“And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child,
how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Those are the words Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., in 1994. I’m asking that the individuals who read this blog who either work at Planned Parenthood or who support abortion pay particular attention to them – and perhaps even meditate on them. Because in light of those words, I have to ask what your reaction was to the terrorist attack in New York a few days ago? Or to what happened in Las Vegas a few weeks ago? Surely you saw the injustice of it, and were disgusted, as we were, by the total disregard for human life.
But here’s what I’m truly curious about: On what rational or moral grounds do you object to these mass murders? Yes, people were killed who didn’t want to be killed. We can agree upon that. But, isn’t that also what happens several times a week inside of 933 Liberty Avenue?
You may argue that the babies aborted are not yet “persons” (mental gymnastics that simply escapes me), but you can’t argue with the science which clearly tells us that, biologically speaking, human life begins at conception. Isn’t that “Embryology 101”?
So, whether you’re calling “the product of conception” a “person” or not, there can be no question that what is being snuffed out is a human life.
40 Days for Life will be leaving your doorstep on Sunday evening, and won’t return until Ash Wednesday when (if necessary) we’ll be back again for another campaign. But in the meantime, I urge you, please think about these things.
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love,
but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the
greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta from that same speech
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR TOMORROW, SUNDAY 11/5:
–Due to the EQT 10 Miler race, Liberty Avenue and other streets will have closures and parking restrictions until almost noon. See maps below for helpful information.
–The Fall 2017 Campaign Closing Rally begins with prayer in front of PP at 6:30 PM, followed by a pot-luck social at Catholic Charities just up the block at Liberty and 9th. Please join us!
7-9 AM, Tim:
Saturday morning started as usual, dark and cold but then things it brightened up. The sidewalk advocates Virginia, David and Joe were on post standing vigil along with year round Saturday regulars Stephanie, John M., Bill H. and Bill S. Then two white vans pulled up and Father Tim, the Guardians for Life and the Knights of Columbus poured out. The sidewalk was then filled with the faithful and song and prayers rang out echoing on Liberty Avenue. As my shift was ending a large group of students from Grove City College arrived and began to pray. What an encouraging site to see such a large group of students. What a bright, beautiful, blessed morning it turned out to be.
9-11 AM and 11 AM-1 PM, Sue M. (thank you, Sue!):
Today I pulled a “double”, although it did not feel that long to me as it was full of prayer and just great people. So many prayer warriors today. I arrived to the faithful Guardians for Life, and shortly after that a large group of Grove City College students arrived to pray. Then came folks from St. Maurice in Forest Hills, St. Patrick in Canonsburg, St. Katharine Drexel in Bentleyville, and St. John XXIII on the North Side. These folks meant business — so much prayer was going on. For the second shift, a huge group arrived from St. James in the West End, including a beautiful baby girl “G” who was just an angel!! Bill H. in his Holy-Spirit-led way, was in and out during the two shifts. Regulars Billy and Bob stopped by.
PP seemed today to be a bit busier than usual, unfortunately. We had many remarks from passersby, I’d say about an equal amount of thumbs-up and thumbs-downs. “K” from the PP-supporting side was there, and several of the ladies dialogued peacefully with her. The quality of the thumbs-ups and encouragements more than made up for the negative comments from passersby. One gentleman was waiting for the bus across the street and made a point to cross over to thank us for being there. A young family in town from Syracuse thanked us and took some literature to distribute in their hometown. And a gentleman who was emptying trash cans on the sidewalk suddenly stopped to pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be with us.
God is working. I believe we can now see only a very small percentage of the workings of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts as we pray on the sidewalk — not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If we stay faithful, we will someday see His glory revealed and the end to abortion forever! Come, Lord Jesus!
1-3 PM, Dean:
As this campaign comes to a close, I encourage all of us to recharge over the next few months. Thank all of you for being God’s hands, feet and mouth on the sidewalk. It has and continues to be a pleasure serving alongside such dedicated Christians. Have a memorable Thanksgiving. I plan on serving in the upcoming Lenten Campaign. May the joy and love of Christ be with each and every one of you.
