WRONG SIDE!!!”

CHOOSING SIDES. That is what it is boiling down to. God is forcing us to choose our side. It occurred to me that if a morally just nation decided to attack a certain town because of humanitarian abuses that were happening there…they would first seek to clear the area of all innocent civilians. In the same way, If God is going to bring a just punishment to our land for the shedding of so much innocent blood and the breaking of moral laws…wouldn’t he first try to clear away the innocent civilians? Wouldn’t those who were uninformed and unaware…those who were deceived by the propaganda be like the innocent civilians? Could God be using these barbaric laws to awaken those who were deceived so they are forced to choose a side?

When I went to the Assembly of God church, I remember my pastor saying one Sunday, “If our nation passed a law making it illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That saying really convicted me. I also think it applies to the defense of human life. We call ourselves “Pro-Life”…but how many of our friends, family and neighbors know of our pro-life views? Would there be enough evidence to convict us? When we stand in prayerful defense of vulnerable human life at our 40 Days for Life vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, we are publicly witnessing to the truth that human life is sacred. It is clear to EVERYONE what side we are on!!!

If you wish to make it clear to everyone (including yourself) that YOU stand on the side of LIFE…join us for this Lenten 40 Days for Life  journey!  We need your help!  Our vigil is only half-filled as of this writing.  You can view the schedule by clicking HERE.

You can volunteer to be a “shift buddy” to one of our shift managers that is in danger of having to stand alone! They are:Mondays 12-1 (for Ginny), Wednesdays 1-3 (for Chris), Wednesdays 3-5 (for Jeannie), Fridays 9-11 (for Kathy), Fridays 1-3 (for Elaine), Fridays 3-5 (for Pat) and Saturdays 5-7 (for Jeff). Email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com if you can help!

Sign up to fast on certain days by joining our 40 day fast (liquids or bread) by clicking HERE.

Use our campaign flyers and bulletin inserts at your church to help get the word out! We still have many left that we need to go! They are available for just $4.00 per hundred! Email me to let me know how many you need! Click HERE to view them.

Mark your calendars to join us for our kick-off Mass and prayer procession on Tuesday, March 5th.  All are welcome! Details are posted HERE.   


Remember that our theme for these 40 days is LOVE. If we LOVE, we must be willing to sacrifice. Where there is no sacrifice, there is no love.

What better way to show your love for God than to sacrifice a little time and comfort…overcome a little apprehension and fear…and publicly pray for an end to abortion in front of Planned Parenthood? I hope to see you there!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

Overcoming Evil with Good



Given the terrible news from this past week…from the way that poor boy from Covington was treated by the media, (and worse, by his own principal and bishop!!!)…to the heartbreaking celebration in New York of the legalized killing of full term infants…it is easy to think that evil is winning right now in America.

It can be terrifying to think of what we are up against. There is a raging hatred against all things good. All things pure. All things innocent. The forces that seek to destroy morality and goodness seem so strong. And we…we seem so small, sort of like this little boy in the above image that I selected for this blog post.

This is why today’s Epistle was such a comfort to me when I read it. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans gives us the key to overcoming the evil in our midst:

Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as far as in you lies, be at peace with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is Mine: I will repay, says the Lord. But, if your enemy is hungry give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:16-21

I was struck by the phrase, “Overcome evil with good”. The word “overcome” is a fighting word! It speaks of conflict, struggle…WAR!!! Normally, we would think that we would need weapons of FORCE in order to defeat an enemy…but that is not what we are instructed to do. Our Good Lord tells us that HE will handle the vengeance part…that is not up to us. What does He tell us to do to our enemies? That’s right…we are to do good to them. In other words…we are to LOVE THEM! Hence, it is no accident that the theme for these next 40 Days for Life is LOVE!

Loving those who seek the destruction of purity and innocence is not easy. It is not for wimps. Doing good in the face of evil is not for milk-toast Christians. It is for us. Thanks be to GOD that he gave us 40 Days for Life! It is the PERFECT response to the evil of abortion! We have the opportunity to witness the love of Christ to abortion bound parents and grandparents…abortion workers, and to our fellow citizens. We get to show them HOW MUCH THEY MATTER…to us, but more importantly…to GOD!!!

So…I am writing this post to ask for your help. Please sign up for a time slot at our 40 Days for life vigil. Your prayerful witness could save a life, as well as an eternal soul. Go to http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule// to view the schedule of churches that have already signed up, and then email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to have her add you to the schedule. (Or you can email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com, or just reply to this email).

