It’s good to step back periodically and take in the big picture. Think for a minute about how truly amazing it is that we have Christians from so many different denominations from the Greater Pittsburgh region (and sometimes far beyond) coming together day after day to do what we’re doing in front of 933 Liberty Avenue. But now, step back even further. Consider that this same kind of unification is happening in 252 other communities around the globe right now.
I hadn’t gone on to the national 40 Days website for this campaign until today. [And, given that we’re international, calling it the “national” website isn’t quite accurate anymore, is it?] But it’s good for all of us to do from time to time because we’re connected with those 252 communities. And their connected to us. When we’re out there in front of PP the next time (or even at home) maybe we should offer some prayers for all of those other people out in the streets in their own communities, fighting the same good fight that we are, but on different soil.
And the stories on the national website are just amazing. But first, take a look at the picture below.
That’s Anchorage, Alaska. And yes, that’s waist-deep snow. Here’s what Jerad from Anchorage posted:
Two volunteers were praying at the vigil outside Planned Parenthood when a woman drove up and stopped. She told one of the men, “I need you to know something.” Needless to say, he stopped to listen very closely. “I was going to have an abortion,” she said, “but I saw your signs. Now … I’m having twins!” She was just coming from an ultrasound appointment, and wanted to say thanks to the volunteers, whose peaceful prayer presence led her to her rethink what she was about to do.
Robert Colquhoun, international outreach director for 40 Days for Life (bet you didn’t know we had one of those), just visited Moscow to encourage the volunteers there. Here’s Robert’s report from the capital of Russia.
The Moscow vigil has been beset by challenges. For one thing, public prayer is something totally inconceivable in Russia. In addition to that, the police have not granted permission for the vigil this year, apart from having a small number of people for a very restricted period. The police stopped some of the prayer volunteers on the first day because of this. However, they are still praying around the corner and keeping the vigil going. Last year, they conducted the vigil more anonymously; but this year, they wanted to have signs. Freedom of expression is not something that is deeply enshrined in Russia. But Arevik hopes this will change over time. In short, the Russian volunteers are doing great in adverse situations – and hats off to them!
Alright now. Time for the stories from the Steel City.
Al’s Saturday bus always gets him to town a little late. He usually finds people already there, waiting to sign in. This morning, S.M. Bill H. showed up before 7 a.m. and had 8 people signed up on one of his sheets before Al arrived. Bill is really an asset to all of us.
Weather was cold, but not unbearable, with some sun early on, and then light, scattered showers. Unfortunately PP was very busy. They must have taken in about a dozen couples, and a few single girls during the morning. I saw one couple leave early, but do not know why. There were at least 8 escorts, and they did not leave until 10:30.
Holy Family Church in Steubenville had a remarkable turnout, considering the distance. About 20 people drove for about an hour, including one family with 5 older children. They left the 5 youngest at home. Three ladies from St. Patrick in Canonsburg brought prayer sheets and led the pro-life prayers after passing out sheets to others.
Many of the usual Saturday pray-ers were with us from local churches. I notice many people, who are not year-around regulars, are showing-up very frequently during the 40 Days. Hopefully they will continue to come to PP to pray after Easter and into the summer.
Pastor Adam managed the vigil from 11-1:30 and wrote:
There were a lot of people going into PP today and several people coming out. We actually had several people take some cards and other literature, but there were very few people who stopped to actually speak with us.
Fr. Ed brought a group from St. Joseph including Alicia M., Bob S. and Tim M. Paul D. was present as well and was very insightful. It was a pleasure to work with Lauren, as well, who has such a heart for the mission!
The new fetal models are absolutely gorgeous and such a blessing! I like how the have the two different dates on them, as well. We were also able to arrange some child care, so my wonderful wife could join us this Saturday! We had good weather and the rain kept off of us.
Also of note: we were able to spend some time speaking with Scott, the owner of the Ultra Lounge, who said that he would like to sell the bar in a couple of years. He claimed that it was worth 1.2 million, but he would take 1 million. Let’s hope and pray that someplace that is sympathetic to the pro-Life movement moves in (maybe even a pregnancy center!). Thank you to everyone who prayed with us today, including a man whom I had met last week named Bob. He said that he stops down whenever he’s downtown and lifts up a silent prayer for the unborn. He was back again today and said that he will keep praying, even after 40 Days is over. I told him that there will still be people praying and there will still be people getting abortions, so his prayers are always welcome!
And here’s the report from Liz:
As I write this after having finished my portion of our vigil at 4pm, there are still others of our group standing in front of PP in the pouring rain, praying. As I drove by, I saw them huddled in a small group, with their signs flipped to their backs, heads bowed deep in prayer. My heart swelled with pride and joy at the powerful witness this is to all. I can’t help but think that our Lord must be looking down and smiling at his little group of faithful servants.
When I arrived to relieve Pastor Adam (and his lovely wife Jena) at 1 pm; PP was flanked on both sides of its doors by a very prayerful group from St Joseph’s Church in Verona. Led by Fr. Ed Wichman, they had just finished praying all Four Mysteries of the Rosary, (20 decades). One solid hour of non-stop prayer!
At 4 pm, we were joined by members of St Ferdinand Church in Cranberry.
All five members came equipped for the rain and more importantly for prayer (they brought their own prayer binders) and immediately commenced with The Holy Rosary, followed by several Pro-Life Prayers. When I left, they were still praying with….
…this hooded figure!!!!
All in all, the day was not too bad for several reasons; not much activity at Planned Parenthood, many people had encouraging comments as they walked or drove by and most of all because of the faithful people I was blessed to ‘share the sidewalk’ with today.
till next week,
Nikki stood in for Jeannie, who is sick (please pray that the flu doesn’t keep her down for long), and wrote:
What an honor to share the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood with the faithful group of prayer warriors from St. Ferdinand. If I have to stand in the pouring rain for three hours…these are the people I want to stand with! They were wonderful! We prayed most of the time. The rain, like the prayer…was constant. We were soaked…with water and with the Holy Spirit.
As terrible as abortion is…it is uplifting to see the sacrifice of such wonderful brothers and sisters!
May God bless you!