The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
We were able to close our vigil on Palm Sunday with a beautiful time of prayer, fellowship, encouragement, and sharing. See the following photos for some scenes from our evening:
THANK YOU so much to all who attended over the 40-day vigil, those who fasted, those who prayed from home or in religious communities, and those who helped and participated in many other ways.
Many of those who joined us for the vigil were also at the closing:
We offer a big thank you to Nikki, our local campaign director, who has been an amazing inspiration as always. Thank you also to Megan, who coordinated our fasting schedule.
Take a look at our time of fellowship and sharing at Catholic Charities:
The above Scripture passage tells us what we need to know now, as we go forward from this Lenten campaign. We know that we must be steadfast and unashamed, as Jesus was as He faced Jerusalem… for the Lord God IS OUR HELP. Planned Parenthood, the media, abortion advocates, etc. all claim to be of help in some way. But those on the side of life know that the Lord God is our help. I’d rather put my trust in HIM than in the others.
We now enter into Holy Week, as Jesus entered into Jerusalem. This is the holiest week in the Christian year. What will we do to observe Holy Week in a way that honors God and respects life?
We can pray, first and foremost.
We can also participate in the Good Friday prayer service on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood this Friday, April 14, at 10 AM.
Third, even though it will be in the Easter season, we can participate in the Magee Project, praying for the end of abortions at Magee Hospital.
Information taken from Pat’s blog the other day:
Join The Magee Project (founded by our very own Meredith) for a major prayer event:
A week-long Jericho Walk around Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland.
From Sunday (4/30) through Friday (5/5) the Jericho Walk will begin at 6:30 PM. We’ll meet at Magee – on the corner of Halket Street and The Blvd. of the Allies – to circle the hospital one time in silent prayer and meditation. We’ll then gather briefly after walking to pray together and then and dismiss for the evening.
On Saturday, May 6th, we’ll meet at 8:30 AM and circle the hospital seven times in silence. We’ll gather at the end to make declarations about the spiritual walls we’ve asked God to topple and to declare what we are asking God to plant in place of those walls.
We’re asking individuals to make the effort to come to as many evenings as possible. For churches and church groups (such as the Knights of Columbus), the hope is that they would adopt one evening, and then come again on Saturday morning. Contact Meredith at TheMageeProject@gmail.com or at 412-795-3924 with any questions.
As for parking, on street parking is available on Halket St, across from the main entrance to the hospital, but is limited to one hour. There is also a parking garage available right at Magee’s front entrance. But don’t park in the Panera/Quality Inn parking lot. Even if you buy a coffee there, if you walk off the lot, they’ll tow you.
And finally, be aware that a launch event for our Jericho Walk will be held on Friday, April 28, at 7 PM at Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene (Pastor Joe Stump’s church), which is at 5604 Interboro Ave. in Pittsburgh.
Let us pray as we go through this week, meditating on Our Lord’s Passion and Death. We know that Easter is coming! But we also must remember to reflect and pray through the great gift of life that the Lord has given us through His cross- the gift of ETERNAL LIFE.
The Scripture passage from Genesis 17:1-9 tells of the many promises that the Lord God makes to Abraham, including the many blessings He will give him and his descendants. But God gives one stipulation, and it’s a pretty big one:
God also said to Abraham: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”
A covenant is no ordinary contract or agreement. It is an exchange of persons. You give yourself to me, and I give myself to you. Incredibly, this is what Our God does all throughout Scripture at precise junctures (and with specific people) chosen by Him.
We, as members of the Church, must continue to keep God’s covenant. We must continue to be His people, and have God be our God.
But what about abortion? Aren’t there Christians- people in the Church- who believe and teach that abortion is justifiable? Yes. And why? Which part of God’s covenant is this keeping? Well, it’s not.
Let all of us in the Church- in all of our denominations- seek to keep God’s covenant with sincere hearts- to be FULLY His people.
As a side note, those preborn persons are ALSO called to a covenantal relationship with God. They, too, are God’s people- as we ALL once were, when we were in utero.
Shift Manager Reports
I was blessed to share the sidewalk with two angels this morning! Beth and Tracy from Saint Peter in Steubenville were there when I arrived at 7 and were staying until 11. Look at the picture of them in their rain ponchos- don’t they look like angel robes? These two dedicated souls took two days during these 40 days and drove all the way from Steubenville to witness and pray for four hours! They each stood on opposite sides of the circle and prayed silently. They have a very powerful, prayerful presence about them. We didn’t use the signs because it was raining so hard and I wondered if people would really know why we were there. It was clear that everyone who passed by understood the meaning of our presence there on the sidewalk. As one abortion worker entered the clinic, she turned and said to us angrily, “Why don’t you help that poor girl laying in the doorway instead of standing here?” There was a young couple, a man and a woman, who were sleeping in the doorway to the theater. We were aware of their presence, and in fact Beth had already given the man the resource card with all of the shelter information on it, and she was even planning on taking them across the street to get them breakfast after they woke up. The question that was in my mind, but that I did not ask the worker was, “Why don’t YOU help that poor girl? After all, you are a medical clinic which exists for the sole purpose of helping women, right?”
So it was clear that even though we didn’t have signs, our silent prayers were louder and more obtrusive to the abortion workers than if we had huge signs and had been shouting! Actually, I had the thought occur to me as I was driving into Pittsburgh this morning that, even though we didn’t see any results during these 40 days (yet), our persistence and our daily prayers are like chipping away at a concrete wall. I even thought of the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Remember how the prisoner would chip away at the wall of his cell every day? He had the hole covered with a large poster, and every day he would take a handful of concrete that he had chipped away, and put it in his pocket, which he would discard during his daily time out in the yard. I think that is what our prayers are doing at Planned Parenthood. Even though the progress is slow and gradual, and sometimes we can’t see the difference that we are making, every prayer we pray at that clinic, is like scraping away a handful of concrete from the foundation on which Planned Parenthood rests. One of these days, the final prayer will be prayed, and that will be the one to cause the entire organization to topple. God is good in allowing us to participate with him in his work of salvation in our world! Thank you everyone for persevering in prayer for an end to abortion! God bless you!
This campaign was very different for me as Thursdays were abortion days. I have felt a heaviness in my heart more so than in the past. I felt fortunate today that despite the rain, many people took the resource card. God bless everyone who came to pray during the inclement weather. Thank you.
HOWEVER….I was so happy to hear of the possible save upon arrival for my shift today!
God always has a plan. Today, He decided to have just the right people at the vigil praying who were able to minister to a couple in need. In the pouring rain, the lovely ladies from St. Peter in Steubenville, Tracy and Beth, counseled a young couple who were intending to abort their baby. After much discussion and going in and out of PP, their decision for today was to leave! Praise the Lord. Pray for this couple, that they obtain the strength and resources they need to parent. No matter the circumstances, if God brings you to it, He will see you through it — I remember this little saying and wish all couples with unplanned pregnancies would be so fortunate as to have somebody minister to them the way that Tracy and Beth did today! Thank you!!
