Angels We Have Heard On High (And On The Sidewalk)

Despite the cold and constant rain, “angels” gathered on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood to sing praises to the newborn King and offer hope to those in desperate circumstances.
Tim, who organized the Pittsburgh part of this national pro-life Christmas caroling event, noted, “I’m certain our presence and singing made an impact. I’m sure our songs touched the hearts of those inside and out.”
Around three dozen people answered the call to bring Christ’s love and peace to one of the coldest and saddest parts of our city.
Hot cocoa and donuts helped to keep everyone warm and energized.
Thank you to Barbara, Tim, and Jeannie for making this wonderful event possible!

Day 38: Thank you to Aquinas Academy Pro-Life Group, St. Regis Parish (Trafford), and all who prayed today!

As of tonight, only two days remain in the Fall 2019 campaign of 40 Days for Life. We know, however, that the end of the battle does not mean the end of the war. We won’t stop fighting until every woman facing an unexpected pregnancy recognizes the child growing within her as a gift, and is able to receive as much practical, emotional, and spiritual support as she needs.

“Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you: be not afraid!”

St. John Paul II

There are many ways to keep going! One fantastic idea is to train as a Sidewalk Advocate or to volunteer as a prayer partner for one. Contact Sue at for more information. Some other great suggestions from the Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide network striving to elect pro-life leaders and advance life-affirming legislation, can be found at this link:

Thank you for all the ways you witness to the sanctity of Life. May God bless our efforts to end abortion!



7-9 AM, Barbara & Richard:

Diane has devised a supply stand that taunts the wind. The wind lost again this morning. Score!
Richard and I were blessed with the generous company of Steve, Tao, Joe and Priscilla.
They came and the sidewalk bloomed!
He stopped to share his story.  He had been a soldier, married young and his marriage lasted more than a decade. Unfortunately they are divorced now. He blamed himself.  He thanked us for witnessing.
“Is there a bank nearby? I’d like to give you money.” We agreed that praying for the families going into PP this morning would be a better idea.
 “Somebody I used To Know” is a song I chanced upon while driving. It hurts to listen. The man’s voice breaks in bewilderment. Her voice breaks as she tries to explain. Their separation seems irrevocable.
Another person was in his late teens. “I am undecided about abortion.” He took a step back. “My name is Barbara. What’s yours?”  I told him that asking questions at his age is a good thing.  Abortion and God … he is unsure about these gigantic issues … blessed opportunity. He had only a little time to talk today, but I listened. May Our Father continue to send him to God-loving people who will cherish his hungry heart.
The pregnant moms trudged into pp, declining the opportunities for life that we offer. Our God is patient!

Joe, Tao, Steve, Richard
Tao, Richard, Steve

9-11 AM, Kathy & Marlene:

Thank you to Rose and Marlene (PCUC) and Jim (St. Alexis) for coming today.  Not pictured, Friday regulars Priscilla and Joe (St. Alexis), Amy and Claire (Upper St. Clair churches).
We prayed together and alone.  Aloud and silent.  Passed out the yellow pregnancy resource cards to several bypassers. One or two PP clients accepted resources, but many did not.
A professional looking gentleman wearing a necktie and business suit stopped to ask if we had a lighter for his cigarette.  We didn’t but he took the opportunity to tell us his views on abortion and that we should continue witnessing. A young man in his twenties also stopped at the vigil and asked me if I thought a woman had the right to choose abortion since it’s her body.  For the next 15-20 minutes, Amy and I discussed with Dustin God’s creation and humanity of the unborn child, the immorality of abortion, and his experience of being a foster child and then being adopted.  During our conversation, the initial tension I sensed from him and within myself seemed to disappear resulting in me inviting him to the 40 Days closing vigil on Sunday which he said that he would attend.  May God’s love be with him.

