Persevering in Prayer!

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

Approximately 20 faithful Christians from all over Pittsburgh have been gathering together every Sunday morning at 9:30 am, in front of Divine Mercy Parish/St. Mary’s downtown for a mile-and-a-half-long prayer walk around our city. This morning we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Pittsburgh’s auxiliary bishop, Bishop William Waltersheid! Bishop Waltersheid has decided to join us on as many Sundays as possible, to walk and pray with us, so I am inviting you to join us as well! We began this weekly prayer walk back in June of last year as a way to prepare for the October 7th consecration of the Three Rivers, which was done by Bishop Waltersheid. The rivers were consecrated at the Point to the Three Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. After the October 7th consecration, we decided to continue with our weekly prayer walks to help us carry on through the election, and then after the election we continued until there was a resolution to the election. This brings us to today, where we are continuing to offer our sacrifice of walking in the cold, in repentance for the sins of our nation and begging for God’s mercy to be upon us. If you would like to join us, as we safely pray and walk (socially distancing in the outdoor air), just show up any Sunday at 9:30 at the corner of Stanwix and Third, in front of the doors of Divine Mercy Parish, St. Mary Church. We conclude our prayer walk back at the church around 10:45 am.

The reason that I am writing about this weekly prayer walk is because I think that it is more important then ever, during this dark and dangerous time, for us, as the Body of Christ, to persevere in prayer. When we pray together…physically together, we encourage and inspire each other to persevere in our faith, which can be difficult when we see the advancing of evil all around us!

I read an article recently that has haunted and greatly discouraged me. It exposed the fact that at the University of Pittsburgh, researchers are taking the scalps of aborted babies (obtained from Magee Hospital) and grafting them onto the bodies of rodents!

(Article linked here.)Imagine the depravity! Could we sink any lower??? To take God’s beautiful creation, a precious, unique individual…a helpless baby in the womb…remove his scalp and graft it onto a mouse? Look at this photo, if you have the strength, and see the soft baby hair, which should be being softly stroked by the loving hands of the parents…now living on as part of a research animal in a cage. Surely, animals must be more human…or should I say humane… than we have become in 2021.

Another thing that has haunted and disturbed me was an interview that I watched on Lifesite News. (linked here) In this video, Pamela Acker describes how fetal tissue is harvested (kidneys in particular), from aborted babies…many times while they are still alive, with their hearts beating! She compared what we are doing to these babies to what the ancient Aztecs did, by ripping out the beating hearts of those who were being sacrificed to the Aztec gods. We are no better than those sadistic pagans, sacrificing our children to the idols of health, affluence and convenience.

May God have mercy on us!

We have been praying and fasting for an end to abortion and for our nation to turn back to God. And, what has happened since we have been praying?

Well, let’s see…we will soon have a new administration in power that is the most anti-Christian administration in history. Religious persecution is a very real possibility. Our ability to publicly witness to our faith and our pro-life stance will likely be threatened. The very woman who fiercely prosecuted David Daleidan for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal selling of baby body parts will now be our vice president. She is also the same person who relentlessly persecuted crisis pregnancy centers in California, trying to force them to have signage referring women for abortions on their center signage. So the future of the pro-life movement looks grim, to say the least.

So, did God not hear our prayers? Is He turning His back on us? Or, has He heard…and ANSWERED our prayers? Maybe we just don’t like His answer! Really…what can we expect, after shedding the blood of 70 million innocent children? It may be time to suffer. We deserve it. If suffering is coming, it is actually very merciful of God that He is allowing it. Why? Because if we suffer, we may just repent and turn back to Him, and maybe…just maybe….He will heal our land.

I am writing this on Sunday, and the epistle reading from today was from Romans 12:6-16. This verse is very beautiful and speaks to our time so powerfully:

…Be patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer. Share the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be of one mind towards one another. Do not set your mind on high things but condescend to the lowly.

Romans 12

What struck me about this verse is the last line, “Do not set your mind on high things but condescend to the lowly.” That is what I see our little rag-tag Sunday morning prayer group doing. We are not trying to coordinate some grand and complicated prayer walk. We have not advertised it or promoted it, those who want to come simply show up. No one notices what we are doing…but God does. Prayer and sacrifice, made with love, are never wasted! Even if we don’t get the answer that we want, God will use our prayers to strengthen us and He will bring about good from the present evil. Join our little rag-tag prayer team, or gather a group of prayer warriors in your own neighborhood or church! Our light is needed now more than ever!

Our 40 Days for Life Lenten Campaign will be starting soon! We still are looking for shift buddies for the following shifts (from Feb. 17 – Mar. 28):

Sundays from 9-11 am (with Ken) and 5-7 pm (with Andy), Mondays 3-5 pm (with Marie H), Wednesdays from 3-5 pm (with Virginia) and 5-7 pm (with Joe K), Thursdays 3-5 pm (with Pete) and 5-7 pm (with Charlie), Fridays 11 am – 1 pm (with Sheila) and 5-7 pm (with Bill E) and the FIRST TWO MONDAYS from 11 am – 1 pm we need BOTH a shift manager AND a buddy. (This is for 2/22 and 3/1 ONLY). Please contact me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com if you are able to make an appointment with God during any one of these times!

