Day 16: Thank you to Bridge City Church, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Richard Parish, Bishop Zubik and City Center Parishes, St. Agnes Parish (N.Huntingdon), and to all of our other volunteers!

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.

~Jeremiah 17:7

Friends, nothing will get us through this life more peacefully and gracefully than by trusting in the Lord God and doing it HIS way. It is NOT always easy to do that… I think we can all attest to that. But wow, if you were in a dark cave, and someone came along and gave you a flashlight and a map so you could get out, wouldn’t you DO it?

That is exactly what Our Lord Jesus Christ has done. He has given us His Word, His Church, His Holy Spirit…. to guide us through this life and help us to know the way…. how to live, and how to get where we’re going, And we don’t EVER have to be afraid of His plans for us. He is TRUSTWORTHY. We who can testify to His trustworthiness in our lives KNOW this.

Let’s SHARE that truth. Jesus Christ is ALIVE. He KNOWS us. He WANTS us. And He wants to show us the way to a peace-filled and grace-filled life, and to ultimately show us the way to Him for eternity.

Do the folks on the sidewalk know this? Can we share Christ’s love with THEM? Remember that our theme for this spring campaign is LOVE. Let us share HIS love with those who may not even know that they need it. They NEED HIM…. as we ALL do.

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:


 I had the privilege of praying on the sidewalk with two members from Bridge City Church, Doug and Vicki. It was very quiet and peaceful for the first hour and we spent that time in silent prayer. After that it began to get busier, and I was able to give many young women pro-life information as they walked in the doors of Planned Parenthood.

Please pray for two young women who went in for abortions, who both had friends with them who took the pro-life literature, and said they were going to try to talk their friends into leaving. It is very sad to see this struggle between life and death play out right before our eyes, but, we are being faithful and we trust in God!  It was wonderful to see Pastor Joe, Judy and Chuck as they arrived for the next shift. Welcome back, we missed you! 

Thank you to Doug (L) and Vicki (R) from Bridge City Church,
and thank you to Shift Buddy Peg (center)!
Thank you to this prayerful trio from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene!
L-R: Pastor Joe, Shift Manager Judy, and faithful Chuck

Meredith:

It was wonderful to have Judy back at her post as Shift Manager, and she brought with her from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Pastor Joe, Chuck and Meredith. I (Meredith) have been getting to town extra early for the 9-11 shift, but left home a few minutes later and had to go to 3 garages before finding a spot. By then, I was late and managed to leave my roses in the car.

🙁

So in order to keep track of how many couples were going in, I picked up roses from the sidewalk and laid them down again to keep track. We were hoping that a couple of ladies would be leaving, as Nikki had told us that there were a couple friends of clients who were trying to talk the clients out of an abortion.

We had some single women leave with their brown bags of contraceptives, and finally one couple of young ladies left with no bags. One of Nikki’s couples? Don’t know. One young person went in who I think I recognized as a young woman transitioning to being a man. I had met her somewhere else and thought I had recognized her there from being at Planned Parenthood. Another opportunity to pray.

I almost missed an opportunity to speak to a woman going in following a man. I turned to speak to her, expecting to be rejected as I had all morning…many mornings! But she stopped to talk and took a card. I assured her that we could help her with whatever she needed. We prayed fervently for her, and hoped to see her come back out. But she didn’t come out for the rest of our shift. I walked to my car and drove back to PP to deliver the flowers I had forgotten. As I drove up, I saw the woman and her partner outside PP! By the time I parked and got out, Lisa was walking them to Catholic Charities! Praise God! I don’t know her name, but please pray for her. Pray that she WILL choose life for her little one and will be able to connect with the help she needs.

Shift Manager Judy, Pastor Joe, Chuck, and Meredith. Thank you and God bless you all!

Lisa K.:

This was a very busy and interesting shift. I am so thankful for Marilyn and Margie, as well as my Shift Buddy, Fran! You were all such troopers!!

