Day 22…Guardians for Life, St. Joseph (Cabot), Corpus Christi parish and dedicated individuals!

 

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When something is ruined and broken, what do we do with it?  We get rid of it and begin again with something new…right?   

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That may be what WE do…but thankfully, it is not what God does!  Each one of us is His masterpiece!  Fearfully and wonderfully made!

We have ruined His masterpiece with sin, it’s true.  But God never gives up on us, no matter how much of a mess we have made of our lives up to this point!  Even if we seem to be a hopeless wreck of sin…He knows we are still a work in progress.  We just aren’t completed yet.  And we won’t be completed…we won’t be fulfilleduntil we fully surrender our lives to Him.

 

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Fully surrendering our lives means submitting ourselves to his laws…

Yes, those ten commandments that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai three thousand years ago…and those commandments given to us by Jesus in the Beatitudes.  These “rules” are for our own good.  They don’t help God at all.  He doesn’t need our help….he is actually just fine without us.  But in His goodness and kindness…He gave us commandments to keep us from harming ourselves by sin.  Because He loves us.  And He wants the best for us.  And He wants us to live with Him forever in paradise.

The debate over abortion can get complicated, can’t it?  So many “talking-points” to remember when discussing the issue with those who disagree.  I remember talking with my former Methodist pastor years ago, who told me that Jesus never said abortion is wrong…that Jesus cared mostly about feeding the hungry and helping the poor.  I have to admit that I was rather stumped by his statement…and I didn’t come up with a very good reply.  Until I remembered the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”  Hmmm…Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it!  I think we are safe to assume that this one still stands!

Now for today’s reports from the sidewalk…

Sue D. had the 7-9 am shift and wrote:

It was another quiet Wednesday shift. Just a handful of workers entered and no clients during our time! We were greeted by especially nasty comments from a man exactly at 7am. But God is good, cause He countered later with triple the amount of especially kind and grateful comments and gestures.  A man gifted us with 3 steaming cups of hot coffee, followed by a man who gave us a monetary donation, followed by a man who had seen the 7am interaction and apologized for the disrespect!!! It was a blessing to be there and spend time praying with Peggy, SA’s Jim and Katie! Sue 

The "purple people", Sue, Katie and Peg
The “purple people”, Sue, Katie and Peggy

Cathy reported for the 9 am- 11 am shift:

This morning was a little busier than the last two Wednesday’s, with about 5-6 clients going in, alone.  There were also workers going inside.  Katie and Elsie were there with me.

 

Cecilia took two shifts- and stood for life from 11 am- 3 pm:

The call  for witnesses was answered by prayerful men and women!  Sometimes the joy that is met on the sidewalk, makes me want to break into song.  Two songs came to mind to us after discussions with 2 different passersby.  One was Days of Elijah and the other was Overcomer.  We had to break out in song! 

What a blessed time on the sidewalk today!  I’ll be honest, I was concerned about pulling a double in 30 degree weather.  But the wind wasn’t as bad as last week.  And the great company and experiences made the time go by quickly. 
Once again, Joyce joined me for the trip and stayed the full 4 hours.  She came equipped with snacks to hand out and joined in prayer throughout the shift.  Joyce and Elsie got talking with Marissa who had much to share and is in need of prayers.  She said she was pregnant and was keeping her child.  Paul noticed that she needed to warm up and offered her the coat and scarf from our supply.  She gladly accepted.  It is nice to have that available for someone in need.

The Guardians for Life group was setting up shop when we got there and got right to work praying and singing.  It is such a pleasant way to spend time on the sidewalk… having the prayers going on continually as we try to reach out to those passing by.  We didn’t notice too many clients entering PP but they did have painters and workers coming and going.  Before the Guardians left, Joyce and I ran over to Brueggers for a quick break and put toe warmers on for the last two hours. 

When we got back to PP, the Guardians had just left when Anna Marie, from Holy Apostles, arrived.  She heard the call for people to join us for the 1-3 shift and had time free for a change.  We quickly found out that she has a St Joe’s connection….  Their Father Levi Hartle grew up at St Joe’s and Joyce and I know this awesome family very well.  We had just started praying the rosary when SM Jeff showed up.  He, too, heard the plea and came to the rescue!

We had several interesting encounters that second shift.  Elijah, who recently graduated college in Oklahoma, came by on his bike on the sidewalk.  He got off and told us how wrong abortion was.  This handsome young man said that he was a foster child himself and was raised by good people who taught him right and wrong.  He said that if people didn’t want their children, they should place them for adoption.  As we spoke, I offered him different material which he said he immediately would be able to share with family or friends…chastity info for his brother, abortion healing for a friend…  He was so supportive so I suggested he rally up some people to come and pray with us so we could get some young blood on the sidewalk.  Before he biked off, he gave me a hug and thanked us for being there.  I asked him his name and told him about “The Days of Elijah” song, one of my favorites.  Then after he left, we broke out in song with the help of YouTube!

Soon after, a man in his 20’s stopped and shared how he and his girlfriend found themselves pregnant.  But instead of abortion, they chose to place their child for open adoption.  They now stay in contact by receiving pictures of their child and were very happy with their decision.  It was a decision everyone could live with!  He took resources and I encouraged him to share their story.

Last weekend I was surprised to learn that Lisa K had watched the same video that my husband and I watched, “Priceless”.  Highly recommended!  Priceless was a real life story about women who get caught up in sex trafficking.  The movie was very tastefully done and was a big eye opener to this horror happening all around us.  I vowed to become more aware of the issue and wondered how our ministry might be impacted.  Anyhow, today God sent a Maureen to us.  At first she spoke generally about how, even though she thought abortion wasn’t right, she didn’t think it was right for kids to be brought up in bad neighborhoods or family environments and being forced to be involved with things (drugs…) that they wouldn’t choose otherwise.  We came to learn that, when younger, she was sent to truck stops and exploited.  She didn’t get into details and is fortunately doing much better now that she is in her 40’s.  She is at a point where she is working with a group that ministers to others.  We told her that God took something awful and is using her to help those in need.  But she still needs prayers for other issues that have come up that “scare” her that seem to be linked with her past so please keep Maureen in prayer.  When she walked off, Jeff came up with a song that described her well, “Overcomer”, so we broke out in song again!

That last shift went by so fast.  We were warmed by the sun, the encounters and the vigil participants who heard the call to join with us.  When SM Barbara and Richard arrived for their shift, SM Joe from the last Wed shift also arrived to represent his church for 4 hours!  How blessed I was to meet all the SM for the day except the early warrior, Sue!  You early and late comers have my admiration!  I think of you on the cold, wet or windy days and you inspire me to get through whatever we face in the middle of the day when it is often warmer and the sun is up.  God bless you all!  And I pray that SM Chris had a nice day off on the ski slopes and arrives back in one piece next Wed.

guardians for life
Guardians for Life

 

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K of C came with the Guardians
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Joyce with Anna Marie from Holy Apostles who heard the plea for help at 1:00. Attachments area

 

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Jeff, one of Diane’s helpers, came to stand for life when he heard the call.
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M accepted help today and was very grateful!

 

Barbara wrote from the 3- 5  shift:

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Barbara and Richard- multi-tasking when it comes to their commitment to this mission.
Sunny, blue skies and good company.
When we arrived at PP this afternoon we were greeted by Cil, Joyce and Jeff.  After a four hour witness, they were ready to hand the sidewalk over to us.
Corpus Christi Parish, McKeesport, had signed up to provide prayer cover for 40 Days for Life for the 3 to 7 hours.
Joe, shift manager and Corpus Christi parishioner arrived promptly at 3.  Soon after, his lovely wife came and remained to pray for most of the shift.
Father Stephen Palsa joined us and led us in a Rosary, the Luminous Mysteries. 
The pleasant company and weather were so unusual and welcome.

joe, cecilia and jeff?????????????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe wrote from the 5-7 shift:

“Gentle on My Mind” seemed to be theme for me today…

It started off hearing an interview of a woman who’s conversion story from life in a “hate group” where “gentleness” in dialogue were the seeds for a change of heart…

Being semi-familiar with this John Hartford song made famous by Glen Campbell I took a closer look at the lyrics and was astounded how they spoke to what we literally and figuratively “face” at 933 Liberty Ave:

It’s knowin’ that your door is always open

And your path is free to walk…

The shift started and ended quietly as I was the lone remnant of the Corpus Christi contingent that had participated earlier – Thanks again to Fr. Steve and Lynda for making a special effort to be there today!!!

