DAY 33: THANK YOU! People of God Covenant Community; Transfiguration Catholic Church, Russelton; Holy Child Catholic Church, Bridgeville; Saint Gregory Catholic Church, Zelienople

The Great St. Bernard Pass is a 49-mile route in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The pass is only snow free for a couple of months during the summer.  It has been a treacherous route for travelers throughout history.

An Augustine monk founded Great St. Bernard Hospice and monastery. The monks acquired their first St. Bernard dog.

Workers were assigned to accompany travelers between the hospice and Bourg-Saint-Pierre, a municipality on the Swiss side.

Travelers were accompanied by the dogs, whose broad chests helped to clear paths. The dogs had a tremendous sense of smell and were able to discover people buried in the snow.

The canines made rescue excursions on the St. Bernard Pass for 150 years. Often the dogs would find buried travelers, dig through the snow and lie on top of the injured to provide warmth. The system became so organized that when Napoleon and his 250,000 soldiers crossed through the pass between 1790 and 1810, not one soldier lost his life.

About 2,000 people, from lost children to Napoleon’s soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs’ uncanny sense of direction and resistance to cold. The last documented recovery was in 1897 when a 12-year-old boy was found nearly frozen in a crevice and awakened by a dog.


Accidents of nature

threaten treachery on snow covered passes in the Alps.


The treachery that threatens the pregnant mother and her baby

is neither natural nor an accident.



Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood staff puts to death

more than 40 children every week,

year round,

in downtown Pittsburgh.

The torn bodies of the killed babies are collected and

discarded as medical waste.





Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life, Spring 2018, is underway. Volunteers are praying, fasting and witnessing downtown.

Since the first coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign took place in Texas in 2007, through the end of 2017, local campaign leaders have reported these blessings, God’s answers to their prayers:

5,251 total campaigns

741 cities

47 countries

750,000 individual participants

19,000 churches

13,998 lives saved from abortion

170 abortion workers quit their jobs

90 abortion facilities closed.




Come  downtown!

Witness with us in Pittsburgh.





Cold as it was this morning, I was happy to head for the sidewalk knowing that People of God Covenant Community would be there.  The powerful prayers, inspiring hymns, and warm fellowship they bring make this day a highlight of each campaign.  Thank you to Pat, Tom, Patty, and Todd for bringing light to that dark corridor.

Continued thanks to Diane and Tom for providing everything the vigil could need; and to Vince, Bill, and Patty who regularly answer God’s call to witness for life on Sunday mornings.  You make such a difference by being there.  God bless you all!

Pat, Bill, Vince
Early Sunday Witnesses
Pat, Tom, Patty, Vince
People of God
Covenant Community



Wow — WHAT A CONTRAST today was with yesterday and its happenings and mood on the sidewalk!  It was so nice to be joined by so many prayer warriors, and we prayed in intercessions and also via the Rosary.  When I arrived, Patty was just getting out of her car simultaneously with me.  Todd, Patti, and Tom of People of God Covenant Community were in prayer along with Vince and Shift Manager Jen.  The Special Guest Star of the morning actually was a star — the sun!!!  It felt SO good.  Paul, Pattie, Joe, Mary, Jim, and Sandy arrived shortly afterwards, also from People of God.  Later, Daniel and Pam arrived, also from People of God.  Then toward the end of the shift came Rich and John from Holy Martyrs Parish, Joan from Holy Family, and Ken & Mary Ellen from Transfiguration, followed by two more couples from Transfiguration just as Rich and Roseanne arrived to take over for me.  It was a way bigger crowd than usual for a Sunday morning!

The sidewalk itself in general was very quiet.  We had several passersby but no negative comments.  At one point a man who’d just gotten off a bus came by seeking help; we prayed for him and with him.  A loudly laughing group of older teenage boys came by on their way to the nearby organization that helps to clean up the city.  When I see those volunteering groups of young people, I can’t help but ponder, and pray, that despite their apparent clannish-ness within their peer group, they are taking significant notice of us and our message.  This group today seemed to notice our signs and made some positive comments.

May the sun continue to come out and the Son continue to come in!!

For Life

Todd, Tom, Patti
People of God Community
Sue M, shift manager and Patty, in the middle
Jim, Sandy, Pam, Daniel, Patty, Paul, Pattie, Mary, Joe



Nearing the end of this 40 days campaign, I pray that we have changed some hearts and minds and abortion would be nothing more than a bad memory. Sunday’s are usually calm and quiet and this Sunday was no different. We were pleased to see some friends and acquaintances from previous 40 days.

Joan, Holy Family
John and Rich,
Holy Martyrs
Bob, Pat, Ken, Mary Ellen, Amy, Cole
Transfiguration Catholic Church, Russelton



I arrived at 1pm to find a parking spot waiting for me right in front of PP.  The sidewalk was in shadow and cold, but by 1:30 pm the sun was warming us and I thought of all the cold mornings and rain that greeted us at the beginning of this vigil. My friend Tim surprised me by stopping down and standing with me for two hours, as did Stacey from Saint John XXIII.

A second shift of folk from Transfiguration showed up as well, Joan, Judy, and Arlene.  Near the end of my shift three cars pulled up and let off a dozen people from St Barbara’s and Holy Child from Bridgeville, including Jim M., a fellow shift manager.  I asked if any of them wanted my primo parking spot and Jim asked if I could stick around till their pastor got there so he could take it. Lo and behold, who pulls up but Fr Joe Freedy.  As I pulled a u-ie onto Liberty to give him my space, I shouted out to him to remember me in his prayers, as we  ask all of you to pray for us down here on the sidewalk.

Stacey, Saint John XXIII, Latin Mass Community
Tim, Saint Joseph, Verona
Joan, Judy, Arlene,



Decades ago (yes, DECADES ago) I was a “victim” of public Witness. I was reminded of this today when a woman walked right past a priest and a large group of Christ’s witnesses and proudly and loudly proclaimed how “great” Planned Parenthood was. Always quick to judge (a terrible vice of mine) I thought, “the audacity!” to be so brazen about such a heartless thing as abortion, right in front of a priest!

Immediately, God humbled me and my face burned red with shame when I suddenly remembered walking off-campus one Sunday afternoon (likely hungover) past a Baptist church and right through the midst of a large group of well dressed women exiting Sunday worship. I was wearing a t-shirt that said “Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll” that I got from a fraternity party the night before. Talk about audacious! Those WONDERFUL women admonished me up one side and down the other, as I thoroughly deserved. Let’s just say that was the beginning of a long road of reversion back to the Catholic Church from which I’d become lost.

This memory made me realize how VERY IMPORTANT Public Witness in Jesus’ Name is. How important it is to admonish each other when we stray. How important it is to pray for the “lost sheep.” I am sure those Baptist women took me to fervent prayer, and while I’m certainly no Saint, I’ve come a very long way to become a pro-life Catholic in full alignment with the Church.

I was strongly reminded today of those heroic Baptist Christians through the humbling and strong Public Witness provided by Father Joe and his amazing combined flock from St. Barbara and Holy Child Parishes in Bridgeville.

Pro-life friends, let us never forget how important public witness is. I am living proof that conversion through the intercessory prayer of others is possible, because as we all know, “Nothing is Impossible with God!”

Holy Child Catholic Church
prayer witnesses fill the street.



I was surrounded by such beautiful witnesses today.
Lindsay hung out for the beginning of my shift and offered up her
aching feet to let me settle in. (Thank you Lindsay)

Then Cathy and Jim came and prayed. They were followed by the amazing R. family.
Beth stopped by at the end of my shift and offered up such kind
insights and support. I was truly treated to soul nourishing authentic
Christian witnesses today. It was much needed.

You can’t out give God, so cliché, but so true!!!

All glory and praise be to Jesus.

Cathy and Jim
My 40 Days Muses
and Bill
The R. Family



And God saw that it was good.


THANK YOU: Saint Mary of the Assumption, Herman; Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church; Individual Volunteers

When a member of the herd is close to death, the whole herd will stop moving and stay resting in one small area for a time. Once the elderly or sick elephant passes, they will stay on for a few more days – gathering semi-frequently around the corpse, and seeming to keen and grieve for their deceased companion.

In Pittsburgh’s Spring Garden, my Holy Wisdom Parish neighborhood, Linda Wallen covered the concrete base of the city steps at Itin and Concord streets with a 120-square-foot mosaic design. The tiles, from Italy, are made to withstand freeze and thaw and hard use, she said.

The elephant story and Spring Garden city stairs are beautiful.


Consider the artistic beauty and the beauty of the people portrayed in the Jesse Tree.   It is the subject of many stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts.   It is also found in wall paintings,  architectural carvings, funerary monuments, floor tiles and embroidery.

Based upon the prophecy of Isaiah, the family tree of Christ begins with Jesse, the father of David, and bears as its fruit the various ancestors of Christ.

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,

and from his roots a bud shall blossom.

Isaiah 11:1-2

Enjoy the beauty of some of the Jesse Tree art:–jesus-sacrifice-tree-of-jesse.jpg

We 40 Days for Life friends of yours on the sidewalk know about beauty.  We recognize that some choices are not beautiful in any way. Each of us is a member of a beautiful multinational effort that has seen mind boggling success. We feel the privilege.


To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself. 

Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus.   Nn. 5-6: 130-200 A.D.

Thank you, Dee.

Dee hit the pavement and gathered the notes from the sisters in consecrated life whose entries were posted here last week.


It was pretty quiet on Liberty Avenue this cold but beautiful morning.  Diane and Tom delivered all the supplies as they do every day for each campaign.  Rose, Vince, and Bill shared the sidewalk with me.  We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for all those affected by abortion.