Use our campaign flyer/bulletin insert and bulletin announcement to spread the word at your church. You can order them from me, or print them yourselves from the links that are posted here: http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved-2/

Also, please prayerfully consider volunteering to be a “shift buddy” for one of our shift managers that do not have partners to stand with during their shifts. If you commit to be a shift “buddy”, you only need to come IF and WHEN there is no church signed up. You are committing to be the back-up prayer volunteer, to make sure that the shift manager does not have to stand alone. These are the shifts that need “buddies”:

  • Mondays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Marie)
  • Tuesdays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Mike)
  • Wednesdays 9-11am (buddy needed for Cathy)
  • Wednesdays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Chris)
  • Wednesdays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Jeannie)
  • Wednesdays 5-7pm (buddy needed for Joe K)
  • Thursdays 11am -1pm (buddy needed for Lisa K)
  • Fridays 9-11am (buddy needed for Kathy L)
  • Fridays 11am-1pm (Shift manager needed for this shift!)
  • Fridays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Elaine)
  • Fridays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Pat)
  • Fridays 5-7pm (Shift manager needed for this shift!)
  • Saturdays 11am-1pm (buddy needed for Dean)
  • Saturdays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Billy)
  • Saturdays 5-7pm (buddy needed for Jeff)

Finally, I hope you will mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 5th at 6pm to attend a pro-life Mass at St. Patrick Church in the Strip, followed by a prayer procession to Planned Parenthood to kick -off our 40 days prayer vigil! Fr. Chris Donley of City Center Parishes will celebrate Mass and lead the procession. All are welcome!!! Please come and help us to spiritually prepare for 40 days of prayer, fasting and public witness at Planned Parenthood, so that we can indeed overcome the evil happening at 933 Liberty Avenue with the power of God working through us!

Thank you and I hope to see you soon!

In Christ,

Nikki Bruni

40 Days for Life Begins March 6th!

It is that time again!  Pittsburgh’s eighteenth 40 Days for Life campaign will begin on March 6th and go through April 14th.  As of this writing, 99 abortion clinics have closed following 40 Days for Life campaigns, and I am praying that Pittsburgh will be number 100!  But, even if we aren’t, we can’t give up petitioning Heaven!  We must persevere and trust that God will answer in His time.  The theme for these 40 days is “LOVE”.  It is because we love God and our neighbor, that we are willing to persevere through the difficulties of praying on the sidewalk for 40 straight days, in all sorts of weather, facing all sorts of reactions from passersby…both positive and negative.

We are living in confusing times and it is not always easy to know what to do.  However, there is ONE place where I feel completely confident that I am doing the right thing.  That is when I am praying for an end to abortion in front of the place that kills 3,000 babies each year…Planned Parenthood in PittsburghWhen I am standing there praying and offering life-affirming options to abortion-bound couples, there is no confusion or doubt.  There are precious human lives (and souls) that are in danger, and it is NEVER wrong to be there to offer hope, help, mercy and love.  Sometimes God intervenes and lives are saved.  Either way, our prayers and witness are never wasted. 

I was blessed with twin grandbabies this past summer.   When I am snuggling these little ones against my neck, breathing in their new-born scent…seeing how vulnerable and helpless they are…my resolve to continue to fight to end abortion is strengthened.  There is nothing more precious and valuable than human lifeIf we believe that we can trade our children for affluence and an easier life, we are falling for the enemy’s biggest “scam” since the Garden of Eden.  It is like trading the largest diamond in the world for a fake ring from a dollar store! 

Will you do what you can to help me in this mission of uniting the Body of Christ in this battle to end abortion?  Take a look at our vigil schedule at http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ to see what times need to be filled, and contact me if you have a few volunteers who are willing to help.  Some churches take 12 hours, some take 6, most take 4 hours, but even if you can take 2 hours, it will help.   Rest assured, there will be a 40 Days for Life team member to welcome and guide your volunteers when they get there.

Please use our campaign flyer (CLICK HERE) and bulletin announcement (CLICK HERE) to spread the word to your congregation about this wonderful, life-saving campaign. You can print them yourselves, or order them from me by emailing me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com.

Thank you for your help! 

In Christ,

Nikki Bruni

40 Days for Life Campaign Director

Joyful Morning of Caroling

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.