The majority of the shift was spent in quiet reflection, prayer and people watching…with an occasional brief greeting / acknowledgement sprinkled-in to those passerby’s that seemed open to it…

Fact is, an overwhelming majority of comments from passerby’s were positive… One kind soul passed by and said that he was praying for us, another person, that didn’t even pass by, but went out of their way to backtrack came up to me to thank us for being there and said he understood that this wasn’t easy…

But as folks hustled home from work as did the sun, “Darkness, Darkness” set in (at least a bit)…

One of my friends gave me the often familiar, always unimaginative, salute… Another driveby, one of the usuals (that I hadn’t seen since last fall) suggested that I should reproduce with myself adding-in for style points, and I quote, “you Christian Jihadist”…

It was “easy” to think of “gentleness” when the good comments / gestures came, but the true test was with the “un’s” (i.e., unkind, uninformed,…).  I’m comfortable this evening knowing that gentleness WAS on my mind and heart…

Day 21: Sidewalk Advocates, Elk County Right to Life, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS RESPONDED IN THE PAST!

you're awesome

Cil is the shift manager for a double shift Wednesday (from 11 am – 3 pm).  There is a large group of volunteers scheduled from 11-1, but from 1-3 pm she will have only one person with her.  Since Cil and Joyce will be very cold after two hours…they will really need to be able to take a break to get warm…but won’t be able to do so unless someone else shows up at 1:00.  So please, if you are able to come for half an hour, or an hour at 1:00 tomorrow so Cil and Joyce can have a little break, that would be so appreciated!  (They won’t leave YOU alone…they will take individual breaks…one at a time).

We have 2 hours on Thursday 3/23 that NEED volunteers!

Thursday 3/23 1pm-2pm: Shift Manager Lisa will stand alone

Thursday 3/23 5pm-6pm: Shift Manager Rick will stand alone

Please sign up or show up! THANKS!!!

We were just made aware of a Students For Life Conference going on this upcoming weekend: Here is the Informational Flier if anyone can attend!!

PHILLY LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. The sad truth is that people with Down syndrome are disappearing. With the advent of fetal testing, a diagnosis of Down syndrome has become a death sentence. Parents are often told that abortion is the best course of action and 92 percent of the time…children diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are aborted. Doesn’t that stat say the worst about us as a society! 

Kurt Kondrich whose daughter is Chloe, for which the Pennsylvania’s “Chloe’s law” is named, recently spoke at the UN conference on “The Family, Child Well-Being and the Protection and Empowerment of Girls”…

The title of his presentation was: “Unborn Women Can’t Make History.”  He says the targeting and termination of children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome is a silent genocide and “What if a prenatal test is developed for autism, depression, baldness, shortness, ADHD, and the list goes on.”

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He says the Bible verse he follows is Proverbs 31:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Here is a link to watch “World Down Syndrome Day 2017 – #MyVoiceMyCommunity”

In closing, Kurt says” I truly believe that abortion and the slaughter of our most innocent children is THE ISSUE of our time, and we will be judged by what we did or failed to do to END this American holocaust”

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Charlene 7am-9am
7am and Sally, Al, Dick and I took up our regular posts. We stand in the same places every week…on the 4 corners of the semi-circle. Today we were joined by CHRIS who just “stopped by to pray”. It seemed like PP had more business than usual and Al tried to get their attention. We had one unfriendly confrontation but Al handled it and immediately after that, two ladies stopped to get “little feet”.  A relative was expecting and they wanted the feet for her. They said everyone should have a pair of “little feet” to remember. So, one of many good and one bad.

Marian asked that I post the sign on the building across from the vigil…Making the World a better place to live with all of our differences. It sounds like a wonderful motto and a wonderful cause…something we would be behind. However, they support PP…so making the world a better place to live, does not include the unborn. The Lenten Pro-life prayer states the same message but in a way we can take to the sidewalk. “Give your people a clearer understanding of the profound dignity of every human life, including the infant in the womb.”       ~Charlene

Kathy and Judy 9am-11am

Judy and I were blessed by many prayer warriors today. Elk County Right to Life Club stood from 9am to 1pm : Mary, Laurie, Janet, and Gretchen drove 2 1/2 hours!

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Laurie and Judy

Bill, Pat and Kathy L came and prayed . Kathy also acted as a SA, while Richard, Ken and John prayed during the lunch hour!
I hope I didn’t miss anyone because they all love the blog!
There were many conversations, but one stuck out: a woman came out to smoke and offered “my friend doesn’t want an abortion but she was told by her doctor, if you have this baby you will die.” We stressed how important a second opinion is and gave her the number of high risk physician, also encouraging her friend that emotional support was important. She took the information and 
we followed with Intense Prayer for the woman! ~Kathy

Gretchen and Bill
Gretchen and Bill
Janet and Mary
Janet and Mary

Nancy 1pm-3pm

A busy day today, unfortunately several pairs went into PP, possibly for abortions. One girl was crying. It broke our hearts. And it wasn’t for lack of prayers, since many extra saints joined me on the sidewalk. Some stayed late from Elk County, some came early from Elizabeth Ann Seton. Others just came to help with prayers including Maryann on ACCESS. We had a good report from a passerby who said she had gone to the clinic 6 years ago with a friend who was pregnant, and that friend changed her mind about having an abortion after seeing the ultrasound? pictures of her unborn baby. I guess we just have to keep being faithful. God bless you faithful prolifers. ~Nancy

Jeannie 3pm-5pm

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I looked forward to my shift on the sidewalk.  And believe me, its been LOTS of shifts over the years…But with the way the weather was looking, TODAY was ONE OF THOSE DAYS–  and what a day it turned out to be:  Gorgeous weather, Beautiful and Plentiful Prayer Warriors, and ADORABLE CHILDREN!

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton kids
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton kids

 I relieved Nancy and joined Mary Ann (with her goodies) from St. Catherine Beechview, Walt from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carnegie, and Mary and Gaetano from St. Sebastian in the the North Hills – who responded to the need for witnesses even though their day is coming up!

Elizabeth, Vince, Vince, and Walt from Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Carnegie --awesome group
Elizabeth, Vince, Vince, and Walt from Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Carnegie –awesome group

Soon we were happily joined by Russ and Claire and their ADORABLE 5 children also from Seton.  I loved how the children related to the baby pictures and how very grown up Isabella  led a decade of the rosary!  Next to join us were Tess and Brian, also from Seton and the prayer circle was complete.

 Tess and Brian joined Russ and Claire and their crew for an hour of prayer this afternoon in the sun.
Tess and Brian joined Russ and Claire and their crew for an hour of prayer this afternoon in the sun.

With the bus lines that we usually get this time of day, the sidewalk was CROWDED with LIFE!   What a joy to share my prayer time with these folks from North and South!   Mary Ann gave out lollipops with tiny feet on them and we gave away a few of the 12 week fetal models  to students who stopped.  We were certainly uplifted in prayer and hopeful about the future with our young participants.  The best people in Pittsburgh are out praying during 40 Days for Life.  Of this, I am sure.  Thanks to one and all who made it such a fruitful time.  Jeannie

What a delightful afternoon we had with the folks from Elizabeth and Seton Parish and additional support from Saint Catherine's in Beechview and Saint Sebastian in the North Hills. Mary Ann Russ, Walt, Claire and clan
What a delightful afternoon we had with folks from Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and additional support from Saint Catherine’s in Beechview and Saint Sebastian in the North Hills!

Lisa 5pm-7pm

The 5 – 7 witness time today was pleasant.  It was not cold and the sun shone on us for an hour.  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish was very well represented.  Upon arriving Mr. & Mrs. Betty and Vince along with Vincent were praying with Jeannie.  We then prayed a beautiful Spiritual Pro Life Joyful rosary that Vince brought the words along with him. 
 Betty, Vincent, Vincent
Betty, Vincent, Vincent
Soon came Susan with her five beautiful children.  How wonderful it was to see each of those children “know” which sign they wanted to hold. 
Sue's "army" of six.
Sue’s “army” of six.
Happy to have my stalwart friends Johanna and Rick with me again and then Bob showed up and we were happy to pray another rosary.  A few minutes after Vincent noted that there were not any comments made to us tonight the young mother and her three children that I see every week around the same time came by and the dear little boy gave us all a great big HI – HI YA!  He made our day.  God Bless him and his family.  
Johanna & Rick
Johanna & Rick

Day 20: St Mary Glenshaw, CMU/Pitt Newman Club and St Irenaeus (Oakmont)

Blessed Mother Teresa PS 1God gave me a “do over”

I was praying outside the clinic early one morning during the vigil and spotted a woman walking briskly from the parking garage at Liberty & 9th St. She had her arms crossed over her abdomen and was crying. A young man walked a few steps behind but couldn’t keep up with her. As she neared the clinic she was approached and offered help and resources but she wouldn’t hear of it. She stopped outside the clinic door still crying and trying to finish her cigarette. We again offered help and she called out something like “I’ve already paid. I have made the decision that is best for me” and then she entered.

I have seen so many women enter the clinic and have offered to help and was ignored but this one seemed different. She was tormented by her decision and I’m guessing she didn’t think she had viable options. I really thought we could help her and save her baby.

I was deeply saddened by her pain and decision and couldn’t help but to think “what if…”.  I thought maybe had I said something else or been more sensitive to her needs. I prayed intensely for her.

Well God gave me a “do over”. She left the facility, went to the garage but then she returned. This time I tried again with all the words I wished I had said the first time. But it didn’t work. She went into the building anyway. This isn’t the way I expected it to work out. Why the do over? Why wasn’t I successful?