We had many women who entered or exited PP who were angry with us. Two of them were offended, one yelling, thinking that we were assuming they were going in for abortions. But we do NOT think that, of course, and are there to help with all kinds of issues and needs the women might have. Of course, we were calm and kind in response to these women, even the one who smacked the pamphlets out of a prayer volunteer’s hand, and sent the pamphlets flying onto the sidewalk. The anger makes me sad. It’s so unnecessary.

With God’s help, I was able to talk to a couple who came out. As Meredith mentioned above, we went to Catholic Charities together. I hope and pray that they were able to get the help and resources that they need.

A young man was very interested in the brochure he received from one of our volunteers. I offered him a resource card as well. He told me that his sister was pregnant, and was considering abortion….. but he KNOWS it’s a baby. I asked her how far along she is, and he said, two or three months. I gave him a tiny 12-week fetal model, and told him that if she’s three months along, this is the size of her baby, and the baby is fully formed. He said he has 13 siblings, was raised in a Catholic family, and abortion was always taught as wrong. But he was worried about his family, because many of his siblings are sisters. I gave him a bunch more cards, and invited him to come back and pray with us any time.

Bishop David Zubik was scheduled to come and pray with us this afternoon. Many faithful people came to join him in prayer. But we did have one “difficult” situation with someone who was basically there to cause trouble for the bishop. Unfortunately, this individual likes to yell– especially things that are not kind– and we had to kindly but forcefully ask him to move to the other side of the street. 40 Days for Life is peaceful and prayerful. This is VERY important. He didn’t like that, but at least, he did finally move. And shortly after the bishop began to pray, the man across the street actually left– thanks to the prayers of some of our volunteers, I believe. 🙂

One more story. A woman was interested in birth control, but I talked with them about birth control being dangerous for women, and that there were other places (other than PP) that could suggest some alternatives to her. They did go in briefly, but then came back out, and I was able to give them some brochures about birth control and its problems before they left.

Thank you, Margie and Marilyn from St. Richard!
Bishop Zubik blesses regular volunteer, Bill
Bishop Zubik leads us in the rosary
Thank you for joining us today, Bishop. Your presence was much appreciated.

Helen:

We were blessed to have a large group from St. Agnes Church in
North Huntingdon with their pastor, Fr. Paul Fitzmaurice. They had prayer
groups on either side of the doors of PP, and prayers of the rosary and
Divine Mercy never stopped.
Our shift buddies led the prayers and looked to the needs
of all who prayed. Not a lot of traffic in or out of PP.
Visitors to the city for the big collegiate wrestling tournament were curious,
and a few gave us nods and smiles as they passed our vigil.

Thanks to the wonderful group from St. Agnes in North Huntingdon!

Charlie:

Tonight Amy and I were joined with Mary Jane, Jim, and a group from Bridge City Church. It was a bit cold but dry, and we said some nice prayers. Quiet night over all.  Pictured is the group from Bridge City Church with their pastor, Pastor Gary. 

Thank you, Bridge City Church, for beginning and ending our vigil today!
Charlie and Amy, shift manager and shift buddy, kept the last watch of today’s vigil.

May the Lord continue to bless and help us on the sidewalk. We do it for the moms. We do it for the dads. We do it for the babies. Our world has GOT to get a new grip onto reality. The human race is GOOD, and every time a baby is conceived, that is evidence that the human race SHOULD CONTINUE.

Day 9: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, City Center Churches, and all of our other volunteers!

Queen Esther of Persia

“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

~Esther C: 12, 14-16, 25

This passage from today’s First Reading is a beautiful prayer of dependence that Queen Esther prayed to God. I love that twice she says to God, “I am alone and have no help/no one but you.”

This Lent, the Lord has been calling me to deeper trust in Him. What is Queen Esther’s prayer but a prayer of trust? The fact is, in this spiritual battle against the evils of abortion, we are “alone” in a sense, and have “no one but God.” In other words, no one is going to be able to deliver us from evil except HIM.

May the Lord God deliver us from evil…. from the evils of abortion and all that goes with it…. now and forever.

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:


It was a beautiful and peaceful shift. I love the early morning shift; people are sleepy and on their way to work, and nobody is angry! It was so nice to have warmer weather and bright skies also.  Peg and I started out by praying on our knees. Bob came to join us. He has been coming often, and we were very grateful for his presence there! We prayed as a group for a while and chatted about encouraging pro-life news.

