Day 12: THANK YOU: Saint Colman Catholic Church, Turtle Creek; Saint Mary of the Assumption, Herman; Passionist Nuns; The Ark and the Dove; Scheduled Prayer Witnesses Bill D., Bill E., Joe, Kristy, Margie, Rose, Susan, Vince; Passionist Nuns; The Ark and the Dove; Bishop David Zubik

Thank you, Bishop Zubik, for coming to pray with us.




A perfect wife – who can find her?

She is far beyond the price of pearls.

Her husband’s heart has confidence in her.

From her he will derive no little profit.

When she opens her mouth, she does so wisely.

On her tongue is kindly instruction.

She holds out her hand to the poor.

She opens her arms to the needy.

She finds her labor well worth while.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty.

The woman who is wise is the one to praise.

Book of Proverbs


How does a woman become wise?  Prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance are four parts of the map that show us our way.

In our daily struggle to be a good person, our hearts must battle with habits of sinfulness; pride, covetousness, envy, anger, gluttony, lust and sloth.

In our struggle, it is God himself who is working in us by his mysterious action.  It is a gift beyond our power to understand.  God accomplishes it in us.  Our part is to consent to it.  The struggle hollows us out and thereby increases our capacity for God.

Gregory the Great as quoted in Love of Learning and the Desire for God

Prudence helps us in all circumstances to judge correctly about what we must do or must not do.  It teaches us when and how to act in matters relating to our eternal salvation.

Justice shows us how to give people what belongs to them.  It teaches us to give what is due to God and what is due to our neighbor.

Fortitude gives us the strength to do good and to avoid evil in spite of all obstacles.

Temperance helps us control our desires and to use rightly the things which please our senses.

As we work hard to be virtuous, our failures, as well as our successes, teach us.


A mother is swamped with bad feelings when she shows up at PP for her abortion.  She blames her pregnancy for how bad she feels.  She wants to “do this.”  She wants her old life back.

Are prolife witnesses clueless annoying tiresome people?  Are we out of touch with reality?

Is abortion the solution for this woman, with her set of circumstances, at this time in her life?

Absolutely not!

We do not witness on the sidewalk only to provide her with promises of baby diapers and a crib.

God calls us to share the wisdom the Bible, Old and New Testament, shares with us.  God calls us to share the wisdom the myriad of God’s witnesses have shared since the beginning.

In each generation Wisdom passes into holy souls,

she makes them friends of God and prophets;

for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.

She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other,

ordering all things for good.

Book of Wisdom


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

And this is the verdict that the light came into the world.

But people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil.

But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,

so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Gospel according to John


God calls each of us.  When we turn to Him, he equips each of us according to our particular needs.

He knows what we need so much better than we do.

Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.

Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,

for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.

Gospel according to Luke






JEN 7-9

My “Shift Buddy” Vince and I enjoyed beautiful weather and a quiet street this morning.  It gave us the chance to pray through all 40 mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  We had several encouraging remarks from people walking by and only one disapproving look that I noticed.  As we were wrapping up, we were joined by Betty, Arlene, and Bill from St. Coleman in Turtle Creek as well as our own faithful Bill.  They were coming to pray with Sue and Ken for the next shift.  God bless all of you who have joined our prayers for an end to the pain and sorrow that abortion causes!

Vince, Betty, Arlene, Bill
Early Sunday Morning!


SUE M. 9-11

How fitting that our 40 Days Devotion of the day has as its theme the Humility of God, our vigil theme this fall!

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny fall morning, and I was blessed to be joined by prayer volunteers Arlene & Bill and Marc & Linda from St. Colman, along with Ken from St. Mary Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Betty (shift manager Lisa M’s mom), and “regular” Patty.

Bill H. stopped by to share a lovely wedding picture of his son and his new wife, who got married yesterday.

An older man carrying a rolled-up sleeping bag stopped to join us for a few decades of the Rosary.  Another man driving a noisy industrial cart along the sidewalk made the sign of the cross as he and his cart clattered by.  And another man passing by, who identified as a Marine, thanked us for being there.