3-5 PM, Kathy:
Beautiful group from St. James was with Dean when I arrived. Ruth was engaging a woman who held a large “I support Planned Parenthood” sign in conversation. When she left the whole group was very pleasant to her. Truly a loving peaceful witness.
My friend, Marian, came with me to pray. It was her first 40 Days shift. She had taken me to my first March for Life in the early 90’s. We were joined by Bill, Marie, Bill, and Ken.
God provided great prayer warriors, prayers, and fellowship. Very grateful!
5-7 PM, Jeff:
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
-John 21: 3-6
Peter spent several years as one of our Lord’s closest friends, following Him all over and helping with His ministry. He watched as Jesus was executed; then saw the risen Lord. And yet, after all that, he momentarily said to himself, “Hmm…now what? Well, I guess I’ll go back to being a fisherman.”
We’ve spent the past 38 days praying, fasting, and reaching out to those affected by abortion. Yet my calendar going forward shows nothing but the kids’ activities, holiday events, etc. It’s as if I’ve said to myself, “Hmm…now what? Well, I guess I’ll go back to my old life.”
Don’t get me wrong…I truly believe that God is pleased with our sacrifices and efforts in the Fall 2017 campaign. We also know from Scripture that He has ordained a time for every purpose under Heaven, and that Jesus Himself took His disciples off to pray and rest when they needed to refresh. So I think it’s okay for the intensity to go down for awhile after the campaign ends this Sunday.
But I really can’t just go back to the way things were. My brothers and sisters are being hurt and killed at Planned Parenthood year-round, so I need to keep fighting for them year-round.
There are basic ways to keep going. I can pray daily for hearts to be converted and for abortion to end. I can fit fasting into my week, maybe choosing a day when I know abortions are taking place on Liberty Avenue (currently Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.)
There are also more powerful ways. Sidewalk Advocates for Life, who courageously stand vigil and offer life-affirming alternatives to PP clients on abortion days throughout the year, welcome and train new members regularly. (Next training session: Sunday, November 12th from noon-5 PM. Email email@example.com for more information.) And silent sidewalk prayer partners are also needed to uphold them and to offer them fellowship in their challenging but crucial ministry.
We all know Peter didn’t go back to fishing in the end. Jesus had a lot more planned for him…as He does for us.
Dear Lord, please call us and strengthen us to continue defending your children even after this campaign ends. As we cast our nets to catch up those who are vulnerable, please fill them to overflowing with men, women, and children who have been saved and can sing Your praise!
7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:
Friday morning, before dawn, felt silent, warm and sweet. People quietly bustled. Rose arrived. Jeff arrived with our daily supplies.
Harry arrived just in time to help us unpack and arrange items for DAY 38 of our 40 DAY, 12 hour witness. Harry is from St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford. His son (youngest of 5 children) and he are going to a Boy Scout event this weekend.
Al and Sally arrived and took up their prayer stations. Faithful prolife veterans, they have publicly witnessed for life in the Pittsburgh area for decades.
One by one, someone unlocked the PP doors for a worker who went in just as the door closed and locked behind them. At some point the doors remained unlocked. At least 3 couples went in. They looked away as we offered prolife help.
Greeted with, “God bless you,” a young man looked away and said, “Shut up!” Great! I thought. There’s a sign of life.
Actually signs of life flourish in the faces and in the hearts of passersby. So many smile, nod or give us a thumbs up. We are not wasting our time, or theirs.
11 AM-1 PM, Marie:
Today’s 11-1 shift had a good group of faithful prayer warriors. Fr. Frank from St. Margaret Mary was also part of the group. There were both positive and negative responses from those passing on the sidewalk. This group did a good job of faithfully standing in witness for the unborn.
1-3 PM, Pat:
Not being used to this time, it was a little strange to see so many people – both workers and clients – go in and out of PP. I was there with groups who came to pray from faraway places such as Moon Township and Greensburg, which gives some idea of how far our footprint extends. While only there for about 15 minutes, Nikki showed-up since she had some time available. (Now if I had her schedule, and had some “free-time”, well, let’s just say that coming down to the vigil would have even crossed my mind.) This gave me the opportunity to leave a little early and head back to work. Thanks again, Nikki!