Rose, Marlene, and Jim

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila:

A lot of couples entered during this time and all of them declined information.  One couple that exited when I first arrived said that they were there for only an ultrasound and that they paid $120 for it.  They were very interested to hear that ultrasounds are provided for free at the various pregnancy centers and gladly accepted my handouts. 
A young woman, ‘S,’ came over and spoke with us before she entered PP. She said she was simply there to get a pregnancy test and declined going to Catholic Charities with one of us.  She told us that she has a fair amount of support if she finds out she’s pregnant but is still on the fence as to how she would proceed. ‘S’ accepted a resource sheet and my contact information; I let her know that there is a large network of people here to pray for her and provide support.  She entered PP for a few moments then came out and stated, “I decided I’ll just buy a pregnancy test and see what happens.”  She told me she’d be in touch; let’s keep her in our prayers.

Joan and R

1-3 PM, Elaine & Bernie:

Coming soon, but scroll for more!

3-5 PM, Pat:

Tonight required the heavy coat (and long underwear) to make its first appearance of the campaign.  It was good to meet Mary Ann (whose parish I’ve forgotten) and also John and Anna from St. Philip’s merged parish in Crafton.  And it was good to see once again ever-faithful Val and Mike from St. Mark’s in Liberty Boro.  Thank you so much for coming out for so many hours of prayer.  My brother Knight, Mike C., from St. Regis in Trafford was also with me to help me represent our parish and our Knights of Columbus council.  

The only incident of note was a woman who stopped and talked to the group while I was on the other side.  Apparently she told them that she had considered abortion many years ago, but placed her child for adoption instead.  

John and Anna
Val, Mary Ann, and Mike
Mike and Pat of the St. Regis Knights of Columbus

5-7 PM, Missy & Bill:

Hi everyone! The last friday night shift was pretty quiet…one bad comment…nothing serious.

My shift Buddy, Bill E, suffered a tragic family loss today with the sudden death of his sister. I’m so very sorry, Bill! All of the people who come here are praying for you and your family. Please know we are thinking of you at this time…

Patty, Jim, Thao and Peggy all were there to pray and we were joined by Mary Jane ( sorry I didn’t get your picture beautiful lady 🙂 !

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
 It takes a lot of moral courage to stand in the face of evil and defend God’s Law…even when man’s law seems to prevail.
We know this is not true, though,because Jesus Christ, Our Savior, overcame the world. The victory has already been won.
In the Bible we read that ”…All things work together for good…”  ( Romans 8:28) This means that it doesn’t matter what we see, or think, or experience…God is in Control!!
We are to pray and be His lights in a dark world. TRUST that our prayers have been heard. We are to have faith in our God who knows the plan. HIS will be done…for HIS glory!
 Jesus Christ is our intercessor.  1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus. “
God Bless…

Peggy and Thao
Patty and Jim

Day 37: Thanks to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, City Center Parishes, and all who prayed today!


Whenever I get the chance to give a talk about 40 Days for Life (40DFL for short), I get a little excited.  Excited, because it means I get to tell our story. 

These talks start with me meeting the audience where I’m guessing they are.  They’re probably thinking:  “Hey, there are a lot of good things I could be doing with my time, why should I consider participating in 40DFL?”  So I’ll begin by presenting a few convincing arguments to demonstrate there is no evil in the world today greater than abortion.  Then I’ll tell them that, when it comes to concrete and proven results, there has never been a greater solution to this problem than 40 DFL.    

And then to explain why…by telling our story…

“In 1998, Planned Parenthood opened an abortion center in Bryan/College Station. People of faith rallied against it, but in time the office was built and Planned Parenthood opened.  Each year, the goal of ending abortion in the Brazos Valley seemed to slip further away.  But four members of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life realized they needed to ask God how He would have them end abortion in their community.

