So, you may be wondering what is up with the picture of the big fish…
All week long, during the daily readings at Mass, we have been following the story of the prophet Jonah…how he tried to run away from God’s command to preach repentance to the wicked Ninevites…and we read today how it all turned out for him.
This past spring, I was blessed to travel to Lancaster with a friend, to see the Sight & Sound musical production, JONAH. You wouldn’t think that a musical production of this story would bring tears…and maybe I am more sensitive than most…but I cried my eyes out during the entire second half of the show! What brought me to tears? It was seeing the people of Ninevah REPENT! I found myself wishing that I would see that same scene FOR REAL right here in Pittsburgh and in our nation! These formerly proud, corrupt, selfish and immoral people were able to SEE their mistakes, when faced with impending disaster! Instead of getting angry at Jonah…they HUMBLED themselves…dropping to their knees and pouring dirt over their heads…begging God to forgive them! What a beautiful sight! Oh, how I wish it would happen here and now!!!
I had a strange memory pop into my head when I woke up this morning. It was a recollection of a certain sin that I ALMOST committed when I was young. I had no idea of right or wrong back then…and it was only God’s grace that kept me from it. It occurred to me how LOST I was then, without God’s light, I was completely in the dark…just being pushed around by whatever wind happened to be blowing at the time. This random memory made me think of the young people of today…how lost many of them are. We need to pray for them…that they will open themselves to God’s truth so that his light can shine into their darkness.
The responsorial psalm today was, “Lord, you are merciful and gracious.” Just as God forgave the people of Ninevah…and just as he forgave me…I believe he will forgive our nation…WHEN we humble ourselves and repent. But before we can repent, we need to SEE the error of our ways. That is what our presence in front of Planned Parenthood is doing. It is showing our neighbors the error of abortion.
From a meditation that I read yesterday by Sr. Wendy Beckett, my prayer is that we will, “Ask God to transform us, holding our helplessness up to him constantly”…and that “We will see, open-eyed, our weakness, and turn with constant TRUST to him…”
Here are the reports from the sidewalk today:
PLEASE NOTE: We need prayer volunteers from 5-7pm tomorrow, so that shift manager Rick doesn’t have to stand alone! Please let me know if you can help!!!
Kathy managed the vigil from 7-9am and writes:
Rain didn’t disrupt Dianne’ s faithful delivery of 40 days materials. Husband Tom accompanied Dianne today. Thank you both.
Also thank you to Peggy, Terri, and Bill H for coming and praying today. During the morning rush, we passed out some “precious feet” pins to some young men on their way to school. Some “hellos” and “good mornings” were given and received.
Time was spent in silent prayer and group prayer-a litany of the Precious Blood and other scripted prayers. Terri helped lead us in singing hymns. S M Cathy arrived to take the next two hours
Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11am and writes:
It was a quiet morning spent with Julie. There were a few clients going in, as well as staff and others (meeting?). We had quite a few pleasant greetings, smiles, and “thank you”s, no negatives. A man stopped to get another “feet” pin and mentioned that his girlfriend had had an abortion, gave him the flyer for men. While praying I looked up at the semi-circle above the door- from the left side it looks white. I imagined the “Pieta” picture there.
Sheila was on-duty from 11-1 and was blessed to pray with the faithful group from St. Raymond in Donegal! Thanks to them for driving such a distance to witness and pray! Sheila writes:
I was joined by four prayerful parishioners from St. Raymond’s, along with Helen and Jeff. Also, a young lady who was passing by prayed with us briefly as we said the rosary. Thankfully, the rain stayed away during this very busy Wednesday afternoon. The PP security guard was very friendly and a police cruiser was parked next to us for a good 15 minutes. We were blessed by numerous passers by who thanked us for being there. One man in particular was grateful for what we do, as his daughter was born at 30 weeks.
Chris reports from the 1-3 pm shift:
Earlier in the week, Nikki posted a request for people to join me on the sidewalk during my second hour, as it looked like I was going to be alone. As you can see from the picture, seven prayer warriors joined me. God bless them! We prayed the Rosary, a Divine Chaplet, and sang hymns. There was little foot traffic in and out of PP, but two things are stuck in my mind from today’s shift- a nurse came outside in her scrubs with her surgical gloves still on… and while we were praying aloud, a man in his 20’s walked by and said, “Hail Satan!”. Rachel immediately responded with, “We’ll pray for you.”. He retorted, “Don’t bother.” Well, we did bother, saying several prayers that God would touch his soul and come into his life.
Barbara reports from the 3-5 shift:
As we arrived for our shift, Chris, 1-3 Shift Manager, greeted us. Father Steven, Pastor of Corpus Christie Parish, McKeesport, was already deep in conversation with a man who had stopped by. Later, he generously led us in the Rosary; Glorious, then Sorrowful Mysteries.
Claire, sister of our recovering beloved Jeannie, had already arrived and planned to stay as we were leaving.
A large Greyhound sized bus was parked in the street in front of us, on the bookstore side of PP, with the motor running for our first hour and a half.
Who would have thought that Liberty Avenue could get even louder!
It was a challenge to keep together as we prayed. We endured.
Life is good.
Richard and Barbara
Joe K. wrote about the 5-7 shift:
Started the shift with my brothers and sisters in life from Corpus Christi along with Claire who carried-over from the 3-5 shift. Jim stopped by (as usual) on his way home from work.
The shift was very calm and positive, though the streets were busy with foot traffic and the Acro Cats (circus cats) Tour Bus parked and continued to run directly in front of us. It made it difficult to pray together / talk, but not impossible. In fact, during the end of the prior shift as Fr. Steve began to lead us in prayer the Tour Bus pulled out and left us to finish in quiet – divine intervention 🙂 ?
It’s also worth noting the synergy between Acro Cats and our movement as they encourage and support fostering, rescue, and adoption as we do, though they do it for felines. I just couldn’t but help thinking of all of the excitement and interest of folks seeing the splashy tour bus and awaiting their show in the nearby theater if some of that could just be shared with our littlest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters???
The fetal models got a bit more looks today and I was able to hand out a few of the “Watch Me Grow” pamphlets to the interested.
The night ended quietly and dry – a beautiful evening vigil – and we had even been spared the rain that we all had been braced for…