Toward the end of our shift, couples began to go in for abortions. Some took the pro-life information, but went in anyway.  For each baby, I knelt and laid a tiny wooden cross with the flowers. There were five wooden crosses on the sidewalk by the time I left and Meredith took over.  All of these babies had somebody to pray for them today.  All of their parents were told there were alternatives. 

Shift Buddy Peg, 7-9 Shift Manager Nikki, and volunteer Bob
Busy day ay PP

Meredith (9-11am):

Just after a couple went into PP this morning, while I was on the far side of the circle from the display, a large group of female students came by on their way to the August Wilson Center for an event. While they were backed up on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street, several were able to take a good look at the fetal models. I think they felt more comfortable looking without someone being in close attendance, so I gave them some space. I tried giving models with the explanatory card to another group, but they steered clear.

Planned Parenthood was busy again this week. It didn’t seem as busy, but again, my six roses ended up on the ground. (And again, people picked them up!) I tried to speak to one couple who came out with brown bag in hand while they waited for their Uber. I asked if they were ok or if they needed any help and he assured me, not unkindly, that no, they weren’t having any f-ing baby; she just got a prescription, but thanks for asking. I admit, I kind of zoned out on the attitude toward pregnancy, and didn’t know what else to say so I walked away. They were having trouble connecting with their ride, and I wondered if the script was for the abortion pill, so I tried approaching her more directly, but she tried to avoid me, finally assuring me that it was for an infection. Maybe. Maybe not. People lie, a lot. So I prayed for them. We pray for all of them. Thank you, Father God, for hearing our prayers. One day, this madness will cease! Thank you to Bob, who, fortunately, came again this week, as my prayer buddy was running late!

Volunteer Bob and 9-11 Shift Manager, Meredith

Lisa K. (11am-1pm):

Once again, I am so grateful. My shift was powerful and amazing, because GOD is powerful and amazing. Sadly, there were women coming out after their abortions…. and our feelings of sadness and helplessness were definitely there. But I must have told Jesus “I trust in You” about a million times during that shift. We trust Him that HE’S got it under control, and we don’t!!!!

My prayer partners were wonderful. Fran, Carolina and I prayed a rosary together, during which a young man named Robbie stopped by to pray with us. He even asked for a rosary to keep. He was a bit unusual, but seemed genuine at the same time. We were glad he stopped by.

After the rosary, I really wanted to focus myself on silent prayer and the clients. Chuck was on one side of the circle, Carolina was on the other, and Fran and I were angled in the center. At one point, regular volunteer Bob stopped by to pray a rosary, and he stood in the center as well. I felt like we were sentinels, standing guard and keeping watch with our silent prayer. It was moving and powerful. I think those who passed by could sense the solemnity as they passed.

So THANK YOU to all those who came to pray with me today. God bless you all.

Volunteer Carolina and Shift Buddy Fran
Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene
11-1 Shift Manager Lisa K.

Carolyn (1-3pm):

From City Center Churches: Dolores, Rhodora, Nathan, and Fr. Chris,
along with 1-3 Shift Manager Carolyn

Helen (3-5pm):

Our shift went prayerfully. Joe & I prayed a rosary. No traffic at PP. Mimi came. We found her a seat on the top of the boxes. Another rosary. Then she had to head home. We then used the Scripture verses for a longer rosary. Lots of people out walking…more than usual. Katie came and went straight to the sidewalk with her graceful chalk art.  Charlie and Amy came a little early, so we got to compare notes before we had to leave. No complaints about the cold. 

Shift Buddy Joe and 3-5 Shift Manager Helen
Mimi graced the vigil with her presence once again

Charlie (5-7pm):

Amy and Sidewalk Advocate Katie were here with me tonight. We had one couple tell us their story about having two unplanned boys when the mom was 18 and 20. They were so happy that they didn’t choose abortion. There was also an incident where one of our signs was pushed over by an angry man, but that was over really quick.

Sidewalk Advocate Katie, Shift Buddy Joe, Shift Buddy Amy, and Shift Manager Helen
Always uplifting chalk art from our Katie!