Here is Beth’s firsthand account of the situation:
During the 9-11 shift, a young couple went into the abortion mill on Liberty Avenue without speaking to us. After some time, the two of them came out again and beckoned to us, saying they wanted to ask us some questions. Dave and Amy (sorry, not their real names) have been living together for three years in a committed relationship, using contraception in an attempt to prevent conception. In January they discovered that they are pregnant. Their questions were mostly moral and theological; they were both Roman Catholics, at least in family background. Dave did most of the talking. He expressed a clear understanding and abhorrence of abortion and of the abortion industry, horror at the fact that Planned Parenthood kills babies and throws them in the trash, but was clearly deeply frightened by the thought of fatherhood. His own father, he told the counselors, had been both sexually abusive and an alcoholic; he himself had never had the slightest desire to be a father. The couple had come that day to obtain an abortion, but were having second thoughts; their deep pain and obvious concern for one another was very apparent. After perhaps thirty minutes of intense conversation with us, they withdrew to talk privately, then went back inside the abortion mill and were there about fifteen minutes, before they came out and again spoke intensely with us, asking about God’s love and forgiveness, and about our own experiences as married women and mothers. We talked for perhaps another thirty minutes, deeply moved by the couple’s complete engagement with the fate of their baby. It was unlike any previous experience we have had, and reminded us beyond anything of the need to reach out in unstinting love to these parents who are desperate, frightened, overwhelmed. It was the first time we had met avowedly pro-life people seeking abortion. After the second extended conversation, the couple left, saying they had put off the intended abortion, but were still uncertain what their final course would be. We were very much encouraged by their decision, partly because they told us they had seen an ultrasound of their child, which calmed Dave’s fears that the baby might have obvious developmental problems, or that there might be more than one baby, and partly because they had already expressed that as the baby grew bigger (they are fourteen weeks gestational now), abortion would cease to be an option. Please join us in storming Heaven for the calming of Dave’s fears and that they may experience peace and joy about their growing child.
What lovely people; I haven’t been able to get them out of my thoughts. I hope they come for a visit!
Thanks for a great morning; I always love doing 40 Days with you.
And Beth- we are so grateful to you and Tracy for being the presence of Christ to Dave and Amy. May the Lord BLESS you both!!
From Lisa K.:
The weather seemed to be having multiple personalities during my shift. One moment, sunny and warm- another, cold and rainy. But other than that, it was lovely to have such good people to pray with. Thank you to Joan, Carda, Virginia, Yolanda, and Billy. You each added something uniquely your own to our time there. Thank you for that, and for praying with me. Our prayers there are very much needed- as you know.
It was nice that several passersby gave positive remarks, smiles, or words of encouragement today. It’s beautiful to experience that. The negatives were so small that they were almost non-existent.
Several people from the Cathedral showed up to pray and witness at PP—Yolanda, Michelle, Kim, Virginia, and Mark. In addition, Billy and Pat also supported us in prayer and presence. I was glad for their company and prayers. It was a cold, rainy day and downtown seemed noisier than ever.
We had at least four people stop and give us encouraging words of support: Jason, Sarah, and another woman (who works with a life group) showed us a picture of a newborn baby boy—given birth by a teenage mother. This woman works in the area of Woodland Hills School District. A fourth person stopped to make a point of saying how he voted just because of the life issue.
Praise God we had a good two hours, in spite of the inclement weather.
A special thank you to Michelle, Kim, Diane, Marian, Mark, Sean and Joel from St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland, Dennis from St. Maurice in Forest Hills and Mary from Assumption in Bellevue for their faithful prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant woman in need. Thanks for praying in the cold weather and for treating the people passing by with such love and compassion. May God bless each of you, and may all human life always be respected and protected! God Bless!
Anyone ever see the film, The Truman Show? It’s one of my husband’s and my favorites. I will try not to give too many spoilers, but in it, the main character, Truman (played wonderfully by Jim Carey), is born into a world that he believes to be real, but it has all been created for him, and is thus NOT reality. Because Truman knows NOTHING ELSE than this, he, of course, accepts this as reality.
Recently, I found a comparison of The Truman Show, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and Our World. Fascinating stuff. On the site, it reads, “In both Peter Weir’s ‘The Truman Show’ and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the prisoners blindly accept the confines of the pre-constructed realities with which they are presented. Truman is presented with only specific things in order to distort his views. Truman was hesitant to leave, although he was determined to, once he reached the door. Other prisoners were furious when the one who was freed returned and tried to tell them their reality was false.” The conclusion the site comes up with is that “In The Truman Show, Allegory of the Cave, and in our own world, people are bound to the realities with which they are presented.” (Emphasis mine)
The point is this. Sometimes, we are BLIND to reality. We only see what we are presented with and assume that it is real. This can be really dangerous. This applies to our Faith, our family relationships, our self-image, and of course, our understanding of human life.
This past Sunday, many of us heard the Gospel passage about Jesus healing the man who was born blind. Like Truman, everything the man ever experienced was all he ever knew. He could not comprehend what it would mean for there to be more… for him to SEE. Yet, how his whole existence changed in the moment of encounter with Christ!
Brothers and sisters, WE have to be the healing face, eyes, hands, words, and heart of Christ on the sidewalk! WE have to be that “encounter with Christ!” So many are so blind.
As I write that, I realize that we cannot put ourselves in the position of the Pharisees, who thought that THEY were the ones who could “see” in the story of the blind man. We cannot be prideful. There are MANY ways in which we ALL are blind. However, if there are things we know- good things, true things, beautiful things- that we can share with others in the name of Christ, then we MUST. Let us be His presence to help the blind SEE.
SHIFT MANAGER REPORTS
I was very blessed to have my Saint Joe’s buddies with me again this morning. Thank you, Joyce and Bob, for spending your morning with me! We had a very peaceful and mild morning. It was a good time to pray and witness. It was a joy to see Judy and Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene when they arrived at nine. Judy said that many people in her church are fasting as part of the 40 day fast. She even said that some people are fasting all 40 days with just one meal at seven in the morning each day! She said the fruits that are being born in her church because of the prayer and fasting are phenomenal! What an inspiration she and her husband Pastor Joe and their church are! What a blessing to get to know so many wonderful people in this 40 Days For Life family in Pittsburgh!
I am so grateful to the wonderful parishioners of St. John the Baptist for coming to pray on this wet, dreary day! Whenever I am all bundled up at the vigil due to inclement weather, I tend to fumble – gloves – papers – things, you know, drop. Ok, so I will admit it, I am a klutz, always have been. It just seems magnified at the vigil. Anyway, I do have a point – today I was standing right outside the circle. I dropped the yellow resource cards in my hand and, horror of horrors, they landed in the dreaded circle! Boy was I glad the security guard didn’t pick that moment to peek out the door. He seemed to do that several times today. So, I bend down to pick them up and as I am standing up, lo and behold, stopped right in front of me is a young woman wanting a resource card! And, then, following her a young man also took a card. Would they have taken them if they hadn’t seen me stoop to pick them up? Hmmm… Maybe being a klutz isn’t such a bad thing. 🙂 As you can see from the photo, I even learned how to take a selfie today. That was fun, though I don’t quite understand the younger generation’s obsession with them!