Of course we welcome your prayerful presence at Planned Parenthood ANY time that you can make it! Contact Fran Morrow at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to sign up as a group, or if you want to sign up as an individual, contact Donna Goss at gdgoss620@gmail.com

Our brand new 40 Days for Life 365 initiative had a promising start last week! Thanks to those who signed up for the first time, to help us to cover the afternoon hours on abortion days! A special thanks to Chris, Arlene, Stephen, Carrie, Jen, Eric and Nadine (and I apologize if I missed anyone! For this week, we need someone for these times:

Tuesday from 11am – 4pm ; Wednesday we need someone to be with Eric from 3-4pm ; Friday is filled….praise God! Saturday we need someone to be with Greg from 11am-1pm and we need people from 1pm-4pm! This week’s 365 Captain is Katie O’Brien, so contact her at fezysmama@yahoo.com to help fill some hours this week!

Especially since the March for Life is now cancelled in DC…I would make a special plea to those who were planning on going. You would have sacrificed about 18 hours to drive there and back in one LONG day of pro-life activism. Since you cannot do that this year, may I suggest that you spend those 18 hours instead, breaking them up into weekly hours (one or two at a time) at Planned Parenthood? God may just use your presence there to save a life!

To conclude this long blog post (my apologies for going on so long)…I wanted to give you an update on Baby “A”, who was born at 24 weeks at Magee Hospital, and who has been fighting for her life after being born at 24 weeks. (Doctors had pressured mom to abort, but she courageously chose life.) Many of our 40 Days for Life family have contributed to help mom “E” to be able to stay at a hotel near the hospital, in order to be with her little baby girl. She is very appreciative and sent this photo and note:

Mom “E” writes: To all my supporters I thank you. Baby A is doing good. But still having some issues. It’s a long road for me and her. But the support and prayers from all of you keeps my Faith strong. March seems so far away with her Up’s and downs. But I know she will get there. I truly appreciate all the support and prayers for me and my baby girl. Continue to pray for us. I will keep y’all updated on her progress.. Thanks so much from the bottom of my heart…Baby A Mommy E

And Regina Ranelli, from Birthright of Pittsburgh, gives this update:

Baby A. is 31 weeks old now, and continues to fight every! She is just shy of 3 lbs., and is breathing successfully with C-Pap machine. She is currently on a second round of antibiotics as she fights another infection. Fight she will though, with Mommy E. By her side! Many thanks for continued prayers!

Thanks everyone for persevering in prayer! Thanks for walking along with the rest of your brothers and sisters in Christ as we keep the faith and put our trust in our Heavenly Father to see us through this dark time!

In Christ,

Nikki

Our Time to Shine!

These dark days are a wonderful opportunity to let our light shine!

When everything falls apart, and we can no longer trust the authorities that are running our nation, our world, and…(dare I say it)…even our Church…where do we turn?

On the day following the presidential election, I wrote a post (linked here) about my reaction to the disappointment of having come SO close to overturning Roe…only to have our hopes dashed. It seemed to me that God was cruel to allow us to hope and then to snatch it away. I wrote about my temptation to break my fast from alcohol, to console my sadness and numb my grieving heart.

When so much confusion is spinning around us, not knowing who or what to believe…it is tempting to either retreat into distractions, or to go to the opposite extreme, and to read every headline and watch every report. Meanwhile, God is there beside us…quietly waiting for us to turn to Him in His Word and in prayer.

I believe we are in dangerous times right now, but I also believe that God will take care of those who love and trust Him. Now, more than ever, we need each other. Every Christian brother and sister is needed. The entire family of God…you are being drafted! There are so few who have their lives built on Rock, and who have the light of Christ burning brightly within them. The world needs our light!

That is why I believe that THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE!

Our movement has never relied on politicians or worldly power and success. Our volunteers are humble and self-sacrificing. We do not do this pro-life activism because we seek admiration or even results. In fact, we usually see very little results from our efforts and endure mocking and ridicule. So in fact…we are PERFECT for these times! We can be little and meek and look like absolute fools to the world, and that is when God will shine through us to those who are lost and afraid.

Our 40 Days for Life team is up to the task!

We have the best team in the world! I am humbled and proud just to know them! Almost all of our shift managers/buddies have “re-enlisted” for the up-coming Lenten campaign! The only shifts that I currently have completely empty are the first two Mondays from 11 am – 1 pm and all Fridays from 5-7 pm. There are also a few shifts where a shift manager needs a buddy. They are: Sundays 9-11 with Ken ; Mondays 3-5 with Marie ; Wednesdays 3-5 with Virginia and 5-7 with Joe K ; Thursdays 3-5 with Pete and 5-7 with Charlie ; Fridays 11-1 with Sheila and 1-3 with Donna. If you are reading this, and are able to make an Appointment with God during any of these times…please contact Jen McDevitt at jenmcdevitt@gmail.com!

At a time when most buses to Washington DC are being cancelled, and it looks like we have reached a dead-end politically...what better time to pray at the very place where the babies are dying?