Day 2: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Holy Angels Parish (Hayes), City Center Churches, Catholic Men’s Fellowship, and all of our other volunteers!!

In today’s liturgical First Reading, we hear from Deuteronomy 30:15-20. This passage tells us that Moses admonished the people of Israel to follow God, and they would have life. By NOT following God, they would die.

Sometimes, we can physically die from not choosing God. And sometimes, the death is spiritual. We can find ourselves lost, and far away from where we had perhaps even intended to go, initially.

But God is a God of mercy…. a God of second (and third, and fifth, and 80,327th) chances.

Do you know anyone who has had an abortion? I do. Some people talk about the abortion experience as though it were liberating. Even Abby Johnson, the well-known FORMER abortion worker, felt that way at first. But we know that having an abortion not only causes physical death to the child in the womb, but it can cause spiritual, emotional, and psychological death to the mother. Oftentimes, these are effects that she may not even be cognizant of. But that doesn’t make it any less sad.

Point is….. this is LENT, folks. The PERFECT time for change….. for turning our hearts around….. for following the Lord more perfectly. He tells us in today’s Gospel, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23b) He also says, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9:25)

So if we think that abortion is an easy way out, and a way to “gain the whole world,” as Jesus says, we are fooling ourselves. We will, instead, lose our souls in the process…. a result that is not desired by anyone, including Our Lord.

Let us continue to pray for an END to abortion, and a new BEGINNING in post-abortive healing for those who need it.

Shift Manager Reports:

Peggy (Shift Buddy with Shift Manager sub, Jeff):

Busy morning – lots of prayers.  No takers for our info. Katie was also there late in the shift.   Pictured is Saturday night Shift Manager Jeff, who filled in for Nikki because she was sick, and faithful volunteer Mary Ann. 

Jeff and Mary Ann

Meredith:

I won’t lie! It was cold from 9-11 this morning. Cold enough that it didn’t even occur to me to take a photo! Sorry!

I arrived to find substitute Shift Manager Jeff in excellent company with Mary Ann, Peggy and Katie! Jeff was a tall pillar of ice by the time I arrived and was glad to be relieved. He was subbing for Nikki, who was under the weather this morning. Praying for you, dear sister!

Mary Ann is such an inspiration. If you know her, you know why! 9 am brought Jessie and Chuck, dear friends from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. 

The sad news was that it was a busy morning at PP. After the first abortion-bound couple went in, I decided to lay down a flower for each mother going in who would not take a flower from me. By 11, I had laid down all 7 stems and counted the bunch of mini roses already there for the couple that had gone in just before I arrived. There were numerous single women going in as well. Most came dressed in classic abortion-day garb, loose fitting bottoms, but one young woman came in pj’s, wrapped in a large fleece blanket. She was accompanied by an agitated mother who didn’t appreciate us speaking to them, and a tall befuddled boyfriend. Mom and boyfriend came back out to smoke and mom told us she didn’t like abortion, but her daughter had to do it. Trying to speak to her just brought abuse and “don’t talk to me.”

Bob came by not knowing about 40 Days for Life, but decided to join us in prayer and presence. He spent time in the past at the East Liberty abortuaries and currently attends Faith Bible Baptist, a long time pro-life church. Herb came by as well, a friend of Katie’s, and attempted to reach out to clients going in or coming out of PP. No abuse from passersby this morning, and even some thank you’s for being there, and head shaking over Congress not protecting children born alive after an abortion. Glad to see Lisa’s beautiful face at the end of my shift.

❤

God is good!

Lisa K.:

Meredith is right….. it was cold! Thankfully, I didn’t mind until about an hour and 20 minutes into the shift!

It was a shift which was, for me, a mixture of beauty and sadness, as many of us know and understand. I am deeply grateful for so many prayer companions this afternoon, and particularly for Katie and Herb, who served as Sidewalk Advocates today.

Stan, Shift Buddy Fran, and Bob
Herb and Katie
The dear group from Guardian Angels and Holy Apostles:
L-R: Jack, Rose, Mary Ellen, Pat, Deacon Dan, and Stan
Beauty and sadness. As the temps slightly rose, the whole side of the PP building
started to drip. I imagined that these drops were Mother Mary’s tears….

Helen:

Sarah was waiting for the Chippewa bus but she was early, so she prayed a rosary. Suzanne read Scripture. She’s from Bellefield Church in Oakland.  Dan came all the way from Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville. Fr. Thomas More will send a report.

Dan from Mother of Sorrows and Fr. Thomas More
Suzanne and Sarah
Shift Manager Helen’s selfie
Mary Jane and Fr. Thomas More

Fr. Thomas More (He wrote some additional thoughts on his time at the vigil today, and was a “blog report sub” for Helen! Thank you, Father!):

After a few minutes of quiet prayer on this cold afternoon there on the sidewalk outside of Planned Parenthood, as people were entering and exiting, it quickly became clear of the bold confrontation again between life and death, good and evil. 

And though the temptation to feel helpless may come at times, the deeper awareness of the power of our prayer today cut right through it all.  That simple Hail Mary is the boldest prayer to offer.  Indeed, Our Lady weeps, yet she sees far more than we can imagine, and she honors our request for her to intercede.  That short stop there to pray this afternoon made, or will make, a difference for someone, though I may not realize it today. 

My gratitude for the faithful there during these hours with me, for their presence, encouraged me to never stop praying for an end to abortion, so that it be replaced by a love and respect for human life.

The theme chosen for this spring campaign is LOVE.

May we always show the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ

on the sidewalk, and everywhere.

God bless you all.

Day 37: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, our Shift buddies, and all other volunteers!!

40 Days for Life

 

 

After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”

~Revelation 7: 9-10, 13-14

 

 

I had the opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Cathedral in 2005.  It was a memory that has stayed with my husband and me for all these years, and probably always will.  The reason was the artwork of the saints…. unlike any we had ever seen before.

All of the tapestries showed multiple saints– some canonized and some “regular” people like you and me– all facing in the direction of the altar.  Such a beautiful sight during Mass, making it easy to remember the reality of those in heaven being right there with us.

If you can enlarge the images below, you might be able to make out the names above or below the saints.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the “time of great distress” that St. John talks about in this passage?  I can only speculate that he is referring to our time on earth– our time in this vale of tears.  It is a time of spiritual battle.  And this battle we fight EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Whether we are considering whether to commit adultery or tell a lie, whether to slander a co-worker or have an abortion….. these moments, these decisions, large and small, are battles we fight every day.

But the SAINTS are the ones who fight the battle…. lose…. then win…. then falter…. then win….. then forget about striving for holiness….. then fall…. then win.  Ultimately, the Lord wants us to WIN.  To overcome our sin.  To desire Him MORE than we desire sin.

May the saints in heaven pray that we can “survive the time of great distress.”  That we, too, can wash our robes and make them WHITE in the Blood of the Lamb.

 

Translation: “Purify my soul, O Adorable Blood.”

 

The Lord has shed His precious Blood for us.  Let us not forget that our sins— even the ones related to abortion— can be FORGIVEN, and lives can be changed and healed.

 

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:

My shift from 7 to 9 started out peacefully as usual. Peggy and I had the first hour to pray, and although it was wet and rainy, it was nice and warm. We prayed in the dark and in the rain. I prayed on my knees in front of the door as usual. As I meditated on the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, I thought about Jesus being immersed in the water of baptism, as I was being immersed in a puddle of water. I thought about his first miracle, changing the water into wine, as water was all around me. I thought about his preaching of the kingdom of God and his call to repentance, as I kneeled in repentance before the place that kills so many innocent babies. I thought about his transfiguration on the mountain, and imagined that day when this place of death will be transfigured into a place of life. And, I meditated on his self-giving, the giving of his very own flesh to us at the Last Supper, and I thought about how profound are the words “this is my Body, given for you,” and I thought about how the enemy has twisted those words into meaning something totally different. “This is my body” now means that I have a right to kill somebody else because they are dependent on my body for life.
 We were in the middle of praying the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel, when the first couple arrived for an abortion. They allowed me to speak to them for a few minutes, and took the information that I offered. The girl seemed very passive; the man did all the talking. He explained that they already knew about their options, and understood that this was a human life, but had decided that this was what they were going to do.  I had the feeling that this young woman felt that she had to go along with what he said. Sadly, he will most likely end up leaving her, after she has also lost her child. They sat in the waiting room right next to the sidewalk for about half an hour. That gave me the opportunity to pray a second rosary on my knees literally a few feet away from them. I sent my prayers to that little child, and I know that child will know that people were praying for him. Peggy and I also asked our guardian angels to go in and assist the guardian angels of that woman and man, and of that child.
Unfortunately, many other couples began entering those doors. It was a very busy abortion morning. Quite a few of them took the information. They were all polite. One woman who was bringing a friend in for an abortion even agreed that she believes abortion is wrong, but she still brought her friend there. A very sad day, but our trust is in the Lord! These babies did not die alone, we were there to show that their lives matter!