A young, pregnant mom with her fourth on the way stopped to chat and get information. She was happy to receive the tiny feet pins, baby model and fetal development literature. It was so uplifting to see someone excited about having a baby. Now, that is how God intended it to be, a cause for celebration, a joyous occasion! I was very inspired by the vigil participants today who have large families and many grandchildren. Thank you God for grandparents coming to pray for a culture of life. Several people gave us encouraging words this afternoon. Even though there was foot traffic in and out of 933 Liberty Avenue today, I felt more hopeful today than any other shift so far. God bless everyone!
From Lisa K.:
It was our parish’s day for coming to the vigil today, so a big THANK YOU to all who made the trek from St. John the Baptist in Plum! I am also thankful to Shift Manager Pat who stood vigil with me for the first hour.
One notable thing was during that first hour, Pat and I were approached by a very “difficult” woman. Apparently, she has been having conversations with vigil participants already, and just tries to “prove us wrong.” It was a challenging conversation, and yet, the Lord allowed us to remain calm. Interestingly, just as things were continuing to “heat up” in the conversation- and I wondered how long she’d be there!- a stranger came up and interrupted politely and asked for directions to Catholic Charities! Pat and I laughed about that later. Perhaps the man was an angel, sent to break up the difficulty! In any event, we prayed for her. Please join us in that.
From Dee and Helen:
For me, it was not a time of quiet prayer. No wonder Jesus went to the desert.
The couple from St. John the Baptist were veterans, and they had things under control on the sign-in side, so I went to the other side to pray a rosary. When I walked back I ran into Kim, a young lady who wants to be more involved. Dee said Kim did a bang-up job handing our brochures on Tuesday. Kim lives in North Versailles, and she wants to be a Sidewalk Advocate. I’ll take her to the next session.
Then, a woman came up to us. She looked at the fetal models and questioned their size. When we started to explain development of the baby at eight weeks, she argued with us about the fetal models, and claimed they were inaccurate.
I told her we were there to pray and that some day PP would not be there. She did not seem to appreciate that, and it was about that time that she pulled a $20 from her purse to go inside and make a donation to counter our presence.
The conversation got into birth control, population control, fewer abortions. You know the drill. The patient people from St. John were able to continue the conversation.
By now Kim had pursued some girls exiting PP to give them information. She stayed on the other side, just being quiet.
Our friend went over to talk to her. There was no yelling. Kim talks in one tone: soft.
The lady left.
Kim said she told the lady that if she thought the models were inaccurate, her beef was with the manufacturer.
I think her simple, soft response may have done more than our presentation of facts and faith.
Thus says the LORD: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
What is this, a news story from March 2017??No, it is, in fact Scripture that was written thousands of years ago.WHY are we so belligerent?Well, I don’t know the answer to that.But I do know that the Lord in His wisdom has given us this reading today for a reason.He knows we need it.Like any good father, our God knows that we need discipline and correction.
And since our God is the PERFECT Father, He will do that disciplining and correcting PERFECTLY.But come on. Turning our backs on Him?? Do we really think that’s going to help? NO. He says we must LISTEN to His voice…. and then He will be our God and we shall be His people.
Let us share His love with those on the sidewalk. And let us listen to His voice, and not turn our backs on Him. If we can live this way, on the sidewalk and everywhere, we will be much better ambassadors for Him and ministers to others.
Shift Manager Reports
It was such a blessing to spend my 7 to 9 shift with two wonderful friends from my parish, Saint Joseph in Verona. Joyce and Bob were wonderful companions on the sidewalk! It was a peaceful morning, not much to report. Pete from Saint Ferdinand showed up and prayed on the other side of the circle. It was nice to have him there. Not much happening at Planned Parenthood this morning. However, one couple and two single girls at least went in towards the end of my shift. We really didn’t receive many comments from passersby, either positive or negative. I actually like this early morning shift; people aren’t really awake yet and it is very calm and peaceful! Thanks again to Joyce and Bob for coming to stand with me!
I really don’t know how to start. It was an emotionally draining shift today. It seems obvious that Thursdays are now an abortion day. Today was my church’s day to pray and I was blessed to be accompanied by two fellow St. Richard’s parishioners and friends, Dani and Cheryl and, of course, dear Beth Ann from St. Alexis.
I was so glad there were four of us – two on each side of the doors. There is power in numbers. Unfortunately, so many people went through those doors between 11am and 1pm. I don’t think I will ever get the image out of my mind of the young woman exiting PP and getting into the back seat of a large vehicle with tinted windows that had pulled up in front of the entrance and had been waiting for her for several minutes. She obviously was in physical pain and her face was so distraught. She turned and looked at us right before getting into the vehicle. Then there was the young couple who were in the circle about to go inside. The young lady was putting out her cigarette on the ground and I offered her the resource card. The man accompanying her was trying to rush her inside. She did take the card and said thank you. I am so sad today. Another woman passing by stopped at our resource trunk and rummaged through the container on top of it that contained the tiny feet card pins and candy. She helped herself to some candy asking us why we were there when so many people who are born wished that they were not here. She was very troubled and angry saying that they will just be killed and raped when they get here. She is a soul in torment and the more I think about it — there are so many people who are suffering so. We have no idea.
On a more positive, hopeful note, a young mom to be stopped to look at our fetal models and asked if she could take a photograph. I offered her a tiny feet card pin too. She was grateful and said she was keeping her baby. She left with a big smile on her face. Later in the day, Beth Ann’s lovely daughter joined us after being at a play for school. There is hope for the future when I see such grace and kindness in our youth! Thank you for reading this and please, say a prayer for those who suffer tonight from their decisions today.
From Lisa K.:
Today was beautiful in many ways. I will mention three:
1. The weather. WOW, it was amazing. Thank You, Lord. I was actually peeling off layers.
2. The volunteers. I was so thankful to have Billy come so I wouldn’t be alone. Then Maggie showed up. And then my time with Mary and Joanne was lovely. Thank you all!
3. Mary, Joanne, and I were able to speak with a woman who went into PP and came back out almost immediately. She was a beautiful, polite, intelligent, sweet young woman, who is a single mom and pregnant with her third child. She was feeling unsure about what to do. But after hearing about how much she is improving things in her life, including her work situation and her faith life, the other ladies and I felt relatively confident that she would make the right decision. And we told her so too. Wow, she really made an impact on us. We prayed for her. I ask that you pray too. Thanks.