But while I was there, I did have an interesting conversation with Theo (not his real name), a young man in his early 20’s, who has been in the U.S. for only a few years and grew-up in the African nation of The Congo. The conversation started because he didn’t understand what my sign meant. It read: “Shouldn’t human rights begin at conception?” This lead to an interesting conversation because he really had no idea that abortions were legal in the U.S. and happening, at a rate of about 3,000/year, right inside the building we were standing next to. He was having a hard time grasping this…as he should.
Please check back throughout the day as more pictures and stories are posted!
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR SUNDAY:
Due to the EQT 10 Miler race, Liberty Avenue and other streets will have closures and parking restrictions on Sunday morning, November 5th, until almost noon. See maps below for helpful information (thank you, Pat!)
“…Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20
In this 40 Days for Life campaign, far more than two of us agree on what to pray for. We are fervently asking for an end to abortion. Our Pittsburgh group is praying, in particular, for the closing of the Liberty Avenue Planned Parenthood so that no more children will be killed there, no more women will be harmed there. Jesus has PROMISED us that our heavenly Father will grant our request! In my weakness, I often get stuck on my four-year-old daughter’s favorite question…“But WHEN???” Over and over again, I need to go back to Scripture to quiet my childish grumbling.
“(Jesus) answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.” Acts 1:7
My question of when is not going to be answered in advance. In reality, it’s irrelevant. No matter what time is ordained for our longing to be satisfied, I just need to keep praying and trusting that God has this all worked out. As the beautiful saying goes, “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” It seems silly that I still struggle with it even though God has shown Himself to be trustworthy countless times in my own life, let alone in the history of humanity. He knows what He is about…every detail is intricately planned for our good, even when I can see no reason for delay.
“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2Peter 3:8-9
Thank you, Lord, for Your patience with us, and for Your perfect timing. Please grant us TRUST in that timing and the courage to persevere in prayer until the joyful day when your promise is fulfilled and no more women or children are destroyed by the evil of abortion!
7-9 AM, Charlene:
Today was cold on the sidewalk at 7. Someone earlier in the week said they had gotten out their “long Johns “ and I followed their lead. But there was warmth coming from all of the prayer warriors! It warms my heart to pray with my friends from my parish, St. Bonaventure. They always bring joy to the sidewalk. Fr. John ( with no hat) brought MaryAnn, Frank, Theresa, Mario, Jean, and Matt. We were also praying with Sally and Al, Rose from St. Mary’s Glenshaw,and BethAnn from At. Alexis.
PP was steady business and I believe they are starting earlier…like by 7:30. It is hard to stand and see the steady flow going in. But I read something in one of those catalogs that you get every other day(sweatshirts, posters, etc.) and it said,”You’ve got 3 choices in life: Give up, Give in, or Give it all you’ve got” God has called us to“Give it all we’ve got”…and so we will.
11 AM-1 PM, Marie:
Brooklynne & Cayesen are students at Blessed Trinity Academy. They are from St. Mary in Glenshaw. Both prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Brooklynne led several decades. She had participated in her first 40 Days inside her mother’s belly and has been part of many more since, in the last 10 years.
1-3 PM, Barbara and Richard:
Our shift was sunny and warm as we prayed with witnesses from Sts. John and Paul, Jim from St. Philip and our guardian angel, Ginny.
Beautiful day in Pittsburgh- bright, sunny, and warm for the 3 to 5 shift. Quiet which allowed us to pray consistently while handing out candy. Thank you, Ginny, Esther, and Nati as you all warmed the sidewalk with your smiles and candy! John (from St Killian’s) joined us for a while to pray as well – thank you!
5-7 PM, Pat:
I had a nice night out there with both good weather and, for a Friday night, it was relatively peaceful and quiet. Bill stopped by for a quick visit early on. Matteo and Thomas are students at CMU and signed up through the Newman Center which serves the Catholic students of Pitt, CMU, and other colleges and universities in Pittsburgh. Matteo, Thomas, Jim and I began the evening with the rosary with pro-life meditations. Jim had to catch his bus after that. The rest of the evening Matteo, Thomas and I engaged in both group prayer and individual silent prayer – with some breaks for good conversation, of course.