We can do this! Just as we light the candles…one at a time…on Easter Vigil, watching the church building go from dark to light as each person holds his candle out to light his neighbor’s…we will spread our light to one another. Especially if you feel your light may be in danger of going out…I say COME to the sidewalk to pray and witness your love of Christ! He will use you in a mighty way, while at the same time strengthening your faith, calming your fears and soothing your anxiety…(in a much more lasting way than a glass of wine!).

Speaking of sharing our light with each other, be sure to mark your calendars to join us on Tuesday, Feb. 16th at 6pm at Epiphany Church as we kick-off our Lenten 40 days with a Mass and Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood! We will LITERALLY be carrying our lights as we process with candles and pray in front of Planned Parenthood! I hope to see you there!

UPDATE AND OPPORTUNITIES!!!

Our new 40 Days for Life 365 program needs some volunteers! We are making progress, learning as we go…but already have the joyful report of a baby saved from abortion last Friday! Most of the hours that need prayer volunteers are in the afternoon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Just reply to this email if you would like to jump in and get your feet wet. NOTE: Two brand-new 365 volunteers have signed up for this week, but have no one to be with them. We may have to cancel them if no one volunteers! Please let me know if you can be with Chris this Wednesday from 2-3 or with Stephen this Friday from 2-4! Please help us to grow this 365 movement, and don’t let us waste this opportunity!

You can promote 40 Days for Life with the flyers posted on this site, at https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved-2/ There is also a link on this page to sign up to fast on certain days, to help us fill our 40 day fast.

Thank you for not hiding your light under a basket, but placing it on the nightstand so that the whole house can be filled with light!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

If you want to save your life…

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:25

Does it seem like evil is heating up in our world today? Are you tempted to give up the fight for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters in the womb? Are you fearful of getting sick? Fearful of persecution? Do you think that our right to publicly witness our pro life views and our Christian faith is at risk of being taken away from us? If so, this blog post is for you.

I have had two images that have been sticking in my mind lately.

First, I am thinking of the image of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. I keep thinking of how that must have felt…to be in the midst of a raging fire, but not burned. Imagine for a moment that you are there with them in the furnace, enclosed in a protective bubble. You watch as the white hot flames consume everything around you…but they don’t touch you. You are safe, with God’s Angel at your side.

The other image I am thinking of is a painting that I saw on someone’s blog recently. It showed a group of early Christians…men, women and children, huddled together in the middle of the Roman Colosseum, with a large lion in the foreground. The Christians looked so pitiful. One of them was a young child. There was a man trying to lead them in prayer to help them to be courageous. The spectators in the stadium were proud and powerful, while the poor Christians, dirty and dressed in rags, were foolishly giving up their lives…for what? What…or should I say…WHO were they giving up their lives for? Our early Christian brothers and sisters believed that by giving up their lives for Christ, that they would find eternal life.

These two images are not leaving me. I wonder which awaits us?

I truly believe that God WILL protect us. I really do! I think that when we are faithful and obedient, and especially when we work to rescue His most precious and vulnerable babies from abortion…that we have a special place in his heart and that He will preserve us. So, we must press on…until we can’t. This is too important to give up…until we must.

So, if we were of the world…if this world WAS our home…right now I would be telling you that we have to take a break from 40 Days for Life. It is just too risky. But, thankfully, this world IS NOT our home!!! And so we strive on towards that beautiful finish line and we look forward to the day when we can say, as St. Paul said:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

And now for our big announcement!

Not only are we continuing to press on and plan for our Lenten 40 Days for Life (Feb. 17 – Mar. 28)…but we are going to be part of the brand new program that 40 Days for Life is now launching…called…40 Days for Life 365!!!

Yes, 40 Days for Life is now happening YEAR-ROUND in more than two dozen cities and Pittsburgh is one of them!!! To start with, we will work on filling four days a week, in order to be there on abortion days. That will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We have four dedicated team members who have agreed to be the schedulers for this new program. If you are interested in becoming a regular “pray-er” as part of 40 Days for Life 365, you can contact any one of these wonderful people (depending which day you are interested in signing up for):

Tuesdays: Steve Dristas – steve.dristas@gmail.com

Wednesdays: Katie O’Brien – fezysmama@yahoo.com

Fridays: Katie Breckenridge – kbreck57@gmail.com

Saturdays: Jen McDevitt – jenmcdevitt@gmail.com

This is still all very new, so please bear with us as we continue to work out all the details. Stay tuned for more emails and blog posts with more information!

Lent Campaign Kick-Off Event: Tuesday, Feb. 16th

6:00 pm Epiphany Church – Mass with Bishop Waltersheid and Fr. Chris Donley.

7:00 pm Eucharistic Procession from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood.

May God bless and preserve you in 2021!

In Christ,

Nikki

P.S. Please pray for our 40 Days for Life friends in Croatia! Kruno and Ante (who many of you remember from their visit to Pittsburgh two years ago), are asking for prayers for Croatia after a terrible earthquake destroyed three cities early this week! They continue to experience tremors and after shocks every day, which is very frightening. Many lost their homes and some lost lives. Thank you for your prayers!