Jen and Vince
Mighty Prayers



It was quite the toe-freezing morning downtown today! And a very quiet one.

Mother/daughter team Karen and Kristy from St. Benedict joined already-present Vince shortly after I arrived. As it does every time Vince is there, our prayer this morning featured his uniquely comprehensive version of the Rosary. He leaves no Life intention uncovered. Smiling Bill H. stopped by as he always does. Despite the lower-than-usual number of passersby, we received several expressions of affirmation.

May the Most Holy Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified!

Bill, Karen, Kristy, Vince
Faithful Witnesses for Life!



It was a get out the hand warmers kind of day. The sunshine was deceiving.
Pro-lifers Larry, Margie and Cathy from St. Mary of the Assumption came to witness and pray today. Also regulars, Pat, Sue and family from St. Bernard’s witnessed with us. It was a quiet day and all comments were positive. God is Good.

Larry, Margie and Cathy.
Chilly hands
Warm hearts



Another quiet shift.

Prayed with these wonderful people and we were blessed when the sun came out. Please pray for a man who stopped by (I didn’t get his name) who is currently homeless but showed us a beautiful rosary and a pouch with Mary and Jesus that held it. He was very proud of his Catholic faith. I think all prayers from us would be welcome!

St. Mary of the Assumption,
Herman PA
Faithful witnesses



Today I had the great honor of praying with Carnegie Holy Trinity, St. John, McKeesport, and the Pittsburgh Byzantines represented by Deacon Paul and his wife Patricia all the way from DuBois PA!
The group took a little heat from the neighboring bar manager who accused us of not doing anything constructive with our time.
Later a woman who was unstable on her feet was drawn to George Honchar and his wife Svitlana as they prayed the Ninth Hour prayers (the ninth hour of Jesus’ Passion is 3:00). This woman was drawn to George and the prayers in Greek and Ukraine like a parched lamb to water! She stood with her face inches from George as he continued undistractedly to pray, positioned in a subtle way that separated this woman from his wife.
I wasn’t quite sure what might come next. She seemed harmless. I prayed a Saint Michael prayer and she stepped away for a few minutes, then came back even closer to George.

George and his wife wrapped up their prayers, and what happened next astounded me: George very warmly greeted this woman and invited her to sing, then burst into Silent Night with a gorgeous operatic voice! She joined us all in hearty song and when we finished Silent Night, she stumbled away even though George kindly and genuinely invited her to continue singing with us. As it turns out, George is the Cantor for St John in McKeesport!

Nothing really eventful happened after that, and I was humbled by the devotion of the gallant parents and children (especially the fearless young men) of the Levy and McCauley families, and by the gentle spirit of Adrienne of the Oakland Prayer Group, who was one hour early for her group’s prayer time!

Deacon and Patricia Paul,
Cantor George and Svitlana
McCauley Family
Levy Family
Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church
McCauley men



Prayers showed up in abundance today.

Deacon Paul and wife Pat (pictured) all the way from Nativity of the Mother of God Byzantine Church in Dubois came and prayed and treated passersby so politely.

Adrienne, Mary, Alicia, and Julie from the Oakland prayer group prayed fervently and sang beautifully.

Lou (pictured) and Deacon Myron from Holy Trinity came and prayed.

We’re all very blessed to be able to serve this life giving ministry.

Thanks be to God.

Lou, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church
Deacon Paul and wife Pat
Nativity of the Mother of God, Byzantine Church, Dubois PA


And God saw that it was good.




DAY 19: THANK YOU! Saint Bernard Parish, Mount Lebanon; Saint Killian Parish, Cranberry; Calvary Full Gospel, Bridgeville; Individual Volunteers; Nuns, Carmelite Monastery, Erie; Poor Clare Nuns, Monastery of St. Clare, Langhorne; Sisters of the Divine Redeemer; Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden; WAOB Radio

Sally and Al are BETTER!

Jill put the goldfish in a bowl in the pantry next to the kitchen.  Dad was due home, baking potatoes smelled yummy, and Mom was getting ready in the kitchen. The goldfish felt the bowl water move when Mom closed the fridge.  Jill waited cozy with expectation and flopped onto the couch.  Her dolls collapsed in a heap.

Life offers people MORE.

Dolls don’t know anything.

Goldfish feel water move.  

People see, hear, smell, taste and touch.

We understand the words “kitchen” and “dinner.”

We feel expectation.

Life offers us MORE.




Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) was a scientist, mathematician and philosopher.  He posits two realities; the reality we reach with our senses, and reality itself.

What I can see, hear, smell, taste and touch of something may be entirely different than the fully real thing.

Physicists tell us that

even though a chair appears to be impenetrable and solid,

in fact it is made up of molecules and atoms

which are made up almost entirely of empty space.




THOMAS AQUINAS 1225 – 1274

If work and difficulty, family life and virtue are dull, drab things

they will automatically become things to be escaped from,

not sources of inspiration;

to them man will stoop only under considerable duress.


Perseverance is a dogged, unswerving, unbeatable courage

whose beauty and grace are often hidden

in the weary stumbling of its walk and the gray fatigue of its face.


It is only the infused supernatural virtues of

fortitude, magnanimity, magnificence, patience and perseverance

which make heroes out of every man;

that demand that every man be courageous in the work of living.


The volumes of his (Aquinas’) work

plumb the depths and scale the heights of the unutterable truths,

the mysterious beginnings and glorious goals

that interpenetrate human life with something of divinity,

the truths that are the ultimate explanation of its incredible significance.


Faith then is a giant cannon

which hurls man out beyond the boundaries of the universe

into the world of the infinite.

It is not to be conceived of as something mild, sweetly enfeebling.

Rather it must be thought of in terms of strength,

of an explosion which has broken down the walls of the world,

of a storming of nature by the hosts of heaven

that man might be released

from the limitations of his humanity.

Walter Farrell O.P.  A Companion to the Summa: The Fullness of Life




JOB: Will you never take your eyes off me

long enough for me to swallow my spittle?

Suppose I have sinned,

what have I done to you, you tireless watcher of mankind?

Why do you choose me as your target?

Why should I be a burden to you?

Could you not tolerate my sin, nor overlook my fault?

GOD: Who is this obscuring my designs with his empty-headed words?

Do you really want to reverse my judgment and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?

Has your arm the strength of God?

JOB: I am the man who obscured your designs

with my empty-headed words.

I have been holding forth on matters

beyond me and my knowledge.

I’m sorry.




Jesus answered and said to him,

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we will come to him

and make our dwelling with him.

John 14:23



Sister Rosemary

Sisters of the Divine Redeemer

We say the Rosary daily.  After that, we say a prayer for life,


Sister Norma, CSJ

Sisters of Saint Joseph, Baden

The community will pray and fast on the remaining Thursdays of Lent for 40 days for Life intentions.


Your devoted Carmelite Nuns

Nuns, Carmelite Monastery, Erie

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Just a note to let you know we have been supporting you and will continue supporting with our prayers and sacrifices during these 40 Days for Life.

How beautiful to think that this round of prayer vigils began on Saint Valentine’s Day (the day we celebrate the love that begets life) and ends on March 25th, feast of the Annunciation, when Our Lady said yes to Life Itself (and He, the smallest He could ever be, an embryo in her womb)!

This year the 25th lands on Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holiest week of the year. . .

“I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly” — for this He was born, to bear witness for the Truth through His suffering and death.

Your witness of dauntless loving prayer and fasting in all kinds of weather greatly edifies us, and we are honored to be asked to lend our support of the same. After Calvary’s night came the Resurrection’s light.

May your efforts bear much fruit in bringing mothers (and the abortionists) to the light of truth of the life within their wombs and bringing that life to the light of day in their birth here (and hereafter)!

God bless. Mary keep you all, dear warriors of prayer!!

Sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Your devoted Carmelite Nuns


Poor Clare Nuns

Monastery of Saint Clare, Langhorne

Thank you for your letter requesting our prayers for the “40 Days for Life” campaign that is being conducted at this time.

God bless you for your coordinating Prayer Vigils at various Planned Parenthood facilities.

Yes, we join you in offering our daily prayers and good works that many will be touched and converted—-and thus the dignity of every human life respected and upheld.  We pray that those who have no one to turn to, or need extra support will find generous hearts to journey with!!

Through the intercession of St. Clare, we pray that God’s special graces and blessings will over flow upon all hearts!!

Lovingly and Prayerfully,

Your Poor Clare Sisters



It was unusually busy on the sidewalk this cold but beautiful morning.

By the time I found a parking space, Rose was already there helping Diane to unload and set up.  Vince, Bill and Dan joined us for prayer and fellowship.  We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Group after group of runners passed by, most of them offering friendly greetings.

One man stopped to read Rose’s sign, then started to walk away while saying that he agrees with us.  He paused and turned around to tell us that three weeks ago, his girlfriend had aborted their unborn child.  Then he declared that he would be right back with hot drinks for all of us.  He returned soon after with steaming cups of cocoa and breakfast pastries.  We thanked him heartily and gave him a Rachel’s Vineyard brochure in the prayerful hope that he will find healing.

Shortly before 9 AM, a large group from St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon began to arrive.  Five beautiful children from one of the families led us in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Sweet Sue arrived to manage the next “shift”, but she was not feeling well at all.  Phil from St. Bernard kindly agreed to serve as manager since he was already planning to stay until Rich and Roseann took over at 11 AM.  May God bless all of our beautiful 40 Days for Life family and accept our small sidewalk sacrifices for His greater glory!

Dan, Rose, Vince
A Rose between two oak trees!


