Some of us Christians are celebrating today (April 11) the optional memorial of St. Stanislaus the Martyr —not Stanislaus Kostka, for whom the church in the Strip District is named. This particular Stanislaus was an 11th century bishop from Poland who was martyred. I found his story to be an interesting parallel of our own, as we fight for what is right and holy on the sidewalk during our 40 Days for Life vigils.
St. Stanislaus was noted for his preaching, and many sought after him as a spiritual advisor. He was eventually named bishop of Krakow. The Polish king at the time, King Boleslaus, was called out by St. Stanislaus because of the king’s cruelties and injustices, and especially his involvement in a kidnapping. Stanislaus excommunicated the king because of these atrocities. And, in turn, the king himself killed Stanislaus while the bishop was saying Mass in a chapel outside the city on April 11, 1079.
The parallel that I see is that like Stanislaus, we, too, do spiritual “advising” on the sidewalk, we, too, “call out” Planned Parenthood because of their cruelties and injustices, and…… well, HOPEFULLY none of us will ever get killed because of our attempts to change our culture, or give help to the men and women in need on the sidewalk. And yet– any time we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, it IS a kind of small, or “white” martyrdom (as opposed to a “red” martyrdom, which involves the shedding of blood).
Jesus tells us in the Gospel for today’s optional memorial, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the Evil One.” (John 17:15) Interesting, isn’t it? Jesus doesn’t tell us that we should be leaving Earth, because we shouldn’t be around all the bad things happening. No, just the opposite. He prays that we would NOT be taken out of the world… but He ALSO prays that we would be kept safe from the evil one.
We are MEANT to be a force for good, aligning ourselves with our God, and striving always to bring Christ to our broken world…. even in the midst of our OWN brokenness. Let us not be afraid– ever– to stand up for what is right. To stand up for Jesus Christ. To stand up for LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
Peggy and I were joined by Vicki from Bridge City Church, and then Katie came with lots of resources to offer to abortion-bound couples. It was a quiet morning, not much traffic going into Planned Parenthood. I only saw one abortion-bound couple, but quite a few single women. We received some positive comments, maybe one negative. A large group of prayer warriors arrived for the 9 to 11 shift. Shift manager Judy showed up with a broken foot! How is that for dedication! Meredith and Chuck were also there to represent Lincoln Place Nazarene Church, along with Karen and her friend from Christ Church in Penn Hills, and some others. I left the sidewalk for my last shift in many good hands. I pray that we will touch hearts and save a life today!
As you know from Nikki’s report above, Judy came with a broken foot…. so she gets the “hero of the day” award!! Thank you, Judy!! And thank you to Pastor Joe, Chuck, and Meredith!!
And now, for Judy’s actual report. 🙂
It was a beautiful sunny morning on Liberty Avenue. When we arrived, Katie was already on the scene handing out materials. Lincoln Place Naz: Pastor Joe, Judy, Meredith, Chuck. Jeannie was also there. From Christ Church Ministries: Deb, Karen. We were later joined by Mary Sue from St. Mary of the Assumption, Libby from St. Sebastian, and Alan from Butler.
We were able to hand out materials to a number of people. We were able to intercept one young lady going in for an abortion. She listened to us for quite some time and allowed us to pray for her. She was very open to listening and we pleaded with her to not kill her baby. She already has a 5 month old and she said she could not raise another baby. We offered her so much help…she stood there and listened to us for a long time, but she chose to go in anyway. We continued to pray that she would change her mind before it was too late.
Lisa K. (11am-1pm):
My shift was kind of chaotic (at least from my perspective). I am SO, so thankful for the beautiful Byzantine clergy who were there. Not only is it wonderful to have priests and deacons praying with us, but they were also more than capable of keeping things sane and prayerful on their side of the circle. Thank you!!
I was on the other side of the circle, where things got intense and sad. Wonderful volunteer Alan and I talked to a man for quite a while, and tried to help him to make the decision for life for his unborn child. It didn’t happen. The baby was aborted. That experience saddened me, mostly because it DIDN’T have to end the way it did. Such an absolute tragedy.
A very angry woman came yelling at us out of nowhere… and then when one of our volunteers tried to calmly talk to her, she yelled back, “Don’t talk to me!!” Interesting, considering that SHE started the “talking” to begin with. Sad.
I am also thankful for the beautiful S. family who joined us today. They were bright points of sunshine on that sidewalk! God bless you all!
Thanks also to Daria and Bill, who came all the way from Oil City and joined us for the first time! So did Raquela, who traveled from Aliquippa for the first time as well! All of these first-timers came today because of the impact that the movie Unplanned had on them. God bless you all!
Thank you to John, Bob, and of course, my “protector,” Shift Buddy Fran, and my “go-to” woman, Sidewalk Advocate Katie!!! God bless you all!!!!!
Even our light jackets seemed too warm for the afternoon sun. Most popular signs were the beautiful babies with the litany of prayers for moms and babies, dads, even abortionists on the back.
When someone stops to look at our models, it’s always an opportunity to start a conversation and offer one of the tiny models for the person to keep and/or show to others.
Derrick is pastor of a church with several branches across Pennsylvania. He has lived in Pittsburgh for a while, but now he plans to move to the other side of the state to be near his wife’s family.
Maureen and Mackenna brought pro-life information from Genesis.
Kevin was part of the Latin Mass Community at Holy Wisdom parish.
Bill comes every day to pray, and he joined us today.
We know the faces of those who will smile. Today a young man raised his hand to me for a “high five.” As I touched his raised palm, he said, “HaHa! I love abortion.”
We’re looking forward to prayer and celebration on Sunday evening.
Quiet night on the sidewalk for prayer and witness for life. We had a few young people ask us some questions. It was a nice conversation. Thanks to my prayer buddy Amy, Kevin from Holy Wisdom, and all that came from Bridge City Church.
Next week is Holy Week, friends. Let’s enter into it with a deep sense of companionship with Jesus. Let us remain with Him as we remember His Passion and Death. And let us not be afraid of the evil one’s temptations. Above is an artistic depiction of the devil tempting Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before He died. Like Jesus in the garden, we, too, can trust in God when the enemy presses in. God is absolutely trustworthy. Let us end our 40-day vigil and enter into Holy Week with that trust in our hearts. EVEN trusting God that He WILL end abortion at 933 Liberty Avenue.