So in 2004, they gathered around an old wooden table for an hour of prayer.  During that hour of prayer, they found themselves drawn to the timeframe of 40 days-a timeframe God consistently uses throughout salvation history to transform His people. How might God transform Bryan/College Station in 40 days?  As that hour of prayer progressed, the four individuals felt themselves called to launch a 40 day campaign of PRAYER AND FASTING, COMMUNITY OUTREACH, AND A CONSTANT, PEACEFUL VIGIL to end abortion. They also vowed that even if no one else would join them, together they would cover the entire 40 day, 960 hour, around-the-clock vigil.

Finally, they gave their new project a name: 40 Days for Life

…In less than six weeks, more than 1,000 new volunteers helped ensure all 960 hours of the vigil were covered. A grassroots, door-to-door effort reached more than 25,000 households. The campaign made local, state and national news. And the local abortion rate dropped by 28 percent.

In 2007, the original 40 Days for Life leaders launched the first ever nationally coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign, spanning 89 cities in 33 states. Before long, campaigns had been hosted in all 50 states. And then the world came knocking.

Hundreds of cities in dozens of countries across all six populated continents have now hosted 40 Days for Life campaigns.”  [NOTE:  This is all taken from]

I’ll then go on to tell them about the 16,004 LIVES SAVED, the 191 ABORTION WORKERS WHO QUIT, and the 104 ABORTION CENTERS CLOSED.  And I love to add here that this includes the site of that first campaign in College Station…which is now the international headquarters for 40 Days for Life!  (Personal note:  When I get to this part of the talk my throat starts to constrict and my eyes start to water.)

So here’s the point of all this, perhaps it might be worthwhile to have in the back-pocket of your brain the essential point of our story so that you can, at some unexpected moment, share our gospel. 

Always be ready to make a reply to anyone who asks you to explain the hope that is in you. 

1 Peter 3:15



7-9 AM, Nikki & Peggy:

The rain held off for my shift, it was warm and dry and I was feeling a little bit of guilt, knowing that all the rest of the people who come today or probably going to get soaked! But, it was a very quiet and peaceful shift. I was with my shift buddy Peggy and faithful volunteer Jon for the entire two hours. Towards the end Mary stopped by to pray. She was on her way to see her new grandbaby who is being born today. That reminds me, Angel is also having her baby today!  she was the young girl who came here for an abortion last April and changed her mind! Priscilla also came to pray and at 9 o’clock I handed the torch over to Judy, Chuck and Meredith from Lincoln Place Nazarene Church. Pray for those who went in this morning to kill their babies, pray for lives saved and hearts changed! Pray for a young girl who is being pressured to abort by her friends and has decided  that she will have the abortion. Please pray for her today but she will change her mind. 

Jon, Peg, and Diane
Mary stopped to pray on the way to see her new grandchild born today!
Autumn glory even here

9-11 AM, Judy & Meredith:

It was damp but not wet when LP Nazarene (Chuck, Meredith & Judy) arrived on the scene this morning. Priscilla was already there waiting for us. It has been such a privilege to pray with her on the sidewalk these past four weeks. Midway through our shift we were joined by Mike Maley and then Bill Harrison for a brief period of time. It was not long before we were using our umbrellas and we needed them the rest of the shift.

There was a fair amount of people coming and going from Planned Parenthood. There were a few that were polite and stopped momentarily to acknowledge that we were speaking to them but they did not take any of our handouts. However, there was a young couple who took a card from Meredith. Sadly, we know of no babies that were saved on our shift, however, we know God is answering our prayers to close Planned Parenthood!!!

Thank you for braving the weather to pray and witness!

11 AM-1 PM, Fran:

Those who braved the wet weather came and gave witness to what it means to be a Saint. My God receive their prayers and bless them. It rained pretty much from 11 to 12. But nothing stopped them.

A little rain (or a lot) can’t stop these Witnesses for Life!