Sue, next Shift Manager
Saint Bernard Parishioners



I’ve been sick now since Thursday with some nasty sinus thing. I thought for sure I’d be OK by the weekend, but unfortunately when yesterday morning arrived I was still feeling yuck. I texted my dear tag-team shift manager partner, Sue D., who cheerfully agreed to shift manage the 9-11 on her own — no small feat for someone who’s also serving simultaneously as a Sidewalk Advocate on a busy Saturday morning! THANK YOU, SUE!!

I considered “calling off” last night for this morning, but did not — how long can this pesky coughing continue, right? I texted Sunday-morning regular Vince, but it turned out he did not see my text until late. So I arrived at the vigil planning to soldier through it. Vince had since seen my text, and although he couldn’t stay, by the time I arrived he had it all set up — a kind gentleman named Phil from St. Bernard’s offered to shift manage until Rich & Roseann got there!! THANK YOU Vince and Phil!!!

My point in sharing all this, in addition to thanking Sue, Vince, and Phil, is to illustrate just WHAT A FAMILY 40 Days is!!! It seems there is just about nothing we would not do for one another. May God bless all of you and may He hear and answer our prayers from the sidewalk!!



Besides witnessing to end abortion, the best thing about 40 days is meeting so many wonderful people. Thanks to Susan from Assembly of God, Mary from St. Sylvester’s and Ben from St. Bernard’s who braved the cold today to defend life.

Ben and Rich
Susan and Mary



We had the sun and the Son shining down on us today! It was uneventful but prayerful!

One interesting comment the young children are always attracted to the fetal models and ask their family why they and the pray-ers are there. The other interesting thing was that we had a “tunnel of love” going on since there were so many of us on the sidewalk. There were people who chose to go out into the street rather than go through us.

Saint Bernard Parishioners
Sunny prolife witnesses
Prayerful Sunday witness!



 It was a beautiful and powerful 2 hours spent with Calvary Full Gospel Church from Bridgeville. Never have I heard more heartfelt, poignant, profound prayers from the heart to our Lord Jesus Christ, to use us as his tools to help Him end the atrocity of abortion, and to pour down His Healing Love upon all who have been harmed, who have died, who have supported, who have profited, who have participated or who have been indifferent to this scourge of society.

We all also prayed collectively  for Jesus’ Church, for forgiveness of our offenses against the Gospel and that She His Bride may be made whole,  that the truth be spoken, that Christians vote and act through their faith.

While it was quite chilly today, all I felt was the warm power of the Holy Spirit flowing from God above through Jesus and the good Christian people of Calvary Full Gospel Church.

Truly, our Father was singing through His Tears today. Amen!

Calvary Full Gospel Church
Heartfelt, Poignant Prayers!



Jim, Julie, Cathy and John, longtime just defenders of life, it was uplifting serving the Lord with you.

Happy Bday, Lisa, always a treat to see you and your daughters.

All glory and praise be to God!!!

Lisa and her daughters


Jim, Cathy and John
Longtime Defenders



And God saw that it was good.






DAY 12: THANK YOU! Knights of Columbus; Catholic Men’s Fellowship; Harvest Baptist Church, Natrona Heights; Individual Volunteers

That toe lady pic of me tells it all. I am way too silly.  She’s So Cold, Rolling Stones, 1980, remains one of my #1 hits. Left to myself, goodness knows what I would do or fail to do.

In His passionate, fatherly generosity, God sends “rescue teams”.  He sent me a hefty one last fall, during our 40 DAYS campaign.

A young woman who supported PP regularly visited us on the sidewalk.  She championed PP for hours at a time, walking back and forth, peering closely into your face, and loudly demanding answers about abortion and God.

One day our parish sponsored the prayer vigil for the entire twelve hours.  She accompanied us for at least 2 of them. She phrased her questions skillfully, appeared to listen carefully, misconstrued our answers and returned the conversation to her original premise.  Clever. Exhausting. Annoying. That‘s how I saw her.  Some of the parishioners who came that afternoon patiently gave her their full attention for quite a while.  I couldn’t.  I knelt down to pray.  Tears started.  I sobbed.  I hate to do that.  There was no hiding it.

She completely unnerved me.  I knew some answers that might have helped her.  My heart went out to her.  She swamped me.

Soon my friends left.   I was alone.  I sat down and held my prolife sign on my lap.  She stood at the curb, called out cheers for PP and held her PP sign above her head.  Half hour later, we said goodbye and she left.


I had to thank this roughly enthusiastic PP woman.  I dropped the ball.  Was I wasting too much time  being TOE LADY … irrelevant, lukewarm ….

I asked God to send a rescue team.

“What are you doing to evangelize the culture?” Pope Saint John Paul II asked Cardinal George during his ad limina visit to Rome.  Returning to Chicago, Cardinal George tossed the ball to Reverend Robert Barron. “I want you to evangelize the culture.”

Lucky me! Bishop Barron caught the ball.

I already had and loved CATHOLICISM.   I already subscribed to his daily Gospel reflections.  I needed more.

This winter, my rescue team found me one of Bishop Barron’s videos.

The New Evangelization and Higher Education

I learned.  I watched more.   I bought the The Pivotal Players and his book, To Light a Fire On The Earth.

Bishop Barron revisits and restates the ancient truths about God and man in Jesus Christ.  He reminds us that today’s heresies are not new ideas.  They are reworded misunderstandings that have captured people since ancient times.

Aquinas and Why the New Atheists are Right




The New Testament is really about a lot of people

who want to grab the whole world by the shoulders

and SHAKE them.



Evangelization is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ



Contemporary secular culture

rejects religion and the supernatural.

Even so, people remain Christ-haunted.

People long for the answers

to questions they have lost the ability to ask.

These answers are found only in Christ

When discussing evangelization, certain adjectives kept coming up.  Nimble, quick, and canny are favorites.

While personal conviction, knowledge of the tradition, and zeal to be a missionary are essential, they have to be rounded out by good instincts for where the target audience IS at any given moment, and which strategies are likely to reach them best.

PP people will continue to break my heart.  But this PP woman will not make me cry again.  EVANGELIZATION is what her heart wants.  I offered what I had.  Her questioning technique blocked me.  Now I better understand in whose strength I can help.  I can see the ancient enemy more clearly.  I can be patient.  I can accompany and love her as she tries to cooperate with the rescue team God sends her.  I have a back up team I can access because nimble, quick and canny have not described me for quite a while, if they ever did!

“Rescue team” is Bishop Barron’s concept.  He uses it to refer to God’s persistent, loving direction of the ancient recalcitrant Israelites, and us.




I set out my mittens, scarf, and winter coat last night to be ready for the vigil this morning, but I didn’t end up needing any of them!  Thank you, Lord, for a welcome taste of spring on a February morning.

Besides the warm weather, I was blessed with warm fellowship on the sidewalk.  Mark, a Knight of Columbus, arrived to make sure I wouldn’t be standing alone–despite the fact that he was just getting over being sick.  Vince came, too, as he does on so many Sunday mornings.  And we were happy to see Bill when he stopped by on his way to church.

Together, we prayed two Rosaries and a Divine Mercy Chaplet while handing out resource cards to passersby.

Sue and Kathy took the shift baton just as Matt, Mary, and Therese joined our group.  Thank you all for being there this morning!

Vince and Mark
Early Sunday Witnesses



A pleasant yet misty spring like day was in progress when my good friend Kathy L. and I arrived on the sidewalk this morning.  I felt overdressed in my winter coat.  We arrived to find Vince and the lovely family of Matt, Mary, and Therese, and Patty joined us soon afterward, as she so often does on Sunday mornings.  Vince led us in a heartfelt Scriptural Rosary, Joyful Mysteries, as only Vince can do.  After he left, Kathy and I moved to the other side of the circle to provide some witness on the other side.

It was a very prayerful shift.  If anyone ever wants to pray from Scripture, Kathy L. is your gal!  She led us through many psalms, and we sang some hymns.  Patty and the Matt-Mary-Therese family continued in prayer on the other side.  I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and my resolve to continue in this prayerful battle was strengthened.

The foot traffic was rather light today, which it usually is on Sundays, and we had only one negative-commenting passerby.  Kathy and I prayed for a change of heart for him.

The heavy rains and wind came about halfway into our shift, but we persevered in prayer throughout although Kathy’s Bible got soaked.  Thanks be to God for the privilege of being His witnesses and providing friends in the Lord by our sides!!!

Patty, Mary, Therese, Matt, Sue (Shift Manager) and Kathy



We got lucky and our shift started just as all that rain moved on to the east.
We were fortunate to have 4 prayer warriors to stand with us today and got in a couple Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets.

We had a few positive comments and only one negative.

Roseann, Shift Manager, Karen, Anna Marie and Mary


and Shift Manager, Rich



The shift was uneventful.

Had some amazing people praying with me including a family of 6 who has been at the vigil before.

God is good!

Amazing family joining us in witnessing!



I was praying for a word of guidance before starting my shift today. I opened my Bible to John 1:5.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

I drew encouragement from that. I thank God for the gift of this 40 days ministry and all who participate in it. Although the darkness does try to enter in, with angry comments, those standing to witness for life are not overcome. I give thanks in particular for Joyce and Sarah from Harvest Baptist and Meme who prayed with me in the Light today.

Joyce and Sarah
Harvest Baptist


Faithful 40 Days Witness



Ken greeted me and hung out for a bit. He’s good people! Then Jim and Cathy(my 40 days muses) showed up and we prayed a couple of rosaries. They’re good people, it’s a trend.

Thank you Jesus for bringing such high quality individuals into this fight for life.

Peace to all.

Ken, Jim and Cathy
Good People!








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New baby brother is resting in his sister’s lap.  His brother takes his turn.  Their mother had been strongly advised to “terminate the pregnancy”… that is to say, their little brother. Sharing these pictures with me, she said, “I’m always available to share my experience with anyone who wants to hear.  Life is something given and taken by God.  We are not intended to interfere, at any point.”