Most of the rest of the passersby were earlybird Steelers-goers.

At one point, a city employee sweeping the sidewalk came by and swept up one of the flowers that had been left on the sidewalk by a 7-9 shift attendee, saying it was trash on the street – Arlene explained to him why they are part of the vigil and retrieved the flower.  The event was rather symbolic of why we are there.

For Life

Prayer Warriors
Ken, Marc, Patty, Arlene, Bill, Betty, Linda



Oh, if only the beautiful weather today could be so throughout our 40 days. Not only was the weather outstanding so were those who came to witness and pray with us.

Feeling grateful.

Susan B.
Witness for Life
Our Lady of Grace



It was a beautiful day (weather-wise) this afternoon during the 1-3 shift.  There were relatively few people around and relatively few comments or responses from passersby apart from the woman who passed us twice and said “Planned Parent saves women’s lives”.  I don’t think she had any interest whatsoever in discussing that.  And there some encouraging comments as well.

But, the thing that struck me was that people notice us being there.  When people pass by they see us there and wonder why we are there and figure it out.  It really raises awareness.

Sunny Day Prayer Warriors




We received your letter for 40 Days for Life and are praying to close the Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood abortion mill.

Be assured of our prayers for all of you and this very important intention.

We will pray during our daily prayers as well as offer a bi-monthly Mass.


Sr. Bernadette

Sr. Mary Gianna

The Ark and the Dove

Gibsonia PA


We are happy to join in praying with 40 Days for Life to close the abortion mills in Pittsburgh.

We pray that the life of every child will be protected and loved as God’s precious gift.

While we pray for respect for life every day, we will remember 40 Days in a special way during exposition of the

Blessed Sacrament every day from 5pm to 6:30 pm.

Thank you, for all you are doing to witness and protect life.

Devoted in Christ,

Sister Mary Ann, CP

Passionist Nuns


And God saw that it was good.








Day 4: THANK YOU: Holy Wisdom Parish; Saint John XXIII Parish; Little Sisters of the Poor; Poor Clares of Langhorne; Religious of the Good Shepherd; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth at St. Louise Convent; Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill; Sisters of Saint Francis; We Are One Body Radio






It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything.

Everywhere in things there is this element of the quiet and incalculable.



One summer evening, as dusk became night, I watched as our yellow forsythia “became” black forsythia.

Google tells me that our living room couch, fluffy and reliably cozy, is composed of constantly careening whirling infinitesimal items.


Everything around us is made up of atoms, one of the basic units of matter.

Atoms are a million times smaller than the thickest human hair.

One of the four basic forces in nature holds the nucleus together.

The electrons, thousands of times lighter, whirl around the nucleus at speeds approaching that of light.


I checked this out and discovered that the color inexactitude of my forsythia is reasonable.  My couch has enough exactitude to feel fluffy and cozy to me


According to a March, 2018 press release, the Government Accountability Office  reported on the taxpayer funding levels of three abortion providers: Planned Parenthood Federation of America , Marie Stopes International , and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

In short, more than $1.5 billion in tax dollars went to abortion providers over a three-year period between 2013 and 2015.






Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance?

Gird up your loins now, like a man;

I will question you, and you tell me the answers!

Where were you when I founded the earth?

Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid its cornerstone,

while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?



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

5,605 total campaigns

769 cities

50 countries

750,000 individual participants

19,000 churches

14,643 lives saved from abortion

177 abortion workers quit their jobs

96 abortion facilities closed

We don’t know what surprises the Lord has in store in the future … but we’ve certainly seen His hand at work thus far in response to your prayers.

Shawn Carney










TIM 7-9

When I arrived at the vigil under a beautiful moonlit morning, I saw a woman from Holy Wisdom Parish already kneeling in prayer outside of pp.  What an inspiration to start my day.  A little later three women were across the street walking together toward the convention center. One of them broke away from the group, cut across the street and headed directly toward us.  She approached us and said “I really appreciate what you are doing.  Thank you for being here.”  What a great gift her words were to us.