Please come to the vigil on Sunday from 12-1:30 so that our shift managers will not pray alone! Sign up at https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/ or just show up! Thank you!
Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time
we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
We passed the halfway point in our fall vigil this week…and I’m ashamed to admit that I found myself losing steam. I was having a hard time getting up off the spiritual “couch.” The hectic pace of everyday life kept pushing me along and I just didn’t feel like pushing myself on top of that. I was longing to do something mindless and treat myself to the few little things from which I’m fasting.
I think Jesus understands. Fully human and fully divine, He may have even felt the same at times. But I’m sure He doesn’t want me to give in or give up. He certainly never did. So I looked around for some spiritual “caffeine” to get me up and moving. God provided just what I need through our beautiful 40 Days for Life family.
I was struck by the quote Pat used in his reflection the other day: “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way.” God gets that I’m tired, and mercifully, He won’t abandon me in my weakness…but with His help I can do better.
Sue offered comfort with her suggestion to “dream small.” I don’t have to make it through 16 more days of the campaign all at once…just one day at a time. Give us this day our daily bread. Please, Lord, help me to give it all I’ve got TODAY.
Nikki’s passionate warning about the danger of being lukewarm was perfectly timed, while her updates on darling Adrial, Rowan, and Wyatt were just what I needed to get some fire back. How can I ever get tired of fighting when this is who we’re fighting for?
Let’s pray for one another with TRUST that God will grant us the focus and energy to fight as hard as we can for the most vulnerable today. And then let’s do it again tomorrow. 😊
7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:
Sunrise treated us to a pink plaid glow. Richard and I were joined early by Diane and Rose.
We decorated the sidewalk with prolife items, trying to set a scene that could welcome mothers to choose life.
Bill, John, Beverly and Kim joined us. Cathy stopped by on her way to the airport. She is going to NC for a wedding.
Al and Sally are celebrating their 51 YEARS WEDDING ANNIVERSARY today. Caesar Emmanuel dropped by, chose a blue Rosary because it is on this week’s Pittsburgh Catholic front page, and asked us to give a shout out to Bishop Zubik. Life is good.
Today is an abortion day. We are trying to change hearts, one at a time.
1-3 PM, Regina:
My daughter Angela, faithful witness for life, Ginny and I had the great grace of being led by the pastor of North American Martyrs Parish, Fr. Joe Luisi, in all four Mysteries of The most Holy Rosary. The power of this prayer effort was tangible as we lifted up our hearts, minds and souls to God on behalf of the unborn, and in honor of the dignity of all human Life. Heavy foot traffic on Liberty Ave. ensured the opportunity to witness to the supportive, the offended and the indifferent alike. Thank you Fr. Joe! The witness of clergy speaks volumes on so many crucial levels. Hearts were clearly touched by Fr.’s prayerful presence! Some crossed themselves as they passed, while others stopped to engage and seek counsel. People are hungry for God, and need to believe in the geniune goodness of God’s people! That was quite evident today in front of the Gates of Hell. Thanks be to God, the victory is HIS!
3-5 PM, Lisa:
Quiet shift but loads of intercessory prayer covered the streets thanks to Ginny, Karen and Larry from West Hills Baptist, and the youth from St Monica’s!!!
Thank you for your witness, sacrifice, and love for women and children in difficult circumstances!!!
5-7 PM, Barbara and Richard (again, God bless them!):
Slowly the sun faded and a blue grey light washed the streets. Quietly, quietly, day faded into evening and then dark. Workers left PP, and the door locked behind each of them, one by one. Finally the building was empty, dark and hollow.
Richard and I were joined by Karen and Larry, members of West Hills Baptist. They were here 3 – 7 and appeared tireless. As people passed, so many stopped to talk with them.
And then, Diane and Tom came, gathered up the items, and drove away. Another 12 hour shift completed, as we promised. We witnessed outside, in full view of Pittsburghers, in honor of the tiny invisible babies whose lives were quietly, relentlessly taken here today.
A prayer request from Joan, vigil participant:
I was down there today and a young girl came out of Planned Parenthood very upset. I spoke with her for a few minutes and gave her info and then her friend grabbed her hand and whisked her away. I hope she makes the right choice! I could tell that she did not want to go through with the abortion.
