Day 40: St. Maria Goretti, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. John (Delmont), Aquinas Academy, & St. Mary (Export)

“There really are no words …..”

These are the words of Tim B. at tonight’s closing celebration at Catholic Charities downtown, when he spoke of our wonderful 40 Days leader, describing Nikki and her dedicated, comprehensive, committed, warm, and loving leadership of 40 Days for Life.  After leading two vigils per year at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood since 2010, she is passing the baton for vigil leadership (although she emphasizes she will definitely continue as a shift manager and blog writer).

Nonpareil Nikki
Nonpareil Nikki

Since I started as a shift manager with 40 Days “almost” that long ago, I have been consistently blessed by and impressed with Nikki’s attention to detail and personal touch.  Every single time I have ever had an issue or a question – and this has been often — Nikki has addressed it immediately, thoroughly, and very personally, whether by text, e-mail, phone, or even in person.  One time a few years ago it was horribly cold during my shift – Nikki knew I was on a long shift and she came downtown, unannounced, and said, “Sue, it’s too cold; you go home and I’ll stand for you for the rest of your shift.”  Just this past fall I was having issues with the technicalities of my blog writing.  Nikki met with me personally over at Brueggers after her shift and we hacked it out together on my laptop.  The longest it ever took for me to receive a return call from Nikki about an issue with my shift was about a half hour – and it was because she was at Mass when I called!  Now consider that we have at least three dozen shift managers serving for 40 Days!  Yes — she treats us ALL like this!!!  And I’m sure every shift manager has similar stories.

Am I not correct when I say this kind of thing just doesn’t happen in today’s world?!  I’ve worked in lots of organizations, both professional and volunteer, and I know at least that I’ve never seen it.  Until I started with 40 Days.  Nikki B. is a truly and thoroughly outstanding Christian woman and leader, and I just wanted to shout this from the rooftops of the blogosphere and make sure all our readers realize this!  We all THANK YOU, Nikki, for every single tiny, little, medium-sized, big, and gigantic thing you have done to bring 40 Days to life and help it to grow through these past years.  May God bless Nikki and Joe and their family a hundred-thousandfold for their service to Life!!!!

Before I get to the stories and photos from today’s vigil as well as the closing rally …….. please consider coming downtown to pray this Friday (Good Friday) at 10:00 a.m., when People Concerned for the Unborn Child will host Stations of the Cross in front of Planned Parenthood.

Jen covered the early-morning 7:00-9:00 a.m. shift.  She shares:

I know we’ve entered Holy Week in preparation for Easter, but there is so much to be grateful for that today feels a little like Thanksgiving.  Thanks to Diane and Tom for being the first smiling faces at the vigil each morning and for making the job of shift manager much easier by providing everything we could possibly need on the sidewalk.  Thanks to Vince and Dan for their warm fellowship on the last cold morning of our so-called “spring” vigil.

Dan from St. Maria Goretti in Bloomfield stood for four hours, representing his parish! Thanks for your dedication to Life Dan! Pictured with Vince, from St. Sebastian
Dan from St. Maria Goretti in Bloomfield stood for four hours, representing his parish! Thanks for your dedication to Life Dan! Pictured with Vince, from St. Sebastian
Pat from St. Bernadette in Monroeville joins in for the 9-11am shift
Pat from St. Bernadette in Monroeville joins in for the 9-11am shift

Thanks to shift manager Sue and faithful pray-er Pat for arriving right on time to keep the vigil rolling through the next shift.  And THANKS to all the members of our 40 Days for Life family for your incredibly loving, generous, selfless witness that brought the light of Christ to a terribly dark place and helped to keep us all going through forty long days of this important campaign.  May God bless you all!

I (Sue M.) served for 9:00-11:00 a.m.  The shift was very quiet and peaceful.  And SNOWY!  (Mother Nature had a sense of humor on this First Day of Spring!)  Although we were cold, we could tell spring was succeeding in breaking through due to the fact that the snow wasn’t laying and our toes weren’t cold — the ground must be warming up!  Pat, Dan, and I prayed the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, and we enjoyed some lively conversation about Life issues.  A gentleman stopped to thank us for doing what we were doing.  At one point while we were praying, a lady passed by and commented, “It’s Palm Sunday — you folks should be in church!”  We considered how odd it was that someone would think we would skip church to pray at Planned Parenthood.  Or maybe her church doesn’t offer many service or Mass times ……….. Anyway, before I realized it, Rich and Roseann had arrived for their 11-1 shift.

Roseann shared:

We had a very good presence on the sidewalk today and a lot of prayer warriors.  Fr. Gruber led us in prayer.  It was nice to have a priest present with us.  Margie donated a new pen for the clipboard.  Thanks to all who came today.

Roseann

Elly, Ron, and Margie
Elly, Ron, and Margie

 

Fr. Gruber, Mimi, Joanne, and Rosemary
Fr. Gruber, Mimi, Joanne, and Rosemary

 

Patrick, Marcia, Mary, Lance, Mark, Theresa, and Danny
Patrick, Marcia, Mary, Lance, Mark, Theresa, and Danny

Trish shared these photos from the 1:00-3:00 p.m. shift:

Karen S. from Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Lyndora, PA) with the "R" family from St. Bernard
Karen S. from Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Lyndora, PA) with the “R” family from St. Bernard

 

Peggy O. and Meg M. from St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Peggy O. and Meg M. from St. Elizabeth of Hungary

 

Faithful prayer warriors!
Faithful prayer warriors!