From Dee and Helen:
Our time on the sidewalk today was spent in
the beautiful sun and in much warmer weather
than last week. It was a peaceful time. Beth from Wexford
stopped by and stood with us. Then Luther came to
stand with us on the sidewalk —a pleasant surprise for Helen
and myself. We did notice that passersby stopped
to look at the fetal models. They are a graphic indication of growing
I would like to especially thank Pat for his faithful prayers and witness at Planned Parenthood this evening. Please pray for a younger girl (I’ll refer to her as D.) who stopped at Planned Parenthood and told me that she had had an abortion about 8 years ago at the Planned Parenthood on Liberty Avenue. She told me that she wished she had never had this abortion, and tearfully asked me if I thought her baby was in heaven. I assured her of God’s love for her and her baby and told her that she would see her baby in heaven some day. Please pray for D. for her healing and for God’s blessings. Thanks also for Diane and Tom for their faithfulness in taking care of the pro-life signs and materials.
If you have never come down to the vigil before, please consider it. If the Lord is calling you to be more involved in this way, then be not afraid. He who called you for the work will equip you to do it in His name.
Doesn’t this look like Liberty Avenue at first glance? Let us be like the Samaritan woman at the well, who left her water jar behind (or this man in the picture, leaving his important work behind) after finding the Truth in Jesus. Let us follow Him unreservedly to serve those on the sidewalk who are in need. Let us LISTEN to His voice.
Can anyone please join Shift Manager Sheila on Friday, 3/17, from 9-10 AM?
Thank you so much!!
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.”
As much as we might like to think of ourselves as Lazarus (since he is righteous), I was recently reflecting on how (at least for me) it is much easier to identify with the rich man. This is NOT what we should prefer, and yet it is often the case. And why? Because the majority of us are living a generally comfortable life… like the man in the Scriptures who seems to have everything he needs. Not only do we have many of the material comforts we enjoy, but many of us also live a life that is free of torment, free from serious peril. We have families and homes and love. Well, at least, many of us do.
But what about those of us who do not? And here, I think primarily of those abortion-bound couples, or the abortion workers. This is not to say that their lives lack families, homes, or love, but that SOMETHING in their lives and hearts is missing. Perhaps only God knows what those things are.
So shouldn’t WE give some of our love, some of our hope, our compassion, to those poor “Lazaruses” in need? The answer is obvious. Yes, we should. And we CAN. Let us fill in the “great chasm” (as in the Gospel passage) that lies between “us” and “them” and really give ourselves. With GENTLENESS and charity.
And just as Abraham was able to hold Lazarus close, the Lord will then be able to hold these needy ones from the sidewalk close to Himself:
Shift Manager Reports:
I was dressed for the Arctic this morning with my snow pants and warm coat, hat and scarf, two pairs of gloves with a hand warmer in between and two pairs of socks with toe warmers in between. It was cold but thanks to God, no wind! That makes all the difference! I didn’t start to get cold at all until the last half hour. It was a blessing to share the sidewalk with Pastor Win from Burry’s church. He is always such a powerful witness as he prays for much of his shift on his knees. Since it was quiet for the first hour, I joined him on my knees so we both prayed on opposite sides of the circle like that for quite a while.
At about 8:40, clients began going in. I saw three couples that looked abortion-bound. Two of them actually accepted the literature. We just continue to pray. Even though our numbers are small, we are consistent and persistent! I had the feeling this morning that God is using us in a powerful way, even though we are tiny, as a sharp scalpel used by a surgeon to remove a cancerous tumor. That is what God is doing with us, I believe. Thanks to Diane for all the helpful and organized materials on the sidewalk, including the ever popular hand warmers and literature! And thank you to Tess for her generous donation of Precious Feet pins which we will hand out on the sidewalk to spread the truth about life!
I left right at nine with shift manager Bill and the wonderful folks from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Judy and Chuck, to carry the torch for the next two hours. Thanks and God bless everyone who is witnessing and praying for our 40 Days for Life!
Another busy day at PP, several couples going in and not leaving by the end of my shift. No one was scheduled to pray, but our wonderful 40 Days for Life family answered the call and pray-ers came. Praise the Lord! It was very nice to have the company of my side-kick, Beth Ann, and Kim and Sue. Two gentlemen stopped to pray during their lunch time. And, before I left, I was so grateful that a lovely couple from St. Alphonsus came and that Lisa would not have to stand alone.
I was very bundled up today, so I was surprised when a 55 year old man stopped to tell me his story of being in the service at age 19 and learning his girlfriend was pregnant and had an abortion. He paused to reflect on how old that child would be now. He shared that even though his girlfriend married and went on to have five children, she never was the same. Abortion haunts men and women. When I stop to reflect on how many millions of babies are not here due to abortion, and how many millions of mothers and fathers are wounded by this, it is no wonder that our society is so messed up and that people become addicted to things that are not good for them. Deep down people are having a real tough time living with their decisions. We are called to be merciful. I think about several other times people shared their history with abortion. So many hurting people. We need to show compassion and mercy and not judgment and condemnation. Even though it was so cold, several people stopped to look at the fetal models. It is good that we have them. A picture is worth a thousand words.
The cold kept away any negative comments today. Thank you, God.
God bless you,
From Lisa K.:
An amazing time of blessings on the sidewalk today, mostly because of the people I had the privilege of praying with. First, I am so thankful that some of our good folks today came just because they read that I needed someone to be there so I wouldn’t be alone. I felt very humbled that they drove all that way (some from pretty far) to join little old me. Thank you all- I am so grateful!
I am also thankful for Ben, a high school senior, who came -on his own- to join us. Not only did that impress me, and not only did he repair Helen’s rosary- but Ben also reached out in a beautiful way to a man who came out of PP and was waiting for the woman he brought there. The man, smoking a cigarette, eyed Ben and asked, “What are you doing?” Ben told him about 40 Days for Life. The man asked something like whether we couldn’t just petition to have the place shut down. Ben explained the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, and how this was not an easy thing to do. Then the man asked for some information. Ben asked me, and I gave him a resource sheet. The man asked for MORE. Ben said that the man was hoping that the woman he came with might see him reading them…. As I found a couple more things to give him, I looked at him and said, “If you bring these in there, I have to tell you- HIDE them, because they WILL take them away from you.” He was about to head back in, and I asked him if I could ask a personal question. I said, “We’ve been wondering whether this is an abortion day…. is that what she came for?” He responded, “I don’t know- but I’m never comin’ back here again.” He said it with such conviction- and amazement that he was even there in the first place. We prayed for him and the woman.
Today, we had a peaceful time on the sidewalk.
It was certainly much warmer than yesterday. We were
entertained a bit by the melting ice sliding through the
drain spout on the bar next door. I did have the opportunity
of praying the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows with Ben, a young
man from Greensburg. I enjoyed the company of the 4
members of Roundhill Church: Linda, Bob, Pastor Matt,
There was one negative response. A young
woman stopped in front of Linda and myself and spit in
front of us. Then she crossed through the circle and stood
in front of Bob and spit in front of him. Other than this
highlight, the people supported us –or just ignored.