Please check back later as more reports come in!
When I was little, I had a recurring nightmare that made me dread going to sleep at night. I dreamed repeatedly that an enormous statue of King Kong stood in my backyard and that it came to life every night at sundown. The only way to prevent King Kong from eating my family was to pull down each window blind in our house so he couldn’t see that we were inside.
In the dream, as soon as it started to get dark, I would run around the house screaming for my parents to close the blinds (since I was too short to reach them myself.) But everyone in my family was in a trance-like state, moving in slow motion with smiles frozen on their faces, completely oblivious to the danger and my distress. I think the worst part of the dream was not my impending doom but my powerlessness to make anyone see what was happening.
I know you can relate.
No, not the part about the King Kong statue in your backyard coming to life…but the frustration of knowing that something awful is about to happen and being powerless to convince others of the danger. We experience it all the time at the vigil–whether it be in a conversation with a passer-by who just can’t acknowledge that abortion hurts women; or worse yet, when we are unable to stop a couple from passing through those dark doors on an abortion day. It’s agonizing to be aware of the physical and spiritual harm that happens inside Planned Parenthood while so many pass us by in a trance-like state, oblivious to the danger and unable to hear our desperate cries.
Our Heavenly Father speaks to us about feeling powerless through His Scriptures:
“…but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:9-10
I have to admit that I don’t like this passage. I don’t fully understand yet why God works in this manner. But… I’ve seen it in action. I bet you have, too. So I know we can TRUST God to take our sidewalk offering of sorrow and frustration and use it for marvelous things despite the fact that we can’t always perceive it. Please go to https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/ and sign up to join us–or just show up when you can!
Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM
Rose and Bob arrived even before Diane left early this morning. Bob belongs to St. Thomas More Parish. He and his fellow parishioners are scheduled to sponsor our prayer vigil in front of PP all day today, 7 – 7. This being Friday the 13th, Rose shared that she is the 13th of 13 children. What an awesome gift she is as she brings the fragrance and beauty of her witness to early Friday mornings in downtown Pittsburgh in front of PP.
Al, Sally and Richard shared their happy glow and, in its light, we looked across Liberty Avenue and noticed Bill and Jenifer. Jenifer prefers to witness over there to give her a chance to share the prolife riches more easily. “People seem more ready to stop and talk,” she said.
Bob and Ryan shared a masculine vibe as they spoke with a young man who stopped to report that he has no children, but would welcome a steady place to call home.
The women going into PP went in pairs. Two were accompanied, each by a young man. Another was a duo that looked like a mother and daughter. It is awful to be there when a woman opens the door and goes in for an abortion. She will be hurting when she comes back out of those doors, her baby left behind in the trash. Some of her hurt can probably be easily remedied – Tylenol and quiet time on the couch. Her baby’s dying pain can be remedied – rest in the arms of God. The pain she feels for having chosen abortion will haunt her. Her heart will suffer at having loved ones choose the “easy way out”.
Sue, 11 AM-1 PM
I arrived to wonderful St. Thomas More prayers Carolyn, Karen and Chuck! St. Thomas More adopted the entire vigil today! Shortly after Chuck left, Roseanne and Tony came to say the rosary. A little into that, Ginny came from St. Bernard’s…the South Hills was well represented today! The picture shows Tony, Carolyn, Ginny, Roseanne and Karen! It was beautiful weather and we got a lot of positive support and some negative as well. Unfortunately PP was busy enough today…I saw two girls leave and one actually jumped up to click her heels and say how happy she was. Maybe she feels relief right now, but I wonder if she will ever reflect on this day. If so, hopefully she turns to Rachel’s Vineyard or a similar program! We also had a young man knock over the vigil sign and the baby models went flying. I called the police and they were able to track him down and issue a citation!! Shift manager Lisa came early for her shift with her beautiful daughters. As I was leaving a first time vigil participant (Ken?) arrived. It is so nice to see the new faces as people come to understand the magnitude of this tragedy and take action!
Lisa C. 3-5 PM
Quiet for us on our shift but with abundant prayers in conjunction with the request of Our Lady of the Rosary on the 100th Anniversary of her appearance in Fatima asking for prayers for the entire world!!!
