By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.
So what is the fruit of 40 Days for Life? And is it good fruit?
Well, since God planted the 40 Days for Life tree back in 2004 in College Station, Texas, it certainly has grown. Campaigns have been held in 675 cities in 40 countries, with over 700,000 people taking part. And where these campaigns have been held the fruit has been 12,914 lives saved (that we know of), 143 abortion workers quitting their jobs, and 83 abortion centers closing their doors for good. So yeah, I’d say that’s some pretty good fruit – and I thank God for calling me to be a part of it.
However, this week found me meditating on a different kind of fruit that 40 Days has produced. Because it’s something above and beyond our obvious mission, I’ve come to call it “bonus fruit.”
On Tuesday I had the opportunity to once again reconnect with a friend and college classmate. Each campaign Laurey’s group makes the three-hour drive from Elk County, stands vigil and prays for three or four hours, and then makes the long journey back to “God’s Country.” And each time they do, she and I get together for a short hour’s break for a coffee at Bruegger’s. In fact, when the schedule of churches gets posted, the first thing I do is to find out what day they’ll be coming down so I can reserve it on my calendar. I try not to let anything interfere because I really look forward to our talks which center on our respective families and our shared Catholic faith. Every once in a while I’ll mention to her that the only thing that would make it any better would be if she could manage to bring with her another friend and classmate from our days at St. Vincent – her husband Brad. Would we have ever reconnected as we have without 40 Days for Life? Maybe, but not likely. Bonus fruit.
This experience started me thinking. Why is it that there’s a part of me that actually looks forward to the start of another 40 Days for Life campaign? An experience which will have me standing on a city sidewalk in all sorts of weather and have some very respectable looking people hurl insults at me. An effort which will have me tied to a computer every Saturday as I struggle to put together yet another stinking blog post! (Offer it up, Pat. Just offer it up.) For crying out loud, I even enjoy our team meetings.
I look forward to the next campaign because it’s a reunion of old friends. By the grace of God, 40 Days for Life has given me the chance to get to know some of the very best people on the planet and I consider it a joy just being in their company. I’ve been able to grow from their example, benefit from their prayers, and have had the chance to offer my prayers for them as well. Some tree, huh?
Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.
TODAY THE VIGIL WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT. BECAUSE OF A POLITICAL EVENT OCCURRING ONLY A BLOCK AWAY – AND THE ANTICIPATED COUNTER-PROTEST OF THAT EVENT – WE DECIDED TO LEAVE THE SIGNS THAT DIANE BRINGS EVERY DAY AT HOME AND HAVE A LOW-KEY, LOW-VISIBILITY DAY WHILE THAT EVENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL.
Sue, Tom, and Rosemary
It was a prayerful, peaceful, and blessed early morning at the vigil and so much warmer than past Saturdays (Thank you God). Dan and Pat from St. Maria Goretti shared in prayers with the year round Saturday morning regulars of Virginia, David, Jim, Joe, Mark, and Bill H. The weather was so good that Randy biked down to join in prayers. Patty, who is with FOCUS in Denver and who was visiting her daughter at Duquesne, lead us in the 7 Sorrows of Mary prayers. It was wonderful. A beautiful and prayerful family from Saints John & Paul made a powerful witness as they stood in a circle in prayer. While the PP escorts were present on both sides and across the street, the clinic did not have many going in, hopefully due to our presence, witness, and God’s grace. Peace to all those who come after me today.
Tim B., 7-9
The 11- 1 shift was attended today by Leslie who came from Providence PCA in Coraopolis. Leslie and her family fund-raise for Choice Pregnancy Center. Jim, from Holy Trinity Knights of Columbus, also came to pray. George, a strong advocate and “walk the talk” adoptive parent prayed from his prayer book. Nadine came to pray from Word of God parish in Swissvale – Madonna de Costello church. Katie and Judy worked as Sidewalk Advocates today.
Saturday is an abortion day so activity in and out of the doors was busy. People willing to take information did- and of course there are always those who do not take information. Stacey from St. John XXIII parish also stood with us during part of the 11-1 shift, arriving during the 9 – 11 am shift.
Thank you for your witness today.
Please keep informed of our vigil through the blog posts and emails.
Family takes care of family!
Wow, God is providing the most fantastic weather this weekend! When I arrived, Tim was finishing out his shift. We had lovely Marsha, her husband, and 3 children + Nephew! from Saints John and Paul. I joined them in praying the rosary and divine mercy chaplet. Dan and another lovely lady from St. Maria Goretti represented their parish.
There was a steady stream of clients entering PP. Please pray in particular for a woman who had an abortion today, but did accept information…that she will seek the help that she will need. Ken from Kittaning and Stacey also came and spent time in prayer. I believe this holocaust will only end by prayer, so I thank God for these 40 days of opportunity to bring it to the sidewalk!
I don’t have much to report today as I was advised to not attend today’s vigil by our dear Nikki. I was on my way into town and drove past the protest on Liberty Ave. I saw at least 4 police vehicles and overall it looked pretty intense. Thank you Nikki and Marian for looking out for me. By the way, discretion is the better part of valor.
Despite the chaos in the afternoon on Saturday, Jeff B. came out and served as shift manager from 3-7. Thank you Jeff and those who joined you. Here are his pictures.
AND HERE’S A PICTURE FROM EARLIER IN THE WEEK: