Day 18: Thank you to St. Maria Goretti Parish, Christ our Savior Parish, Oil City Catholic Community, Sidewalk Advocates, and Individual Volunteers!

Editor’s Note: Our regular Saturday blogger, Jeannie, is “off duty” for her son’s wedding day. We rejoice with them and hold them all in prayer!


Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM, Tim:

The day started when it was dark and dry with little street activity.  The normal Saturday pp escorts were not there, which we take to mean as a very good sign that no abortions were being performed. We were joined by Carolina and later Dan from St Maria Goretti. 
The wind and rain came making our witness even stronger especially Amy, along with Vince from Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, who knelt in prayer. Thao, Jimmy and Bill, the frequent prayer warriors prayed in the rain as well. Several people passed and thanked us for being there. Peace and joy. 

Tim
Saturday regulars Virginia, Joe, Chuck, Bill and Carolina
Amy in prayer

9-11 AM, Sue:

I arrived in the chilly rain to find no PP escorts on the sidewalk, and Joe, Tim, Bill, Charlie and Amy H., and Thao holding down the prayer/outreach efforts.  Shortly after I arrived for my shift, Sister Jolenta arrived with a beautiful dozen of red roses.  On her birthday, she wanted to bring them in honor of, and to come and pray for, the babies who will never see a birthday.  As she was telling me the story, a man stopped by to talk.  He expressed much concern for his sister, “A,” who is addicted to drugs and is about 6 months pregnant and was asking for resources for anywhere that could help her.  We gave him the yellow card and encouraged him to call Women’s Choice Network or Choices Pregnancy Care Center and that they would be able to guide him to medical and emotional help for both his sister and the baby.  We promised prayers for all of them.  He thanked us and went on his way.  Please pray for “A” and her baby.
Although very few folks entered PP for the first hour of the shift, business picked up considerably after 10:00.  We prayed for and reached out to each person entering and exiting.  Sidewalk Advocate Sue D. spoke several times to a young woman who had just exited PP and was waiting for a ride.  Sue was not sure of the reason she’d been in PP, but she accepted literature, including post-abortive healing literature.  Sidewalk Advocate Judy was also able to give healing literature to a woman whose daughter was inside having an abortion and had said it was too late to go back inside to try to convince her to change her mind.  Although I’d been told several times, this solidified for me the sad fact that no escorts does not mean no abortions are going on there.  Please pray for all of these folks.
At one point we were sharing life events that are large parts of the reasons we are on the sidewalk praying.  Amy, who was adopted as a very young girl, shared how happy and thankful she is that her birth mom chose life.  I shared that my great-aunt had told me my grandma had had an abortion back in the ’40’s — my aunt or uncle.  A significant deal to me, as I only ever had one living uncle and no aunts.
Toward the end of the shift, Barbara and Richard arrived, sweet Barbara bearing three more dozens of red roses!  40 Days folks, keep up the prayers and fasting …… God is working!

Sue
Sr. Jolenta with her roses
Charlie & Amy H., with Dan from St. Maria Goretti, and Sr. Jolenta
Barbara with 3 dozen roses!
Sad sign in the window of the bar next door to PP
And another…

11 AM-1 PM, Dean:

Mostly it was a quiet afternoon that went by fairly quickly. A larger than usual amount of people were going into P.P. and refusing information abourt various pregnancy support groups. Continue to pray for eyes and ears to be opened.

Dean
Four men from Girard Alliance in Erie, who came to pray this afternoon.
Old Glory flying high above us on​ Liberty Avenue today.
Fellow shift Mgr. Barb, Jeanine, and folks from Christ Our Savior, Northside, on hand to pray.

1-3 PM, Barbara & Richard:

Our chilly rainy sidewalk blossomed into warm sunshine for our shift.
Actually, I was there from 11-3, witnessing with parishioners from Christ our Savior Parish, newly beginning on the North Side.  Our Pastor, Father Tony, joined us and the sidewalk blossomed again as he lead us in prayer with the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
This was the first time with 40 Days for fellow parishioner Jeannine and the second for Patrick whose parish is downtown. Tom passed out literature and his family accompanied him. Bill stopped by.
We brought roses and tossed them to adorn the sidewalk in honor of the children whose lives were taken by abortion today.
Many passers by gave us high signs of encouragement, warm smiles and “thank you.”
It is a blessing to belong to the Body of Christ.

Barbara
Patrick, Tom with his wife, Jenny, and two of their children
Richard, Shift Manager Dean, Jeanine, Sidewalk Advocate Sue

3-5 PM, Katie:

The 3-5 shift was not without its share of negative comments, but it was a wonderful day with Rick, his wife Shari, Shari’s sister and a handful of other individuals whose names I’m sorry I did not get. There were some people who told us that they were “praying with us” and others who gave us a “thumbs up” from their car, which was nice. There were negative comments from a woman walking by further down the sidewalk saying that she donates to Planned Parenthood very loudly so that we could hear her, another woman shouting “my body, my choice” (isn’t that phrase getting tiresome?), but the most notable comments came from a worker of the bar next door who shared many angry, expletive opinions with us, one of which included that he “hopes there is a hell so that we can burn there.” These are comments intended to get to us, of course, but we know that God and our cause are much bigger than the anger that causes these individuals to lash out at those of us that stand up for innocent life, and I pray that they find the strength to deal with whatever underlying issues are causing this anger before they keep continuing to destroy their souls. 

Katie

5-7 PM, Jeff and Billy:

Check back soon!

Day 17: Thank you to Pittsburgh Area Byzantine Churches, Round Hill Presbyterian Church, West Hills Baptist Church, and Individual Volunteers!

…But although her mind may say one thing, her emotional life and her body cells say another. If she has the abortion, the very cells of her body remember the pregnancy and know that the process of change that had been going on was stopped in an unnatural manner. Her body and her emotions tell her that she is a mother who has lost a child. And so it is not surprising that after the abortion, a pain begins to emerge from the depths of her heart. She has a loss to mourn, but cannot allow herself to grieve. Grieving would require admitting to herself that a child was killed in the abortion and that she shares responsibility for her child’s death. This is a very heavy burden to bear, and so, she resorts to denial in order to cope: denial of the baby’s humanity—”it wasn’t a baby so I have nothing to grieve or feel guilty about”—and denial of her emotional pain. “I should feel okay about this,” she reasons. “Everyone else does. I must not feel this way or think about the abortion.”

Abortion is an extremely unnatural experience for a woman’s body and her maternal instinct. Negative reactions are to be expected… 

…In a study done by Anne Speckhard, Ph.D, 85% of the women reported that they were surprised at the intensity of their emotional reaction to the abortion. These reactions included discomfort with children, feelings of low self-worth, guilt, feelings of anger, depression, grief, increased alcohol use, crying, inability to communicate and feeling suicidal…

Taken from “After the Abortion” by Sr. Paula Vandegaer. Sr. Paula is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Executive Director of International Life Services, and editor of Living World magazine. The entire article can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/after-the-abortion.cfm

Abortion hurts women and kills children. Our presence on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood may spare some of our sisters and brothers from this brutality. Even when we are unable to stop someone from going through those doors, we can still be the first sign of mercy for them when they come back through without their child. We pray that God will grant repose to the souls of the innocent, along with healing and forgiveness to all who were involved.

-Jen


Today’s Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM, Nikki & Amy:

 I was very grateful that sidewalk advocate Amy was there with me for the entire 7 to 9 shift. It was just the two of us, it was very quiet and peaceful, much time for prayer. It did seem busy with a few couples going in who looked abortion bound, sadly. One young woman really let me have it. I had tried to offer her information three times, she never told me to leave her alone, so I wasn’t sure if  she heard me or not, she started screaming in a very loud, high-pitched voice. I am sure she got everyone on liberty Avenue’s attention! She screamed that she is pregnant and is keeping the baby but that she had one abortion and it was her right and her choice, and that she was just here to support her friend, who I am assuming is having an abortion. Anyway, I couldn’t really get a word in, but I told her that I wasn’t judging her, just that we wanted to help, and all she had to do was tell me to leave her alone.  I pray that she will be healed from the hurt that is obviously under the surface. I was very happy to see the 9 to 11 shift arrive, with Kathy and Mary. 

Nikki
Amy and Nikki

9-11 AM, Kathy & Mary:

During my shift, prayers were offered individually and in group.  Deacon Dan led a beautiful prayer service asking for God’s mercy upon all.  A few passersby commented that they were glad we were there.  Only one young man accepted resources out of the several couples who entered pp. 
A pp employee changed the pledge-a-picketer amount to $52,000.

Kathy
Kathy and Mary
Gerry, Pat, shift buddy Mary, and Deacon Dan from the Nativity Church of the Mother of God in Dubois.  Friday regular Priscilla was present but didn’t want to be photographed.

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila & Lori:

So, for the 11-1 shift, it was the normal business as usual. There was a woman who was in and out of the clinic a few times to smoke. I asked if her daughter was having an abortion. She said it was a friend who is homeless, a drug addict and was raped, and that abortion was the only choice possible and that “my friend is the only one who can make this decision….there’s nothing I can say or do.” The woman did take a post-abortion healing sheet to share with her friend.

Sheila
Matt from Round Hill Presbyterian church,  Lori, and Mary
Walt and Dan

1-3 PM, Elaine & Bernie:

Check back soon!

3-5 PM, Pat:

A very pleasant and peaceful evening was a real blessing after a tough shift last Friday.  I was blessed also to once again have the company of Pastor Larry, his wife Karen, David, and his wife Sarah Jane – all from West Hills Baptist Church.  It seems that as long as I’ve been a SM, they’ve been coming down to the vigil on a Friday.  Thank you so much guys – and especially to David who does a great job passing out literature.  Thanks also to Bill H. who was there for the first part of my shift, and for SB Anthony who was there for nearly all of my shift.

Pat
Anthony, Bill, David, and Sarah Jane
Karen and Pastor Larry

5-7 PM, Missy & Bill:

It was relatively quiet for Friday night 5-7. Many thanks to Bill E., Bill D., Anthony, Mary and Thao for their prayers.  With God’s help we can be there for Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 God Bless!

Missy

Day 10: Thank you to Weirton Catholic Churches, City Center Parishes, and Individual Volunteers!

You’re probably familiar with the prayer above, composed by St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day many of us celebrate today. It’s such a perfect fit for what we do on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.

There is so much need of that peace at 933 Liberty Avenue.

So much hatred: of patient, of partner, of self…

So much injury: physical, mental, and spiritual…

So much error: thinking that abortion is the only way out, that providing it is showing compassion…

So much doubt: about the planned abortion, or about whether forgiveness and love can happen after an abortion…

So much despair: enough to drive a woman to seek the death of her child, or from trying in vain to talk her out of it, or from living with the guilt afterward…

So much darkness: used by the Evil One to hide his treachery against God’s children, to deceive us into thinking that abortion is a necessary part of messy modern life…

So much sadness: over the loss of a child, the loss of self-esteem, the lies and betrayal involved in abortion…

What a blessing to be used as a channel of God’s peace in a place where it is so desperately needed! He longs to pour out His charity, pardon, truth, faith, hope, light, and joy on His wounded children. When we stand vigil at PP, God can use us to grant comfort and relief to our sisters and brothers in anguish.

As we know from the next portion of the prayer, it will require sacrifice on our part. We will have to put the needs of others before our own. But as the final portion reminds us, that’s actually the best way to fulfill our own needs as well!

Won’t you please join us on the sidewalk?

-Jen


Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:

As we crossed the Veterans Bridge toward Pittsburgh I searched and found St. Mary’s Church lighting up the town on Mount Washington.  Easier to find were the pink topped buildings in town.  There must be an occasion that many Pittsburgh area feel strongly about.  The event Richard and I feel strongly about is the 40 Days for Life opportunity we share with hundreds of prolife people in our area.We began with Diane and Tom, arranging supplies on the sidewalk.  Every season Diane has improved and more finely tuned the supplies we have at hand to bring more people to take a stand for life.  Go Diane!!
Amy arrived almost immediately. She is a sidewalk counselor.  Last spring she tried to help a young lady choose life, but the young person went into PP.  Amy, Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish, took the Sidewalk Counselor Course and feels better equipped to help a young abortion vulnerable person when opportunity knocks.
Kraig, Saints John and Paul Parish, also arrived early.  He has been coming to witness for about 10 years.  Very recently a friend contacted him and tearfully reported that her doctor told her she would be unable to get pregnant.  Almost immediately, a young woman told us that she was going for abortion today because her doctor told her having a baby would kill her.
The pleasantly cool weather and many comfortable looking passersby gave no evidence to an uninformed person that babies were scheduled to be killed in that building today.
Priscilla arrived to pray the Rosary.  She comes year round.  She reported that she feels great reluctance about coming…so much reluctance that for a while she stopped coming.  Powerful Woman!!
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for Us.

Barb
Richard, Amy, and Kraig

Kathy and Mary, 9-11 AM:

Thanks to Sidewalk Advocate Kim, newcomer Sonya, shift buddy Mary, and vigiler Kraig.  Bill H stopped by too.
Cooler temp this morning which was pleasant.  Many coming to pp today.  Some accepted lit and one woman engaged conversation and appreciated the info on low income medical help for future need but still kept today’s appt for wellness exam.  It seems that as more negative comments occurred that some passerby thanked us for being there or other kind word.  

Kathy
Kim, Sonya, Mary, Kraig

Sheila and Lori, 11 AM-1 PM:

I had the pleasure of keeping vigil with Lori, Mary (St. Joseph’s church in Weirton) and Nadine. Meghan was there as well but didn’t want included in the picture.  The sidewalk was bustling and several couples entered PP during our shift – none of them accepted our resources.  At least five passersby stopped during our shift to thank us for being there and offered their prayers.  

Sheila

Elaine and Bernie, 1-3 PM:

Coming soon! Keep scrolling for more.

Pat, 3-5 PM:

Well, it was a rough crowd tonight.  I had more negative comments/yells than I’ve ever had before.  People were just plain nasty this afternoon.  In fact, while I was on the opposite side and other members of my group had their backs turned, a young woman got so furious at the fetal model display that she tried to tip it over into the street along with the sandwich board…and she was partially successful.  I, however, was too slow to react and didn’t even get a picture and she quickly walked past me in a rant.   One shining light, however, happened early in my shift.  A older and very thin woman (R), who told me she was 76, came up to me and told me that she had had an abortion long ago and regretted it and still suffers because of it.  She said, more than once, that while she already had five she could have handled one more, she could have handled six.  I happened to have a Rachael’s Vineyard brochure in my back pocket and gave it to her.  I also suggested that she may want to come out and join us and pray with us and that that might help the healing.  She said she would think about it.  Let’s all pray for her today.

Pat
Frank, Lori, Mary, and Chuck (from St. Joseph and Sacred Heart parishes in Weirton)
Mike and Val
In memory of the precious lives lost here
Thao and Mary
Bill H. and Bill E.

Missy and Bill, 5-7 PM:

It was relatively quiet from 5-7 tonight…and cooler! Many negative comments from people walking by…you know, the usual statements like “Women should have a choice!”, “These are not babies!”, and “Why do you have to be so judgemental?”

When we hear comments like this we need to be strengthened in our resolve and KNOW with all of our souls that we are absolutely doing the right thing by standing and praying to end abortion! The prince of darkness is not going to send his fiery darts against those who do his will, right? So stand… and pray knowing you are doing the will of Our Father in Heaven! Give thanks for the opportunity to serve Him!!! Oh…almost forgot…two teen girls walked by and were commenting on the model. We gave them the tiny baby models and information to show their friends. They both were Pro Life and wanted information to counter their teacher that was telling them they should be Pro Choice!!! God is good…ALL the time! God Bless!

Val and Mary
Bill
Thao, Mike, Elaine, Samantha

Day 3: Thank you to Riverside Community Church, Holy Sepulcher Parish, and Individual Volunteers

God has given me a vehicle…the gift of my life.

He has filled the tank with gas…His abundant Grace.

He’s provided something far more reliable than GPS to get me where I want to go…it’s HS (the Holy Spirit!)

All I need to do is put my foot on the gas pedal and not let up…in other words, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

I have a tendency to run off the road when all the cares and concerns of everyday life distract me. But none of my problems can be fixed by standing beside the car and staring at them.

Happily, God offers lifetime roadside assistance with this vehicle. Dear Lord, when I’m standing on the side of the road, perplexed and despairing, please help me to get back in the car and to drive straight toward You!!!

–Jen


Wherever we go and whatever we do during these 40 Days, may our unceasing prayer be focused on asking God to end abortion. And please join us on the sidewalk whenever possible, gathering in Christ to offer His hope and healing to all our brothers and sisters!

Here are the reports from today’s vigil. Thanks to all who prayed with us!

(By the way, did you catch the Pittsburgh shout-out in Shawn Carney’s email today?)

Nikki, 7-9 AM:

Amy, Tom, and Diane
Mary Pat was signed up to be with me from 7-9
First-timer John with Nikki and Amy
The fetal models looked so beautiful in the sunshine!

I arrived right at seven to see the beautiful faces of Diane, Tom and Amy. Diane and Tom had already set up the amazing sidewalk display, and Amy is from my own parish  and is a new sidewalk advocate, and comes year round when she can.  Mary Pat arrived soon after, she had signed up to be there from 7 to 9 AM. I was  happily surprised  when John arrived. He only recently heard about 40 days for life, and had decided to come and check it out. He stayed for my entire shift and was a wonderful witness to the love of Jesus. We had another man join us, who rides in on his bicycle, I had seen him many times during the last campaign. He holds a pro-life sign and walks back-and-forth in front of the circle. Sadly, while he was there, somebody stole  his bicycle. He had it locked up and changed around a tree, so somebody must have had bolt cutters. I think it was an act of retaliation against us, because he had his pro life sign hanging on his bike.  It was a busy abortion morning, with lots of abortion bound couples entering. We did our best. We prayed and we witnessed. Please pray for us. 

Nikki

Kathy and Mary, 9-11 AM:

Riverside Community Church Ladies with Shift Manager Kathy
Jane, Mark, Julie, Mary, and Lynn

Thank you to the three devoted women who came to pray today from the Riverside Community Church.  In addition, we were in company with shift buddy Mary, SA Kim, and Mark and Jim.
We opened in prayer and then took our positions, some wearing signs standing on sidewalk and in the street* near yellow line.  I passed out literature.  “A” stopped by to talk.  She is pregnant and due in February.  She was appreciative of resources and took a yellow card with her.  A mixture of reactions today–some positive and others mildly negative.  A young man in barefeet walked by named”BJ.” He accepted help from us after our shift.  Please keep this young man in your prayers.
*Also, please stand on the sidewalk and not in the street.  A vehicle almost hit one of the vigilers this morning who was standing on the street outside the yellow line.  I called the police and filed a report.  

Kathy

11 AM-1 PM shift was graciously covered by SM Kathy and Volunteers from Holy Sepulcher Parish. Thanks and God bless you all!!!

Thank you to parishioners of Holy Sepulcher Church: Sandra, Ted, Gretchen, Bob, Debbie, and Rick; and to Jim, who is not pictured.

Elaine and Bernie, 1-3 PM:

Please check back soon for an update!

Pat, 3-5 PM:

Debbie and Judy
Joe from Sts. John & Paul in Wexford with Judy
Mike, Val, and Mary
Thao and Val

I’d forgotten about the second-hand smoke, and I’d forgotten about the people from the bar next door and how sad their behavior makes me feel, and I’d even forgotten about all of the noise (all sorts of noise).  But I’d also forgotten how good it feels to be united in prayer and spirit with my brothers and sisters in Christ who see so clearly how horrible what happens inside PP really is and feel that same urge to do something about it.  
Being that the weather was agreeable, I decided to mix prayer with passing out literature.  Here’s hoping seeds were planted.  Thanks go out to sisters Debbie (St. Winifred’s) and Judy (St. Joan of Arc) who were there for the first hour and beyond.  Thanks also to Joe (Sts. John and Paul in Butler) who stopped by for a while during that first hour.  During the second hour I had Mary (St. Sylvester’s) and was able to pray a rosary with her.  I was also glad to see a couple I got to know last year, Mike and Val (St. Mark’s) who are always great to talk with.  And finally, I was honored to be able to meet Thao and get to know her a little better.  She’s from the Dallas, TX, area, but is doing a year of lay-mission work in Pittsburgh.  Bill H. also stopped by at the end.

Pat

Missy and Bill, 5-7 PM:

Bill, Mary, Mike, Valerie, Missy, and Bill E.
Bill, Mike, Thao, Valerie, Mary, Bill E.
And we can’t exclude Steve!

Busy Friday night on the sidewalk…Alot of foot traffic but no one going in to Planned Parenthood. Thank you to Mike, Valerie, Mary, Bill E., Steve and of course Thao for being there to pray. The atmosphere can be very heavy as you try to pray…I know we have all felt the heaviness. Put on the full armor of God every time you go… The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, shoes made ready with the gospel of peace, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God! ( From Ephesians 6:13-17)
Remember that we are Warriors for Jesus Christ…prayer warriors! When it’s hard to pray…pray harder! God Bless All!

Missy

Preparing our Hearts and Minds for the Fall 2019 Campaign

God is preparing our hearts and minds for the upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign in many ways, including the inspirational Kick-off Event and moving Day of Remembrance for the Unborn.  See beautiful pictures from both days below, then join us Tuesday for the next opportunity to power up!

Next Tuesday, September 24th, there will be a Kick-Off Mass at 6 pm at Epiphany Church, celebrated by Fr. Chris Donley.  Following Mass, Fr. Donley will carry our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament as we prayerfully and solemnly process from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood for a short time of prayer on the sidewalk, in preparation for our 40-day prayer vigil, which will begin the following morning, September 25th at 7 am.  Please join us as Jesus prepares the way for a powerful 40 Days for Life campaign!

And please help us to fill some of the MANY empty hours on the schedule!  Sign yourself up at https://www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh or take a look at the schedule here:  http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ and then email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to get signed up.

Our theme for these 40 Days will be TRUST!  I know we have had that same theme in the past…but I think we need to continue to TRUST that God WILL bring an end to abortion, He WILL close Planned Parenthood and He WILL bring about conversion to those ensnared in this evil industry…IN HIS TIME.  Our part is to be obedient and to TRUST. –Nikki


On Tuesday, September 10th, about 300 pro-lifers gathered together inside St. Bernard’s Clairvaux Hall for a wonderful time of pro-life unity and to be inspired by the personal testimony of Melissa Coles.  Thanks to everyone who took part in this wonderful event, and thanks to Sue D. and Donna for organizing it!

We watched the documentary film, “I Lived on Parker Avenue”, which documents the story of Melissa’s change of heart while waiting for her abortion in 1993.  A pro-lifer had told her, as she was on her way into the clinic, “Your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes, and you are going to kill it?”  Those words stuck in her mind as she was laying on the cold metal table.  That, along with two other things led to her getting up off that table, and saving the life of her son!  “I Lived on Parker Avenue” is the story of this young man, as he embarked on the journey to meet and get to know his birth family.  It was very moving and highlights the amazing gift that each life is to the world!  If you missed the event, you can watch the documentary film for free at:


On Saturday, faithful pro-lifers gathered at St. Paul Cathedral to memorialize those who have been lost to abortion during the Day of Remembrance.  Thanks to Charlene for organizing this!  She reports:

Fr. Adam led us in prayer and blessed the Memorial. We had a very prayerful crowd and laid daisies at the memorial as we left. Daisies are innocent and fragile like the Unborn. Jeannie was there, and Cecilia from 40 Days for Life. Jeannie jumped in to help when Mark and I had to talk to Fr. Adam. 40 Days for Life is so blessed to have dedicated team members! Thank you, Jeannie. I am ready for the sidewalk!!!   —Charlene

Fall Kickoff & National Day of Remembrance Coming Soon!

September is going to be a mighty month for the ProLife movement in Pittsburgh! We have an amazing guest speaker lined up for the 40 Days for Life Fall Kick-Off Event on September 10th, an opportunity to participate in the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on September 14th, and the official start of the 40 Days for Life fall campaign on September 25th. Please scroll down to see all the important details on the flyers below.

While you’re visiting the website, please be sure to check out the September issue of Parish Life News under our “About” > “Resources/Links” tabs (or just click here!)

Finally, we are thrilled that Planned Parenthood has chosen to withdraw from the Title X program due to the new Protect Life Rule, which separates abortion from family planning services in taxpayer funding. However, we are now more likely to encounter people concerned about losing certain services they get at PP. One alternate resource you can direct them to is GetYourCare.org, sponsored by such organizations as CareNet and the March for Life. (Please be aware that the clinics listed there do provide contraception, which is not truly pro-life.)

Day 38: Thanks to St. John’s (Burry’s) Church, North American Martyrs and St. Michael Parishes, Weirton Catholic Churches, and loving individual Volunteers

The sidewalk at 933 Liberty Avenue has been bursting with life and love over the last six weeks! Just scroll back through the blog posts from this campaign and see how many beautiful pictures and reports there are.

You have sacrificed your time and comfort to bring the love of Christ to those in need. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of this vital mission. 

You have undoubtedly touched lives with your presence and your prayers, though you may never hear the details until you are welcomed home to Heaven. 

We should certainly celebrate the accomplishments of the last 40 days. But we also know there is more to be done.

Planned Parenthood has not yet closed its doors. Unborn children continue to lose their lives there; mothers and fathers continue to suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually because of it.

Throughout the year, Sidewalk Advocates for Life reach out to women who are entering PP on abortion days.  Please consider joining them to offer prayer support Tuesday through Saturday mornings from 7-11 AM. Or become a Sidewalk Advocate yourself!  The next training session is soon:

Saturday, June 1 from 10 AM – 3 PM
Knights of Columbus Hall in Bellevue
Please RSVP by May 27th

Contact info:
Sue M. (susanmcgrath526@comcast.net)
Sue D. (smfreedy@aol.com)
Charlie (412-716-2789)
Tim (timbarr5480@gmail.com)

May God work through us to end the horror of abortion,
and may He bless us all with His love and peace!

“Love never says: I have done enough!”
–Saint Marie-Eugenie de Jesus



SIDEWALK REPORTS

7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:

Tom, Pastor Win and Dave, Richard and I, all arrived to a sun almost already out and breezy warm Friday.
Who would believe that Pittsburgh has a building dedicated to the unthinkable depravity of legalized abortion?
As she was going in, she stopped.  The beautiful executive type young woman came over to me and told me to get that off her building.  
This is not your building, I noted.  However, I did remove the red roses because heaven only knew what she would have done to them otherwise.
Richard, Dave and I asked Pastor Win to lead us in prayer.  Moments later, Pastor Win knelt on his prayer rug and remained in silent prayer for quite a while.
Pastor Win and Dave belong to St. John’s United Evangelical Protestant Church in Beaver.  It is called Burry’s Church because the land was purchased from the Burry family in 1836.
Dave accepted one of Jeanne’s baby pictures that has an entire side dedicated to prayers.  He was grateful for her good sense in providing this for us.
At one point a truck pulled up and the driver and helper entered pp.  The truck side mentioned something about building excellence.  I was reminded of the Psalm: If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor.  God pours blessings on those faithful to him while they sleep.
Passers by heaped blessings on us.  I’m pretty sure I saw Al and Sally…can’t be sure.  People came to repaint the golden arch.  The supervisor asked if we knew Al and Sally.  He was in school with their son Frank.
Pittsburgh is a small city…a good thing.

Barbara
Sally and Al with their daughter…although this picture is from earlier in this campaign, they are always present in spirit on that sidewalk!

9-11 AM, Kathy and Marianne:

Thank you to all who came today.  Ten in all over the 2 hour shift.  David and Pastor Win from St. John’s United Evangelical Protestant Church, regulars Terry and Bill H.
Sidewalk Advocate Kim stopped by and helped diffuse a heated conversation from a passerby by offering her resources.  Thanks Kim.
Most pp patrons didn’t want resources but many passersby accepted them.  A pp vendor accepted the yellow card.  Hopefully it will be a seed that bears fruit.
Mary Ann and Chris from St. Catherine’s, Megan M, and Mary and Gary M who were passing through, thank you for coming.

Kathy

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila and Pastor Bryan:

1-3 PM, Elaine:

…coming soon!

3-5 PM, Fran:

I admit to being a little apprehensive about the potential for storms today, but I am thankful to say that it only rained lightly for about a half hour into the shift.  But that did not dampen the spirits of the faithful from Weirton.  John, Mary, Bridget, Daniel and Lori arrived on time, in spite of having just driven through torrential rains, and they were ready for prayer.  Umbrellas in hand, we started with the petitions followed by the Sorrowful Mysteries then we used our cell phones to find other prayers and reflections.  From the picture you can see that the young man of the group participated confidently and devoutly, taking his turn reading the petitions and also leading a decade of the Rosary – sincerely, he is a prayer warrior in every way – his young age was not an obstacle.  I believe PP closes early (this is not my normal shift) because I saw only a few women leave and later, only employees.  Not long after we finished the rosary, a man looking to be in his very early 20s approached our group, thanked us, and said that he supports what we are doing.  Then he extended his hand and offered a donation of $10.00.  We thanked him and asked if he would like to join us but he apologetically said he could not at this time.  Later in the shift we were approached by one man and, a short time later, another.  Both were requesting money and I explained our policy to each.  The first man did not accept my answer and proceeded to address each person in the group, individually, before going on his way somewhat loudly.  Dave, the 5-7pm shift manager arrived early.  He talked to each person in our group then pulled a bag from his pocket and offered 40 Days for Life pins and bracelets to the everyone – and they were very appreciative of his kindness.  

5-7 PM, David and Bill:

What a beautiful evening it turned to be. From the pictures you can see the smiling faces of some powerful prayer warriors. Some responded to the request on the blog. While some felt motivated from seeing the movie Unplanned. I thank God and ask Him to Bless all of them and their families.
As usual, we had some disparaging remarks but, they were overwhelmed by those who said, “God Bless you”! 
When the evening was over, I think we all felt like we were just getting started. We were ready for more than 40daysforlife !
Peace be with you !

David

Carissa, Justin, Michelle, Ursula, Tom, Diane, Bill

Bill and his wife Ursula

Carissa, Alex, Jim, Justin

Day 31: Thank you to St. Irenaeus/St. Januarius/St. John the Baptist/St. Joseph/Our Lady of Joy Parishes (OPV Catholic), St. Teresa of Avila Parish, St. Regis Knights of Columbus & Parish, and loving Individual Volunteers

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is so much darkness and hate afflicting the people who enter Planned Parenthood’s doors. 

That kind of darkness gives cover to the lies that are told:  “It’s only a blob of tissue.”  “You can’t handle a child right now.”  “It’s your body, you can do whatever you want with it.” 

That kind of hate gives rise to a host of evil:  Medical professionals ending lives rather than caring for them.  Counselors deceiving women about abortion being the solution to their problem.  The hearts of mothers turning against their own children.

As Christians, we are aware that the people involved are not evil themselves; rather, they have been duped by the evil one. 

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  —Ephesians 6:12

To end that darkness and hate…to free our brothers and sisters from it…we have to bring light and love to that awful place. 

God Himself is Light and Love, and bringing Him to the people trapped in darkness and hate is what 40 Days For Life is all about. 

God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. –1 John 1:5   

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.  —1 John 4:8

THANK YOU to all who have brought God to 933 Liberty Avenue during this Lenten campaign.

There is still time to join us in this incredibly important mission…come any time between 7 AM and 7 PM from now until Sunday, April 14th. 


SIDEWALK REPORTS

Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:

Richard, Fran and I arrived at the same time accompanied by a light drizzle.  
With the agility of experience Tom was already there arranging and sorting the bin and supplies. We prayed the Lord’s Prayer before Tom left.
I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet remembered to bring flowers!
Next Friday is my last chance. 
Richard covered the far side of the golden half circle in witness and prayer.
Fran and I caught each other up with Good News.
We shared greetings with passers by. We offered “God bless you” to everyone entering PP.  All offers of prolife help were refused.
One young woman asked about Al and Sally and we noted how they get better every day and plan to reclaim their place with us on the sidewalk. They will always have their place in our hearts!!
It is such a blessing to come to the sidewalk with Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life.

Barbara

Tom and Shift Buddy, Fran

Kathy and Marianne, 9-11 AM:

Thank you to Tim, Joyce, Fran, and Bob from St. Joseph’s Church from Verona.  Also thank you to Fri regulars Terry and Bill H. (not pictured) for coming. We started our time by reading the 40 days devotional and then I focused on reaching out to pp patrons while the others prayed.  We came together again around 10:30 reading some psalms together and praying the intentions on the back of the baby signs.

I passed out my first Spanish translation of the brochure “Watch Me Grow” to a young Spanish speaking couple who were passing by.  They were very appreciative of the literature.  Also gave resources to 3-4 pp patrons as they exited.  They too, were appreciative for the resources.

Several passersby by thanked us for being there and a mother and teenage daughter positively acknowledged the fetal model display.  Some negative comments.

Kathy

Tim, Joyce, Fran, and Bob from St. Joseph’s Church in Verona

Fran and Pastor Bryan, 11 AM-1 PM:

We had a very pleasant lunch-time crowd passing by today and I was happy that quite a few accepted the literature being offered.  I imagine they were thankful that the clouds were withholding their gifts from us.  Nancy from St. John the Baptist in Plum and Eileen from a Presbyterian Church in Penn Hills joined me today as well as our regular sidewalk advocates, Pastor Bryan and Walt.  We joined in prayer and shared some conversation together.  The movie, Unplanned, had been seen by everyone of us, and some more than once.  Unquestionably, it inspired each of us to a deeper commitment and also to hope because, on every occasion, the movie was well attended.  We are all praying that many will seek the truth that is so clearly revealed in this movie.  Late in the shift, a woman of the Muslim faith stopped to talk with Pastor Bryan and she offered a bag of supplies that would be helpful to an individual in need.  Pastor Bryan said he knew of someone who could use the items and that he would be happy to deliver them.  It is interesting to me that every day on the sidewalk is so different. 

Fran
Nancy and Eileen with Pastor Bryan

Elaine, 1-3 PM:

Pat and Joe, 3-5 PM:

Things seemed quieter on the sidewalks and the streets today.  I found it peaceful and conducive to prayer.  While I had signed up my parish, St. Regis, for this two-hour shift, no one came.  (I did have participants from my parish for a 2 hour shift on a Sunday morning earlier in the campaign, however.  So that’s at least some consolation to me.)  Therefore, I was VERY grateful that faithful Joe from St. Bernadette’s answered the call and came to stand with me.  It was also good to see Mark, a former SM (I believe) stop by to pray.  It was nice to be able to catch up with him.

I had no negative comments – plus I had a lot of people stop to read my sign, which was about how over 2,300 people are killed in this building each year.  The one interesting thing that happened was that a couple that seemed to be from another country – perhaps an eastern European country – tried to go into the building, but the door wouldn’t open for them despite the fact that I had seen others enter w/out problem.  I tried to give them a card, but they just walked away.

Pat

David and Bill, 5-7 PM:

It was only me and Bill on the sidewalk. The first hour and a half only produced two positives but lots of indifference. Then, a man stopped as his two sons were interested in the models. They were about 6 and 7. I told them, “You were that size at one time in your Mom’s belly.” They had many questions. I gave them some little babies and information. Their inquisitive minds were open and wanted to learn. Thank God! All the indifference disappeared!

David

A few more pix from Day 25…


9-11 SM, Sue, with Prayer warriors from St. Sebastian
(ADVICE:  please don’t block the 937 doorway, as we are guilty of doing here!)

Tom and John from Our Lady of Lake

Denise, Donna, mighty men from Starksdale with 3-5 SM, Kathy
Go see the movie, Unplanned, as soon as you can–
it’s so important to understand what really goes on
inside Planned Parenthood!

Day 24: Thank you to Oakmont/Plum/Verona Catholic Community, Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Holy Sepulcher Parish, West Hills Baptist Church, and Courageous Individuals!

Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.  A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.  Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.  But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.  He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’  Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”  He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 

Luke 10:30-37

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has a wonderful and well-known reflection on this Scripture passage.  He points out that the priest and the Levite refused to help because they asked the very natural question, “What will happen to me if I stop?”  The Samaritan came to the man’s aid because he asked a different question: “What will happen to him if I don’t stop?” 

In Shawn Carney’s recent book, The Beginning of the End of Abortion, he relates an incident from a 40 Days for Life vigil held in front of a busy Planned Parenthood clinic in California.  A dedicated volunteer was praying there when an angry woman confronted her.  The volunteer listened attentively and spoke to the woman gently, in truth and love.  At that point, the woman broke down, acknowledging that her own abortion at that clinic years before had destroyed her life. 

The woman then lamented that no one had been there to offer her an alternative on the day of her abortion.  She asked the volunteer, over and over, “Where were you?  Where were you when I needed you?”  The volunteer took a hard look inward and had to answer honestly that she had been too timid back then.  She sincerely apologized to the woman for lacking the courage to be there in her time of need.

Way too often, I am like the priest and Levite, asking about my own needs when considering whether or not to stand on that sidewalk.  This woman’s story hits me hard and reminds me of what I should be asking instead: “What will happen to her if I don’t stop to pray at the vigil?”


REPORTS FROM THE SIDEWALK:

7-9 AM, Nikki:

I was blessed to be accompanied by my old friend Bob, from St. Joe’s in Verona for my 7-9 shift this morning.  It was just the two of us for the first hour or so, and we spent it in peaceful prayer, under our umbrellas.  I distributed many beautiful rose petals on the sidewalk, in memory of the little ones whose bodies are torn apart inside those doors.  We received all positive comments, many people thanked us for being there.  Many smiles from pre-schoolers being led by their moms to the nearby daycare.  They love seeing the baby models and I wonder what kind of impression seeing people praying in the rain makes upon their little impressionable minds?  Many seeds are planted!
 
No one else was scheduled to come, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see Marilyn coming towards us at a little after 8 am.  She had seen the movie, “Unplanned”, last night, and was so moved by it that she woke up this morning and decided to join us!  Praise God for that and I hope the movie moves many more to join us!  Couples began going in for abortions around 8.  I put away my rosary and put on my sidewalk advocate “hat”, and began to reach out to the abortion-bound couples.  Sadly, no one took me up on my offers of help…that I know of.  But, as Abby said in the movie last night…when we are out there…their no-show rate climbs.  She calls it “Planned Parenthood’s dirty little secret”.  It is hard to believe….but I have to believe it.  We do make a difference.

Nikki

Bob and Nikki, St. Joes 7 to 9

Flower petals in the rain

Marilyn was a welcomed sight!

9-11 AM, Kathy and Marianne:

Thank you to Pastor Matt, from Reformed Presbyterian Church of Oakland and Dan B. From Mother of Sorrows Church, Murrysville.  Also to Marilyn, not pictured, for coming to pray today.

Very rainy today.  I passed out yellow cards to some passersby and pp patrons.  A distraught woman passed, perhaps homeless, stating to me that she “didn’t want to live like this anymore.” I googled bigburgh.com, but the woman didn’t like the services and walked away.  I called the contact number and left message.

Kathy
Pastor Matt and Dan

11 AM-1 PM, Barbara and Pastor Bryan:

Kathy stayed for a moment to talk about UNPLANNED. Abby Johnson’s movie memoir was riveting.
Holy Sepulcher parishioners arrived and more just kept coming.
Sandi, Michael, Debbie and George came.  Walt came alone. “I come year round.  I pray the Rosary for this every day!”  
Pastor Bryan had a powerful conversation with a  woman who passionately supported her “right to choose.”
John, from the Latin Mass Community, came and started right into prayer.  
Connie and George joined in the Sorrowful Mysteries.
We read the prayers from the back of Jeannie’s pictures.We prayed the daily Devotional.
These parishioners came to pray and never stopped.
Traffic was noisy and persistent over the lunch hour.  It had a friendly feel.
It was sad to see young people going into PP.  Most had a friend with them.

Barbara

Walt, Sandi, Debbie,George, Michael (Holy Sepulcher)


Holy Sepulcher and Pastor Bryan, shift buddy

Connie and George, Holy Wisdom parishioners

1-3 PM, Elaine:

During my shift today I had parishioners from Holy Sepulcher Church with me.  One of the parishioners had a connection with a prison in Florida.  Some of the prisoners from that prison are praying for our pro-life efforts.

Elaine

3-5 PM, Pat:

I didn’t lack for company this afternoon.  When I arrived, the four faithful members of West Hills Baptist Church were there.  It was good to see those familiar faces from so many campaigns.  [And they’re always so good at passing out our literature and engaging people who pass by.]  Also there were Val and Mike from St. Mark’s in the McKeesport area, who I met last week for their very first trip to the sidewalk.  It was so encouraging that first experience brought them back.  And they promised to keep coming back as well.  Finally, we had Greg from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon.  He came because he’s a friend of Dave’s from WHBC.  It was his first time and he felt like God was calling him to be here.  He certainly was able to engage just about every passerby.  Keep him in prayer as he discerns further.

I encouraged him (as well as some of the others) to go see Unplanned this weekend if it was at all possible.  I also promised to put Greg in touch with our Sidewalk Advocates leaders as he seemed interested in possibly taking the training. 

Pat

Val and Mike from Liberty Boro – St. Mark’s

David, Pastor Larry, Karen, and Rose from West Hills Baptist Church

Greg from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon

5-7 PM, Fran and Bill:

It was a very quiet Friday evening, very little interaction on the sidewalk.  Bill and I were joined by a faith-filled family from St. Kilian: Gabe, Mike, Lianne and John.  Lianne was at the vigil earlier in the week.  She had searched the schedule to see where there were openings and filled in where we needed – very much appreciated!  We began the evening with the Prayers of Petition to end abortion and we prayed the Rosary at 6:00.  One gentleman stopped to look at our display.  He is not from Pittsburgh and so he was seeing 40 Days for Life for the first time and he was very thankful to see people standing for the babies.  Diane and Tom came to pickup the materials.  Gabe and John jumped right in wanting to help – their kindness and thoughtfulness were truly appreciated.

Fran
Bill


Gabe, Mike, Lianne and John