Thank you, Ginny as well as Bill from St Phillip, Gerry from St Thomas, and the youngsters from St Monica. We love and thank you all for sacrificing your time for others and witnessing for our loving, merciful God!
Pat, 5-7 PM
This was one of the quietest and most prayerful evenings I’ve ever had on a Friday night. Mary was with me for the first hour and we spent most of it in prayer. She hadn’t even signed-up to come down, but just wanted to pray a rosary or two down here before going to the event at St. Paul’s Seminary this evening. She was, she said, moved by the Spirit and by the fact that today was the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun which took place at Fatima. Had she not been there I would have been alone for that first half hour.
I was praying alone for about 10 minutes when I was surprised by former Shift Manager Julie – also a member of St. Thomas More. We also prayed together for the bulk of our time as well. The only strange incident was that, as we were praying, Julie noticed that the pink sandwich sign was on its side. We hadn’t heard anything so we reasoned that someone decided to put it that way quietly. Oh well.
Please check back later for more from the sidewalk…
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
My dear grandmother used to have a word for a person who is nervous all the time— “worrywort.” I readily admit that I am one, and have been since birth. So the scripture quoted above is one of my favorites. I have it posted on my big folder of bills and tasks. God has a way of making it pop up in other places, too, when I need to be reminded of it.
True to form, He made sure I saw it this week when I really needed it. I was being hit with wave after wave of troubling news from near and far. I felt exhausted, as if I’d been struggling to stand in the pounding surf of the ocean. I know, life is like that sometimes. Okay…lots of times.
God is telling me to have no anxiety? Seriously?
Oh, but He is…and as always, He’s right. When I pray, when I petition, when I thank God, when I put my life into His hands, He never fails to help me. He grants me new strength and a peace that flies in the face of worldly logic.
God, in His grace, reached out to calm and comfort me over and over again in the past few days. He put the Philipians scripture in front of me. He let me run into a friend I hadn’t seen in months who shared the amazing ways in which God is seeing her through a very difficult year. He inspired Nikki’s beautiful blog entry on Wednesday, which really picked me up. (Read–or reread–the Day 8 entry for yourself to feel God’s warm embrace!)
It’s very easy to get anxious and overwhelmed as we fight for the sanctity of life. After all, this is truly a matter of life and death—not only physical, but spiritual, as well. Blessedly, God has the remedy for our worry and exhaustion. As we present the prayers and petitions of our 40 Days for Life campaign, let’s do so with thanksgiving and complete TRUST in Him. Please use this link https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/to choose a time when you can join us, and then see the pictures and stories from today’s vigil below!
From Richard and Barbara, 7-9 AM:
Diane and Tom were just finished setting up as Richard and I arrived at the sidewalk on a warmly cool, slightly foggy 7AM.
Not long after, staff started arriving at Planned Parenthood. Today is an abortion day.
Remembering the rich man and Lazarus in the Old Testament, I always will try to share with a person who appears abortion vulnerable. I am their sister. Perhaps they will let me be a part of their redemption.
One tall young man stopped to look at our fetal models. He looked at the 10 week unborn baby model and said, “Wow! Their little body is all there.” As we talked he told me about his 12 year old daughter who lives in northern Pennsylvania with her mother. “It got complicated. She and I couldn’t stay together,” he said about the mother. Today he has a fiancée who has the implanted type of birth control. He wishes she would stop it because he would like to have a baby. His understanding about the rules that shape wholeness in life appears fragile. This morning, I could only share a few loving words and a smile.
A young woman about 20 years old, stopped and leaned against the brick wall of the next door bar, finishing her cigarette. I took off my prolife sign and walked over. She was “there just for a checkup,” she said. We talked for a bit. “Just in case you would ever need this,” I offered her our little yellow crisis pregnancy care information card. She took it and said if she would ever need it, she might read it. She walked over and into PP.
A young man walked back and forth in front of PP. I did not see him go in. I saw him come out, light a cigarette and stand outside the doors. I walked over, standing near, outside the gold circle, and showed him a picture of a 10 week old unborn baby. He asked me why I was talking to him when he didn’t even know my name. We started from the beginning, introducing ourselves, first names only. He was polite. He was decided. He accepted the little crisis pregnancy care card and got into a car that drove up and took him away.