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Dad, all his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles were gathered about, quietly talking in the warm sunny room.  Mom sat in the chair by the window quietly holding him.  He was wrapped in the blue and white blanket Granny knit for him.

“Tommy” had just come home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). He was sleeping.  Everyone knew their little boy was expected to live only a few more days.  They chose to bring him home.

At home they could dress comfortably, receive visitors and rest.  Together they loved Tommy, treasuring this interlude with all their strength.

I was a nurse on their hospice team.

A few days later, Tommy died.  My team mate, “Jeannie,” was much more experienced in hospice care.  She and I made this visit together.

Mom asked me to put a new outfit on her little son.  She stayed with me as I washed his face and hands.  She put lotion on his arms and legs.  I dressed him and wrapped him in his little blanket.  Tommy’s Mother went back to the chair by the window and sat down, keeping him in her arms.

Jeannie called the funeral director and gave him specific instructions.

“When you get here, take your time.  Let the family help the mother hand you her baby.  This will be agony for her.  Leave the baby face uncovered, unless the family requests otherwise.  Carry the baby gently in your arms when you take him from the house.”

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Elvira Parravicini, M.D., wrote “Aspects of Beauty: The Medical Care of Terminally Ill Newborns.” During med school, I decided to become a neonatologist.  I had been participating in the meetings for prenatal diagnosis in my hospital.  I stopped going to these meetings. It was just too painful.  The proposal was always for termination of pregnancy.  There was no space for me as neonatologist.  I believe that any medical condition can be treated, whether the estimated length of life is ninety years or seven minutes.

One day, I did go to the meeting.

The doctor presented the cases of two women expecting babies with a life-limiting condition. These women did not want to terminate. Who is going to take care of these babies?  I raised my hand and said, “We can do comfort care.”

Comfort care is not a matter of trying to be kind to the patient, and not doing anything medical because there is nothing we can do. Because there is no recovery possible, the patient’s comfort becomes the main goal of treatment.   Comfort care is a medical and a nursing treatment. To be comfortable a newborn baby needs to be welcomed, clean and warm.  The baby should not be thirsty, hungry or in pain.

“Kangaroo care” is a good example of comfort care.  These babies get cold easily. In an incubator, the baby cannot be close to parents.   Kangaroo care is skin-to-skin contact. Mom and Dad alternately hold baby on their chest. Family can visit.  Spending time together the family celebrates the joy of having their baby close.


The teenaged parents had tattoos and piercing.  Many staff suggested that they should “terminate the pregnancy.” They refused. “These are our babies.”

The babies shared a single heart with severe anomalies. They had to be delivered prematurely because Mom had high blood pressure.

I felt sad in the delivery room.  People were saying that this Mom was crazy to bring the babies to term. “She is going to get a cesarean section. This wound will mark all her life.  She will possibly have problems having other children.” Some young physicians in training were ready with their cameras to take pictures of the “rare case.”

Finally, here they are! The two beautiful little girls were embracing each other because they had been united by their chest their entire life.

The Father asked me if he could hold them. “Of course,” I said. The babies were just gasping a little bit.  Their heart was beating very slowly.  Their Father kept reassuring his children.  “Don’t worry. Daddy is here!”

I wondered, “Who knows what grades this teenager gets at school?  He is a great Father!”

The atmosphere in the delivery room had completely changed. I saw tears.  People were embracing this young Father.  The cameras were no longer around. The people were the same, but completely changed.

Edited for space

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Today, the little brother  is 2 years old and keeping his family busy as “he gets into everything.”

The story of the other two families ends differently.

During their short time, the other three babies were surrounded by family, cherished, held, warmed, cuddled, breathed on, smiled at, kissed, hugged, loved … and loved some more.

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The dying of the frail babies targeted for termination and the anguish of their parents progresses quite  differently.  Abortion tears a ghastly hole through which a terrible darkness enters the human heart. It bloodies the baby body.  It bloodies the hands of everyone who consents.

God continues to love each and every person guilty of this horror. Fear not little flock.  Run to your Father. Tell him about your sin and your anguish. Repent.  Run to safety…to the open loving arms of your Father. He knows what to do.

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I question my sanity on only two mornings each winter.  The first is when I wake up and realize that it’s the day of the March for Life.  It then hits me that I’m about to face 10 hours in a bus and lots of time outdoors in potentially cold weather in a sea of people.  The second is when I wake up and remember that I’ve agreed to take the 7-9 AM 40 DFL shift on a cold Sunday morning.  Yet shortly after that realization hit me this morning, I started to reflect on what Nikki wrote in her blog on Wednesday.  And it helped.  Basically she said that we don’t do what we do because we love doing it.  In fact, we’d rather be almost anywhere else.  But we do do it because of love.

Today my parish, St. Regis in Trafford, did our part by taking the first of two 2-hour shifts this campaign.  And my fears that I might be alone (which I have each time) were put to rest when Rose from the North Hills arrived early.  She was followed by my most faithful couple from St. Regis, Yolanda and Albert, who is a brother Knight of Columbus.  Then Bill, the Grand Knight for our council, arrived and took his maiden voyage out in front of PP.  Shortly after that, we were joined by one of the best prayers 40 DFL has, Vince, also from the North Hills.  [Sorry Rose and Vince, but I forgot your respective parishes.]  All stayed for the entire two hours as we alternated praying with good conversation.

Bill, Rose, Vince
Bill, Rose, Vince


Bill, Rose, Albert and Yolanda
Bill, Rose, Albert and Yolanda



My first shift of the vigil was a peaceful blessing.  As we prayed, Arlene, Bill, Lisa, and I experienced no negative reactions to our sidewalk presence and many positive ones. Many families with young children were walking by us; there must have been an event in town today geared to families (auto show?). I wonder how many conversations were initiated in those young families by our presence and signs.  I hope lots of good ones!

Sue, Shift Manager Arlene and Bill St. Colman
Sue, Shift Manager
Arlene and Bill
St. Colman
Arlene and Bill Lise, Shift Manager another day Saint Colman Parish
Arlene and Bill
Lisa, Shift Manager another day
Saint Colman Parish



It was cold!  Two prayer volunteers joined us for about 11/2 hours.  We have been with 40 Days since the beginning.  We are glad.



We had a couple of oddities.  However, everything came out well.

On a positive note I had 5 amazing prayers with me and we prayed 3 scriptural rosaries! It was a grand time of prayer!





I was blessed with plenty of prayer partners at my shift today.

Joe and Kim who prayed on the previous shift with SM Maggie stayed with me well into my first hour. Joe and Karen and their beautiful family from St. Monica Parish responded to the SOS for SM standing alone and prayed with me the entire time.  Joining us was our regular Pat from St. Bernadette’s.  Also Steve and Denise came from St. Joseph’s  and regular Kathy.

There were a few unfriendly remarks or gestures but plenty of hope too. There was a family who stopped for pictures of the fetal models. A young man, Joe came by to say thank you to a SM who answered all his questions in a previous encounter and helped him to see the good in the work that we do at 40 days for life.

Joe and Karen, parents of this lovely family. Saint Monica Parish
Joe and Karen, parents of this lovely family.
Saint Monica Parish


Steve and Denise Saint Joseph Parish
Steve and Denise
Saint Joseph Parish



Shared my entire shift with Jim and Cathy from Saint Gregory’s parish in

It was a peaceful shift with peaceful, virtuous company. 40 days seems
to be filled with these wonderful Christians. I hope and pray those
virtues infiltrate my hardened heart.

All glory and praise be to God.

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Day 40: Thank you, Catholic Charities; St. Regis Catholic Church, Trafford; Holy Trinity Ukranian Catholic Church, Carnegie; Individual Prayer Volunteers

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 War memorial cemeteries are built

 to honor those who have sacrificed their lives during the war.

America’s Wars (1775 -1991)

216 years

651,031 Battle Deaths


America’s Abortions (1973 – 2015)

42 years

58,586,256 Baby Deaths

Where is the cemetery families can use to bury the body of their aborted child?

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Ordinarily when a family member dies the rest of the family has a grief process.  If successful, the grief process “closes the wound.”

Our culture resists, and is even hostile to, admitting the reality that abortion kills a child, a member of a family.


America permits abortion to

kill their child

wound the mother

strip the parental rights of the father.


If a man’s pregnant partner seeks to have an abortion, the father’s consent isn’t legally required.

A woman may choose to terminate a pregnancy against the objections of the father.

The father does not have a legal right to be notified of an abortion.

If a prospective mother seeks to abort a pregnancy against a father’s wishes, an attorney may be able to draft an agreement where the father agrees to pay the costs of pregnancy and obtain full custody after birth.


Arthur Shostak (Bachelor of Science, 1958, Cornell University; Ph.D., 1961, Princeton)  accompanied his partner to a well-groomed suburban abortion clinic in the early 1970s.

They had both agreed abortion was best.

Sitting in the waiting room proved to be a “bruising experience”.

When he left the clinic, he was shocked by how deeply disturbed he had become.

Shostak spent the next ten years studying the abortion experience of men. His study, published in 1984, covered 1,000 men who accompanied their wives or girlfriends to abortion clinics. This study is still the benchmark study in the field.  Here are some of his discoveries.



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Abortion rewrites the rules of masculinity.

While a man is expected to be strong, abortion makes him feel weak.

A man is expected to be responsible.  Abortion encourages him to act without concern for the innocent.

It encourages him to destroy any identifiable and undesirable outcomes of his sexual decision making and/or attachments.

They feel sad.  They feel curious.  They feel a lot of things.

But usually they have talked to no one about it.  It is taboo.

More than one in four equated abortion to murder.

Slightly over 80 percent said they had already begun to think about the child that might have been born.

29 percent said they had been fantasizing about the child “frequently”.

68 percent believed men involved in abortions “did not have an easy time of it.”

47 percent worried about having disturbing thoughts afterwards.

Many men began to cry during the interview.

When asked if the man and woman should have an equal say in the decision, 80 percent of married men agreed.  Fifty-eight percent of single men agreed.

Many expressed frustration and anger about the failure of women to consider their wishes and feelings.

In a subsequent interview Shostak said:

Most of the men I talk to think about the abortion years after it is over.

With a man, if he wants to shed a tear, he had better do it privately.

If he feels that the abortion had denied him his child, he had better work through it himself.

He does not share his pain with a clergyman, a minister.

He does not share it with a close male friend.

It just stays with him.

And it stays for a long time.

According to Dr. Vincent Rue, one of the nation’s most experienced psychologists in the field of post-abortion issues:

Typical male grief responses include remaining silent and grieving alone.

A guilt-ridden, tormented male does not easily love or accept love.


Men have reported a large number of problems that they claim were a direct result of their abortion experience. These include:

broken relationships,

sexual dysfunction,

substance abuse,


risk taking and suicidal behavior,

increasing feelings of grief over time,

feelings of helplessness, guilt, depression,

greater tendencies toward becoming angry and violent, and

feelings connected to a sense of lost manhood.


If we listen to the national professional mental health organizations, abortion carries no psychological health risk, certainly none greater than child birth.

This flies in the face of thousands of stories that I have heard – the stories that you hear from women and men impacted from abortion, both in this country and abroad.

Post abortion treatment is a human issue because abortion represents to those who are negatively impacted by it an intentional death experience.

 The American Psychological Association, in 2008, provided a report to the American people that basically says that abortion carries no increased relative risk.

I would submit to you that this is incorrect.  It is incorrect scientifically and there is abundant research, some 385 studies, that would ague in opposition to what the APA said.

“Project Rachel: The Psychoanalyst’s Role.”  Vincent Rue, MSW, PhD

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Jeannie, designer of this happy note,  continues to grow in wisdom and grace.

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Today was the day I signed up my parish, St. Regis in Trafford, to stand from 7-9 AM…and I worried.  I worried about the weather forecast (scattered thundershowers).  I worried about the fact that the EQT 10-Miler would close down Liberty Avenue “sometime around 7 AM”.  And I worried that Jeff, who was bringing the materials to the sidewalk for Diane today, might not get in before Liberty was closed down.  In short, I forgot that TRUST was the theme for this campaign.

All worked out better than I could have reasonably expected.  Steph, my wife, decided late that that she would come with me.  Two of my brother Knights of Columbus, Mike and Albert, came.  Albert’s wife, Yolanda, and their daughter, Susan (from Saint John XXIII Parish), also came.  We had a good mix of prayer and good conversation.  Many thanks to all  of you.

Mike, Susan, Albert, Yolanda and Steph
Mike, Susan, Albert,
Yolanda and Steph
Susan, Yolanda and Vince. Vince is leading the Rosary meditations.
Susan, Yolanda and Vince.
Vince is leading the Rosary meditations.



Today was one of the most interesting experiences I have had at 40 days.  It was the day of a 10 K race that goes right through the 40 days site, so just to get down and travel through the city was a minor miracle.

There was a “pro-choice advocate” cheering on the runs while she held a sign proclaiming her support for PP.  God gives us the grace to work for His cause, the cause of Life. She was loud, and I believe that we were prayerful.  Many runners, especially women supported her and thanked her, so we are reminded to pray for our nation.  Hopefully, they act in ignorance.

I am grateful for Kathy, Vince, Theresa, and Bill for standing for 40 days for Life.  It rained during the entire two hours, and it was quite heavy by the end.



Praise God good weather for my shift.

I had a wonderful family with 6 kids keep me company and they prayed one rosary after another. I had a few individuals join me for the end of my shift.

Praise God for all his love and care!

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Bill and all these people filled the sidewalk with life and prayers. Not only was the weather warm but, so were the hearts!

Angy, Father Jason, Natalia, Martha, Patty Holy Trinity in Carnegie
Angy, Father Jason, Natalia, Martha, Patty
Holy Trinity in Carnegie


Prayeer witnesses: St. Bernadette, St. Madonna Del Costello, Family from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church
Prayer witnesses:
St. Bernadette, St. Madonna Del Costello, Family from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church


George and Friend St. John's
George and Friend
St. John’s
Aileen, Martha Father Jason
Aileen,  Father Jason, Natalia


Bill, Prayer Witness, Shift Manager
Bill, Prayer Witness, Shift Manager


And God saw that it was good.

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Day 33…Good Works






WAOB (We Are One Body) 106.7FM

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For all its strength, comfort and sublimity,

human friendship has about it the frail delicacy of old lace.

It is never a rugged thing

because of our inability to share our inner self.

We cannot give ourselves away utterly

because we do not belong completely to ourselves.

Betrayal of a friend is a kind of a suicide.

Walter Farrell O.P.


Frederica Mathewes-Green (October 27, 1952)

celebrated her birthday recently.

Highlights from an article she wrote 24 years ago

offer refreshing reflections

for those of us dazed and dusty from the sidewalk.

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The abortion debate seems like an unresolvable conflict of rights between the right of women to control their own bodies and the right of children to be born.

In a culture that treats pregnancy and childrearing as impediments, abortion surgically adapts a woman to fit in.

In college I advocated the repeal of abortion laws and supported my friends who traveled for out‑of‑state abortions.

For years I bought the line that the unborn was just a “glob of tissue.”

An unplanned pregnancy felt like an invader, an evil alien bent on colonizing one’s body and destroying one’s plans. The first right must be to keep one’s body safe, private, and healthy.  Without that, all other rights are meaningless.

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It is because I still believe so strongly in the right of a woman to protect her body that I now oppose abortion. That right must begin when her body begins, and it must be hers no matter where she lives—even if she lives in her mother’s womb. The same holds true for her brother.

When I ran across a description of a mid‑pregnancy abortion, I was horrified at the description of the syringe’s hub jerking against the mother’s abdomen as her child went through his death throes.

I learned that early abortions are no more kind.  The child is pulled apart limb from limb and sucked through a narrow tube into a bloody bag.

Dr. Willard Cates of the Centers for Disease Control estimated in 1981,  that 400‑500 times a year children are born alive after late abortions and then made to die.

Even if there were any doubt that the unborn was a person, if I had seen someone doing this to a kitten I would have been horrified.

The feminism that hoped to create a new just society had embraced an act of injustice as essential.


The average woman does not gain, but loses when she has an abortion.

She loses the cash.

She undergoes a humiliating procedure.

The delicately‑balanced ecology of her body is disrupted.

Nicks and scratches in the uterus can cause scarring which may lead to endometriosis.

Damage from an abortion that goes unnoticed until she is far into a later, wanted pregnancy, can cause a miscarriage.

If those scars are near the opening to the fallopian tube, the opening can be partly obliterated and lead to an ectopic pregnancy.

Alternatively, the scarring at the tube’s entrance may be complete and the woman is sterile. She thought she was aborting one pregnancy, but she was aborting all her pregnancies for the rest of her life.

Abortion can kill a woman.

The last loss is the loss of her peace of mind. Many women grieve silently after abortion, their sorrow ignored by a society that expects them to be grateful for the “freedom” to abort.

Her most devastating loss

She loses her own child. This child is as much like her as any child she will ever have, sharing her appearance, talents, and family tree.  In abortion, she offers her own child as a sacrifice for the right to continue her life. It is a sacrifice that will haunt her.


Do women want abortion?

Not like she wants a Porsche or an ice cream cone.

Like an animal caught in a trap,

trying to gnaw off its own leg,

a woman who seeks abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation

by an act of violence and self‑loss.

Abortion is not a sign that women are free,

but a sign that they are desperate.

Frederica Mathewes-Green

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If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves,

and the truth is not in us.

If we acknowledge our sins,

he is faithful and just

and will forgive our sins

and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.

1 John 1:8-9



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Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., started one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-aborted people in 1986, after founding The Center for Post Abortion Healing.

Theresa adapted and expanded the curriculum into a format for weekend retreats, Rachel’s Vineyard.

Do not continue to live in the shame, fear or numbness – call our toll-free national hotlines:
Rachel’s Vineyard: 877 HOPE 4 ME (877-467-3463) – National Hotline for Abortion Recovery: 866-482-LIFE (866-482-5433)


Co-founded in 2003, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign responded to a need for a pro-life ministry in which men and women who had had experiences of abortion could offer and gain support.
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Sister Mercy Maria Egbeji, Superior of Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Rankin, reports that she and the sisters will pray for us during their Holy Hour of Adoration.

WAOB 106.7 FM broadcasts 40 Days for Life participants praying the Scriptural Rosary every month.  Tune in and pray with us!


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French from the Bench

Last week, I saw X-rays of my broken collarbone.

First was the Emergency Room photo— “the original”- how beautiful the human body is as planned by God- I could see the break in my collarbone – a clean sharp swatch separating 2 parts of “the architecture”.   The next image was a few weeks after the break — what had resulted from the break—the 2 bones reminded me of train cars in a bad accident—one slides up and over the other.   The damage to the beautiful architecture was dramatic!

I think the embrace of the evil of abortion has really disrupted God’s plan for mankind.  From the horrific violence in the clinics to senseless mass killings here and around the world, we truly have broken with God.

Like my impatience with my own healing, I am impatient with our long struggle to end abortion and return respect for human life.  But, we really have a “train wreck” here.  It is going to take time, skill, patience, and God’s guidance to fix.

Let us heal together with Him who heals us all!




How beautiful our 40 Days for Life family is!

Peggy, Dan, Judy, and Vince all answered the call to come and pray on a cold, wet Sunday morning.  Vince led us in a very powerful and emotional Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, meditating in detail on the suffering of our Lord.  It struck me that I often forget one of the most important reasons to take part in this vigil–in reparation for the agony that abortion caused our Savior, agony that He willingly suffered for me and for each person who passes through the doors of PP.

Thank you to Diane and Tom for getting us started this morning with all the needed supplies…the umbrellas and hand warmers came in very handy today!  God bless Bill, who wasn’t feeling very well when he made his morning prayer visit.  And thanks to Ken, who came from quite a distance to lead the next vigil shift!

Peggy, Judy, Dan, Vince Sunday Sidewalk Witnesses
Peggy, Judy, Dan, Vince
Sunday Sidewalk Witnesses



A peaceful Sunday morning.

Made more peaceful because this abortion facility is closed today and no one was harmed.

A quiet and prayerful time with Patti, Mark and Andrea.

Also prayed with a family from St. ELIZABETH ANN SETON.

Patti, Mark and Andrea
Patti, Mark and Andrea


Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Family
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Parish Family


Faithful Prolife Witnesses
Faithful Prolife Witnesses



We had an awesome time today. A group from Zion Church in Brookline sang hymns in Spanish, made a mini Jericho March back and forth around the semicircle and had their pastor Frank ask that this Planned Parenthood be closed! Alleluia!

We also had a group from a parish in Bridgeville praying the Rosary along with the Parochial Vicar there, Father Joe.

God is so good!

Shift managers Audrey and jim, Father Joe and faithful witnesses
Shift managers Audrey and jim, Father Joe and Holy Child Parishioners


Zion Church in Brookline came to pray out loud in downtown Pittsburgh.
Zion Church in Brookline came to pray out loud in downtown Pittsburgh.


Everybody praying for Life
Everybody praying for Life



Despite the chill and dampness in the air, what a blessed day!  During the earlier shift, a large congregation from the Zion Church in Brookline was a lively, energized Hispanic group.  They circled seven times to replicate the march at Jericho – praying to let the walls fall.  Their song, dance, and prayers spoke loud and clear of their faith in the Lord.

Holy Child, Jim’s and my home parish in Bridgeville, took the 1 to 3 p.m. shift.  Father Joe inspired us as he lead us in prayer joined by Thomas from Holy Child and Colleen and Dick from St. Winifred.  Regulars Margie and Larry from St. Mary’s faithfully prayed and kept us warm with their love.  As I was standing there praying today and looking on at the facade of Planned Parenthood, I saw the bricks were in the form of crosses, many crosses – representing the many tiny souls that are lost there every week….

Another best of the day was an unplanned visit from alumni and students from Franciscan University.  The young men just happened to be walking down the street and saw our vigil and became part of our witness.  The young women were inspired by their Mom – a regular 40 Days vigilant.  We prayerfully said the Rosary over and over again….  The response from the few passersby was that of support and thankfulness.  God is good.  Sometimes the most inspiration comes from the heartfelt discussions on the sidewalk.  We pray, we share, and we witness!

Jerico March
Jerico March


Shift Manager Jim Holy Child parishioners
Shift Manager Jim
Holy Child parishioners


Shift Manager, Audrey with Holy Child parishioners
Shift Manager, Audrey
with Holy Child parishioners


Franciscan University Alumni and Students
Franciscan University
Alumni and Students


Bricks, form of crosses representing many tiny souls lost there to abortion.
Bricks form crosses representing many tiny souls lost there to abortion.

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Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim.

By those who love her she is readily seen,

and found by those who look for her.
Quick to anticipate those who desire her,

she makes herself known to them.

Watch for her early and you will have no trouble.

You will find her sitting at your gates.

Of her the most sure beginning is the desire for discipline.

Care for discipline means loving her.

Loving her means keeping her laws.

Obeying her laws guarantees incorruptibility.

Incorruptibility brings near to God.

Wisdom 6: 17-19, 12-14

And God saw that it was good.

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Check back for more NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK!

DAY 26: THANK YOU, Bellevue Knights of Columbus, Saint John Fisher Parish, Richmond OH

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900


I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and in the midst of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Francis Thompson 1859-1907


To clone a person, you would have to clone their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, first grade teacher, next door neighbors and so on until you have included all their people.

Lewis Thomas 1913-1993


In our audacity, we witness in prayer to change hearts.  We know that heart changes are difficult and painful and take a lifetime.

History gives us a glimpse of the heart of the person who wrote “The Importance of Being Earnest”.  Reading it, you can’t stop thinking about Jesus holding his arms wide open on the Cross.


Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was baptized as an infant in the local Church of Ireland (Anglican).

Wilde’s mother was a lifelong Irish nationalist.  She wrote poetry for the revolutionary “Young Irelanders” and read their poetry to Oscar.

The movement of the “Young Irelanders” may be said to date from the founding of the Nation newspaper, 1842.  “Educate that you may be free” was the keynote of the new journal, which was destined to find its way within a year into nearly every household in Ireland. It preached temperance, patience, energy, and resolution. It held up the spirit of the people while it taught them tolerance and union.

Jane Wilde attended Mass with her sons in a chapel where Father Prideaux Fox, a Catholic priest, was the celebrant. Father Fox said, “I am not sure if she ever became a Catholic herself, but it was not long before she asked me to instruct two of her children, one of them being the future erratic genius, Oscar Wilde. After a few weeks I baptized these two children, Lady Wilde herself being present on the occasion.”

Wilde’s father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known surgeon. Anti-Catholic, he bitterly opposed Oscar’s interest in the Church. “I am sure that if I had become a Catholic at that time he would have cast me off altogether.”

In his student days at Oxford, Wilde met fellow student, Sir David Hunter Blair.  Blair became a Catholic, joined the Benedictines, and eventually became Abbot at Dunfermline Abbey.

In his book, Victorian Days, Blair wrote that Wilde asked him many questions which revealed “how genuine were his own sympathies with Catholicism.”

Hunter-Blair’s evangelizing efforts had no immediate effect, and the two men parted, Hunter-Blair taking Holy Orders and Wilde turning to the literary world of London. Wilde was forthright about his motives. “To go over to Rome would be to sacrifice and give up my two great Gods: Money and Ambition.”

“I suffer a great deal from my Romish leanings, in pocket and mind. And now my best friend turns out to be a Papist!” One of his first friends was Robert Ross, a Catholic.  Ross was with him at the end.

In October, 1900, Wilde sent a telegram to Ross. “Terribly weak. Please come.”

Ross went and later told how, after he arrived, “he rushed to the Passionist Church in Paris and brought back Father Cuthbert Dunne to attend spiritually” to Wilde.  Father Dunne recorded following.

Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional Baptism, and afterwards, answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man (Wilde) was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious… Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last sacraments… And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition , Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me.

The next day Oscar Wilde died.

After he was laid out, Father Dunne “placed a rosary in his hand and put palm branches over him.” Father Dunne said the Requiem Mass at Saint Germain-des-Prés.


I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,

And unperturbed pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat – and a Voice beat

More instant than the Feet –

‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,

Save Me, save only Me?

Rise, clasp My hand, and come!


Francis Thompson


Lewis Thomas, 1913- 1993.  The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher.

Francis Thompson, 1859-1907.  The Hound of Heaven.  YOUNG IRELAND AND THE FENIANS, Taken from A History of Ireland by Eleanor Hull




Barbara 11-1, 3-5 (Saturday) Shift Manager

Holy Wisdom, Saint John XXIII and Saints John and Paul (Wexford) parishes filled the sidewalk with their beauty during these two shifts.  Joining us were also people from Saint Michael Parish (Wheeling) and Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Enjoy the photos.  These are just some of the people.

Chris, Bill
Chris, Bill and friend


Chrisline, Kathy, Craig, William Saint John XXIII Parish
Chrisline, Kathy, Craig, William
Saint John XXIII Parish


Craig, Doug, Tom, Bob, Jim Sts. John & Paul, Wexford
Craig, Doug, Tom, Bob, Jim
Sts. John & Paul, Wexford


Saint John XXIII Beautiful Families
Saint John XXIII
Beautiful Families


Jonathan, Killian Brady and Christine Franciscan University Steubenville
Jonathan, Killian
Brady and Christine
Franciscan University


Jeannie, Shift Manager Injured reserve

The most important task of EMTs when they reach a head or spine injury victim is to secure the victim’s head, neck and body to prevent further injury.    When this happened to me, — when my neck was braced and my cut, bruised, broken body was strapped to a hard board for transport to the trauma center, I could not believe the pain.  It felt like there were nails on the board, particularly behind my head.

Just then, I had a glimpse of Jesus on the cross—his beaten, whipped, scourged body would suffer the further insult of being lashed to a hard, unyielding splintered piece of wood. During my 40 minute bumpy ride to the emergency room, every Pittsburgh pothole drew tears.  Tears of pain, yes, but of grateful joy for what our Lord endured for me, his precious child.  I was able to offer my suffering up because I know His Story! It changed everything.

That is what we are doing on the sidewalk—telling HIS STORY; bringing the redemptive, powerful love of Jesus to each of his beloved children, whether they are vulnerable mothers, scared friends, lonely fathers or misled abortion workers, our knowledge of the vast and enduring love of Jesus is the answer!

I pray we continue to keep telling HIS story!





Diane and Tom beat the sun to the sidewalk this morning, supplying and setting up all our vigil’s needs before dawn. The Bellevue Knights of Columbus were well-represented by Charlie, who also blesses the pro-life effort as a sidewalk advocate.