Special thanks to Pastor Matt and Mayim from Roundhill Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, Billy from Assembly of God Church in Monroeville, and Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need, and for providing pro-life materials to people passing by. A number of people stopped to thank us for bearing the cold and for standing up for life. Thanks also to Diane and Tom for faithfully transporting the pro-life billboards, signs and materials each day. May God be with each of you and may you and your family be Blessed with much Grace!
May the Lord bless and strengthen these women and men who are in need, and may He love them with His GENTLENESS as only He can.
A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.
Psalm 51:12a, 14a
I don’t know about you, but it seems like for me, a human living in the world, that it is hard to live the life that the Lord wants me to live… all the time. How about you? Don’t we ALL find this challenging? I think that’s why we need Lent. It is a time that brings us back in check. It strips us down, humbles us, and makes us see the great need for conversion that we have.
The above Scripture verses come from today’s (Thursday’s) liturgical Gospel Acclamation. They struck me for two reasons:
We are in constant need of conversion.
We need to acknowledge #1 before we can have #2 (the joy of the Lord’s salvation).
Let us continue to repent and change our lives.
When we minister to those in need on the sidewalk, I believe that we MUST acknowledge our own sinfulness, and conquer our own pride. Otherwise, how can we reach out to offer help? How can we speak words of compassion and healing?
The image above depicts the temptation of Our Lord Jesus in the desert (a Gospel many of us heard this past Sunday). Although He never sinned and was therefore NOT in need of conversion as we are, He still denied Himself. Why? So He could forget about what is NOT important and remember what IS.
Our prayer and fasting throughout these 40 Days can be the same for us. Let us forget about what is NOT important and remember what IS. And let us serve those we encounter on the sidewalk with love. Only hearts that are emptied of self through prayer and fasting can empty themselves out for others in love. Let the Lord pour out His love THROUGH US onto His city:
Shift Manager Reports:
I was very blessed at my shift this morning to share the sidewalk with Pastor Win and another man from his church, St. John United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s) Church. Pastor Win is always a very prayerful witness, and he spends almost the entire time on his knees in quiet prayer. I know God uses his witness to touch hearts…and I know it must touch GOD’s OWN HEART as well! Thank you Pastor Win for making this witness a priority in your busy pastor’s schedule!
Marian was there before I got there at 7am, and another off-duty shift manager, Sue M. arrived shortly after. We had some good prayer time together before Marian took off for work. Sue and I stood and prayed silently on opposite ends of the circle, since it appeared that PP was open for business after the first couple went in around 7:45. They appeared to be abortion-bound. Soon after, Pete from St. Ferdinand showed up to boost our ranks and he and I prayed for a bit. Another couple (appeared to be a father & daughter) went in around 8:15. The thought occurred to me that maybe PP is “prepping” people who are scheduled for late term abortions tomorrow…or maybe Thursday is now an abortion day? It is good that we are there every day during these 40 day campaigns. Thanks to all who are making the time to come to the vigil!
The next shift manager, Bill, arrived early for his shift. At 9 am Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived for the 9-11 shift. It was good to see Judy, and to meet Chuck. It is a sad place to be, but you get to meet the nicest, most selfless people when you go. These are people who really love the Lord…and it is a blessing to pray with them!
Thank you to Erin from St. Richard, and St. James parishoners, Elsie, Sandy, and Cindy accompanied by Fr. Gruber who all came to pray today during my shift. Unfortunately it seemed as if it may have been an abortion day today at PP. Couples going inside with just the male partner coming out; a mother figure exiting with a very unhappy young lady; an older woman coming out to smoke making comments that suggested the person she came with was having an abortion. Nobody comes out looking happy. Sigh. We prayed. It broke my heart to think of what was taking place behind the facade of 933 Liberty Avenue. Usually Thursday is not an abortion day – but last week it looked like it was, as it did this week. It is a totally different feel being down there to pray when it is an abortion day. I’ll bet readers enjoyed the sunshine today. Well, we could see the sun to the left and to the right, but right where we pray, as always, it was cold and dreary. The sun does not shine in front of 933 Liberty Avenue.
On a more positive note, a young lady stopped briefly to tell us that she had gone there and changed her mind. Her baby is now six months old, but is sick. Pray for Baby H. She thanked us for being there. Several people expressed their gratitude. Some women accepted literature, looked at it and then handed it back.
As far as the weather is concerned, I won’t complain one bit if it does snow tonight as it just might keep some clients away from PP tomorrow morning!
God bless you,
From Lisa K.:
A moment of humility has arrived. Well, it is Lent after all. Marilyn texted me during her shift to tell me that it might be an abortion day. This thought made me suddenly so afraid and anxious- as though I had never been in front of PP to pray before! It seemed like forever since I had been there on an abortion day. I think that part of my anxiety came from the fact that last Thursday, I was praying with someone who was a Sidewalk Advocate, and I felt intimidated by that. Silly, I know. So this week, all I could feel was what I lacked, instead of what the Lord could do through me.
Suddenly, I had a very encouraging thought: a certain woman would be there during my shift who I KNEW had experience and was unshakeable, in my opinion. She was indeed there, but that was not what ended up helping me. Sandy from St. James was praying with me, when out of “nowhere” came Fr. Tony from WV. We talked for a moment, then he was going to pray by himself, but said, “Before I do that…” and he raised his hands over Sandy and me, and prayed a beautiful blessing over us! Now THAT brought me peace.
Makes me think about what I said earlier, about remembering what is important and denying oneself. Many lessons to learn. Thank God for Lent.
Shift Manager Dee and I had a week’s worth of blessings in two hours. While we stand at 933 Liberty, school students head for home, downtown workers wait for buses headed for faraway places like Monroeville, the Mon Valley and Chippewa, Beaver County.
Today a tall young mom came along with two beautiful babies in their stroller. She said she would like to be part of telling people about how evil abortion is. She used to be an atheist. She met a man from Jamaica, fell in love, and learned from him how good God is. When she got pregnant, her family told her she was too young to have a baby, but she married the man, and they have two beautiful girls and a new baby is on the way.
She learned that people in Jamaica are very poor. They have no welfare, no public assistance, no agencies to offer help, but they DO NOT abort their children. They have beautiful babies who grow in the love of God. She has all of the numbers for help. I could not find the one business card I KNEW I had put in my pocket. While I turned all my pockets inside-out, Dee came along and said, “Your card was over there (near our big box) on the ground.”