Come all ye Faithful…and they came!

What a beautiful, joyful, hope-filled and merry morning. Our “Peace in the Womb” caroling brought the joy, hope, and light of Christ’s birth to the darkness of the abortion center. Thanks to all who came, to Randy for providing our accompaniment, and to those who prayed from home.

While it was a chilly morning, I’ll admit it was enjoyable. Yet it still made me cry.  Hearing those well loved songs and singing along really did bring peace and joy.

I’m hopeful our prayers and prayers in song were answered and we got a Christmas miracle. Merry Christmas.

-Tim

Join Us for the “Peace in the Womb” Christmas Caroling Event on Saturday, December 19th!

“Peace in the Womb” Christmas Caroling
Saturday, December 19th at 9 AM
Planned Parenthood, 933 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh


It’s almost time for one of the most cherished pro-life events of the year: the “Peace in the Womb” Christmas Caroling Day. From now through Christmas Eve, pro-lifers all over America will be heading out to their local abortion facilities to share the hope of Christmas in song. Some mothers have even walked out on abortion appointments because they heard pro-lifers caroling outside!

But we’re not just there for the mothers. We’re there for the babies, too, who will never see their first Christmas. We sing for them, offering the only gift they’ll receive this side of eternity.  

Will you come out and sing carols with your fellow pro-lifers? In fact, why not invite a friend to join you? Click below for a downloadable flyer and bulletin announcement to spread the news.  I can promise that you will be blessed by the experience of coming out to illuminate one of the darkest places in our land with the light of Christmas hope!

If you can’t attend the Christmas Caroling and you still want to come and pray, join us at other dates/times. The trained advocates and other prayer warriors who serve year-round could use your prayers and presence.  You can join us on the abortion days when the Sidewalk Advocate teams are scheduled to be outside PP.  No one who comes down to pray and witness will ever be alone.  Here is their current schedule for when we would like to pair up churches or individuals with the sidewalk advocates already there:

Tuesdays 7:30-11am
Wednesdays 8-12 noon
Fridays  8:30am-10am
Saturdays 7am-1pm


For more information on caroling or Prayer Partners for Life, please contact Tim at 412-417-7822 or timbarr5480@gmail.com. Come join us and Merry Christmas!

Sponsored by Pro-Life Action League, 
40 Days for Life [Pittsburgh] and Prayer Partners for Life

Resisting Despair…

I realize that the 40 Days for Life fall campaign is over, and now is the time we should be taking a break from our blog…but I just thought I would write a quick post to encourage anyone who has been tempted to despair, as I have been during the past 24 hours.

Yesterday, I am sure many of us were sleep deprived and confused…not knowing what the results of the election would be. Hoping against hope that the states that had stopped counting votes would quickly complete the process and we would be assured of a pro-life victory. But as the day dragged on, and we went about our necessary chores…the sadness began to set in. Last night, in the shower, I was surprised at the sudden torrent of tears that came out of nowhere. I found myself crying to God like a disappointed child. “Lord, we came SO CLOSE!!!How cruel it seemed to me, that He allowed us to climb to the very top, almost within reach of overturning Roe…and as we stretched out our hands to grasp that apple at the very top of the tree, the branch beneath us crashed the the ground…and us along with it.

After my bout with tears, the bitterness began to creep into my heart. As I lay in bed, I began to think about giving up the fight. I remembered that there was a bottle of brandy hidden away in a drawer that I could break my fast from alcohol with. I almost got up to have a drink to drown my sorrows. I am glad that I didn’t. In my mind, I knew that it was too early to give up…that we need to continue to pray and fast…but I just needed a voice to encourage me. I received that encouragement this morning on my way to Mass as I listened to two podcasts, which I want to share with you. The first is from Arch Bishop Vigano, who is pleading with us not to give up the prayers and fasting for the election. Instead of trying to paraphrase his words, I will link the letter, read by John Henry Weston at Lifesite News:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/vigano-america-is-in-midst-of-colossal-electoral-fraud-we-must-pray-now-to-defeat-enemy?utm_source=featured&utm_campaign=standard

The other encouragement I received was a video by Michael Matt encouraging us to not lose hope:

We are the family of God. He is our Father. Our sorrow pierces His Heart, because our sorrow is not selfish. We are not sad because of a loss of any worldly concerns…personal or financial. Our sorrow is from a concern for the weak and defenseless babies in the womb. It is a completely selfless sorrow…so I don’t think our sorrow offends Him. As long as we don’t despair, we do not sin. So go ahead and cry on His shoulder. He will comfort us. He doesn’t want us to give up though! Think of how despondent Jesus’ disciples must have been after Jesus was crucified. Now, think of how overjoyed they were when He appeared to them after the resurrection! Let’s keep that in mind, and keep our hope in Him! Keep the prayers and fasting going!

It’s not over!