Devoted despite feeling under the weather, Vince arrived with his beautiful Scripture readings for each mystery of the Rosary, which we all prayed together.  Jim, Charlie’s fellow Knight, joined us later and stayed on as Sue came to lead the next shift. She mentioned a woman who appeared nervous and defensive as she protested the vigil the day before. Sue astutely pointed out that the woman’s agitated demeanor may have been a sign that she was troubled by what she was doing, and that her heart may soon be ready to accept the truth. Sue graciously lead us in prayer for the woman’s conversion.

Charlie and Vince
Charlie and Vince


Jim and Vince
Jim and Vince



Yet another beautiful day to be outside.  The sidewalk was very quiet this morning, likely due to the later Steeler game today.  I was joined by Jim from the Bellevue Knights of Columbus, Regina from St. Clare of Assisi, Mary Jane from St. Francis of Assisi, Kelly from St. John Capistran, and Patty from St. Bernadette.

Patty pointed out that today in the Catholic Church is the Feast of St. John Paul II.  We asked his intercession and prayed the Rosary, for saved lives, changed hearts, the closing of PP and Allegheny Reproductive, and the ceasing of abortions at Magee.

At one point a man walked by and said, “You’re here on a Sunday morning?  Now that’s persistence!”

YES sir, persistence is what we are all about!  We will persist in our vigil until abortion comes to an end in our great city — indeed, in God’s world!!

Regina, Patty and Jim
Regina, Patty and Jim



Quiet. Peaceful. Prayerful.

Even though we had many travelers passing on their way to the Steelers game I felt calm. I had great people to pray with!

A man from West Africa commented to a fellow prayer that he doesn’t understand how abortion exists in our country when there are so many resources to help women.

A young man yelled to us from his car, “Thank you! Thank you! My mom chose to keep me!” And then, he started to cry.

It was beautiful!!! And, finally, Ann uttered to us “Blessings, blessings, blessings”.

Thank you Jesus for a great shift!

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This is my first shift manager assignment, and I was a little nervous going in. I sent a group text to immediate family for prayer. God is good. It truly was a peaceful, prayerful vigil.

I arrived to a warm greeting from the previous shift manager Maggie.

Father John from Saint John Fisher (Richmond OH), and Megan, from Mother of Sorrows (Murrysville), were my first prayer partners.

Prayer Partners for Sunday
Prayer Partners for Sunday


Father John and Megan
Father John and Megan

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I was warmly greeted by our new SM Ken, Fr. Jack, and the women from Catholic Family Land. They were prayerfully singing.  It was so
beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.  What a blessing.

The Starr family, from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 5-6 hour, prayed fervently and ended in song.
The men from Catholic Family Land, arrived for the 6-7 hour ready to
serve our Holy Family.  They prayed joyfully, sang joyfully and
amazingly( I’m jealous), and after my shift was over, prayed over me
joyfully. I’m grateful.
Catholic Family Land participants traveled from Brookdale, Ohio (a
long way). They came armed with the spirit ready to do battle for the
lives of our brothers and sisters. It was as authentic a witness as I’ve
experienced in my journey with 40 Days for Life.
Soooo, I would like to give yinz a Howard Dean campaign shout out,
“YaaaaaaaaaaHHaaaaaawwoooo awesomely well done.”
Thank you Jesus.

Rock, Jack, Gary Catholic Family Land
Rock, Jack, Gary
Catholic Family Land


Jack Starr Family Catholic Family Land
Starr Family
Catholic Family Land


Catholic Family Land
Catholic Family Land


And God saw that it was good.

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DAY 19 THANK YOU, People of God Covenant Community; Saint Bernard Parish, Mount Lebanon; CMU Catholic Newman Club; Saint Gregory Roman Catholic Church, Zelienople; Carmelite Nuns of Erie; Carmelite Nuns of Loretto; Passionist Nuns of Pittsburgh; Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Let’s listen to what some great minds have said about the mystery of BEAUTY   

To me, team work is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one.  You become selfless.

Mike Krzyzewski 1947

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

John Muir 1838 – 1914

I am among those who think that science has great beauty.

Marie Curie 1867 – 1934

O, thou art fairer than the evening air clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.

Christopher Marlowe 1564-1593

A great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.

Pablo Neruda 1904 – 1973

By plucking her flowers you do not gather the beauty of the flower.

Tagore 1861-1941

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1794 – 1822


This is the beauty of the soul

  • the splendor of the light of human reason,
  • of divine reason and wisdom,

breaking forth from the soul to give life and beauty to the actions of man.

Walter Farrell, O.P.


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The soul has a double principle of order;

  • the reason of man
  • the reason and wisdom of God

Both of these carry with them the notion of light, of clarity, of splendid illumination.

  • The one is the light in the hands of a wayfarer, guiding each of his steps, sweeping about the dark world around him in a constant revelation of truth, of goodness, of
  • The other is the powerful creative beacon that calls into being the path followed by the pilgrim man, that creates the beauty he sees, and that calls him home to the source of all beauty.

Walter Farrell, O.P.

Sin is the enemy of beauty, for sin is the enemy of virtue.

Walter Farrell, O.P.

We can picture venial sin graphically as the ropes that securely bind the hands and feet of a man; they do no intrinsic injury to man’s ability to act, but certainly they hinder his activities.

There is, then, a grave danger in venial sin, the grave danger of slipping bit by bit into mortal sin and so into the eternity of hell’s punishment.

Walter Farrell, O.P.


These statements are based on the SUMMA THEOLOGICA by Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225 – 1274).  They are not easy reading.  Chesterton can explain why this complexity is inevitable.

When once one believes in a creed, one is proud of its complexity, as scientists are proud of the complexity of science.  It shows how rich it is in discoveries.  If it is right at all, it is a compliment to say that it’s elaborately right.  A stick might fit in a hole or a stone a hollow by accident.  But a key and a lock are both complex.  And if a key fits a lock, you know it is the right key.

G. K. Chesterton  ORTHODOXY


One early Friday morning this fall I was witnessing at PP.  I noticed a young woman standing alone nearby, finishing a cigarette.  I removed my prolife sign and walked over.  As we talked, I offered her our little yellow and black card that outlines Pittsburgh area free help for crisis pregnancy.  Although she accepted the card, she walked into PP telling me that she “was just going in for a checkup.”

Was it was outrageous of me to bother this young woman whom I did not know?  But I do know her.  And, what I offered her was just a pin point of light.

I offered her our quite small, two sided, 2 x 3 ½ inch black and yellow card.

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The light of hope offered on this tiny card is available due to the beauty of the love of too-numerous-to-count volunteers who stand ready to help her and her baby in their crisis.

She and I had just begun to talk about beauty.  She deserves that as much as I do.  It is what her Father created her for.

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JEANNIE Shift Manager/ Injured Reserve

A month ago I was cycling and was hit by a car.  Lying on the pavement immediately after the accident I was acutely aware of my surroundings—noises of traffic and pedestrians (a few had stopped to assist me), horns and radios…  I also heard the hysterical voice of the driver who hit me screaming that she had just “killed someone on a bike”…. I tried to do my best to let her know I was alive, but all I could utter was “I’m OK.  I’m OK.”  It was a truly chaotic situation.

As I lay waiting for help, and aware that I was unable to move,  I purposefully envisioned handing God my broken body.  I entrusted Him (again as always), to care for me in that very moment and all that would follow.   I suddenly felt a wave of peace.  I had no idea how hurt I was, or what lay ahead for me.  All that mattered was that God was in charge, and I trusted Him. Everything was going to be OK!

The EMTs soon arrived and the severity of my injuries became clear as I described my pain to them.  Trust in the Lord prevailed and allowed me to calmly explain who I was, what had happened, and who the police should be in contact with.   I’ve always believed I’ve trusted in God, but that evening, as I lay broken on the pavement, trust in Him brought me holy peace in body and soul.

As my fellow shift managers witness for life on the sidewalk, I pray that you can each feel the true peace that comes from turning this effort for LIFE over to God.  Place into God’s hands all those who the devil has conscripted – He alone can bear the burden of this holy battle; TRUST HIM alone!

With gratitude for the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I unite my daily prayers to yours as we labor to build the Kingdom of God on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood.  Trust brings Peace!

In Life


DEE sends us GOOD NEWS.

The Carmelite Nuns of Erie PA

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

We are remembering the 40 days of Prayer in our prayers this month, grateful for all the prayers, efforts and sacrifices made by the participants on behalf of God’s little ones under attack in what should be the safest place for them — their mother’s womb.

Yes, our battle is not with earthly powers, but with the principalities of darkness, the kind that Jesus said could only be cast out by prayer and fasting.  God grant success to your work of love and may Our Lord ever be your strength and Our Lady your comfort in this struggle for life. The fast of our Order is September 14, until Easter, so we are with you.!!!”

Sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Your devoted Carmelite Nuns

Carmelite Nuns of Loretto PA 

40 Days for Life is being remembered in the prayers and sacrifices of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Be assured of our prayerful support during Pittsburgh’s 40 “Days for Life Campaign September 27 – November 5.  May St. Therese obtain choice graces to assist mothers, save babies and end abortion!

God bless you!

Mother John of the Cross, OCD, and Community

Passionist Nuns of Pittsburgh

We join with 40 Days for Life in praying that pregnant mothers will love and cherish these babies ande there will be an end to abortion.

May God bless your work and save many babies and keep all of you safe during your vigils.

While we pray for this intention throughout the day, we pray especially during Holy Mass at 8:00 and from 5 – 6:30 PM during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every day.

Sincerely in Christ,

Sister Mary Ann, C. P.

Vincentian Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

We will be praying the daily Rosary in community for your intentions. The Sisters will do penance privately.