Bill, Tim, Sue
Early Saturday
Saturday Morning Super Stars
Chris, Sue D, Bill S., Bill H., Tim


SUE D 9-11

I showed up with a rose cut from my yard and placed it on the yellow line. Later on a passerby walking by with an arrangement of “greens” picked it up and was so happy to have found a flower. I don’t think she realized the significance, but maybe she will understand if she continues to walk by in the next 40 days. There were people from Barbara’s parish praying when I got there and the number of people continued to increase as the shift went on. Students from Grove City came and were a wonderful witness standing with pro-life signs across from the doors of Planned Parenthood. Many prayers and literature were offered to the many people entering today. My buddy shift managers Sue and Barbara were there when I left with a very large group praying outside the circle. Thank you to everyone who came out today!

Alisa, Paige, Jonathan, Elissa
Grove City Students


SUE M 9-11

Faithful Pro Life Family
Saints Peter and Paul Parish


DEAN 11-1

Hello all. While it was comforting to see many familiar 40DFL faces, it is still sad, gathering together, once again at Planned Parenthood.

A band was playing a few doors up from where we were. This lightened the mood, and also discouraged would-be debaters.

I didn’t get any photos. Barbara was the shutterbug today. Kudos to her and the people from Holy Wisdom and Saint John XXIII for standing strong in prayer.

Rose, Al, Sally
Saint John XXIII
Latin Mass Community




Saint John XXIII Parish
Super Stars
Latin Mass Community


Latin Mass




Good music, serious silent prayer, and delightful company accompanied 2 hours on sidewalk.

First encounter: a couple who looked like models stopped, the man smiled and remembered coming to pray as a boy. Appreciated that we were making a stand.

Second encounter: mother showing six year old daughter the beauty of developing baby. Beside her stopped woman who talked about miscarriage then whipped out her phone to show 6 year and 8 year old son and daughter.

Greatly appreciated Barbara and Nina.

Kathy, Shift Manager and Nina, Saint John XXIII Parish





Mother Mary Vincent at the Little Sisters of the Poor received your letter about the 40 Days for Life.  Thank you for sharing this.  All of the Little Sisters here in Pittsburgh will join you in prayer to protect mothers and their children from abortion. While we physically cannot be by your side for the vigils we will be with you spiritually.  Thank you!



Thank you for your prayer request for 40 Days for Life beginning on September 26 through November 4th.

Your request will be posted on our bulletin board near our chapel and will serve as a constant reminder as we come together for daily Mass, prayer and adoration throughout the day.

We thank God for the many team members who will be holding Vigil for the closure of Planned Parenthood Abortion Mills.  We pray that many hearts will be touched and converted to recognize and celebrate the new life God brings to expectant mothers and fathers.  We especially pray that women will also receive the ongoing multi-faceted support they need (before and after the birth of the child.)

Thank you for your devotion and efforts to uphold LIFE!

May God bless you and all the Team members!

United in prayer,

Your Poor Clare Sisters – Langhorne



We will be praying for Pittsburgh 40 Days although we will be out of state at that time.



We will offer our community Rosary for the intentions of ending abortions and the closing of the Planned Parenthood Abortion Mill on Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa. for the 40 days.

Blessings on your efforts!

Sister Anne Kull, SCN. Coordinator, St. Louise Convent



We will participate during morning hours from 7 am to 11am on specified weekdays during the 40 Days for Life Campaign.



Each Sister has been asked to pray and fast if possible.


And God saw that it was good.








Day 40…THANK YOU! Lifeline Volunteers, Butler; Word of God Parish, Madonna del Castello Church, Swissvale/ Braddock; Saint Agnes, West Mifflin; Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Armstrong County

Look at these guys!  A tiny toy bear and gorilla.  Are they what the first 40 Days for Life witnesses looked like to Planned Parenthood?