Your grateful sister in Christ,

Nikki

P.S. Sue McGrath, who is in charge of our year-round Sidewalk Advocates here in Pittsburgh is looking for some new recruits to attend this Saturday’s training session. If you are feeling called to take the training, please contact her at: Sue McGrath susanmcgrath526@comcast.net No matter what happens, those little ones being led to the slaughter at Planned Parenthood still need loving people to advocate on their behalf, and for their mothers! Thank you for considering this!

Day 41…Our Lord was with us!

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was with us on the sidewalk as we closed our 40 Days for Life vigil yesterday!

Thank you to all who made our fall 40 Days for Life possible! Thanks to all the team members, shift managers and buddies. Thanks to all the church coordinators and volunteers, individual volunteers who gave of their time and comfort to come to the sidewalk! Thanks to our blog manager, Jen…and our schedulers, Lisa, Donna and Fran! Thanks to Diane and Tom for delivering the vigil materials every day! Thank you Bishop William Waltersheid for bringing Jesus to the sidewalk yesterday to help us close our vigil with Christ! Thanks to all the other clergy who came…Fr. Tim Kruthaupt, Fr. Jason Charron, Fr. Thomas More, Fr. Nathaniel and Fr. Ed Bryce and thanks to Fr. Chris Donley for hosting us! Thanks to the sisters of Divine Mercy for being there! Thanks to the many faithful souls who braved the cold wind to walk with Jesus to Epiphany Church for our closing Mass!

Here are some photos from the closing event, along with my reflections:

The weather was not cooperative for our procession last night, however, I believe that there are many insights and analogies that we can draw from our little “pilgrimage” from Planned Parenthood to Epiphany Church.

First of all, it was inspiring to see the faith of so many people! Before Bishop arrived, carrying the monstrance…we were all scattered on the sidewalk, engaging in conversation. It was almost instantaneous that as soon as we saw him walking towards us, everyone who was able dropped to their knees on that cold, hard sidewalk. A peace overcame the noise of the wind…and for a few moments, we all just adored and soaked in our Loving Savior…present with us in that place that needs Him so badly. It was truly beautiful. Bishop Waltersheid blessed all of us and blessed those terrible doors that have swallowed so many precious lives. I imagine the demons of that place were cowering in fear.

As we crossed the street and began our procession to Epiphany Church, the wonderful Pittsburgh Police officers helped to keep us safe. Take a look at this photo of us crossing Liberty Avenue…doesn’t it look like Jesus is actually GLOWING in the monstrance?

Truly the LIGHT of the World…Jesus Christ!

The wind was relentless as we walked, at times the gusts were actually frightening…feeling like they could literally knock us over! God must have given Bishop the strength to hold that heavy monstrance up as he walked! Thanks to all the saints in Heaven who walked with us, helping us!

So I thought it was fitting that God gave us such challenging weather conditions for our procession. Why? Well, look at the times we are currently living in! Would you say that today is an easy time to be a faithful follower of Christ? But, do we give up? No! We persevere! Just as we persevered through the wind, rain and even some snow…we eventually arrived at our Father’s House. Our HOME! It was warm and welcoming inside of the beautiful Epiphany Church, as the family of God gathered in thanksgiving for the many blessings that we have received during these 40 days.

So, the main analogy that I drew from our procession from Planned Parenthood to Epiphany Church is one that Bishop Waltersheid pointed out in his homily last night. He said that as we began our journey at a place of darkness and death…we ended in a place of light and life. And isn’t that what our journey of life is all about? We begin our lives in original sin…and Hell is our destination if left there. Fortunately, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay our sin debt and to die on the cross so that we can make the long journey of salvation. It is a difficult and sometimes treacherous journey. Sometimes the wind screams and howls and the cold rain pelts our faces. But as long as we stay close to Christ, and persevere…we will eventually enter our Father’s Beautiful Home! Our destination is Heaven, and no amount of hardship can stop us on this earthly pilgrimage. Especially when we have each other to encourage and lift one another when we fall. We certainly were an encouragement to many last night! I saw quite a few people on the streets stop as we passed, bowed their heads or made the sign of the cross in respect. The world may seem dark right now, but there still are many people who believe! Many people have faith! Last night gave evidence of that!

To see more photos from last night, go to

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WKYhEGVv8NtTi1JW6

Including this short video of the beginning of our procession: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNZe54jbUhH9gaHr6VJ53lGbxOIwpVydlecs4-ePpnK8vybcjJbMp5Ri7Nijl2Q8w/photo/AF1QipOkb1yijjaMoLDML1GTYpNDcabCRXM5XNaTGiPy?key=SktTaGZ3OGRRR19wamtDeHA0aTRJczEyYmpud1VB

Thanks to Larry Squires for taking these and posting them!

May God bless us all! See you during the Lenten campaign, which begins on February 17!

In Christ,

Nikki

https://photos.app.goo.gl/WKYhEGVv8NtTi1JW6

DAY 40: THANK YOU, Most Reverend William Waltersheid, Reverend Christopher Donley, Divine Mercy Parish; People of God Church; Shift Buddies Vince P., Andy L., Mary M., Jim and Cathy S.; Fuel, Carmelite Nuns of Fairfield, The Passionist Nuns, The Carmelites of Erie, The Carmelites of Latrobe; and all the witnesses for life who joined us in prayer today!