Two rosaries later, I looked across the yellow “forbidden area” to Dee. She was being assailed by a very angry woman declaring, “This is National Women’s Day! This is National Women’s Week! You people are so misguided. You are taking away women’s rights to birth control. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING?” The lady was so vociferous that people waiting for the next bus were shaking their heads and smiling at me. To each one I said, “Please pray for that lady.” Each one agreed. Then she came to where I stood and asked the same questions. It had to be grace that made me very happy to talk to her. After, “Do you know what you are doing?” (Yes) and “Do you know the harm you are doing?” (NO) “Do you want all women to have many children?” Then she came in close and said, “How did you lose your teeth? Are you an alcoholic? Did a MAN punch out your teeth?” I told her about the accident that has caused me to lose three (and soon, four) teeth. Then she said she was sorry about that. She had an abortion in the 1980s. She did not want to do that but her boyfriend threatened to haul her into court…
That was my time to tell her that I am reading and writing from a book titled, WOMAN AND THE NEW RACE by Margaret Sanger. She said she knows about Margaret Sanger. I told her that on page 63, Sanger wrote, “The kindest thing a large family does for one of its youngest members is to kill it.” I told her how Sanger worried that the immigrant families would bring diseases, parasites, etc. Then I told her about my mom’s entry at New York in 1921.
The conversation then went into an attack on Christians. She is an atheist. When I told her I would pray for her, she begged me not to do that. Of course Donald Trump was blamed for all that is happening.
I have no doubt that many of our vigil keepers have had similar conversations. I don’t know how long we talked, but her last words to me were, “God bless you.” Dee took a picture of the young mom. My last words for today are that I was blessed to be there.
During the Thursday 5-7 PM Shift I was accompanied by caring and prayerful pro-life witnesses. I would like to especially thank Adam from Monroeville, Billy from Assembly of God Church in Plum and my wife, Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their faithful witness and for doing such a great job passing out crisis pregnancy contact information. We were wearing the K of C Choose Life signs and one lady walked by carrying a baby on her back and proudly told us that she Chose Life! Praise God!
How is it that the Lord chose this Scripture for us today? It is not coincidence, I know that much. The Lord knows what He wants us to focus on each day.
Moses said to the people: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
There is a book that I read with my husband and children a long time ago, entitled The King of the Golden City. There is a scene in it which describes a soul at the crossroads of the road to eternal life and the road to eternal death. The road to hell is filled with attractions and temptations… an easy and fun party awaits those who follow this path. But its END is eternal death. The road to heaven, however, is dry, barren, and desolate. It is unattractive in every way. But THIS road ends in eternal life. The book portrays this in such a convincing way that one cringes at the thought of having ever even pondered going down the road toward death.
Let us have this same mindset as we reflect on the Lord’s exhortation for us. We must CHOOSE life. We are not on the path to life automatically. We must choose. Sometimes, we don’t LIKE to choose. We want someone else to make the decision for us. But in this circumstance, the Lord respects our dignity so much that He allows us to choose. Will we choose life? Life for the abortion-minded men and women downtown? Life for the little ones in each and every womb (no matter how conception took place)? Life for our beloved elderly, in need of our help? Life for ourselves? Will we choose the path that leads to life for ourselves? If we do, our WHOLE lives will be put in order. Things may not always be easy, but let’s face it… nothing worth having IS.
Let us always choose LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
My first shift of the 40 days was a very peaceful one! I arrived at 7am to find two dedicated sisters in Christ already there, from St. Peter Church in Steubenville, OH. Diane had already set up her amazingly organized sidewalk materials (see photo):
Here is a photo of these three wonderful ladies:
Tracy and Beth had driven an hour to stand for four hours on the sidewalk! They were seasoned prayer veterans, I could tell…and did not need any direction from me, so we all three positioned ourselves at various spots around the circle and prayed silently. I was surprised at how much peace I felt this morning! I was perfectly warm and comfortable, and after the sky lightened, the few snowflakes falling were very beautiful and were landing gently on my face. I had no trouble keeping my mind and my heart focused on the Lord, I felt all safe and snuggled close to Him. As I meditated on the baptism of Jesus, I was thinking of all those workers inside who had been baptized. I pleaded with God to call those who have been made His own out of that place. As I meditated on the wedding at Cana, I imagined Jesus transforming that abortion clinic into a life-affirming center, as He transformed water into wine. As I thought about Jesus’ preaching of the Kingdom and the call to repentance, I imagined all those inside being brought to repentance. During my meditation on the Transfiguration of Jesus, I thought of the dazzling whiteness of His holiness, overwhelming the darkness inside that place. And as I meditated on Jesus giving us His very body and blood so that we could have eternal life…I thought about the selfishness of abortion…the taking of someone else’s body for the convenience of another person. I prayed that pregnant mothers going into that place will be selfless…and will offer their own bodies, for a time, for the lives of their babies.
I was marveling at how much peace I had during my silent prayer…and then my friend Lisa K. texted me telling me she had been praying for me during the first half-hour of my shift. AHHHH! So THAT was it! I forgot that I had texted her last night to ask her to pray for me during my shift today…and I offered to pray for her during hers later this same afternoon, as we were all advised by Fr. Jason this past Sunday to do.
So I definitely recommend to all who are coming to the vigil…ask someone to pray for you during your scheduled time! I had so much love and gentleness in my heart, that when women walked by giving me the finger (two different times) and another woman told me to “go home, PLEASE!”…I very tenderly asked God to bless them and told them that He loves them.
There seems to be a change in PP’s scheduled hours of operation. They seem to be open for business now on Thursday mornings. Many single girls went in during my shift. I know our witness is being seen and is effective! Thanks to all who are sacrificing time on the sidewalk and to all those who are praying and fasting!
Bill showed up right on time for his 9-11 shift…here is a picture of him:
Your sister in Christ,
A big thank you to Ken for coming to pray from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Kittanning. He saw on the blog that we didn’t have pray-ers and answered the call! Later, faithful Bob stopped by to pray while at lunch. I am so grateful to have Beth Ann accompany me each week for my shift. She is such a blessing to me.
I wasn’t surprised this morning to see the snow, even after all this warm weather. I knew the beginning of the 40 Days for Life campaign in Pittsburgh would be cold. That’s just the way it goes! I will admit I questioned this morning if it really makes a difference going there to pray. When Beth Ann and I first arrived for our shift, the previous pray-ers informed us that it was a busy day at PP with many people coming and going, perhaps a meeting taking place there. Young couples, and what appeared to be a mother/daughter also entered the building. Usually Thursdays are not an abortion day, but I’m not sure about today.
While the shift began with a somber start, we were blessed to meet several passersby. We met a man from Texas here for a conference. He wanted to thank us for our presence. He told us about his 82 year old neighbor who prays every Thursday at the Planned Parenthood in Texas and about his niece who immediately choose life for an unplanned pregnancy and is due this summer. We were also very blessed to meet a man who stopped to share his story. He was born in the 1950’s. His mother was told that the RH factor was incompatible and that she should have an abortion, that it would be legal to do so. His pro-life mother rejected that advice and he told us how very thankful he was that she did! He was very glad we were there to pray. A young mom of a seven month old and her friend also stopped to view the fetal model display. The mom was very glad to receive one of the models and literature. She shared about someone she knew who had an abortion.
