“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS….”
Celebrating a rare NO ABORTION SATURDAY at PP in Pittsburgh!!!
I never appreciate Christianity as much as I do at this time of year when we enter into this most holy week — what an incredible blessing it is to journey with Him, and to remember and reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ.
I was blessed to be in Milan last Lent, and to see firsthand DaVinci’s larger than life Last Supper. I wanted to share a few images with you as we journey together during this holy time!
On the opposite end of the Dining Hall where the Last Supper is painted is another, not quite so famous painting which would foretell what was to become of this itinerant preacher. I was taken by the busy-ness of the crucifixion scene, and while it was embellished by the artist, the reality is that crucifixion was a public spectacle– the crosses lined major travelways and the Romans used the slow, painful torture of crucifixion as a deterrent for Jews who might challenge or disturb the Roman order in Jerusalem. I can imagine all who would turn away from these sites– mothers shielding children, sensitive folks pulling their robes over their heads, friends of the crucified unable to bear the suffering… The Romans wanted Jews to watch these crucifixions, but just like like today, human torture tears at our hearts, and we turn away in pain.
It reminds me of what we do on the sidewalk each day- Even though we do not visibly show the horrific human torture of abortion, we are witnesses: visible signs of the uncomfortable truth that lives are lost in abortion, and —-some passerbys automatically turn away.
I always find it challenging to redirect someone who wrongly believes our fetal models are gorey or grotesque… This happens with adults and young people alike! It seems that the only ones who can immediately appreciate the models are toddlers and young children. They immediately say “baby” !!
The reality is that any representation of human flesh — even the beautiful models of unborn children, touches our senses in a deep way. When we draw attention to the living, vulnerable bodies of our brothers and sisters,a human reaction is inevitable– and so many people become strangely anxious.
As we witness to the love and hope offered by the One whose suffering we will claim as our salvation this week, He is truly with us.
This is one of my very favorite pictures from Milan– To me, it represents our world so well… This was a busy, noisy, confusing intersection in the old part of the city. I stood and watched countless pedestrians, busses, scooters, drivers for a few minutes, amazed at all the life and noise and activities in the street.
AND THEN, I saw HIM. There was Jesus on the cross, painted onto the left side of the second traffic arch! He had been there all the time! What a comfort it was to be reminded that Jesus is with us, that He died for us, loves us, and invites us to perfect joy with Him. He remains at the center; the sure promise of our eternal destiny; the hope for us all.
This is an enlargement of the picture above- Remember, amid your crazy, busy, noisy lives, He is with you ALWAYS! Blessed Holy Week and Joyous Easter to all!
Shift Reports from TODAY on the Sidewalk with Holy Wisdom and John XXIII Prayer Warriors:
NO DEATHSCORTS = NO ABORTIONS TODAY! Praise be to GOD!
7-9 Shift Report from Sue
The very-welcome sunshine was beaming down between the buildings when Kathy L. (Sidewalk Advocate) and I arrived. There were no escorts this morning, a sight which always makes my heart leap, as usually this is a Saturday indicator of it being a non-abortion day. The lower-than-usual number of people going into PP seemed to confirm that theory. We were greeted by a large group of pray-ers from many different churches, including St. Joseph Cathedral, St. Michael Cathedral in Wheeling, St. Mary in St. Clairsville, OH, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. Ferdinand. Barbara, shift manager and blog writer, was there for the whole day and glowing & smiling just like it was a summer day. She reached out to a young passerby who stayed and prayed with us for awhile.
During the second half of the shift, many young people began to enter PP for what we learned was a training session. For what, I don’t know. We had some positive responses from passersby and some negative ones. One man quickly walked by and said to us, “Get a life,” a comment which I always find ironic. A 55-year-old woman came by and told me a sad story of her mother forcing her to have an abortion at age 17. She said she knows she is forgiven after asking God, but the horror and sadness of the experience has stuck with her. We saw a few people with signs headed for the “March for Our Lives” event in Market Square. Again, that LIFE theme …. Bill stopped by a couple of times. All in all, it was a peaceful — yet cold! — morning on the sidewalk.
9-11 Shift Report from Tim:
What a brisk and blessed morning it was. I was blessed to have Barbara and Richard join me from the beginning. They plan to pray and witness for the entire day at the vigil. Several young men stopped to look at the fetal models and engage in conversation. One of them, Michael, joined in prayer and stayed for my entire shift. Sister Jolenta joined us and shared that she has been to Mass before arriving and offered it for all of us. I was blessed too, with several groups of women coming to pray and many of the regular year round prayer warriors including Bill S. who was celebrating his birthday.
The best blessing of all was there were no pp escorts which we hope means they were not performing abortions and many babies were spared today.
11-1 Shift Report from Dean
I was thankful to have the inspirational company of Barbara on the sidewalk today. Thank you for giving so much of your time.
Many people were leaving P.P today without accepting information about the pregnancy support groups.
I continue to pray for people to change their hearts and minds on this issue. At least we stood in witness to life and we really never know the seeds that are planted by our presence and prayer.
1-3 Shift Report from Billy
Hi everyone today’s vigil was awesome. Today the March for Our Lives gun protest was going on & many people commented. One said we should ‘get behind a real protest’. lol
Around 1:30 a young girl by the name of Jessica stopped by. She is a young mother who opposes abortion and is currently fighting for of her custody daughter. She poured her heart out to Barbara and to me.
While this was going, on a woman named Rose came to join to pray. Jessica stayed my whole shift— She was so soft spoken please pray for her! Also a man came and asked for money and I left for a second to buy him food and when I came back a lady named Mimi came to pray.
Mimi, like Bill H. is an AMAZING everyday 40 Days for Life prayer warrior and we are blest to have her 3-5pmjoin us each day!
Before I left Jessica got information from Kathy to join us for 40 days again.It was an eventful day for sure! Thanks again to all the volunteers who joined me today!
Your brother in Christ Billy
3-5 Shift Report from Kathy
Prayer outside planned parenthood was in process when I arrived. Mimi was in charge! Barbara smiled. Rose and Barbara listened. Beautiful picture! Throughout shift, members of Barbara’s church came and prayed.
Tim, a student at Byzantine seminary, prayed and shed sunshine on Liberty Ave .
Honored to be on sidewalk with precious people. Cant forget Jim, sidewalk advocate,, spent time passing out info to many people, his presence was greatly appreciated.
MORE TO COME… stay tuned!