CLOSING CELEBRATION TODAY

Eucharistic Procession from Planned Parenthood to Epiphany Church

Mass, Bishop William Waltersheid presiding, at Epiphany Church

Divine Mercy Parish, Reverend Christopher Donley, Pastor

We close our 40 Days for Life fall campaign, and thank God

for His protection and provision, and for all the lives saved from abortion

___________________________________


The Infant Jesus
Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664)
Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia
© Photo Scala, Florence
https://us.magnificat.net

Let us pray for our children as we contemplate the chubby-cheeked face of this Child, with his strong yet tender gaze, and the endearing pout through which Zurbaran displays all the love God feels for his brothers and sisters in the human race. Pierre Marie Dumont. “The Eucharistic Child”. Magnificat November 2017

I will carry my Lord with me today with life-affirming trust. TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER: The 40-Day Companion to Live a Culture of Life. Shawn D. Carney

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.  G.K. Chesterton. ORTHODOXY

“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned … through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” God grounds me. He leaves me no illusions. This is good! In Him, I share a privileged place in life’s bounty.  Offering more bounty, life invites me to open my heart, open my arms.  This invitation feels scary, like a dare. Every time I try, stumbling and stupid, things work out. Teaching me to know what to look for, life never disappoints me … and it shows me how my heart and arms are still so closed and so clenched … and how my clenching keeps so much bounty out of my reach … and how much my having that bounty to share would make me so much better at loving … and loving is where life loves me.

And a sword will pierce your heart. LUKE 2:35

This little boy’s Dad and Mom chose life for their little son.  He has Down syndrome. It affects approximately one in 700 children. The best calculations suggest that 67% of U.S. pregnancies – where the unborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome – end in abortion. When European parents choose to have their baby killed due to this diagnosis, the rates may be greater than 90%. Iceland claims to have all but eliminated Down syndrome births. https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/columnists/2020/07/08/abortion-debate-down-syndrome-fetal-heartbill-tennessee/5368918002/

Michael Schachle was diagnosed in utero with both Down syndrome and a life threatening buildup of fluid around the lungs, heart and abdomen. A doctor said that meant the unborn child had “zero chance for survival.” Doctors suggested abortion.  Heartbroken, Michelle and Daniel Schachle begged the intercession of Father McGivney. “We never, for one second, felt Down syndrome was a problem. We were going to love him how God made him.” “I told Michelle, ‘Father McGivney needs a miracle to be named ‘Blessed,’ and there’s no reason it can’t be our son. Let’s pray to him. He needs a miracle; we need a healing — let’s go get it.’” “We emailed hundreds of people asking them to pray to Father McGivney for him. We just kept praying.” Soon thereafter, the child’s toxic fluid buildup (hydrops) inexplicably disappeared. Michael, who has Down syndrome, was born on May 15, 2015. The Vatican announced that the healing before birth … of the now five years old lively, happy child … has been accepted as the miracle necessary to advance the sainthood cause of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Father McGivney was beatified yesterday, October 31, 2020. https://www.ncregister.com/features/michael-s-miracle-healthy-and-happy-at-5-years-old-thanks-to-father-mcgivney

“Boom. The shock was real. The disbelief was real. The questions…. The unknown, was real. Of course, this is exactly how most mothers I come to learn, feel too, because most of us are not educated well on this diagnosis. And it is a shame. But, in that moment, I had hope. As a Catholic woman, I immediately turned to God and told him to talk to me. I needed him to tell me something so that my heart could be at peace, and I could find my trust again in the Lord in this situation.
I had no idea that he would tell me so clearly, exactly what I needed to hear. I had no idea where it would come from. But then, a powerful sensation within my chest told me to look in His Word at the time Sebastian was born. I was surprised. How would this make sense? I quickly asked my midwife what time he was born, and she said, “4:17” (pm).  My sister in law immediately began searching Scripture, and found only one place where anything made sense. It was 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” I knew immediately what the Lord was asking of me, reminding me, and telling me. It was the fact that even though this seemed like an unfortunate and difficult situation, it would bring about great glory for God, and I must trust Him, and was instantly at peace, and quiet in my heart. I was able to accept this calling to raise one of His angels very well, and I became honored. Yes, honored.”  https://www.instagram.com/p/Bgl4MEtFYIX/?utm_source=ig_embed

Opening our arms and hearts takes enormous effort.  Each ordeal can last quite a long time.  Here’s a video requesting peace … a peaceful interlude … useful as we  replenish our supplies for battle.  Notice the joy, the spoils of war!!!

DONA NOBIS PACEM (Grant us peace) is a round for three parts from the AGNUS DEI, a prayer from the Roman Catholic Mass liturgy.  The melody has been passed orally.  Our video presents Leif Ahlberg as conductor in a beautiful church in  Norrköping, Sweden. 

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NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

JEN McD. SHIFT MANAGER 7-9

What an incredible group gathered to start the final day of the vigil!  There were over a dozen people to pray and witness despite the early hour and threatening weather.  We have been so blessed this campaign.  Although serious issues–from pandemic to protests to charged political climate–kept our advance signups down and our schedule seemingly empty, the sidewalk rarely was!  