I was very upset over the encounter, yet took comfort in the words of Shawn Carney, with the National 40 Days For Life team:

“By praying on the sidewalk, you’re the last sign of Christ’s hope for the women going into the abortion facility — and the first sign of His mercy for them when they come out.”

I’m certain God didn’t want her to go into the clinic, yet HE permitted it. I don’t know why but that is not for me to know. I didn’t give in to discouragement or despair. I accepted it. Sure I’ll rethink it and try to figure out how to be better the next time. And I’ll pray for her. I don’t know her name, yet I refer to her as “Hope”. I ask you to pray as well for her. And who knows, she might have changed her mind and came out later after I had left. Perhaps she named her daughter Hope.

I share this sad story because I want you to know that I am not discouraged. I trust in God and HIS plan for this couple. God can turn evil into good, in His time and way. My role is to be there and offer the love of God and hope and be the last lifeline offering other options to these women in distress. So I will return and try again and again. I’m confident we’ll be successful with someone else. So I suggest to you, do not get discouraged if or when it happens to you, and try, try, try again.

Tim B.

Today witnessing at the vigil will be St Mary (Glenshaw), CMU/Pitt Newman Club and St (Irenaeus). Here are the recaps:

From Kathy L. 7-9 am:

“Quiet morning. Mary Ann M., a dear woman with a heart for the unborn, joined me on the sidewalk. We both wore signs while she sat in her wheelchair praying and I sat on the bin doing the same. Several passersby greeted us with “good morning” and “thank you for being here.” After some time passed, Mary Ann and I read some of the printed prayers together. A man named Arthur stopped by to share his view that life begins at conception and inform us of the abortion practice in Iceland that he read about that terminates pregnancies because the baby has an extra chromosome. That practice occurs here in the U.S. as well. Very sad.

The usual workers arrived. One of them reciprocated with a wave before entering the building. Marie and Bill H. arrived for the next shift.”

From Ginny 9-11:

St. Mary's Pro-Life Group, from Glenshaw: Vince, Ree and Elaine
St. Mary’s Pro-Life Group, from Glenshaw: Vince, Ree and Elaine

We prayed most of the time. I had very nicely dressed young homeless man stop by to talk to us. He was very supportive.

Ryan Catholic Newman Club
Ryan Catholic Newman Club 11-3 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shift Manager Johnny with the group's first to arrive
Shift Manager Johnny with the group’s first to arrive

 

 

I arrived for my 5 to 7 shift to see Rosalina. She had Mimi and Andy with her. Thank you Andy and Jeff for answering the call and coming to make sure Rosalina wasn't alone! Here's a picture of Rosalina clowning around for the camera
I arrived for my 5 to 7 shift to see Rosalina. She had Mimi and Andy with her. Thank you Andy and Jeff for answering the call and coming to make sure Rosalina wasn’t alone! Here’s a picture of Rosalina clowning around for the camera

 

 

 

 

From Rosalina 3-5 pm:

Mimi and Andy
Mimi and Andy

 

Luther and David
Luther and David

From Nikki 5-7 pm:

“I was blessed to have many people with me during my shift tonight! Even though he is sick, my husband decided to come with me and it was good to have him there. Mimi and Andy were there for a while after I got there and after they left Jeff from Saint Irenaeus church in Oakmont came because it was our scheduled time. It was great to see him and to have him

I was so happy to see Jeff from Saint Irenaeus! I had reserved my shift today for Saint Irenaeus to provide the witness and had put it in the bulletin but really didn't push to get volunteers, so I wasn't expecting anyone to come. It was a blessing to have Jeff come and stand with us today!
I was so happy to see Jeff from Saint Irenaeus! I had reserved my shift today for Saint Irenaeus to provide the witness and had put it in the bulletin but really didn’t push to get volunteers, so I wasn’t expecting anyone to come. It was a blessing to have Jeff come and stand with us today!

stay and witness with us! Soon after he got there a young man named Luther came by and asked if he could sit a while and rest. He also wanted to hold a sign. He stayed for at least an hour. It turns out that he is being evicted from his rented room tomorrow and needs to find shelter. We gave him a card that has a list of all the shelters in Pittsburgh. David, an off duty shift manager, came to be with me for the 6 to 7 hour since he had seen that there was a chance I would be alone. When Luther was leaving we said a prayer for him to help him to find housing. When David heard that Luther was going to be homeless, he reached out to Luther in a way that was an honor to witness. He very generously helped him and also told him how much God loves him and with so much love told him about Jesus’ mercy. I was really touched at the way that David was Jesus for Luther tonight. Really, Jesus was on that sidewalk ministering to Luther tonight and I was very privileged to witness it! Many people stopped and thanked us for being there, we had a few nasty comments but more positive than negative. All in all it was a good shift and I am glad that we have this opportunity to be Jesus on the sidewalk for 40 days. We were all very happy to see Tom when he came to pick pick up the materials. Thank you everyone for coming today! You made Jesus smile!”

DAY 19: SAINT MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, HERMAN; STARKDALE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, STEUBENVILLE, OHIO

 

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A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

A NOISELESS PATIENT SPIDER  Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman’s spider could have been a spider, tiny in the yellow brightness of a late winter pansie or a much larger spider launching its filaments between rocks and Queen Anne’s Lace near the end of summer.  It takes up to an hour for the average spider to weave a complete web.

The “bridge” for the second stanza soul  is entirely different.  In the first place, it is mistaken when it thinks that it is “…surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space”.  Human behavior occurs in a densely populated neighborhood.  The gossamer thread you fling, “O my soul” catches somewhere.  The somewhere matters very much.

When your decisions can generally be described as trying to “turn the other cheek” your world brightens and warms. Make a habit of decisions that generally see the people in your life as items to be managed and your world will start feeling cramped and chilly.

Are my past choices irrevocable? Can my life be warmer and brighter?  I want that!  Is it too late? Will someone help me?

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“… if you listen carefully, if you look closely, you will discover that people are hungry.  We were created to love and be loved, and there is a restlessness…,”

“The Holy Spirit (the soul of our soul,” as Pope Benedict XVI calls him) is at the source of these longings.  It is the presence of God in the most interior part of ourselves that calls us to move beyond the surface concerns of our lives, to explore and experience something deeper.”

“Our hunger is not for appearances, nor is it for the fleeting and superficial; it is for something of substance.  We are hungry for truth.”

“This yearning preoccupies the human heart, and it is neither random nor accidental; everyone has it and we have it for a reason.”

Matthew Kelly.  REDISCOVER CATHOLICISM

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“Many people consider Jesus irrelevant today because he proposes a life of discipline.  Is discipline, then, to be considered the core of Jesus’ philosophy?  No.  Christ proposes a life of discipline not for its own sake, and certainly not to stifle or control us; rather he proposes discipline as the key to freedom.”

His teachings are not complex or exclusive, but simple and applicable to everyone, everywhere, in every time in history, regardless of age, color, or state in life. Beyond life’s complexities, there is simplicity.  Beneath the chaos and confusion of life, there is understanding.  It is the Gospel, the good news.

Matthew Kelly. REDISCOVER CATHOLICISM

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“People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe.  There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.”

G. K. Chesterton. ORTHODOXY

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Here we can at once say that at the very heart of sin lies human beings’ denial of their creatureliness….

They do not want to be creatures, do not want to be subject to a standard, do not want to be dependent. They consider their dependence on God’s creative love to be an imposition from without.

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We can only be saved – that is, be free and true – when we stop wanting to be God and when we renounce the madness of autonomy of self-sufficiency.

We can be saved only when he from whom we have cut ourselves off takes the initiative with us and stretches out his hand to us.  Only being loved is being saved, and only God’s love can purify damaged human love and radically reestablish the network of relationships that have suffered from alienation.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI  ‘…IN THE BEGINNING…’

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“Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.”

“Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.  If you are willing, and obey….”

Isaiah 1:18-1

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Since 1973, abortion has been legal in the United States for any reason at any time during pregnancy right up until delivery of the full term baby.

Babies are killed. Hearts are broken.

Untold numbers of people are organized to help people suffering from their participation in abortion.  Here are two.

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SILENT NO MORE 

The Campaign goal is to reach out to people hurt by abortion and to encourage them to attend abortion after-care programs. They invite those who are ready to break the silence to join us in speaking the truth about abortion’s negative consequences and the hope found in healing.

http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

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Rachel’s Vineyard

If the emotional and spiritual wounds of a past abortion have been sapping faith, love and joy from your life, I can promise, that if you enter this process for healing, your life will begin to change.

Rachel’s Vineyard can help you find your inner voice. It can help you experience God’s love and compassion on a profound level.

It creates a place where men and women can share, often for the first time, their deepest feelings about abortion. You are allowed to dismantle troubling secrets in an environment of emotional and spiritual safety. Rachel’s Vineyard is therapy for the soul.

Participants, who have been trapped in anger toward themselves or others, experience forgiveness. Peace is found. Lives are restored. A sense of hope and meaning for the future is finally re-discovered.

http://rachelsvineyard.org/

______________________________

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK blog3peekingbaby

JEN  7-9

Rose and Ben returned to the vigil this morning to pray, witness, and encourage.  They were a blessing to me and to all who passed by.