When our first coordinated 40 DAYS FOR LIFE campaign hit the pavement in front of Planned Parenthood in Texas, 2007, did Planned Parenthood yawn?  Look at these guys! No money…no numbers…no power…no looks!  No problem!

Our sisters and brothers at PP have eyes, but they cannot see.

No money. No numbers. No power. No looks.

Do we need the influence of powerful people?

Do we need their bags of money?

Surely not!  BORING!

We bring prayer, fasting and witness to the sidewalk.

God defines the goal.

God accomplishes the mission.

  We are God’s “pencils.”

Finding the words to show this from the inside, where our hearts can see, where all the action takes place, needs an expert.  Let’s enlist Gregory the Great, 540-604 AD.  Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., THE LOVE OF LEARNING AND THE DESIRE FOR GOD, is where I first heard Gregory talk about God.

Gregory the Great experiences and describes spiritual states with great subtlety.  His experience gives him a strong sense of human suffering, a strong sense of the effects of Original Sin and the value of weakness and temptation for spiritual progress.

At the root of this concept of the Christian life is a lively awareness of man’s misery.

Man’s wretchedness comes from his physical nature, from Original Sin, and from the egoism which harries each one of us.  Egoism is always on the watch and tends to vitiate all our actions, even the good ones.

It must be put to rout constantly.   This is necessary at the outset of our actions.  We must purify our intentions.  It is necessary during our actions, and again at the end, for it is always a menace to us.

The love of the world lulls us. But, as if by a thunderclap, the attention of the soul is recalled to God.


Compunction is an act of God in us, an act by which God awakens us, a shock, a blow, a “sting,” a sort of burn.

Compunction is a gift beyond our power to understand.

It is God Himself who is working in us by His mysterious action.

This action of God is accomplished in us by all kinds of trials, the thousands of sufferings of life,

sin itself, and, above all, temptation.

Permission to tempt man is given by God to the demon because of the benefit resulting from temptation.

Temptation encourages the purification of intentions, it humbles, and it is a cure for pride.

This is why God accepts the risk involved.  Temptation and even sin are less grave than pride.


With humility there grows the desire for Him who alone can fill our inner emptiness.

Compunction hollows us and thereby increases our capacity for God.

The force of love intensifies the spiritual quest.  A new weight carries the soul toward God, the weight of love.

The soul hardened by egoism becomes tender.  The cold soul is warmed and cleansed of its rust.

Brought back to its true center of gravity, converted, the soul is simplified and freed.

The Lord accomplishes this in us.

Our part is to consent to it.


One must above all, and first of all, make oneself sensitive to this invisible action of God.


The ultimate role of compunction is to bring to the soul a longing for Heaven.

The soul does not become indifferent or unfeeling.

At peace, it enjoys tranquility.

It consents to its condition, which it understands better.

It consents to God.

It accepts its tasks.

It grows in stature, and as it were, is dilated.

The soul becomes fruitful in the service of God.

Daniel 3:91-92, 95

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Certainly, O king,” they answered.

“But,” he replied, “I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him.”

Special thanks to the following religious communities for their commitments to pray for us during these 40 days:

Sisters of the Divine Redeemer; Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden; Monastery of Saint Clare, Langhorne; Carmelites of Erie; Felician Sisters of Coraopolis; Carmelites of Elysburg; Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy

And a special thanks to WAOB Radio!


Through the end of 2017, local 40 Days for Life 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.









Today was the coldest Sunday morning of the whole campaign, but that didn’t stop Rose, Vince, or Bill from joining me on the sidewalk to pray for the cause of life.  We were able to help a homeless woman who stopped, and Rose gave out many of the sweet little “story of your life” brochures.  One young man took a brochure and headed off down the street, stopped halfway down the block, and then came back to us.  He asked if we are a pro-life group and thanked us heartily for being there when he heard that we are.  As one of my sidewalk mates put it, that was a “warm hug from God.”

To every person who has been a part of this 40 Days for Life campaign, I share that thanks and that hug with you–God bless you all!