1-3 PM, Carolyn & Cil:

God bless Fran for being there when we arrived and for staying on into the next shift!  She said we could leave before the next shift arrived.
God bless Fr Jim for coming to the Vigil with us again!
We had a brief moment at the beginning when it wasn’t raining.  But then it started up again non-stop.
Several rosaries were prayed along with other prayers.  Carolyn and Fran are great prayer warriors!
Had a chance to talk with an abortion bound father on 3 occasions but the mother was determined to go through with it.  The young man told us to keep doing what we are doing.
It was an emotional rollercoaster of a day.  It helped that we had supporters who stopped to talk with us.  One beautiful lady explain how she never knew that she was adopted until 5 years ago. Her mother told her before she passed but her father had already passed.  She was very surprised to learn that as she had no idea that she was adopted.  Her parents were so loving.  Many adopted children are raised in loving homes despite what the pro-aborts say.  She took our material and plans to share with her coworkers about her story and the help that is available.  She is raising her two special needs children.  Although they can be a challenge she said that they helped to change her life for the better.  She may come by with her daughter sometime to pray.

God bless you for witnessing in such wild weather!

3-5 PM, Helen & Anita:


Umbrellas were all but useless, and the rain drilled through our layers of coats, socks & sweaters. No matter! Our rosaries, Divine Mercy novenas and happy presence overtook all annoyance with weather.

 We were privileged to be there on behalf of God’s precious babies. When this place is closed, we can laugh at the wonderful sense of joy and love that comes with prayer and the reassuring confidence of our angels.


Vigil closed early at 5 PM today.

Day 31: Thanks to St. Thomas More & St. John Capistran Parishes, Elk County Catholic High School, and all who came to pray!

Each week, I ask God what the topic of this reflection should be, and He never fails to provide one.  This week, He’s been persistently guiding my attention to PERSISTENCE

“Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”  Luke 18:1

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:  proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  2 Tim 4:1-2

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
  Luke 11:5-8

Those are just a few examples from recent Scripture readings for Mass, though “persistence” kept coming up in other ways, too (like the last line of Pat’s reflection yesterday!)  And when I did an internet search for “persistence in Scripture,” there were pages and pages of results!  God has made it pretty obvious that I’m supposed to be persistent in prayer. 

I have to admit that, here on Day 31, I wish it were already Day 41…I’m tired.  But God is allowing me the privilege of participating in an incredibly important mission, and I need to lean on Him for the strength to see it through.  Let’s hold one another in prayer, asking God for the grace to be PERSISTENT!



7-9 AM, Barbara & Richard:

Early morning light bathed the street in a quiet glow. Rose and Amy joined Diane, Tom, Richard and me and we had the supplies set up to “ransom the captives” in no time! I do not mean to be glib with the Bible quote. Captives is what abortion vulnerable people are.
Rose is helping Amy practice as a Sidewalk Advocate. Amy had several conversations with passersby and shared her warmth, information and handouts. Rose prayed, standing and kneeling. Our Beloved Bill came by and shared his wisdom and gracious presence.
There were at least 10 people who stopped to talk this morning…good talks. And, plenty of smiles and favorable high signs.
A young couple passed into PP after the young man said, “You don’t have to worry about us!” Our standing downtown early on a Friday morning rather than lounging on the couch with hot coffee in pajamas… what does that tell you? “Please tell us what you need us to do to help you walk away from PP. Read our little card chock full of  better choices! Please!!!”
Kathy came early and we headed home, so glad to witness this morning in the strength of our Father.


9-11 AM, Kathy & Mary

Thank you to all who came today.  
Several people stopped to thank us for being there.  One young African American man, approx 20 years old, hugged me and with tears welling up in his eyes said how his mother didn’t want him and considered aborting him.  He also stated how young women don’t realize the evil of abortion and the destructive agenda Planned Parenthood pursues towards African Americans.

A young woman passed by and didn’t accept literature but raised her voice to say that she’s pro choice.  I replied, “may one of those choices be for choosing life.”  The woman stopped and commended me for my passion and advocacy but said the issue is complicated.  We conversed a bit more before she went her way.
I gave the yellow resource cards to a few women before they entered pp, but sadly no turnaways today.  

Prayer Warriors from St. Thomas More
Carolyn, Terry (left side), and Dan (right side) from St. Thomas More Church; students and staff from Elk County Catholic High School (center). 
More students and staff from Elk County Catholic High School. 
Not pictured: Sidewalk Advocate Kim and Barbara H from St. Paul Parish.

11 AM-1 PM, Carolyn & Rose:

Check back soon but scroll for more!

1-3 PM, Elaine & Bernie:

Check back soon but scroll for more!

3-5 PM, Pat:

It was wonderful to arrive and see Debbie holding the 26 week baby model just like a baby.  And she did that all the way until she left at about 4:30.  As we were settling in a man stopped by named Rick and told us that he he was in town from Maine and wanted to pray at the vigil.  He takes an hour shift each week at the 40DFL vigil in Portland, Maine. (Personal note:  I had to tell him that on my only visit to his city I saw my favorite all-time billboard ad which read:  IF YOU’RE NOT HAVING A GOOD TIME IN PORTLAND…YOU MUST BE IN OREGON.”)  Then ever-faithful Val and Mike came and we started praying a scriptural rosary from the ring of prayers Diane created for us (Thanks, Diane!)  I found it so much easier to concentrate on mysteries by praying this way.  I have to remember that.  
Later in the shift – which was blessedly uneventful – Kevin from the Latin Mass community, and our most faithful prayer of this campaign, Thao, arrived and we prayed a Divine Mercy chaplet together.  I should mention that Kevin, Debbie, and I had about a 10 minute conversation with a man who stopped by and asked some honest and intelligent questions of us.  Hopefully our responses represented 40DFL well. 


5-7 PM, Missy & Bill:

Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

Super quiet evening for the most part. The usual looks and comments we experience… Thank you Jesus for all who come to pray to end abortion. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.


Day 30: Thanks to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Richard and St. Catherine Parishes, BCC Intercessory Prayer Group, and all who prayed with us!


Do you remember what Nikki wrote just a few days before this campaign got underway?  I know I do:

Please pray, fast and sacrifice as much…no….MORE than you think you can during these 40 days! The roots of evil go very deep under that abortion clinic…and we need to give as much of ourselves as possible to loosen the soil so that God will pull them out!

So now that we’re about ¾ of the way to the finish of this campaign, if someone hasn’t begun a fast as yet, or has started one and given up, is it too late now to bother? 

40 Days for Life rests on three pillars:  prayer, fasting, and peaceful outreach.  And I’d be willing to bet that if a poll were taken, well over half of us would say that fasting is the one aspect of 40DFL that we struggle with the most. 

While I have my own struggles with fasting, I’m going to share with you what’s worked for me for the last several campaigns.  My hope is that it might help someone reading this to be inspired to not waste the opportunity we have to fast well in these last 10 or so days.  Because as you know, it might make all the difference.

1) Our Father knows best:  Don’t decide on what you’ll fast from without a good prayer consult with God.  Let Him shine the light for you on what form your fast will take.  [Personal note:  Last campaign God challenged me to fast from criticism and negativity.  I never would have even considered that without prayer and discernment.]

2) Know your limitations:  Think in terms of stretching yourself a bit, but don’t pick something which will require a truly heroic effort on your part.  For example, consider fasting from sports or sit-coms on TV as opposed to fasting from TV all together.

3) Consider a “building-block” fast:  Because know my weakness, I always start with something small which I know I is doable for the full 40 days.  But then on the second Sunday of the campaign, when fasting from that particular type of food or entertainment has become a little easier – because it’s become imbedded into my routine – I ask God what other small thing can fast from.  And each Sunday after that I give some thought and prayer to whether or not I can handle adding another small thing to my little fasting list.