May God bless all of you who were a part of this amazing effort.  To Nikki who does more than any of us will ever know; to Tom and Diane who were there countless times to set up and break down; to Donna and Lisa who kept us all on track; to all the shift managers and buddies who prayed so faithfully; to all the churches, groups, and individuals who kept vigil with us; to the blog team who inspired and informed us each day; to all who prayed with us from a distance…a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU!

Incredible group crowding the early morning sidewalk in prayer and witness!

People of God

KEN B. SHIFT MANAGER 9-11

Damp and rainy for the last day of this campaign with some ugly comments and profanity shouted from a passerby and passing vehicles. Prayers were offered for conversion and healing. 

Many thanks to shift buddy Andy who stood with me every Sunday for this campaign. I am grateful for his faithfulness, insights and prayer leadership. Also thanks to the People of God Community who prayed with us today.

Pictured are Milo, Joann, Pam, shift buddy Andy, Mary, Joe and Jim.

Also pictured is the Rosary procession.  Every Sunday for this campaign, this battle in which we struggle was witnessed to by dozens in procession around Pittsburgh praying the Rosary. Each time they brought prayers to our vigil as they stopped and prayed to petition the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for Her intercession in the battle to save the innocents. 

Milo, Joann, Pam, shift buddy Andy, Mary, Joe and Jim

Pittsburgh Sunday Rosary Procession

RICH AND ROSEANN K. SHIFT MANAGERS 11-1

Thanks to Eileen and Marge for witnessing with us today. Jim who lives in town and comes regularly witnessed also.  We arrived at our shift early and were greeted by Ken and Andy and some beautiful singing by the participants there. The weather was less than great, rainy and windy. At some point a gust of wind blew over the display.  Eventually it got moved into the alcove of the building. Gratefully we had no negative responds. We prayed the Litany to the Saints since it was All Saints Day. We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy.  The sun came out and the next shift arrived.

Marge and Roseann

MARIE P. SHIFT MANAGER 1-3

We are ending our Sunday afternoon time on the sidewalk with a cold and blustery day! No complaints though, we have been blessed with beautiful weather every other Sunday.

The cold, damp and gusty winds didn’t dampen our resolve, or spirits, today. The sidewalk was quiet, even the passersby wanted to escape the cold and wind.

There were five of us always present during the 2 hours – thanks to Margie B., Bob P., Mary M., Rose W. and Bill L. for being faithful to prayer this afternoon.

We prayed constantly, the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, Chaplets of the Divine Mercy and as our time drew to an end, the Litany of the Saints – how appropriate for this Feast of All Saints!

Thanks to all who have led the vigil efforts and all who have participated through prayer, witness and fasting!

Mary, Rose and Bob. Cold, damp and gusty winds did not dampen their spirit!

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And God saw that it was good.

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Day 39: Thanks to our incredible Individual Volunteers and faithful Team Members!

Dear Pro-Lifers:  

I found this small card tucked in a group of donations I was sorting at my local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.  

I feel GOD SENT IT JUST IN TIME FOR ALL OF US!! — – – – 

Friday, I received a video that fit this theme perfectly!  Fr. Dave Pivonko, TOR and President of Franciscan University recently said he knows little about what will happen in this presidential election, or if we will even have a president on November 4.  This IS what he knows:

“I know that God is sovereign and Lord of all no matter who wins the Election.”

And he refers to St. Julian of Norwich:

“For all those who cling to HIM, all shall be well.”

So, as we finish the race in faith, we end our vigil, but NOT our effort.  We will fight on for OUR KING!  

-Jeannie


SIDEWALK REPORTS

7-9 AM +++ Tim and Sidewalk Advocates

We were blessed all morning long with unexpected prayer warriors stopping by. It started with Matt from the South Hills who joined year-round regulars Virginia and Joe for predawn prayers. Saturday regulars Linda and Jim came next and gave us a nice presence on the other side of the arc. Then a group of “Catholic Women” from a variety churches came and sang and prayed.  It was beautiful to see and hear.
The two every Saturday Jericho walkers, Chuck and Carol, passed by frequently bringing smiles and joy to all.
And more kept coming starting with Fran and Rebecca and then Kathy and her sign sharing friend.
It was a blessed morning filled with prayers and hope.

Tim
Predawn prayer warriors
Linda and Jim
Catholic women
Chuck and Carol
Fran and Rebecca
Kathy and friend with great sign

9-11 AM +++ Sue M. and Sue D.

Fran and I had expected to be somewhat alone this morning — boy, were we pleasantly surprised!  A wonderful group of young people from Immaculate Conception / St. Agnes arrived and prayed their Rosaries silently for over an hour.  Kathy L., Kim, Rebecca, Mary Jane, Jim, Maggie, Bridget, Isaac, Bill S., and Bill H. were not outdone in prayer.  Brian faithfully resumed Chuck & Carol’s Jericho prayer walk after they left. 
It was a chilly morning, and PP was busy today.  Kathy was able to have a discussion with a young man exiting PP whose wife was inside for an abortion.  He said they already have a 4-year-old daughter, and he couldn’t talk her out of the abortion.  We watched for him to come back but unfortunately didn’t see him.  Please pray for “D” and his wife and for all souls who entered PP today.  May those who had abortions seek the Lord’s face and His healing, and may none of those who entered today ever return to PP.