The weather was a little less bitter, so more people were out and willing to interact.  Many of them accepted 40 Days for Life flyers and lollipops tucked into a Precious Feet pin card.

May God use our presence on the sidewalk to make everyone aware of His tremendous love for each one of His children!

Ben and Rose
Ben and Rose

______________________________

SUE 9-11

My dear friend Dot L. graciously agreed to keep me company this morning at the vigil.  A great comfort, as I was not feeling well this morning.  We arrived to 7-9 shift manager Jen, along with Rose and Ben, praying and handing out lollipops stuck into Precious Feet cards to passersby.

Dot and I took up our post, and I have to be honest.  It got to a point at which I couldn’t stop talking to her.  She is the head of the Respect Life committee at our church, and we always have so much to talk about!  So, just like the two chatty little girls in the classroom, I had to separate myself from her and go to stand on the other side!

During the time that we were standing together, a woman came by, to whom I offered one of the lollipop Precious Feet cards.  At that, she very dramatically spit on the sidewalk in front of me.  We offered her a “God bless you” as she walked away, which was returned with an angry epithet.  We prayed for her after she walked away.

Please keep her, and all the angry passersby that we encounter, in your prayers.

In massively stark contrast, soon Patty, along with a 7-member family, arrived to offer a Rosary.  This family is one of those families that immediately upon meeting them, you feel great hope for our future world.  Each one of those 5 young children is extremely bright, polite, and respectful, and so willing and eager to pray for the unborn.  To say that they brightened my day is an understatement!  Praying with and talking with them was a huge blessing to me.  God surely treasures and hears and answers their prayers.

God bless you all, and keep praying!

Blessed Family Patty
Blessed Family
Patty

_____________________________

MAGGIE 1-3

For the first hour and 40 minutes it was Meg from Herman, PA, and me.

God blessed us with an amazing conversation with a 46 year old security guard. He told us he believed that all women should bring the child to birth but he didn’t think it was his place as a male to do so.  Women should band together. I told him I agree women should support each other but that women are also looking for strong men who will stand behind their women.

He then told us that he has adopted 6 kids and is about to adopt a 7th. This newborn is the brother of the 4 year old he has at home.  The mother is incarcerated and gave birth to this child in jail.

I told him how awesome it is that he is willing to adopt all those children. He also told us how invaluable Genesis (https://www.facebook.com/pg/GenesisofPgh, (412) 766-26930)

has been to him since he makes too much money for assistance. They provided him with clothes, diapers and baby food.

He was such an upbeat young man. He told us “thank you” for standing outside and witnessing!

I also had a pleasant conversation with a woman going to the theater who worked with mentally challenged young women who sometimes become pregnant.  She said she couldn’t understand why we won’t let them have the choice to abort. I told her that we believe once a child has been conceived there is no other choice but to allow them to be born. She listened attentively and thanked me for explaining our stance. She said she disagrees but respects our right to be there.

I felt good knowing that even on a day when PP is closed we make a difference.  It’s nice when people stop to talk in a respectful manner.

Maggie
Maggie

______________________________

MARSHALL 3-5

The 3 to 5 shift was mostly quiet.

A new pastor from Steubenville brought his wife, son and some church members. We fellowshipped and prayed the Life Stations of the Cross.

Their photo was taken by Maggie the 1 to 3 shift manager.

A man came named Nick. he shared some of his life stories. He stated he is the child of a rape. He also had other concerns. A good man he is! Hope the best in Christ for him.

Happy Sunday to all.

Steubenville Pastor with Family
Steubenville Pastor with Family

 

Nick
Nick

______________________________

Stay tuned for more notes from our Sunday Shift Managers

______________________________

And God saw that it was good.

 

Day 18: Thanks to St. Alexis (Wexford), St. John (Baden), Good Samaritan (Ambridge), and Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Butler)


Image result for rope-a-dope Ali v Foreman

DOING GENTLENESS – PART 2

The year was 1974.  The place was Kinshasa, Zaire.  And the fight would become known as “THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE.”  George Foreman was the undisputed champion with a record of 40-0 (37 by knockout).  The challenger, and decided underdog, was former champion Muhammad Ali.  Ali’s supporters weren’t just afraid that he would lose.  They were afraid that he’d be killed.  But Ali had a plan. 

Beginning in the second round, Ali frequently began to lean on the ropes and covered-up to protect himself as best he could, letting Foreman punch him on the arms and body.  He would later dub the strategy “the rope-a-dope.”  By the 8th round, both Foreman’s punching and defense became ineffective as the strain of throwing so many wild shots had taken its toll on him.  Ali was then able to move in on the exhausted Foreman, knock him to the canvas, and win the fight on a TKO (technical knock-out). 

Foreman’s fists were arguably the most lethal in the history of boxing.  And this resulted in his earning early-round knockouts in nearly all of his bouts.  But it was in this strength that Ali deduced his weakness – a lack of stamina. 

So this is the lesson I suggest we take from Zaire and bring to Pittsburgh.  When someone insists on going “toe-to-toe” with us out there at the vigil, they’re expecting us to verbally punch back.  After all, doesn’t everybody?  But if we decide instead to listen patiently to all they have to say – without interrupting – what then will happen? 

At the very least, “fight-fatigue” will eventually set in upon our opponent because we won’t be giving fuel to their fire.  As a bonus, we’ll have some time to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what we should say if that chance does come about.  And if it does come, I’ll also suggest that we begin by respectfully summing-up their point of view to make sure that we have it straight.  By following the principle of seeking to first understand, then to be understood, will be a further surprise – and a little more water on their flame.

Where things go from that point, no one can say.  But if we approach these encounters from the beginning by remembering to STAY HUMBLE AND REMEMBER THE RUMBLE, we’ll have given ourselves ‘a puncher’s chance’.

AND NOW OUR STORIES AND PICTURES FROM THE SIDEWALK

It was a quiet, peaceful, and prayerful morning.  The Saturday regulars were joined by the ladies from St Alexis in Wexford and Mark, a prayer warrior.  Then Father Tim and his van full of the faithful Guardians for Life filled the street with prayers and song.

Tim B., 7-9

Ladies from St. Alexis
Ladies from St. Alexis
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life

Part of my Lenten devotion is a daily email with a reflection and something to think about for that day.  Today’s theme was “This Day We Fight”. On the way down to PP I kept psyching myself up for the fight and thinking, YES…This Day We Fight!!! We are there to fight for those women, children, fathers and workers.

Well, when I arrived there was already an army amassed including Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life, a large group from St Michael’s in Wheeling, and a Sister Jolene(?) (sorry if I didn’t get her correct name).  She came to pray in honor of her brother’s birthday.  Her brother, Fr. Joseph, passed away in October 2015.  He was a devoted Pro-Life advocate throughout his priesthood.  Sister also wants us to know that 40 Days for Life is remembered daily in prayers at the Mother House!  The battleground was set with many PP escorts and many praying pro-life warriors.  Chuck and his group were doing the Jericho march, Bill came and walked around the circle in constant prayer.  A lot of clients went in and a lot of life-affirming information was handed out, including the 10-week precious feet pins!  Please pray for a couple who was in need of housing.  A trio of lovely ladies from Good Samaritan came as I was leaving to start their shift.  We all covered that place in so much prayer that I left confident we won this spiritual battle, ’cause we are God Strong!

Sue D., 9-11

 

Warriors from St Michael's in Wheeling
Warriors from St Michael’s in Wheeling
Good Samaritan Pray-ers!
Good Samaritan & St. John’s Pray-ers!

I will title this:  “Judy from the Northside was spat at today.”

This is what she wished she had said in response:  “God would love you if you had spat at God Himself…because your life is precious beyond words!”  Judy and I are Sidewalk Advocates together and as a result have become friends too!  I was standing next to her as we saw the young men approached.  Judy offered information and the spit came in response with the spittle landing right at her feet.  Just previous to this, I had asked Anita from WV to be one of the dedicated prayers for us as we witness on Saturdays.  “The devil saw Jesus in Judy today as it walked by.”

As I came into my favorite coffee shop to write this, a middle aged woman was sitting discussing her writing with a mentor of sorts.  The woman was wearing a hat with horns.  If you know me by now, I had to ask her before left “Why the hat?” She responded it was part of an act and she decided to keep wearing it.  I told her I write about people I meet.  She smiled, left, and another woman with interesting symbols on her sweatshirt sat down… to be continued!!

So I ask questions of the many wonderful witnesses who come to the street called Liberty at a site where liberty is ripped from the womb.  The three ladies pictured are not only active in 40 Days for Life, but they are Ladies of Charity and in a women’s group which hosts baby showers.

I met Mark who came with the group for WV.  He has been witnessing since the abortion clinic was in the other location in Pittsburgh.  Bob, who prays everyday as he walks by, also has been praying since the abominable clinic was in that other part of town.  I asked the young escorts and the women coming out of the volunteers training program today if part of the training included showing them what an abortion looks like-  videos are available.  No one would answer me– not even the trainer herself.