From Marie, 11 AM – 1 PM
Holy Sepulcher covered this vigil time and it was peaceful and prayerful shift. There were several instances when people passing would smile or even verbally give approval to our witness. A vigil participant from the earlier shift (not from Holy Sepulcher) told her story of having an abortion as a teenager and how it had stayed with her till this day. She is now a mother and grandmother. What has helped her through this sadness was bringing God back into her life and volunteering at pro-life activities.
From Sue, 1-3 PM:
Holy Sepulcher was there for the entire shift–they had signed up for 4 hours! We prayed and handed out pro-life information. Billy came at the last minute and stayed the full 2 hours as well. He prayed very reverently…I was touched and thought how God must hear him! WTAE also showed up and went into PP for an interview. He came out and filmed us as well as the A-frame sign. I gave him a 40 Days for Life brochure and verbally gave him the updated statistics. The sidewalk and PP were very busy!
From Lisa, 3-5 PM:
Thank you, Matthew from Living Hope Church in Latrobe for standing with us from 2:30 on to 5 and was staying when his church gathered from 5 to 7!!!!
Thank you, Mark, Lori, and Mary from their pro-life group in Weirton who prayed, smiled, and witnessed to life!
Benson joined us after school for his 10th consecutive day. Thank you for your witness. You are an inspiration!!
Quiet overall for our shift with some “thank you’s” and other negative comments. Prayer prevailed throughout!
From Pat, 5-7 PM:
I’m so inspired when people come down to the sidewalk from such far distances. The group from Living Hope Church in Whitney – who came in a big van – drove all the way from the Latrobe area. They even brought their own pro-life signs which must have made an impression on those passing by both on foot and by car because they were nice and big and easy to read. And as I was praying on the opposite side of the circle, I noticed Marta (with the dark hair) engaging with a woman in her late 20s who was passing by. They talked for about 10 minutes and then I could see Marta putting her hand on the woman’s shoulder and praying over her for an extended period of time. It was a beautiful thing to see.
And I want to thank Benson, from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon for spending his 10th consecutive day down on the sidewalk. I enjoyed both praying and talking with him. He really inspires me.
Hello, everyone! My name is Jen McDevitt and I will be posting to our 40 Days for Life blog on Fridays during this Fall 2017 campaign.
Growing up as the oldest of four children in a faith-filled family, many of my early memories are of waiting for or welcoming a new sibling into our world. I honestly don’t remember when I learned about abortion but I do remember being horrified by it. The fact that I was born in 1973, the year Roe v. Wade opened the door to abortion on demand, further haunted me.
I was open about my pro-life views as a teen and young adult. One summer, home from college on break, I accidentally found out that a good friend of mine had had an abortion while away at school that year. She eventually told me the full and heartbreaking story. She confessed that she had hidden the pregnancy from me because she knew my pro-life convictions but was convinced that abortion was her only escape from an awful situation. I was absolutely devastated. It reinforced my stance on abortion to learn from her what happens to the mother as well as the baby, but I was so conflicted. I knew I should be involved in the fight to end abortion but now felt like I should do it quietly so that no one would ever be afraid to approach me again.
Some years later, I heard about a new effort spreading across the country. Called “40 Days for Life,” it was all about putting this enormous and overwhelming fight for the sanctity of life into God’s hands. I was so excited and relieved to learn that the whole 40 Days for Life movement is based on humility and forgiveness–the perfect balance of standing with the mothers while standing up for the babies.
So as 40 Days for Life has grown in Pittsburgh and around the world, I have been privileged to be involved. The kind, selfless people I’ve met while managing the vigil on Sunday mornings have blessed my life in so many ways. When Nikki asked me to write for the blog this campaign, I was intimidated–the current bloggers do such a good job of informing and inspiring, and I doubt that I’ll be on their level. But Nikki herself has said “yes” to God countless times in her leadership of our efforts, and Sue David is now stepping out in faith to fill her holy shoes, so I couldn’t refuse. Just one more reason that the TRUST theme for this campaign is so fitting!
