Day 23: Thank you to St. Alphonsus and St. Alexis in Wexford, Michael Coleman’s group, and Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church!

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.  Say to them: This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction.  Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.

(Jeremiah 7: 23-28)

 

Do we hear these words as coming from the Lord?  And if so, are our hearts hardened by hearing them, or are they softened in sorrow for the ways in which we have sinned against Him, by NOT HEARING HIM?

3-27-14 #1

Psalm 95 imploringly reminds us:  “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”  May our hearts NOT be hardened as the Israelites’ were….  May we show the Lord Jesus that we are His servants, ready to do whatever He tells us (cf. John 2:5).

3-27-14 #3

 

Let us see what our shift managers have to share with us today.

Marie’s report:

I’m always amazed by the activity and images of the city streets. Today was no exception.

While standing at the vigil early this morning and looking across the street toward the DMV offices I noticed a line of yellow caution tape and orange cones on the sidewalk in front of the building.  I then saw a man in a yellow safety vest leading a young woman with a guide dog down the sidewalk. He was helping her to “see” her way through the caution tape and orange safety cones.

It struck me as I watched him carefully guide her to the corner so that she could continue on her way that perhaps our purpose on the sidewalk across the street from this scene is to help people we encounter to “see” that that abortion is not the answer but that life is what guides us and gives us our purpose.

 There were many prayer warriors at the vigil this morning. Thanks to the faithful from my parish of St. Alphonsus in Wexford who held vigil from 7:00-11:00 a.m.

Harry G. from St. Alphonsus and Brian H. from St. John Fisher joined me for the first hour. It was a great way to start my shift with these two Christian men joining me in prayer!

Brian H., Harry G., Norma H., Tom H.
Brian H., Harry G., Norma H., Tom H.

Several others from St. Alphonsus joined in prayer throughout the morning, Tom and Norma H., Donna P., Barb W., Elizabeth W-Y. (Barb’s daughter from Chicago!), Emilie B., Michele M., Beth P. and Bob P.

Prayer warriors from Edgewood Baptist and Saint Alphonsus
Prayer warriors from Edgewood Baptist and Saint Alphonsus

 A new church group arrived near the end of my shift — thanks to the prayer warriors from Edgewood Baptist Church in Beaver Falls. This was their first time at the vigil and it was invigorating to experience their enthusiasm at their first time at the vigil. Thanks to Pastor John H. and Pastor Mike C. for bringing their faithful members to the vigil!

 Pastor John H. (far right) and prayer warriors from Edgewood Baptist.
Pastor John H. (far right) and prayer warriors from Edgewood Baptist.

 My parting prayer was that this would be the last Thursday morning shift with temperatures in the teens!

 Marie

 

Marilyn’s report:

I was thrilled at how many folks came down to pray during my shift this afternoon. What a blessing to be able to meet so many wonderful faith-filled folks.  The comment that I will always remember from today was from a grandmother who was walking with her approximately five year old granddaughter clad in pink with a backpack.  She paused to tell us while pointing down at the girl “Here is our miracle – they wanted to get rid of her.”  When you actually meet a child who at one point was unwanted, it really makes you pause to think what could have been if all those other mothers chose life.
3-27-14 marilyn
 
We must never tire from being on the pavement in front of PP.  We never will know all the good that our witness and prayers are doing for others.
God bless you,
Marilyn

Lisa’s report:

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the 13th century hymn, “At the Cross Her Station Keeping.”  It is a hymn describing the sorrow-and yet the strength- of the Mother of Jesus as she stood beneath the cross (cf. John 19:25).  This hymn is often sung during Lent, particularly during the devotion known as the Stations of the Cross, when we meditate on fourteen different moments of Our Lord on the way to Calvary and into the tomb.

A few of the hymn’s verses go as follows:

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

3-27-14 #9

I bring up this hymn because today at the vigil, there was a different sense of somberness than I have experienced there in a long time.  I was glad for it.  As Nikki mentioned in yesterday’s blog, sometimes we can forget why we are doing this, or feel that perhaps our passion is gone.  But this afternoon, a woman came to the vigil named Mary Ann, who changed that for me.  Mary Ann doesn’t even know this, but her demeanor had a profound effect on me… and, I believe, on others who came to pray as well.

She was very peaceful and prayerful, but at the same time, very serious.  It seemed to be just the tone needed.  The group of us prayed together here and there, but it really seemed like at certain points it was better to leave well enough alone.  It was good and prayerful to just stand there in silence.

Interestingly, as we prayed a rosary at one point, I began to meditate on Christ’s passion as connected with the horrors of abortion.  That He suffered and died, feeling the scourges and pain caused by abortion…  feeling the pain and anguish of the women and men who have destroyed their children…  All of these evils were experienced by Him, so they could be nailed to the cross- and ultimately so they could be overcome and forgiven.

3-27-14 #10

Finally, on the way home, as I was listening to WAOB radio (106.7 FM), I heard the hymn I mentioned above.  It was then that I realized…. Ah!  That’s what we were doing…. standing beneath the cross.  In silence.

All in all, quite a powerful experience.  I am thankful to Mary Ann and all the others who prayed so beautifully, with their silent yet strong witness.

 

Tony and John, regular pro life witnesses
Tony and John, regular pro life witnesses

 

Dee’s report:

Shift 3, from 3 to 5, was slow and peaceful.

Eileen, from Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and 
I were the only ones at the vigil until 4:45 when Joan
and Nancy showed up.
Eileen from Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Eileen from Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church

 

day 23, third shift

Planned Parenthood has a new large sign in their
window: “1 in 2 having sex are under age 25; they  have
an STD and do not know it. Come and get tested” — not the
exact words. 
The new display of fetal models is really an
eye catcher. We had two little girls who went to the models
and had to touch them. Their mother shooed them away. We just
smiled.  
All in all, it was a good prayer time.
Dee

 

 

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