Marian C., 11-1

We handed out some of the Rachel’s Vineyard literature to S., who had been at P.P. today.  She asked us to pray for her.  We know that she’s hurting right now.  Otherwise the afternoon went fairly quietly.

Food for thought when refuting the abortion argument: The abortionist sells the concept that the unborn baby is an nonviable mass of tissue.  But, they know the harvest potential from selling these babies organs.

Dean D., 1-3

Beverly and Jan from Good Samaritan-Ambridge and St. John's-Baden.
Beverly and Jan from Good Samaritan-Ambridge and St. John’s-Baden.

Began the shift with sun shine.  Ended shift with Sonshine Jerome from St. Thomas Moore and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion Baptist.  Prayed throughout this shift.  Pray for T.  His girlfriend was awaiting her abortion upstairs.  God let him talk in such a way that it was shared that it’s never too late to leave the clinic and not have the abortion.  He took our info then went back in.  Intense prayer followed for him and girlfriend.  At end of shift Sonshined as SM Joe and Pastor Ben ministered to homeless man.

Kathy K., 3-5

Prayerful Christians serving the Lord.  Carry on Christian soldiers!!!  (Picture below.)

Joe W., 5-7

 Jay, Kathy and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion church in Portersville
Jay, Kathy and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion church in Portersville

Pat M.

Day 17: Sidewalk Advocates for Life on duty / St. Ferdinand Respect Life Group 10-12 / St. Margaret Mary Church (Moon Twp) 12-3 The Pittsburgh Oratory 3-5 / Individual volunteers 5-7

 Today is St. Patrick’s Day–  here is a little jig for you from Facebook (should be public access).

Irish Dancers   Shamrock_large

heart on clothesline

The Perfect Assist…

Many years ago, I read this brief paragraph in the Catholic Digest. The selection is appropriate for us, as 40 Days for Life prayers and Sidewalk Advocates. We are called to be faithful.   God sees the big picture.   He helps us.  As He sees what we are doing, His Will be done!  The selection was used to address the prevention of children killing children in our schools to my former BOE.  I think it is appropriate here:

“It was a warm afternoon at a fast food restaurant.  We were four mothers, strangers, watching our children. Suddenly, one of the little boys banged his forehead.  Immediately, his mom ran to console him.  Meanwhile, one mother picked up the paper refuse, and another ran to tend to the baby who had been left alone and a fourth hurried to get ice.  Then a worker brought an ice pack.  The commotion ended and we separated, each remembering the team work we had experienced. We had been united in our concerns for that little boy.”

 

Our 40 Days for Life family tree has many branches.  Although coming from different life experiences and faith practices, our common ground is Jesus and our collective and individual commitment to deliver the message to stop abortion.  There are many people in the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh family who participate long after the 40 Days for Life campaign is over.  Several of our members assist with crisis pregnancy centers, others have adopted children, some are board members of pro-life political action groups (40 Days for Life is non-political) and still more witness in the Face the Truth tours.  Sidewalk Advocates for Life is a fruit of the 40 Days for Life ministry.  The Magee Project is also a fruit.   Each of us is called to assist one another.  No one can do this alone.

Prayerful witness on the sidewalk is a start.  Jesus did not stay on the mountaintop nor did He always remain silent when in public.  No one would have had the miracles to report if He had remained silent.  His praying must have been quiet, not loud and chanting, so that he did not frighten the people listening.  When I listened to the Knights of Columbus praying the Rosary last Saturday on another very cold day, their voices were in unison- not one overpowering- united with the Holy Spirit in prayer.

 

Letter-to-a-Homeless-Person
Does this picture remind you of the heads that turn away from looking at us as they walk past PP? Looking away or staying away will not solve the problems we face.

 

Diane makes sure we are prepared with materials.  She prepares well before the campaign begins and is always thinking of ways to deliver the message.  She is constantly thinking of us and our comfort level on the sidewalk..  Come prepared to stand in all sorts of weather, as most do-  Diane even includes umbrellas- and we know about the hand warmers!!

Diane
Diane does this in the morning and at the end of every shift! She has a few leprechauns named Jeff and Pat who help out when needed.

Come prepared with knowledge and what to say if someone needs your help or needs re-direction. If you are new to the movement, concerned about what to say or how to help, the links below are informative and practical.  And trust that God will never put your heartfelt witness to shame.

Recently, I turned on my favorite radio station, W.O.R. D. (one of two great Christian stations in the Pittsburgh area -W.A.O.B. is the other one), I heard the last few minutes of a pro-life message from Focus on the Family- http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/stepping-up-to-defend-life.   Scott Klusendorf, (of http://prolifetraining.com/) a pro-life writer and speaker, was featured.    I share the information here and encourage you to listen and share.  Sometimes we need to let the “drive by” walk on… but those who stop to engage, we need to educate.  Jesus spoke the truth in love….. it needs to be spoken on the sidewalk too. (The transcript can be read if you prefer.)

quotes-about-helping-others

 

If you listen to the speaker, Scott Klusendorf,— (I would give that task as a homework assignment if I were your teacher ) you will know to what these symbols relate:

 

depositphotos_13923648-Cookie-jar-sketchpebble in a shoe 

Click here: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/pre-born/my-child-would-have-been-22-this-year. for a story written by a pastor, a self- admitted prodigal who regrets the abortion

 

He writes:  “This is extremely difficult for me to write—I shed many tears, contemplated deleting it, and prayed diligently for direction. Approximately 22 years ago, as a prodigal, I conceded to my girlfriend’s request to abort our child around the 5th week. The pain of that decision still haunts me today “

 

daisaku-ikeda-quote-people-can-only-live-fully-by-helping-others-to

 

Scott Klusendorf poses this question: 

Since when does size determine humanity…?

 

helping-others-quotes-images-2-3c647e29

 

Reports from the sidewalk today:

Winds persisted. They threw our little fetal models up and then down. I had to take this pic. It felt poignant and true.
Barb’s picture from Wednesday, March 15: “Winds persisted. They threw our little fetal models up and then down. I had to take this pic. It felt poignant and true.”

Friday really is a happening day. Everyone looks forward to Friday.  TGIF means a weekend has almost arrived and you can lean back and breathe more easily…even if you like your job…and IF you have a job that goes Monday through Friday…more and more rare for most people, sadly.

But Friday is an abortion day at PP in downtown Pittsburgh.  If you have your abortion this Friday, you cannot lean back and breathe more easily.  You will never be the same.  The change is an irrevocable loss.  When you go in the PP terrible front door, you are a parent.  After an abortion, you leave…still a parent, but with empty arms.  You leave the body of your baby behind, in the trash. Your choice makes you the parent of a dead baby.

Prolife people standing outside feel terrible for you.  Some of us are still mourning the choice we made for our abortion…perhaps an abortion we chose to have decades ago. Even if we did not have an abortion, every adult knows anguish. 

Even after you have an abortion, God loves you.  He loved you before you were born, moments after you were born, years later and will love you into eternity.  We are standing outside PP because we know this.  We have help for you.  Let us help you.

Barbara 7-9 Shift Manager

The early birds get greetings from long time friends.  Lynn is a favorite pedestrian!

lynn
Marian, Lynn and Diane. Lynn walks by with a bright smile and warm greeting every day. She and Al, Sally and Bob have known each other for years just because of their sidewalk advocacy!

 

FullSizeRender (1)
Barb made these rebels “toe the line today”. We are not playing favorites but a little birdie told Barb that today is Sally’s birthday. Happy Birthday, WONDERFUL WOMAN OF GOD!

9-11: Sheila

Sheila reports that she had a lengthy talk with someone at PP today who is very conflicted about decisions being made.  Sheila is a long time sidewalk advocate. Peggy, also a Sidewalk Advocate, was also on the street today manning her year round shift.  When a confused and conflicted person reaches out to us on the sidewalk, it is a miracle.. even if we do not know the end results.

 

20170317_104808[13]
St. Ferdinand’s Respect Life Group


11-1: Marie  is a long time shift manager with 40 Days for Life- but is camera shy!!
1-3: Katie  ( Katy gets the green today— with her last name, I would think she has a wee bit of leprechaun in her family.)  Katie is an amazing, innovative presence on the sidewalk- chalk and all!

The group from St. Margaret Mary was there when I got there and they stayed during my whole shift. Several people went in and out of PP.  A couple of them took literature but no one stopped to talk to us. The sidewalk didn’t seem much busier than usual because of St. Patrick’s Day (with all the bars and eating establishments). Someone from a Quest diagnostics went in and out with a cooler. 

 

katy 1
Members of St. Margaret Mary Parish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

katy 2
Members of St. Margaret Mary Parish- “Irish eyes” are smiling! Life is a happy time- the young at heart know this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3-5: Lisa C.