4) Never “white-knuckle” it:  If you’re trying to give up something with your own strength, a) you’re much less likely to be successful, and b) the inevitable pride in your own accomplishment will likely suck all of the spiritual benefits anyway.  So, constantly talk to God as you fast.  Tell him how weak you are and how much you need His help in the fast He has asked you to do.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Hebrews 12


7-9 AM, Nikki & Peg:

9-11 AM, Judy & Meredith:

Thank you, Father, for such a beautiful day.
As Meredith and Chuck (my Lincoln Place Nazarene compadres) and I arrived on the scene, Katie was already on the sidewalk greeting and intercepting. Thank you, Katie, for taking the time, effort and resources to pack such lovely handout/goody bags for the individuals headed in and out of PP. Priscilla was also there with her smiling face offering her prayers and reading scriptures over PP, before she headed out to her busy day. We have been blessed to have Priscilla with us these past two weeks. We also really appreciated having the Recovery Care bags handy to offer to wounded women coming out.
One haunting thing I noticed today was that nearly all the individuals going into PP were going in as nonchalantly as to get a flu shot. But it was devastating to see them coming out. There did not seem to be anything nonchalant about what happened to them in there. There were 2 or 3 who came out with bags which we assumed were the abortion pill. One individual looked confused or bewildered. I remember one looking distressed, one was dazed with tears in her eyes. One individual came out with a man older than her, she seemed quite distressed and possibly in pain. I offered the Recovery Care bag but she refused and kept on walking. “Heartbreaking” hardly describes those situations. So I just kept praying for those sweet little babies as they lost their lives today and found themselves whole and in the arms of Jesus.
We all tried to engage everyone who went through the doors but were unable to get anyone to listen. There were a couple not-so-nice passersby, but there were more passersby who were positive. There was a man in a wheelchair who stopped, thanked us for what we were doing and prayed with us. We just continue to cry out, “Lord, save these babies and these moms and dads.” We pray for those who had abortions today that the Lord will lovingly minister to their broken hearts and bodies. Thank You, Jesus.

Meredith and Katie
Katie and Chuck

11 AM-1 PM, Marilyn & Fran:

Today I was blessed to sub for Lisa as shift manager. Parishioners from St. Catherine’s and St. Richards, Tony & Elaine, Margie, Erin, Val and Mike joined in praying along with Dave from Most Precious Blood and Cathy from Monroville Assembly of God.  Thankfully sidewalk counselor Katie was present too.
Unfortunately today was an abortion day at PP.  While we could see it was a pretty, sunny day, the sun did not shine in front of 933 Liberty Avenue. It never does.  
Two toddlers were enthralled with the pictures of the babies on the signs. A three year old kissed one of them! So precious.  
A woman stopped and shared that when she was 18 she had an abortion. Thirty one years later she still thinks about and regrets it. She was glad we were there. Katie gave her information about Rachel’s Vineyard.  
A woman suffering with drug addiction stopped and we prayed with her.  Several people did not agree with us being there and were not shy about letting us know. One woman said there is no God.  We have a hurting world out there.   So much to pray for.  

Mike, Elaine, Tony, and Erin from St. Catherine & St. Richard
Margie, Mike, Val, and Erin from St. Richard & St. Catherine

1-3 PM, Carolyn & Cecilia:

Beautiful afternoon for prayer. Horse patrols fun to watch. Good number of people accepted flyers. So lovely to have family with little ones. Nikki’s call for shift buddies was heard by several good people.


3-5 PM, Helen & Anita:

Check back soon but scroll for more!

5-7 PM, Mary & Jim:

We started at 5 with Anita, Cecilia and others from the 3-5 shift, who stayed on to pray a while and hand out information.  I was joined for a short while by Jim F, then by super prayer warriors from Bridge City Church, Linda, Beth and Michelle, and faithful Jim M from Bridgeville.  We didn’t have many stopping by, but did give out information, and the three ladies from Bridge City Church engaged a friend of someone who is pregnant and considering abortion.  They spoke with her and gave her all the information her friend will need, and later we all prayed for her friend. 
After the display was picked up we were joined by Beth of St. Mary Church, and we all prayed together in front of PP.  We were approached by someone asking for either food or money, and Beth was able to direct him to a church providing dinner a short walk away.  She joined us at just the right time! 