THANK YOU to all who are putting TRUST in God during this campaign and saying “yes” to Him, working to end abortion with His message of love and forgiveness. See below for stories and pictures from today’s vigil…more will be added as reports come in!
7-9 AM: Barbara and Richard
Downtown at Liberty and 7th was cool and light at 7 AM. People were cheerful and nodded and indicated “Hi.”
When we approached PP, I noticed that the lights were on in their two upper floors. Today is an abortion day and mothers will walk in and their baby will be torn out and the mother will walk out and leave her baby behind in the trash. Sometimes I just have to say this out loud. This is a terrible poverty to be endured by mothers and fathers. The abortion did not make them unpregnant. No one looking at them as they come and go would notice the difference between their coming, then going. This horror is invisible. They try with all their might to suffer invisibly. May God grant them repentance and make them whole.
Marian and Diane set the stage for our Friday presence. Bill, Rose, Al and Sally joined Richard and me.
During our first hour, two different men in their twenties, each walking alone, stopped to talk. One mentioned that he was a war veteran down on his luck. We talked about the food and shelter opportunities in downtown. The next young man wondered if we could spare a cigarette. Neither Sally nor I smoke.
Each man, separately, agreed to join us in an “Our Father.” It often amazes me how many people know this prayer. There is an evangelizing presence in Pittsburgh that endures!
Young families passed with children going to day care and Mom and Dad to work.
God is generous. He makes all things new!
11 AM-1 PM: Marie
These are the people from St Mary’s today. We got many positive comments. One man was very sad his girlfriend aborted his baby 17 years ago.
1-3 PM: Hank & Judy
It was a wonderful day! A group from Cultural Impact Ministry was there to pray and witness for life. The group included Jim, Judy, Donna, Vic and Donna and Bill. Ginny from St. Bernard was also there with Judy and myself. We greeted many of those passing by and were in turn generally greeted warmly. We were able to distribute much literature especially the Precious One card which most people accepted when it was offered. We had a long conversation with a lovely young woman who is a student at Point Park and hopefully by God’s grace she will accept the reality of life in the womb.
3-5 PM: Lisa
These lovely young people joined me at today’s vigil. Their smiles and love for the Lord and all human life was so evident! Thank you for your witness to the beauty of life!!
Also we were joined by the faithful Culture Impact Ministry who manned the vigil beginning at 1 PM and stayed until 4:30 PM. Thank you!
In our family, we love rainbows since they are a constant reminder that God keeps His promises, and the Father can be trusted in all His ways. We were talking on the way home that we may have missed one at our home. But we decided one of our “rainbows” today was Benton who came by himself by bus as a 16 year old. He was our hero!!!
5-7 PM: Pat
Tonight was reasonably quiet. I was pleased that three of my fellow parishioners from St. Regis in Trafford joined me: Frank, Nancy, and Mark. While Nancy was a veteran, both Frank and Mark were first-timers. We alternated with praying (the Rosary for Life and the Divine Mercy Chaplet) with conversation. The rain did dampen things a bit, however.
What a wonderful way to end this blessed campaign…there were 22 witnesses for life during the first shift this morning! And fully half of them were beautiful children! A special thanks to the Cascino family–mom, dad, and five fabulous kids– who stayed the entire morning to pray, sing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and inspire us all.
And the closing ceremony this evening was a such a warm and encouraging way to wrap up this campaign and plant seeds for the spring and beyond. A HUGE thank you to Nikki for allowing God to use her to bring the Pittsburgh ProLife Community together as a family during these 40 Days. May God bless her, and all of you who offered your sacrifice to bring about His Kingdom!
A huge thank you to the dozen wonderful people who braved the cold this morning to pray for our littlest brothers and sisters in Christ! The group included a dedicated young woman who came after working the night shift at a hospital and two small prayer warriors who came with their parents.
I have to admit that I was dreading standing out in the weather today, but the title of the daily devotional really encouraged me before I went: “God will use your sacrifice.” To all of you who have prayed through this campaign and brought the light (and warmth) of God to that place of darkness, thank you for allowing God to use your sacrifice to do great things for all of His children!