The Cahill women and two freshman nursing students- Tess and Maura- were an inspiration!!! Their constant prayers, smiles, and determination in the cold weather for life was warming to the heart! Thank you😊👍🏻
Lisa C.

image1

 

5-7: Pat

For a night when we had the Home & Garden show at the Convention Center, the Penguins had a home game, and, oh yeah, St. Patrick’s day fell on a Friday, things were incredibly calm and peaceful.  I was happy to have Judy from the Northside with me for the full two hours to both pray and talk with. 

judy
Judy from the Northside- also a Sidewalk Advocate and leader of a Pro-life group at the Northside campus of the community college.

Pat and “Judy from the Northside” are long time advocates for life.  Pat includes here:

My pro-life involvement includes being a SA for life for 1 hour/week, being part of the planning committee and a regular prayer volunteer for the Magee Project, and being the Pro-Life Advocate for my parish Knights of Columbus council.
woman with stroller
Our colors are pink and blue!! Is that snow?

 

 

ALL IN!- any kind of weather- 40 Days for Life family pray together!   The newest member of our family tree-      17264372_1228228760626288_6963546355731161926_n      (He may have to lose the cup though!)

Marian

 

Day 16: Thank you to St. John United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s Church, Rochester), Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Round Hill Presbyterian Church, and our Individual Volunteers!

Can anyone please join Shift Manager Sheila on Friday, 3/17, from 9-10 AM? 

Thank you so much!!

 

3-16-17 icon of rich man and lazarus

 

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.”

Luke 16:19-21a

 

As much as we might like to think of ourselves as Lazarus (since he is righteous), I was recently reflecting on how (at least for me) it is much easier to identify with the rich man. This is NOT what we should prefer, and yet it is often the case. And why? Because the majority of us are living a generally comfortable life… like the man in the Scriptures who seems to have everything he needs. Not only do we have many of the material comforts we enjoy, but many of us also live a life that is free of torment, free from serious peril.  We have families and homes and love.  Well, at least, many of us do.

But what about those of us who do not?  And here, I think primarily of those abortion-bound couples, or the abortion workers.  This is not to say that their lives lack families, homes, or love, but that SOMETHING in their lives and hearts is missing.  Perhaps only God knows what those things are.

3-16-17 silent sufferers

So shouldn’t WE give some of our love, some of our hope, our compassion, to those poor “Lazaruses” in need?  The answer is obvious.  Yes, we should.  And we CAN.  Let us fill in the “great chasm” (as in the Gospel passage) that lies between “us” and “them” and really give ourselves.  With GENTLENESS and charity.

And just as Abraham was able to hold Lazarus close, the Lord will then be able to hold these needy ones from the sidewalk close to Himself:

3-16-17 prodigal daughter

 

Shift Manager Reports:

 

From Nikki:

I was dressed for the Arctic this morning with my snow pants and warm coat, hat and scarf, two pairs of gloves with a hand warmer in between and two pairs of socks with toe warmers in between.  It was cold but thanks to God, no wind! That makes all the difference! I didn’t start to get cold at all until the last half hour. It was a blessing to share the sidewalk with Pastor Win from Burry’s church. He is always such a powerful witness as he prays for much of his shift on his knees. Since it was quiet for the first hour, I joined him on my knees so we both prayed on opposite sides of the circle like that for quite a while.

 

Nikki and Pastor Win
Nikki and Pastor Win

 

At about 8:40, clients began going in. I saw three couples that looked abortion-bound.  Two of them actually accepted the literature. We just continue to pray. Even though our numbers are small, we are consistent and persistent!   I had the feeling this morning that God is using us in a powerful way, even though we are tiny, as a sharp scalpel used by a surgeon to remove a cancerous tumor. That is what God is doing with us, I believe.
Thanks to Diane for all the helpful and organized materials on the sidewalk, including the ever popular hand warmers and literature! And thank you to Tess for her generous donation of Precious Feet pins which we will hand out on the sidewalk to spread the truth about life!

 

Generous donation of Precious Feet pins!
Generous donation of Precious Feet pins!

I left right at nine with shift manager Bill and the wonderful folks from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Judy and Chuck, to carry the torch for the next two hours. Thanks and God bless everyone who is witnessing and praying for our 40 Days for Life!

 

Shift Manager Bill
Shift Manager Bill

 

3-16-17 chuck and mark
Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, and Mark

 

From Marilyn:

Another busy day at PP, several couples going in and not leaving by the end of my shift.  No one was scheduled to pray, but our wonderful 40 Days for Life family answered the call and pray-ers came.  Praise the Lord!   It was very nice to have the company of my side-kick, Beth Ann, and Kim and Sue.  Two gentlemen stopped to pray during their lunch time.  And, before I left, I was so grateful that a lovely couple from St. Alphonsus came and that Lisa would not have to stand alone.  
I was very bundled up today,  so I was surprised when a 55 year old man stopped to tell me his story of being in the service at age 19 and learning his girlfriend was pregnant and had an abortion.  He paused to reflect on how old that child would be now.  He shared that even though his girlfriend married and went on to have five children, she never was the same. Abortion haunts men and women.  When I stop to reflect on how many millions of babies are not here due to abortion, and how many millions of mothers and fathers are wounded by this, it is no wonder that our society is so messed up and that people become addicted to things that are not good for them. Deep down people are having a real tough time living with their decisions. We are called to be merciful.  I think about several other times people shared their history with abortion.  So many hurting people.  We need to show compassion and mercy and not judgment and condemnation.  Even though it was so cold, several people stopped to look at the fetal models.  It is good that we have them.  A picture is worth a thousand words. 
The cold kept away any negative comments today.  Thank you, God.
God bless you,
Marilyn
Beth Ann, Kim, and Sue. (By the way, GREAT photo, Marilyn!!)
Beth Ann, Kim, and Sue. (By the way, GREAT photo, Marilyn!!)

From Lisa K.:

An amazing time of blessings on the sidewalk today, mostly because of the people I had the privilege of praying with.  First, I am so thankful that some of our good folks today came just because they read that I needed someone to be there so I wouldn’t be alone.  I felt very humbled that they drove all that way (some from pretty far) to join little old me.  Thank you all- I am so grateful!

I am also thankful for Ben, a high school senior, who came -on his own- to join us.  Not only did that impress me, and not only did he repair Helen’s rosary- but Ben also reached out in a beautiful way to a man who came out of PP and was waiting for the woman he brought there.  The man, smoking a cigarette, eyed Ben and asked, “What are you doing?”  Ben told him about 40 Days for Life.  The man asked something like whether we couldn’t just petition to have the place shut down.  Ben explained the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, and how this was not an easy thing to do.  Then the man asked for some information.  Ben asked me, and I gave him a resource sheet.  The man asked for MORE.  Ben said that the man was hoping that the woman he came with might see him reading them….  As I found a couple more things to give him, I looked at him and said, “If you bring these in there, I have to tell you- HIDE them, because they WILL take them away from you.”  He was about to head back in, and I asked him if I could ask a personal question.  I said, “We’ve been wondering whether this is an abortion day…. is that what she came for?”  He responded, “I don’t know- but I’m never comin’ back here again.”  He said it with such conviction- and amazement that he was even there in the first place.  We prayed for him and the woman.  

Shift Manager Lisa with Joan
Shift Manager Lisa K. with Joan

 

Kim. Ben, Norma, and Tom-thank you all!
Kim, Ben, Norma, and Tom- thank you all!

 

Helen, Mary Beth and Cozette (two first-timers from Roundhill Church!), Bill, and Shift Manager Dee
Helen, Mary Beth and Cozette (two first-timers from Roundhill Church!), Bill, and Shift Manager Dee

 

From Dee:

Today, we had a peaceful time on the sidewalk.

It was certainly much warmer than yesterday. We were
entertained a bit by the melting ice sliding through the
drain spout on the bar next door. I did have the opportunity
of praying the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows with Ben, a young
man from Greensburg.  I enjoyed the company of the 4
members of Roundhill Church:  Linda, Bob, Pastor Matt,
and Mayim.
There was one negative response. A young
woman stopped in front of  Linda and myself and spit in
front of us. Then she crossed through the circle and stood
in front of Bob and spit in front of him. Other than this
highlight, the people supported us –or just ignored.
Linda and Bob from Roundhill Church
Linda and Bob from Roundhill Church

 

Pastor Matt from Roundhill Church and his daughter, Mayim
Pastor Matt from Roundhill Church and his daughter, Mayim

From Rick:

Special thanks to Pastor Matt and Mayim from Roundhill Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, Billy from Assembly of God Church in Monroeville, and Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need, and for providing pro-life materials to people passing by.  A number of people stopped to thank us for bearing the cold and for standing up for life.  Thanks also to Diane and Tom for faithfully transporting the pro-life billboards, signs and materials each day.  May God be with each of you and may you and your family be Blessed with much Grace!
 
Rick
May the Lord bless and strengthen these women and men who are in need, and may He love them with His GENTLENESS as only He can.
3-16-17 I made you and i will carry you

 

 

Day 15…St. Juan Diego, St. Bernadette and many dedicated individuals brave the bitter cold today!