Linda, Beth and Michelle (not in that order)

Day 24: Thank you to St. Ferdinand RL Group, OPV Catholic Parishes RL Group, and Individual Volunteers!

From “Pro-life or Pro-choice, ‘Unplanned’ Will Get Under Your Skin” by Emma Winters. Read the entire article at

God has plans for Ashley Bratcher’s life. Those plans included starring in a movie that would touch hearts and open minds to the humanity of the unborn. Ashley’s mom said “yes” to those plans when she walked out of that abortion clinic. Doing so not only saved Ashley’s life, but the lives of countless other children who were spared by the impact of Unplanned.

God has plans for your life, too. He knows how far the ripples of your “yes” will reach. Ashley Bratcher’s story is great encouragement for us to listen to God and go where He’s directing us. Is he directing you to come and pray on the sidewalk?


Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM, Barbara & Richard:

Early morning light looks beautiful downtown in front of PP.
Night shift is going home. Daylight shift hurries to work. Parents with little kids on their back or hip or in a stroller, or by the hand or circling around their knees… their little voices soft, their eyes attentive.
We remember to bring red roses so we can scatter the red petals on the sidewalk. They speak for the killed babies whose voices will not be heard.  They speak for the mothers whose bodies will be bloody. They speak for the hearts that break in the carnage.
The people going into PP declined our help. I knelt down. Somehow I felt better.


9-11 AM, Kathy & Mary:

Thank you to all who came to pray today.  May the God of heaven hear our plea to end abortion.
A few people passing by accepted literature.  Those entering pp, except for one or two patrons, did not.  Some hostile comments spoken to us by passersby were countered by positive statements from other passersby.

Kay, Cindy, and Pam from St. Ferdinand’s Church/Cranberry; Sidewalk Advocate Kim; Shift Buddy Mary, not pictured Priscilla, Bill H, and Judy
Carol and Sandy from St. Bonaventure Church, Glenshaw/Shaler

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila & Lori:

Thanks to all the wonderful 40 Days for Life participants who filled in at the last minute.
There were quite a few couples who entered during our shift but none of them accepted any information. Not long before I left, a woman (“E”) stepped outside to smoke.  Joan approached her and “E” said that her friend “A” was there for an abortion and was about to speak to one of the counselors. “E” stated that “A” is a single mom who is living with her mother with a toddler, a 10 month old and two jobs, and doesn’t want another baby. “E” and “A’s” mother have encouraged “E” to keep the baby and are supportive. “E” even offered to adopt the baby. Joan encouraged “E” to get “A” to come down so we could offer help/walk her down to Catholic Charities. “E” said that she would try. I had to leave at 1pm and asked Elaine to keep an eye out for them. How wonderful it would be to learn that “A” had a change of heart.


1-3 PM, Elaine & Bernie:

Check back soon! Scroll for more…

3-5 PM, Pat:

It was a fairly quiet and peaceful late afternoon for us.  I had Fran and Dan from St. Joseph’s in Verona and the always faithful Mike and Val from St. Mark’s in Liberty Boro.  Bill H. also joined us for most of the shift – and this after standing with Elaine when she was alone for her 1-3 shift!  Many thanks from all of us for that, Bill.  Later on I was joined by David R., who came early for the evening shift and faithful Thao.  Shortly after SM/SB Bill E. came, I left to catch my bus.  

Mike, Bill, and Val
Dan and Fran

5-7 PM, Missy & Bill:

Thank you to our prayer warriors  from 5-7on Friday… It was a quiet night for the most part. I am so inspired by the people who come to pray! Thank you dear Jesus for them. .. and Thank you for hearing all of our prayers to end abortion.

John and Bill E.
Thao and David R.

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. 

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!

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.

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.

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. 


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:

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.


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. 

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 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.

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.

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!


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?


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.

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.  

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.  


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.

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
Thao, Mike, Elaine, Samantha