 

"B" and "F" families from Aquinas Academy
“B” and “F” families from Aquinas Academy

 

Aquinas Academy group photo
Aquinas Academy group photo

 

Photos and stories from the 3:00-5:00 p.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m. will be added here when they come in.

 

Finally, we gathered at 6:30 outside Planned Parenthood to commence our closing vigil for the 2016 Lenten 40 Days for Life campaign for prayer and song:

photo

photo (1)

photo (2)

photo (3)

…….. and then made our way back over to Catholic Charities to gather for a potluck meal and some informative and inspirational speakers:

photo (4)

Meredith P. began the program by inviting everyone to participate with her in another upcoming pro-life prayer vigil to begin soon.  If you are interested, please contact Nikki.

Meredith describes the upcoming "Magee Project"
Meredith describes the upcoming prayer vigil

Katie announced plans for her upcoming diaper drive outside Planned Parenthood to be held on May 7, from 7:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. to benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills.  Please stop down, enjoy coffee and donuts, and bring diapers (all sizes), wipes, Similac formula, new or gently used baby clothes in sizes up to 24 months and other new or gently used baby items such as bibs, bassinets, cribs, crib sheets, blankets, monitors, high chairs, etc., and/or cash gifts.

Katie invites all to contribute to her diaper drive on May 7 at PP
Katie invites all to contribute to her diaper drive on May 7 at PP

Kathy L., leader of the Pittsburgh “chapter” of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, explained a prayer partnership project and invited all to join.  Sue M. invited all to attend a Sidewalk Advocates training session on Saturday, April 23 from 9:00 a.m. through 1:45 p.m. at St. Sebastian Parish in Ross Township.

Kathy L. and Sue M. from Sidewalk Advocates for Life invite all to participate in prayer and/or training
Kathy L. and Sue M. from Sidewalk Advocates for Life invite all to participate in prayer and/or training

Finally, Jenifer gave a very moving testimony about her acceptance of Jesus and conversion to Christianity after having been involved in anarchist and Buddhist groups for years and espousing a militantly pro-choice worldview.  She explained how she met Nikki after apologizing to her for her participation in a black-hooded group pro-abortion protest at Nikki’s home after the opening rally of Nikki’s first 40 Days campaign back in 2010.

Jenifer giving her testimony
Jenifer giving her testimony

 

Meredith praying with Jenifer
Meredith praying with Jenifer

 

And thus it ends!  But it will never really end until abortion ends in this city, in this state, and in this nation.  In this WORLD, indeed.  Keep fighting the good fight.  Keep praying, witnessing, educating, and speaking out.  We believe, trust, and know that our awesome God will do the rest.

A very HAPPY and BLESSED EASTER to all of you!  Jesus — The Way, The Truth, and the LIFE — Is Risen Indeed!!!

For Life,

Sue M.

7 thoughts on “Day 40: St. Maria Goretti, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. John (Delmont), Aquinas Academy, & St. Mary (Export)

  • March 21, 2016 at 3:44 am
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    Sue, what a BEAUTIFUL message about Nikki- so heartfelt and so accurate!!! Nikki is indeed all of those things, and is wonderful in so many ways.

    Thank you, Nikki, and thanks be to God for you!!

    Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 7:59 am
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    Thanks for mentioning the Good Friday vigil at Planned Parenthood. Women’s Health Services which is the abortion side of PPWP, opened on Good Friday in 1973.
    Also, there is an event to support The Little Sisters of the Poor this Wednesday. See Pittsburgh Day of Service for the Little Sisters of the Poor on Facebook for details and to RSVP.

    Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm
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    Sue,

    There was simply no better way to sum it all up. Thank you for expressing the feelings so many of us have about Nikki so perfectly.

    Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm
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    Endless THANKS and Blessings to Nikki and Joe for their courageous and untiring leadership these past years. And for ALL who are a Life-giving presence during the 40 days as well as year round.
    Peace,
    Rose Stegman

    Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 7:12 pm
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    Dear Nikki,
    You are anointed by God to inspire many people about the cherished value of life. I remember the first time we talked and as I heard you speak you conveyed to me that your heart was truly hurting for the babies who were being aborted. You had such a strong desire to do all that you could to spread the message of love. I had been a pro-lifer a long time but after our talk I began to pray and ask God how I could get more involved in helping to change hearts. Against many odds, many hearts are changing in Phil’s little burgh. I thank you, my friend for your inspiration. Maria

    Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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    I want to thank you Nikki for your love and commitment to LIFE all these years. May God Bless You abundantly! Thank you to Sue M. and all the pro-life people that witnessed to LIFE during these past 40 Days for Life.

    Reply
  • March 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm
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    Thank you everyone for your frienship and for your kind words to and about me. I am surely not deserving of them but I am grateful! I have received much more than I have given, but isn’t that the way it always is? I felt so alone in my grief when God first broke my heart over abortion, and now I have so many wonderful brothers and sisters working alongside of me. Thank you and may God bless you all!

    Reply

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