“But it shall not be so among you.” Matt. 20:26

Jesus Selfish ambition.  It’s the way of the world, right?  Dog-eat-dog…looking out for number one…using others to get ahead.  Isn’t that how the world works?

 

As I reflected on the Gospel reading from Matthew 20:17-28 this morning, I thought about how disappointed Jesus must have felt as he watched his own followers arguing about who was going to be the greatest.  I wonder if this is when he came up with the idea of washing their feet at the last supper?  We humans are a little dense, are we not?  We constantly need to be reminded by Jesus’ example.  We are prone to pride, jealousy, anger and selfishness.  I must confess that I reacted badly last Thursday to a passerby.  When a woman walked up to me with a smile on her face and said, “Thank you for being here!  Because you are here, I will be donating $7.00 to Planned Parenthood today!”  My humble, Christ-like response?  “Good!  They are going to need it!”

I was convicted when I read Pat’s blog from last Saturday.  He wrote the following:

Bite your tongue – No way to sum it up any better.  Most of the negativity we receive as we stand vigil (at least 80%) comes in the form of, what I call, “drive-by” comments.  These are people who, as they walk past, say something derogatory, but keep on going.  Fine.  Let them go.  Resist the urge to offer a retort.  To absorb the blow with grace gives evidence of your gentleness.  But saying something in response simply is to invite a confrontation.

But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father. Mt 5:44-45

The way of the world is not what Jesus wants for us.  He wants us to be different.  Set apart…like a light on a hill.  It can be challenging for sure!  We will definitely fail sometimes.  But that is okay, He loves us and knows our weakness.  He is there to help us get back up and try again.washing feet

I am so inspired by the sacrifice of so many individuals during this bitter cold weather!  I’ll bet Jesus is cheering us on…and is pleased with our efforts.


Read on for today’s shift reports…

Sue D. had the early 7-9am shift and wrote:

Peg shares the bitter cold 7-9am shift with Sue
Peg shares the bitter cold 7-9am shift with Sue

Today we saw another day of “blizzard-like” conditions, you can see the snow in front of PP in the picture of Peggy. It was a quiet morning downtown, school must have been delayed or cancelled because no students passed us and there were very few cars. Peggy and I were both prepared in our purple coats with multiple layers of clothing and  I also had my “man-hands”…(My husband’s  gloves paired with a snug glove liner).

Fashion on the sidewalk!
Fashion statement on the sidewalk!

It is the only thing that works to keep my hands warm, toes are another story! We got down to business praying the rosary and divine mercy. Mostly workers entered the building. We didn’t have a lot of interaction with passersby because most everyone was pretty bundled up! A little before 8am we did get a trifecta of negative comments…boom, boom, boom, 3 hostile people right in a row! The last person got in our faces and confronted us about the Healthcare Law. That last confrontation helped us focus on what our mission is here. It is not about anything else but standing peacefully and prayerfully in front of PP and hoping to turn hearts and minds to a culture of LIFE! Sidewalk advocates Jim and Katie came and the 4 of us stood for the remainder of the shift.

Cathy Z. had the 9-11am shift and wrote:

It was a quiet two hours with hardly anyone going into the clinic except workers and delivery people.  No one stopped for conversation – probably it was too cold!  S.A.s Elsie and Katie were there, as was Mary from my parish to pray.  Katie’s dad brought a heater!

Mary from St. Juan Diego parish, with SA Katie
Mary from St. Juan Diego parish, with SA Katie

Cecilia wrote about her 11am-1pm shift:

Praise God for keeping us safe for the drive in today.  The roads were not the best.  But the company was… Thanks again to my good friend, Joyce!

Joyce and Cil
Joyce and Cil

I was glad to see familiar faces from St Bernadette for my shift.  It was a very pleasant and prayerful time on the sidewalk with them.  Sue led us in the devotional for the day. 

Dee, Sue and Jerry from St. Bernadette
Dee, Sue and Jerry from St. Bernadette
Dave from St. Bernadette
Dave from St. Bernadette

It was nice to meet Karen from Christ’s Church.  And Joyce kindly brought and handed out crackers, granola bars… to those who passed by. 

Karen from Christ Church Ministries
Karen from Christ Church Ministries

One time after Joyce crossed through the circle, the security guard opened the door and motioned that she should walk around the semi-circle.  I tried to tell him that it was OK for us to walk through as long as we don’t talk with anyone inside the area.  But he couldn’t hear me so he came over to me and kindly listened as I explained about the court case that said we could pass through to go to the other side.  He nodded in understanding and went back inside.  It was a very pleasant encounter.  Later he came out to shovel the snow.  I told him thanks.  He said he wanted to keep people from falling.  Anyhow, I do think if the weather is nice, we could walk around the circle and we do need to refrain from “parading” back and forth.  But today the road was mucky and we were just crossing to get to the other side as we took turns warming by the heater.

Not too many came and went from PP.  Thankfully!  But one memorable girl came out and passed us by.  She was visibly very pregnant but did not accept resources from us.  I wondered what “service” was offered to her?…

I hardly recall any negative comments…many positive.  And I was able to give away all my 40 Days inserts that I brought along with some pregnancy resource cards.

Just when our toes had had enough, Chris arrived!  Again I believe he brought the sun with him!  I hope it helped to get the rest of our warriors through the cold and windy day. 

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3pm…

God Bless whoever brought the propane gas tank and integrated heat lamps!  What a difference it made for the few prayer warriors during my shift.  Traffic in and out of PP was very light today and I think the bitter cold weather discouraged passersby from making comments, positive or negative.  I was joined for the first 45 minutes by Dee and Dave, holdovers from the 11am shift.  It was great to see them!  While I was alone the rest of the time, it was fine, as I used the time to pray the Rosary and think in the quiet.  One of the thoughts I had on such a cold and windy day (several times the fetal models blew off their stand) was that we are there witnessing in front of PP to warm the hearts and consciences of those who enter their doors, with love and compassion.  Barbara and Richard, such a joy to see, relieved me for the 3:00pm shift.  

Barbara wrote about her 3-5pm shift:

Today was so cold.  The wind was relentless.

After the fetal model set went flying, Richard and I hunkered down and packed everything. My sign around my neck kept hammering me and I fought to restrain it.

Winds persisted. They threw our little fetal models up and then down. I had to take this pic. It felt poignant and true.
Winds persisted. They threw our little fetal models up and then down.
I had to take this pic. It felt poignant and true.

Although we battled the weather, passersby blessed us.  So many people gave us high signs and thumbs up.  We heard “God bless you” at least three times. 

I felt so grateful that we had only two hours in the cold and had a warm car and home and dinner to look forward to.  I was reminded about how comfortable my life is.

Here is a “shout out” to our steady comrade who showed up to stand with us every Wednesday last fall. “Get better, Hank. Be patient!  God bless you and your wonderful Judy and children.”

When Joe showed up for the next shift, smiling and sturdy, I was tempted to offer him $1000.  He smiled, waved us good-by and we left.

Joe and Fran finished out the final two hours tonight…

The shift started before the shift with thoughts of how to deal with the C.O.L.D. / wind with gusts up to 35 mph according to the “highly accurate” weather report 🙂

Though I was consumed of thoughts of physical warmth, the evening would fittingly be dominated by spiritual warmth, of course.

First, the usual warm greeting from 3:00 – 5:00 Shift Manager, Barbara.  She had made sure that nothing would fly away today – Thanks! 

I was then joined in short order by Fran from St. Joseph’s (Verona) who individually volunteered to stand with me so that I would not be alone.  I cannot express how much this meant…  I mean, I had to be there, but she volunteered to be there -on a nasty cold evening, in part, to make sure that at least 2 or 3 were gathered…  Thanks Fran!!!

As I stood in the doorway next to the bar, the sun played peek-a-boo on Liberty Ave.  I couldn’t help but think about that sun / sunshine and all that God has created…A women stopped her car in front of me and asked me if I was homeless  and needed some money – a wonderfully kind gesture that I may need to take her up on if I don’t get crack’n on my home improvement projects… 

Not even the coldness could numb the “negative” feelings expressed by few passerby’s…  a spit and the “old familiar gesture”…

I could not ignore the irony of a person exiting PP and entering a car with a “Bern” bumper sticker… 

I got to talk with / help a homeless gentleman, “L” – please pray for him. We prayed together.  I was able to give him some hand warmers and he tried on the coat from the bin, but it was a bit too small…

The shift ended quietly – numb physically, but spiritually much warmer than when it started…

 

In closing, I have to say that I am deeply humbled by the commitment shown by those who sacrificed on the sidewalk today.  I do not feel worthy to be leading such a wonderful group of people.  I wonder if I should have cancelled the vigil today?  I don’t want to ask too much of all of our 40 Days for Life family, and have people get discouraged and give up.  It is amazing to me that so many of our shift managers and individual participants have persevered all these years, through so many campaigns!  I don’t want to blow it now!  Let me know your comments…should we have a temperature limit in the future?

Thank you and may God bless you!

Nikki

Day 14: Sidewalk Advocates, Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Hosanna Church

THURSDAY 3/16 11am-2pm …Shift manager +1,  more volunteers are needed!