Sue M.
Prayer angels Bridget and Isaac flanking Sidewalk Advocate Judy
Wonderful young people from Immaculate Conception / St. Agnes

11 AM-1 PM +++ Dean and Greg

The last Saturday of this campaign was fairly busy for Planned Parenthood. On a positive note, more people than usual were accepting literature about pregnancy support groups. God willing, I will see you folks again this February.

Dean
SAs Judy and Greg along with Isaac from Butler were on hand to pray against abortion today 

1-4 PM +++ Nikki, Kathy, Jim, Jeff, and Billy

It was surprisingly peaceful on the sidewalk from one until four this afternoon! I thought that we would have some negative interactions with Halloween party goers, but there was none! The sky was bright blue and the sun was shining and it was a great time to pray. There were just a few post abortive women leaving, which is always very sad, but the place was closed for business early and we were able to engage in some uplifting and edifying conversation, sprinkled with prayer. A good way to end the final Saturday of our campaign!

Nikki
Shift buddy Mike with Beth and Pastor Dan from North Park Church
Mary with shift manager Cathie and her friend Kimberly

Day 38: Thank you to our amazing Individual Volunteers and devoted Team Members!

I admit, I wasn’t always enthusiastic about praying the Rosary.  But over the last decade or so, it’s become a real source of comfort to me.

One of the biggest reasons: when we pray it, we meditate on so many Mysteries that involve someone trusting God even though they didn’t understand what He was doing.  For example…

The third Joyful Mystery:  The Birth of Jesus

Give birth to the Savior in a barn and lay Him in a feeding trough?  Really?

The first Luminous Mystery:  The Baptism of Jesus

You want me to baptize You?  Are you sure about that?

The second Luminous Mystery:  The Miracle at the Wedding Feast in Cana

Fill the jars with water?  Ummm, you heard that we ran out of wine, right?

God wove the story of our salvation with crazy, intricate stitches that we just couldn’t follow until we saw how they fit into the whole beautiful tapestry.  They weren’t accidental knots in the thread that He had to work around, but deliberate and amazing actions to achieve the final result.  

Meditating on the extraordinary results of putting blind faith in God reassures me that He is truly worthy of all my trust.  Especially in these uncertain times, I need that!


SIDEWALK REPORTS

7-9 AM +++ Barbara, Richard, and Rose

This chilly dark sidewalk felt strangely joyful.
Our beloved Shift Buddy Rose removed the entire page from her prayer book to bring the Mass reading, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 1:1-11. She read it out loud. My heart goes out to Paul for his fortitude in not running away from being beheaded. His beauty strengthens me.
Rose has a quote from that reading that she regularly uses in prayer. “I hold you in my heart.”
In order of their appearance on the sidewalk for witness (7-9) in front of Planned Parenthood – witness in prayer for each and every person who went in those terribly opened doors – Rose, Diane, Tom, Richard, Lisa, Denise, Nikki – we pray in Saint Paul’s words, “I hold you in my heart.”
Our beloved Lisa counted 5 women who probably had scheduled abortions. We prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Peace.

Barbara
Tom, Diane, Richard, Lisa, Nikki, Denise, Rose
Early Morning Sidewalk Design Team
Denise and Lisa, Catholic Daughters of America

9-11 AM +++ Kathy and Mark

Several parishes from the North Hills came to pray today along with Anton from St. Regis Church.  Sidewalk Advocates Katie and myself were present and Bill and Tim stopped by.
I experienced some open hostility today: A woman passerby accepted the yellow card from me only to rip it up and throw the pieces my way.  A young couple approaching PP refused literature and the male partner raised his voice and said, “Where’s the abortion building?”
Those instances plus the cold rainy weather dampened my spirit.  I joined in prayer with those near me for God’s mercy for those hurt by abortion.

Kathy

11 AM-1 PM +++ Sheila and Dee

Georgette, Mary Anne, Mary Anne, and Marlene
Philene, Marilyn, Katie

1-3 PM +++ Jeannie and Elaine

Today was beautiful because of these ladies plus another prayer warrior Mary who joined us during the most UNlovely weather we’ve seen at Planned Parenthood so far. What an absolute joy it has been to spend the weeks of the vigil with shift buddies Elaine & Marilyn.  Today, grad student Sarah from the University of Pittsburgh bio chemistry department joined us. It was only her second time on the sidewalk and she was a real trooper in the inclement weather.
We joined in praying the rosary and the intentions on the back of the baby pictures and we celebrated our new Supreme Court justice. We all vow to continue in this fight for life for as long as God allows us to be here. See you on Sunday!

Jeannie
Elaine, Sara, Marilyn – brrrrrrrrr
Bookstore Sign (yay)
God’s mosaic!!!

3-5 PM +++ Val and Mike

Check back soon!