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After learning several days ago that the People of God Covenant Community had adopted this morning’s vigil hours, I found myself really looking forward to my shift on the sidewalk.  It’s so uplifting to spend time with men and women who truly love the Lord and strive to live in a way that pleases Him.  Thank you to Pat, Ben, Bill, Patty, and Tom for the prayers, songs, witness, and fellowship.  And thank you to Sunday regulars Vince and Dan who have become like family…it’s always wonderful to share the vigil with you.  Lots of passers-by were happy to accept the yellow resource cards, the dear woman who always asks about Sally stopped to chat, and Bill came by to pray on his way to church.




Thanks to the wonderful people from St. Bernard’s who came today.

Marilyn and Thomas
Marilyn and Thomas
Phil and Rich
Phil and Rich



I arrived to the sight of the large, very faithful “P” family who hail both from my home parish and from People of God Covenant Community. I’ve been blessed to share vigil hours with this family and Community in the past, so I knew they have a very effective way of bringing the Holy Spirit to the vigil. This time was no exception! More members of the Community joined us as the shift went on, and we sang and prayed the whole time. The light breeze blowing this morning was not the only wind blowing at the vigil today – the Holy Spirit made His presence known!

About halfway through our shift, a very nice couple respectfully approached us and asked if I could please move my van, which I had parked on Liberty in front of PP on the west side. The Acro Cats bus was back in town! I moved the van, and the couple pulled the bus up and parked it, leaving its motor running for the rest of the shift. As it did recently during the vigil, the phrase on the bus “foster and rescue” (meaning cats) struck one of our participants as ironic. We prayed that it might strike passersby the same way – specifically, how much more important fostering and adopting humans is than doing the same for cats.

A woman came by asking for literature regarding rape and domestic violence. She noted the card I gave her that listed contact info for women’s shelters and said she would try calling them, and I assured her they would have the information she needs. I did not get her name. Please pray for her.

People of God Covenant Community Faithful Prayer Warriors
People of God Covenant Community Faithful
Prayer Warriors



These three prayer warriors prayed the rosary with great fervency. It was like a shower of grace that people walked through as they went to the cat circus. The cat bus was pouring out some fumes but, luckily there was a nice breeze.

Saint Gregory Parish
Gary, David, Barb, St. Gregory Parish



Regulars Jim and Cathy from St. Gregory’s in Zelienople joined me for my shift. Beautiful people, beautiful souls, pleasant shift. How delightful to witness for our Jesus.

All glory and praise is his.


And God saw that it was good.





DAY 12: THANK YOU, St. Monica Catholic Church, Beaver Falls; Transfiguration Catholic Church, Russelton; Individual Prayer Volunteers

MUSIC is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life.  There’s not some trick involved with it.  It’s pure and it’s real.  It moves, it heals, it communicates, and does all those incredible things.

Tom Petty 1950-2017

Tom Petty is one of many people who feel called to muse about the mystery we call music.

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There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Pythagoras 582BC-497 BC

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.

Plato 427BC – 347BC

I call architecture frozen music.

Goethe 1749-1832

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.

Beethoven 1770-1827

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo 1802-1882

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Anderson 1805-1875

Music is the universal language of mankind.

Longfellow 1807-1882

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Berthold Auerbach 1812-1882

Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence.

Bach 1865-1750

I try to apply color like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

Miro 1893-1983

A nation that has no music and no fairy tales is a tragedy.

Ai Weiwei 1950

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And suddenly there was with the angel

a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.’

Luke 2:12-14

According to the evangelist, the angels “said” this. But Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song….

And so, from that moment, the angels’ song of praise has never gone silent.  It continues down the centuries in constantly new forms and it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI JESUS of NAZARETH, The Infancy Narratives

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The most beautiful “Ave Maria” I have ever heard is actually called, “The Most Beautiful ‘Ave Maria’ I’ve ever heard”.  Google the title or click on .

Here is the text.  Use it as you sing along.


Ave Maria,

gratia plena,

Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu

in mulieribus,
et benedictus

fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria.

Ave Maria,

Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis

nunc et in hora

mortis nostrae.


This music video features the Visitation scene from Franco Zeffirelli’s, JESUS OF NAZARETH, 1977.

The music is the “Ave Maria” by Michael Lorenc.  Russian soprano Olga Szyrowa is singing, oh, so very beautifully.

Mary, newly pregnant with Jesus, is assisted by neighbors and sent off by her mother Ann, to visit her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist.

Each mother greets the other and joy fills the scene.

I watched and learned to sing along… slowly, laboriously…loving it.

But then with a shocked wrenched heart, I remembered the rest of the story.

According to one world view, these joyfully anticipated babies came to a bad end.  Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were captured and killed.

Beauty and ferocious evil  are real.

“Therefore we must not in our own day conceal our faith in creation.  We may not conceal it, for only if it is true that the universe comes from freedom, love, and reason, and that these are the real underlying powers, can we trust one another, go forward into the future, and live as human beings.”

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI ‘In the Beginning…’

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Music can evoke terrible scorching longing.  This longing hurts so much that some people lock the door to their heart.  But longing can be a gift of God.  C. S. Lewis said that we must learn to eat the food of heaven or starve to death eternally.

Feeling captured by a crisis pregnancy, parents fear that letting their baby live will kill their hopes and dreams.

Trusting Goodness Incarnate, these parents must learn to open their heart to the beautiful music this new baby is created to bring to their life.

If they are unable to learn this lesson before choosing abortion, God promises to meet them in their repentance, if they choose that while they still have time.

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….. From the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh Bench:

This accident and the ongoing recovery has reminded me just how fragile and vulnerable a human body is— When I read the daily accounts of my 40 Days for Life  brothers and sisters in Christ during the first weeks of this vigil I feel I am transported to the sidewalk where you all stand in  faith.

Human bodies are weak and broken and needy.  Tiny ones need our voices, hurt and scared ones need our strength, the cold need warmth and many are hungry for sustenance of all types. In our Lord’s name you reach out your human hands and voices to provide comfort and hope.  Please know you do not stand alone!   Just as prayer has lifted me up during this healing time, know that I am honored and humbled to be a part of this body of Christ on the sidewalk seeking to wrap our arms around each life created in the image of God.

In Life and with Prayer, Jeannie

SM-Injured Reserve

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Tom and Diane got the vigil rolling this morning with their daily delivery of resources and inspiration.  Talk about TRUST–giving up the time for this task twice a day for forty straight days, campaign after campaign, knowing that God will use their sacrifice for great good!

I was blessed to share the sidewalk with peaceful, prayerful Patty for the full shift.  Thank you for being there this morning and for all you do in defense of Life!

Shortly after we began, a young man stopped to talk to us.  He said that he knows abortion is wrong but that it has to be available in case of rape.  We pointed out that the abortion would further traumatize the woman and that the child conceived is an innocent victim as well.  While he wouldn’t concede either point, he was very respectful throughout and hopefully walked away with greater awareness that might one day change his mind.

Faithful Bill stopped by with an urgent prayer request for a troubling situation.  Please pray for a young woman, possibly still a teenager, who is in her second trimester of pregnancy and in the throes of addiction.  Pray for the baby, who will be born addicted, as well–if lucky enough to make it to birth at all.  And pray for Bill, who is experiencing such anguish that he is unable to help them.

One of the last people who stopped to talk was a man who said that he has six girls and is now awaiting the birth of his seventh child.  He happily accepted a yellow resource card.

Mary from St. Monica joined us at the end, planning to stay until 11 AM with shift manager Sue.  Thank you both for allowing us to pass the baton to keep the vigil going!

Mary and Patty

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So prayerful this morning!  I was blessed again today with a peaceful shift, along with fellow prayers Mary and Pat.  We prayed, a lot.

There was quite a bit of foot traffic — Steeler game attendees.  I always try not to get distracted (as a shift manager, this can be tricky), but sometimes I wonder what the passersby are thinking as they see our signs and hear us pray.  I noticed that one man appeared to close his eyes for the entire time he was walking past PP.  I wondered what that was all about  — and if his eyes really were closed, as they appeared to be!

A few positive responses, but mostly people were just “neutral.”  Many thanks to Pat and Mary for their faithfulness in prayer this morning.  Our Lord hears, and He is getting ready to answer us in a big way or ways!!!

Pat, Mary and Sue
Pat, Mary and Sue

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All was quiet from 11 to 1 p.m. today. We did not have one negative comment and had several people who were happy we were standing for life.

I could call it a good day but as long as abortions are performed at 933 Liberty Avenue, I’ll reserve calling it a good day until they close their doors for good.

Thanks to all who came to pray and witness today.

Transfiguration Parish Prayer Warriors
Transfiguration Parish
Prayer Warriors

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Cole, Bernadette, Amy, Joan, Judy Transfiguration Parish
Cole, Bernadette, Amy, Joan, Judy
Transfiguration Parish

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Prayer Warriors Cathy, Jim, and Philline united their prayers to change hearts on the front line.
Gods’ Grace is abundant !

Cathy, Jim and Philline
Cathy, Jim and Phillene

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Dave hung out for half my shift evangelizing.  So good to see him and catch up. Joe prayed humbly and relentlessly for the whole shift.  Thank you Joe and well done.

I had the reward of some inspiring encounters with a fellow fighter for life, and a 16 yr old young man who was interested in the truth. God is so good.

For a losing home Steelers game my shift was fairly tame (the normal,“you don’t have a vag…” rants). Though, one man (20s) shoved his middle finger so close to my face he tickled my nose hairs. I can’t believe how fast those pesky hairs grow as I age.

It’s such a blessing to be a tiny part of this movement.

May God’s will be done in us.


Dave and Joe Fierce Warriors
Dave and Joe
Fierce Warriors

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And God saw that it was good.