THURSDAY 3/16 2pm-3pm…Shift manager will stand alone…!!!

Please Sign up or Show up!

WE NEED YOU!

WE NEED YOU!
     THANK YOU!

Throughout salvation history, we know that no matter how far we stray from God, He always wants to give us every opportunity to return.

Look what happened to Ninevah when they believed what God had told Jonah about their city being destroyed. Their King told everyone to give up their evil ways and their violence. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:3-10)

REP

Sodom and Gomorrah, not so much…but according to Isaiah,  they WERE given the opportunity. 

Hear the word of the Lord, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! Wash yourselves clean, put away your misdeeds and cease doing evil: learn to do good. Come now, let us set things right! (Isaiah 1:10)

Fb

No matter how far we stray from God, He always wants to give us every opportunity to return. So we have HOPE!

hope

If you have been wounded by abortion go to: http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

There is HOPE

I recently heard this popular saying, challenging us to fight: “HOPE has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” I have never heard of HOPE being described that way before. 

SO, we have HOPE  because:

1) we are ANGRY about the way “things are” at Planned Parenthood and

2) we have COURAGE to stand witness to the devastation and loss of Life

Charlene 7am-9am

The sidewalk at 7 during the “blizzard”.

IMG_2700

With everyone expecting a blizzard… The street was quiet but cold. We felt the temps dropping about 8 but we weren’t sure if the temps were dropping or we were just feeling it more. Many good comments. The PP employees did not stay home from work today and we saw one client go in. May the Lord continue to look out for us this campaign and answer our prayers to close PP. -Charlene

IMG_2701Al, Sally, and Dick brace the elements!

Judy 9am-11am

3 people responded to the call to witness and came this morning in the piercing cold. We are very grateful to Diane for the handwarmers and I don’t think I would have made a 2 hour shift without them! Mostly workers entered PP today, but there were clients as well. I witnessed Pat drop to his knees in prayer as 2 pregnant ladies entered. We received a mix of positive and negative comments. As always, the baby models have a big impact and a man crossing the street looked so sad as he recalled his girlfriend was made to have an abortion by her mother. I was able to inform a woman about alternative Health Clinics since she was at PP for STD testing. A florist dropped off dozens of long stem red roses for us to give away, such a lovely gesture to be able to hand them out! ~Judy

Regina 11am-1pm

I am truly inspired, blessed and grateful for standing with such selfless, caring and faithful ProLife Warriors today! I was warmly greeted by Substitute shift Manager Judy and then generously kept company by Ken, long past, I’m sure, what was comfortable in the bitter cold
IMG_20170314_112617753IMG_20170314_112636065
I then was graced by the powerful witness of Elaine, Michelle and Maggie who warmed my heart in spite of the bitter cold of this snowy day!
IMG_20170314_113302261
It was such a gift to be in the company of such loving son and daughter’s of our Heavenly Father and brother and sisters of Christ our brother and King!     God bless, Regina

Nancy 1pm-3pm

For the 1-3 shift not much to report.   We were freeeezing.  The hand warmers were wonderful,  and it was so nice to have several people so that we could take breaks to go into a warm place down the street.   But mostly the warm hearts of the ladies who stayed a long time in the cold made an awesome impression on those who went by.  ~Nancy

Jeannie 3pm-5pm

What a GUSTY day we had for the 3-5 shift!   I was immediately blessed to join in prayer with Elaine from Greensburg, who had come into the city to move her son into his first apartment and then STAYED 2 hours in the BITTER COLD to pray with us.  I always say “The best people in the world are on the sidewalk for Life”  I really believe this!

Lovely as a Rose Elaine from Greensburg
Lovely as a Rose Elaine from       Greensburg

Soon, Gary joined us from Hosanna Church in Brighton Heights-  We were blessed recipients of a dozen or so absolutely stunning long stemmed red roses. What a joy to pass them out to ladies (and a few men) letting them know how much GOD LOVES them!  Vicky, also from Hosanna joined us mid-shift and ,God Bless her, was on a break from work.

Hosanna, Brighton Heights
Hosanna, Brighton Heights

We had to “put our shoulders into” the cold but we did so with GOD and his SPIRIT on our side.  I always dress for the weather, and can barely bend over to pick up a dropped item— these courageous, loving, soldiers of Christ: Elaine, Vicky, and Gary were not prepared for the lashing Wind.  My appreciation and respect abound for each of them.  Blessings (and warm toes) to all! – Jeannie

Popsicle Toes
Popsicle Toes

Lisa 5pm-7pm

It was cold. It was snowing.  It was a blessing.  There were several obvious blessings today.  #1 would be sharing the sidewalk with two outstanding prayers tonight.  I was happy to welcome Rich D. again this week and Eli as a first timer coming to us from Hosanna Church, Bellevue.  The hand warmers were a blessing to have tonight!  The fact that it stayed daylight – a blessing. Not getting the predicted amount of snow – a blessing.   Although this may sound odd, the angry man was a blessing tonight also.  As we stand praying for the end of the tragedy of abortion, I also pray for the angry people.  I find their strong emotions toward abortion, their outbursts, their “walk by” vulgar comments evoke from me instant prayers for them!  They have to be hurting so much from abortion. May God Bless them.  ~Lisa

 20170314_184605Rich, Lisa and Eli

Day 13: St. Teresa of Avila and St. Paul Seminary

“On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory lay down to rest, and in resting died.”

Adlai E. Stevenson

Dawn of VictoryOur 40 DFL campaign is well underway and doing great. Participation is at an all time high despite the winter weather. But we can’t rest yet. We can do more. We can be stronger and bolder. So if you are looking for “charitable deeds” do as penance during this lent come back to the vigil if you have been there already or if you haven’t yet been able to be there, come. Bring a friend or family member. Share the joy of doing something meaningful. We have an opportunity to witness to life at a critical and pivotal time in the history of our county, and hopefully to save lives and souls.  Remember “Be Not Afraid”.

If you can come back, remember someone is always there between 7 am till 7 pm so you don’t need your barbarachurch group to come back. If you want to be kind to a 40 DFL shift manager look at the schedule and see where the shift manager will be either alone or with just one companion.

This TUESDAY (tomorrow) there is NO ONE signed up to stand with shift manager Charlene (7-9). Stop by if you can. Even if only for a few minutes. It will be greatly appreciated.

Click HERE to see the schedule of those churches and individuals signed up.

We are at the dawn of victory. Do not lie down and if you do, rest for just a little while and then come back. You will make a difference and have an impact no matter how imperceptible and I am confident you will find peace and joy, if not while you are there certainly on the way home as you know you have just done something important.

Stop back throughout the day to see pictures and stories from today’s vigil.

From Kathy L. 7-9 am:

Very cold morning. A few comments Peggy and I received from passersby were equally as

Shift Manager Ginny
Shift Manager Ginny

cold but not long afterwards our hearts were warmed by the kind act of a young lady named Savanah who saw us from the bus, waved to Peggy, and brought each of us a cup of hot coffee. We thanked her, offered a prayer for the unborn together, and off she went to work. God bless Savanah.

The PP workers arrived and a two young women entered the building but ignored any offer for help. A man  stopped by to let us know that the CC warming center closed last Friday (March 10th). I stopped by CC after my shift and it is correct that the center closed Friday. The receptionist said that they may open for two hours on Wed due to the snowstorm.

From Ginny 9-11 am:

St Teresa of Avila team
St Teresa of Avila team

The faithful from St Teresa of Avila braved the weather to witness to life.  They prayed all 4 sets of mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

IMG_1330
Riverside Church witnessing for LIFE

The ladies from Riverside Church stood for Life.

 

Everyone was very cold but offered up their suffering for the unborn babies and their mothers
It was a very prayerful morning.

Pam & Gregg from St Teresa
Pam & Gregg from St Teresa
A courageous lady from fourth Presbyterian Church
A courageous lady from fourth Presbyterian Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Jim 11-1:

“All went well on the shift today. no major announcements I relieved Ginny and found an old friend at the vigil from St Alphonsus in Springdale; pleasant surprise. Limited clients going in to PP and many exiting quickly. Cold but bearable, hope the snow misses us tomorrow. Another new experience was praying with (9) nine men in front of the abortion facility. Several walk up guys and several seminarians attending Duquesne for classes. I have to believe God and the many pedestrians were taken aback by this sight of men praying in public. “
Jim S

From Nikki and Joe 5-7:

Joe and Francis
Joe and Francis

“When Joe and I arrived for our 5 to 7 shift we found poor shift manager Francis standing there all alone. Rosalina had felt sick and so she had gone home about half an hour before we got there. It was nice to see Francis and talk for a bit. After he left Joe and I got right down to praying. We brought chairs, which made it nice. There were many people going into Planned Parenthood, including people bringing pizzas. Must have been some sort of training/meeting.
Nothing really happened worth reporting. Three little girls stopped and were looking at our fetal models and wanted to know if we had any they could have, so I gave them each a little 12 week model. A few people thanked us for being there, we got no negative comments tonight. It was a cold but good shift.”