Merry Christmas. Tim B.

Day 41…Photos from our closing rally

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.

In Christ,

Nikki


Pastor Joe Stump led us in closing prayers and song

Julie and Billy

Faithful Mimi, alongside brand new team member, Donna

John and Chris

Many came to close the vigil in united prayer!

Kathy brought a final bouquet of roses to leave in memorial.

Jen, Jack and Cathy join in song

Barbara, Pastor Bryan, Nikki, Judy and Kathy

Back in the warm and cozy welcome center, the fun begins!

Delicious pot luck food…it all went as we were hungry after our final fast!

Nikki re-capped the campaign and reminded everyone to continue praying and fasting for an end to abortion!

Nikki recognized and thanked each team member for their service. Here are Diane and Tom, who faithfully deliver the vigil materials each and every day!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas!  See you in 2019!

DAY 40: THANK YOU to Saint Joan of Arc Parish, South Park; View Crest Presbyterian Church; Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Armstrong County; Shift Buddies, Vince P., Julie C., Kristy O., and Volunteer Mary S.; Catholic Charities

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DAY 40

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Knock-out Punch FAST

7P SATURDAY TO 7P SUNDAY

CLOSING RALLY TONIGHT

JOIN US for PRAYER and WITNESS

6:30 IN FRONT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD

RECEPTION AT 7 PM

FELLOWSHIP and FOOD

CATHOLIC CHARITIES WELCOME CENTER

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.

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A dead thing can go with the stream.

Only a living thing can go against it.

G.K. Chesterton

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Irenaeus, the great second century theologian simply expressed the essence of Christianity.

The glory of God is a human being fully alive!
Irenaeus

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!

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 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.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIl03estVQ4

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!

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NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

JEN 7-9

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!

VINCE AND JEN
SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER AND WITNESS!

Vince, Shift Buddy
Julie, knees to the ground!

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SUE 9-11

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.

 

Julie
Spirited Prayer

 

Sue, Shift Manager
Julie, Prayer Companion

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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!

Sunday Afternoon
They came to pray!

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JOE 3-5

Meet the spirit filled, energetic members of Viewcrest Presbyterian in 84; Elise, Brice, Heather, Sue, Matt, Holly, and Philene and Mary.

View Crest Presbyterian Church

Faithful servants Jim and Cathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOE 5-7

Ken, Jim, Dave, and Bob from CMF in Armstrong

CLOSING RALLY PRAYER
AT PP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And God saw that it was good.

 

 

 

Day 39: Thanks to Guardians for Life, St. Maria Goretti, St. Ferdinand Church,

OUR MESSAGE IS being HEARD! 

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 REPORTS

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!

Dan from St. Maria Goretti, with Rosemary & Tom from St. George Orthodox Church in Bridgeville

 

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.

St. Ferdinand Church Prayer Squad!

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:

Joan, Mike, Mimi, John, Bridgette:Beautiful People

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. 

Day 38:  Thank you to St. Regis (Trafford), Shift Buddies, and Individual Volunteers!!!

PLEASE NOTE:

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

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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

~Jen


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.

Richard, Sean, Sally, Al

Sidewalk morning prayer, Sean, Sally and Al

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.

Ginny with grandchildren Cayesen and Brooklynne

Bookstore owner

A lonely rose blown in the circle by the wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Dave, Jerry, and Kaitlin

Barbara

Noreen and Ann

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.

Mary Jane, St. Bernard’s

Louise and Gene (St. Regis), SB Fran, Rich and Diane (St. Louise de Marillac)

 

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!

Marshall, Bill, and Benson

Day 37: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, our Shift buddies, and all other volunteers!!

40 Days for Life

 

 

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.

 

Translation: “Purify my soul, O Adorable Blood.”

 

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

Nikki:

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!

Thank you, Nikki and Peggy!!

 

Thank you to Chuck, Judy, Bill, and Meredith who came to begin another prayer shift after Nikki!!

 

Judy:

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.

Thank you to Meredith and Mary Jane!!

 

David arrives for the next shift and gets a photo with Chuck. Thanks, gentlemen!!

 

Lisa:

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!!!!!

 

Helen:

Thank you to the G. couple from St. Philip in Crafton!!

 

Thank you to Kim and Mike from St. Ann in Waynesburg!!

 

Thank you to Anita, Barb, and Connie from St. Paul in Butler!!

 

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.

-Helen

 

 

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.