Bill, Rose, Vince, Faithful Sunday Morning PrayerWwarriors

Sue wrote from the 9-11 shift:

Well, if March is going to go out like a lamb, it had better change its ways soon!!  It was as cold a day as I’ve ever experienced on the sidewalk.  Yet that did not deter my prayer companions Kathy, Patty, and JoAnne.  JoAnne came all the way from East Palestine, OH to her first 40 Days vigil ever.  We prayed from the Psalms, the Rosary, and the petitions on the back of the signs.  Passersby were generally friendly or neutral, although we did have a single negative comment from a young man.  A large group from Butler, PA arrived toward the end of the shift, along with several others.  Sidewalk Advocate Jim joined us later in the shift.  As Kathy and I were leaving, we had a chance to minister to a young woman who said she was stranded in town (well, Kathy actually did all of ministering!).   Long story short, although the woman did have other needs, Kathy was able to buy her a warm meal at Arby’s.  The woman told us she had three children and also expressed that she is pro-life.


Patty, Kathy and Joanne brave the cold this morning!

Lamb or no lamb, the end of this March focuses intensely on The Lamb — The Lamb of God — who does take away the sins of the world.  We know he will bring about the end to abortion in His time.  I have been privileged to have taken part in this vigil, as I have in years of 40 Days for Life vigils here in Pittsburgh.  I would like to thank each and every participant who has stood with me this Lent; indeed, I thank everyone who has been on the sidewalk at any time this Lent.  And I thank Nikki and Diane & Tom and all of the organizers of this vital ministry.  May God bless you all with a joyous Easter and with blessings all year ’round! 

For Life, Sue M.


“Wonderful people” is how to describe all those who participate in 40 days. The wonderful R. family from St. Bernard’s, Debbie, Jeannie, Barb, Ed and Chris from Lifeline in Butler, Isaac and Anita from St. Paul’s in Butler were all great prayer warriors and compadres. Their presence and their prayers and sacrifice helped to warm us on this cold Sunday.

Wonderful R Family
Saint Bernard’s Parish
Debbie, Jean, Barb
Lifeline, Butler
Ed and Chris
Lifeline, Butler
Isaac and Anita
St. Paul’s, Butler



We prayed for 2 hours straight!

The sun was shining and I know that good triumphs over evil. One day Planned Parenthood will close down!

Sunny Sunday
Word of God, Madonna del Castello, Swissvale, Braddock
Parishioners come to pray



Bricklayers: Today, I was struck by the rather unique  brick design of the Planned Parenthood building. Some very talented masons built that brick facade long ago. If it wasn’t such a sad place of death and destruction, and if the windows and building weren’t filthy, you can almost imagine that once upon a time before Roe vs. Wade that it was a nice building,  maybe even pretty. The other thought that struck me was that ironically, Planned Parenthood is closed on Sunday and all major Christian Holidays (except, sadly, their most prolific killing day on Good Friday).

I guess in a way, the unique brick design and the Judeo-Christian days of operation give me hope that:

1) We are all bricklayers for Life, being used as masons for God as he creates his unique design in each and every one of us, even the passersby, victims and workers of PPH.  We are in a way building on His Foundation, one “brick” at a time, a shelter for the hopeless; and

2) Since PP is closed on Sunday, Christmas and Easter, that despite themselves, they are closer to God and His Commandments than they realize or will admit to.

So keep praying and laying those “bricks”, good people of 40 Days for Life. You are creating a shelter from the storm; hope for the hopeless.

Thank you dear prayer warriors from St Agnes, St. John XXIII, St. John’s of Delmont and Our Lady of Guadalupe for your witness today, for getting your hands full of “mortar” while toiling for God’s beautiful design. And for singing gorgeously while bricklaying!

Sunday Sidewalk Prayer Warriors


Witnesses begin to arrive for Closing Rally today.


God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Genesis 1:31








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!








blog1sjp, caroline

blog1s jp, joe


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!