Our presence on the sidewalk matters. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that it doesn’t. That’s just the devil’s way of getting you to question what you are doing. So, come on down to the vigil to pray. There will always be a Shift Manager present; you will never be alone. While there will always be those with snide remarks, our strength is in the Lord who made heaven and earth. We need not be afraid. Come and pray!
From Lisa K.:
The first thing that struck me today as I approached PP was… Where is everybody??I am used to seeing Marilyn and Beth Ann joined by many people (or at least several).But this time, it was only the two of them.This made me feel sad.In fact, the word “desolate” kept coming up in my mind.But I’ll get back to that.I was wondering whether MY shift would be “desolate” as well.
But what a team we have.Marilyn and Beth Ann stayed with me until Shift Manager Pat checked to see if I had someone to pray with me.I didn’t, so he stayed.God bless you, Pat!!Then Dean came to pray with me at 2.Thank you, Dean!!
So we were small in number, but I just realized that the desolate road, the unattractive road- the one I mentioned above after the Scripture- is the road that leads to life.So THAT is the road I want to be on.Even if it SEEMS to be desolate.The company of others who will pray with me, and the presence of the LORD Himself, make it all worthwhile.
I was amazed to read about Nikki’s “imaginings” as she prayed the rosary.I, too, had a similar experience, but only in reference to Nikki’s imagining that PP had become a life-giving place of happiness. It happened as I was pondering the sign that says, “Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.” It perturbed me a little, as I thought, “Hey, this doesn’t seem fair. I LOVE my city. And Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be what Western Pennsylvania is about.” So I began to imagine the place being transformed into something helpful, hopeful, even joyful.It was a beautiful thing to envision, and I dwelled in that image as much as I could, praying for PP to someday turn into a place that is True, and Good, and Beautiful.May it be so.
Our shift was gentle and quiet. We had a young man
who was quite interested in what went on at PP–he
seemed surprised that babies can be aborted up to the
day they are ready to be born. A group of children was
fascinated with the fetal models and liked touching them.
The shift ended with the arrival of Steve who would be
standing with Rich at the next shift.
We saw one couple come out of PP, but most of the exits looked like employees. Dee and I prayed the Luminous mysteries. It felt so natural to pray at that place in the middle of downtown.
A young man came along and took a good look at the fetal models. He asked about their ages and how they look at earlier stages. I told him about how bones grow, and I showed him on his jaw how the baby’s ear starts out low and moves up the side of his head. He thanked us and said, “God bless you.” Just one prayer like that makes the day for me. Another taller, louder young man said, “Thank you. Keep up the good work.” Again, joy in our ears.
Finally (and I’m just echoing Dee, I’m sure) a group of boys and girls I’d tag as 11-12 looked at the babies. I keep one in my purse, but my purse was in the trunk of my car–alas. One of the boys knew the ages of the baby-models. By then one of the men with us made a positive, surprised, complimentary “wow.”
The most difficult part of the trip was leaving downtown at 5:15. I’m glad I don’t work there every day.
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was cold and prayerful. Special thanks to Steve from the Messianic Jewish Community and Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their prayers and witness at Planned Parenthood this evening. One man stopped by and was extremely excited to see the model of a 10 week old pre-born child, the exact age of his child that is currently in his wife’s womb. He asked if he could have a 10 week model of an unborn child to give to his wife. May God continue to bless 40 Days for Life, and may our country be a place where all life is protected and respected, both born and unborn. God Bless!
Our theme for this campaign is GENTLENESS, May we always share the gentleness of Christ on the sidewalk, and everywhere we go.
Is it just my imagination, or were the Sunday readings for today perfectly applicable to the pro-life movement?? I will be referring to these passages from today throughout this post.
This year’s annual March for Life marked the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 44th anniversary of the March. Over the span of those forty-four years, millions of pilgrims have walked the streets of Washington, D.C., praying, lobbying, and hoping for some change in our country’s heart when it comes to the issue of the sanctity of human life.
I was one of those fortunate ones to attend the March this year. Allow me to share some photos from the day. First are some photos from the morning Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center:
Some photos from the outdoor rally before the March:
One of the more notable quotes of the day came from Mrs. Conway, above, who said to the crowd, “We see you… we hear you… we respect you… and we look forward to working with you.”
My family and I have gone to the March for many years, but this year, as most of you know, was particularly special. For the first time in the history of the March, a sitting Vice President came and spoke to us at the rally before the March. This news was made public only the day before, and so many things had to be altered and put into place in order for this to happen smoothly. People seemed very patient with the earlier Mass times, and longer wait times to get through security, because we all knew that it was for a worthwhile reason: to see and hear Mike Pence speak to us.
Pence was, as usual, calm, eloquent, and charitable. His love for Our Lord and the American people came shining through in his words to us. What a blessing to have such a good and faith-filled man as our second-in-command.
But the Vice President’s presence was not the most important presence that day, of course. The Lord’s Presence was there, as always. This is why many begin the day of the March with Mass or some other type of prayer. Without the Lord, we can do nothing.
In fact, one of the things that came to my mind as I was listening to Mike Pence, and observing the people around me cheering for him was a paraphrased line from Scripture: “Put not your trust in princes.” And then, this morning (Sunday) in Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, what did I read? “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men; it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9) I believe that at Friday’s rally, the Lord was gently reminding me that in the midst of all the excitement about Pence’s arrival (and rightly so), there was something bigger to be aware of: the LORD is in charge. Not our politicians- even if they are going to deliver on their good promises. We must still put ALL of our trust in the Lord. As is said in the first reading today:
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
Zephaniah 3:12-13a (emphasis added)
At the same time, I would like to remember something that Nikki recently sent in an email to our 40 Days team. She said:
“I read a quote that I loved in this month’s Magnificat from St. Francis de Sales yesterday while I was on the bus, on my way to the March. Ironically, Mike Pence used the same quote a few hours later in his speech! He said, ‘Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.’ I think that should be our motto going into this Lenten campaign!”
So certainly, our Vice President’s words were not without the power of the Holy Spirit behind them.
Another speaker at the rally was Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director in Texas. Most of you know that she is now a well-known pro-life advocate and founder of “And Then There Were None,” a ministry to help abortion workers get out of the abortion industry.
Abby is a great example of those who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake. Our Lord in today’s Gospel has these words for us:
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Why the crown of thorns? Because we are soon about to enter into our Lenten campaign for 40 Days for Life. And it will be a time for us to focus more on the passion of Our Lord. Let us be willing to not only focus on HIS passion, however, but on our own. We are all able to enter into His suffering in a unique way when we stand for Him and for His little ones on the sidewalk. Let us be unashamed and unafraid… for we belong to HIM, so we have nothing to fear. If we are persecuted for HIS sake, then we will truly be blessed.
And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Do we believe that we can trust God? Can we trust Him that He will close down 933 Liberty Avenue permanently? Can we EVEN trust Him to eventually do what we pray for during every 40 Days for Life campaign– to end abortion?
There’s only one answer. Let’s NOT get it wrong. If He is Who He says He is, then we must believe Him. He is the only One Who is COMPLETELY TRUSTWORTHY. Let us continue to put our trust and faith in HIM.
We held our closing rally this past Sunday, November 6. And a beautiful evening it was. THANK YOU to all who joined us on Sunday, and all who participated in this fall campaign in any way. We love and appreciate you all.
Some photos from Sunday evening’s closing event:
Some photos from the potluck and fellowship:
It was a wonderful campaign with SIX confirmed saves, and three turn-aways!! Thank You, Lord! At least six lives who will change the world, each in their own unique way.
Speaking of lives who were saved, we want to share a recent photo of Carrieta and her beautiful baby girl, Adriel. Carrietta and Adriel are pictured with the new car that our 40 days family helped to buy in Jamaica! Nikki thought it would encourage you all to see that Carrieta was able to get the car thanks to your generosity. Thank you and God bless you!
One last thing for you to check out: Pittsburgh was mentioned in the national 40 Days blog today (Day 41)! Check it out here:
But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
I was praying with this passage today, and it struck me that ANYTHING we do must be done BECAUSE we have a relationship with Our Lord FIRST. Not in spite of that relationship, but BECAUSE of it. We, representatives of 40 Days for Life, have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and THEREFORE can perform the humble ministry of standing on the sidewalk to pray for an end to abortion. Once again, I go back to Pastor Stump’s words from our kickoff rally. The battle is the Lord’s… we just have to show up.
Let us be not afraid to “show up,” because we know the Rock on Which we stand is Jesus Our Lord.
Shift Manager Reports
The only noteworthy thing to happen during my shift was a little girl stopping to ask for a fetal model. Other than that, it was just rainy with only workers going in. (And the woman with the little girl who always goes in for about half an hour; I’m not sure if she’s a worker or what.) Jean from St. Bonaventure, Pastor Adam and Joe, whose church I can’t remember, were there, along with Marian and Pat on their way to work.
Hooray, my last shift for this 40 Days for Life campaign, but the reality is that PP does not stop when 40 Days is over. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, women knowingly or unknowingly exterminate the wee precious lives growing in their wombs. Pray for them. That is what we have been doing all these 40 days, praying for the women, the men, the workers, the pedestrians. Don’t stop praying just because this campaign is coming to a close.
Mary Beth and Gemma, first timers, came to pray for a whole four hour shift today! They represent The Promise, “Pittsburgh’s Perinatal Palliative Care Initiative, a prolife program of Catholic Palliative Services committed to walking alongside families, who even with a poor prognosis for their unborn and newly born infants have embraced their journey with hope and optimism.” http://www.catholichospicepgh.org/the_promise/ Regulars, Walt and Bob, stopped to pray as well. Thank you all for coming out to pray on this rainy day.
I was fortunate that people were receptive to receiving information today. Two young girls who went into PP and then came out were willing to stop and take information. One of them was 10 weeks pregnant, so I gave her a fetal model and development stages literature. She didn’t say much but was very receptive to taking it. Her friend was happy to receive information against birth control. A mom with her young daughter wanted to go into PP for birth control so I explained to her that they perform abortions inside. I gave her the resource card and information on the dangers of birth control. Her daughter was happy to receive a fetal model and lollipops.
Another woman stopped by to share the good news that she was recently pregnant and was glad we were there. A man passing by stopped to talk and took resources with him to put out at his church. Another woman who works in town stopped to see what we were all about. She took information too. I am very hopeful for the future. People do care. God has a plan, and we all just need to do our little part to make this world a better place. Be bold, speak out! Life is what it’s all about! Hope to see you at the closing rally this Sunday, 6:30pm at the vigil then on to Catholic Charities for fellowship.
God bless you,
Despite the rain for part of the shift, today was a time of JOY. I am continually thankful for the wonderful people who we have the PRIVILEGE to pray with. A big thank you to Barb and Joan, who have been my faithful prayer partners from 1-2 each Thursday! And thank you also to our newcomers from The Promise, Gemma and Mary Ann. You are beautiful women doing beautiful work (see Marilyn’s report above for info on their work)!
And one more thank you to the good folks from Bentleyville, Pastor Paul, and the dear newlyweds, Shannon and Samuel! Wonderful to meet you all, and pray with you! You all bring me much joy. God bless you all!
Seamus shared these great photos:
Because substitute SM Jim W was there – along with his cousin Ron from St. Benedict the Abbot in Peter’s Twp. – I let him take the SM duties, giving me a chance to have a lot of silent prayer time. One of the things that I reflected on today was how those fetal models, both the ones on display and the many we seem to be giving away recently, is how what we are doing now will change the future of the people who see and receive those models years from now. A girl of 10 or 12 who takes one of those models home with her is going to remember that experience of feeling like she was holding a little baby in her palm. And that’s going to change the way she thinks when she becomes older and has a friend who faces an unexpected pregnancy – or when she has one herself. Those are the seeds of “a save” that we’re planting right now.
While I was there praying off to the side, one of the employees came out who I had seen many times before. She’s tall with brown hair, in her mid-30’s, and she smokes. In all of the times I’ve seen her I can’t remember ever seeing her smile. My thoughts turned to her and I felt great compassion towards her. I actually envisioned being able to embrace her one day in a “welcome home” hug after she had finally made the decision to leave the abortion industry for good and return to God. And then my imagination even allowed me to think about how what we are doing now – by our prayers, fasting, and public witness – may one day bring a former abortion worker to make a deathbed confession and beg God for his mercy. What a beautiful vision of “a save.”
Pat M., 5-7
Thank you to a member of my parish, Jon (from St. John the Baptist in Plum), who wrote a brief reflection on the Right to Life that he asked me to share with you all:
In today’s society, the word abortion has lost the horror and injustice that should be attached to it. The media and society has numbed our senses and reaction to the evil that is abortion.
The “right to life.” Have you ever really thought about this statement and what it entails? It is easy for us to dismiss it because we are all alive and no one has the right to kill us. But walk with me for few moments if you would. Imagine a world where someone has the right to show up at your house, cut your head off, rip your limbs apart and throw your remains into the trash, and simply go on with his/her day with no repercussions for what they have just done. And in some cases that person gets paid a hefty fee for killing you. This is a reality today and the murdering of unborn babies are in the millions.
Think about it, if you did not have the right to be alive would the issues of health care, gun control, foreign trade, or anything else in the world be important to you? Wouldn’t the right to be alive be your primary concern?
Every human being alive today was once a fetus in a woman’s womb, and the only reason you and I are alive today reading this letter is because no one interfered with the process of us growing into who we are today. Who is standing up for the unborn? As Christians, I believe it is our duty to do so.