Thank you, Nikki and Peggy!!

 

Thank you to Chuck, Judy, Bill, and Meredith who came to begin another prayer shift after Nikki!!

 

Judy:

Today we had Meredith and Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Later we were joined by Mary Jane from St. Bernard and Dave from St. Philip. It was a nice day with mild temps and the rain stopped shortly after we arrived for our shift. There were a few people coming and going out of Planned Parenthood, but not as many as usual. I encountered the young man that I had prayed with two weeks ago who had lost his girlfriend to an overdose. He was doing better. There were two different couples going in (at separate times) and I offered them our resource card but they declined. There were a couple of ladies going in and I was able to have a conversation with them. I told them about the abortions that were performed at PP, and one of the women said she didn’t want to go in, but the other one was the one with the appointment and she said she wanted to go ahead and “take care of herself.” She came out later with a bag of pills. They took the resource card, and I encouraged them to get services other places that did not kill babies. There was another lady who was going in and I was able to connect with her and tell her about other resources and she willingly took the card and went on in.

On a side note, there was a lady I have seen every week crossing the street in front of Planned Parenthood. I have tried to get her attention every week but she completely ignores me. She carries a “Literacy Pittsburgh” satchel/bag. So this morning I spoke and she ignored me and she had to stop to wait for the light. So I approached her and asked if she worked for Literacy Pittsburgh. She gave me her attention, and said she did. I was able to open a conversation with her because our church has a partnership with Literacy Pittsburgh and we do a lot of work with ESL and GED classes for refugees. I was also able to fill her in on other things we were doing with refugees. (They have a heart for refugees). She just melted right in front of me and was so appreciative and grateful…she could hardly thank me enough. I hope this softens her heart to what is going on in front of PP now, rather than possibly thinking we are a bunch of protestors who should just be ignored. I hope she will also begin thinking we are doing very valuable work at PP which is also a very necessary thing.

Thank you to Meredith and Mary Jane!!

 

David arrives for the next shift and gets a photo with Chuck. Thanks, gentlemen!!

 

Lisa:

I am so very thankful to David, who came to pray with me from 11-1.  We had a relatively quiet shift, with each of us on either side of the circle.  Some people did enter PP, and only one woman seemed genuinely interested and thankful to receive the information we gave.

I was feeling a little bit emboldened because of Shawn Carney’s visit on the 22nd, and also because of the Catholic Women’s Fellowship conference that I attended last weekend, where I heard a powerful speaker who encouraged us to not be afraid to speak the truth to people.  Some things they said have really stayed with me.  So I found myself saying things on the sidewalk I normally don’t say…. but things that are good and true nonetheless.  Maybe that was the Holy Spirit kicking me a little more into gear.

Also, I had the experience twice today of groups of people not knowing what the flowers and stuffed animals were for on the sidewalk, and in both cases, they were so saddened to hear that it was a memorial for those babies who had lost their lives at Planned Parenthood.  I think it really struck them.  I thank God that it did.

I also had a really amazing experience on the sidewalk today.  Since David and I were praying on opposite sides of the circle, I had MUCH opportunity for MUCH prayer.  I had a good time of prayer, almost all the way through the shift, and then this happened.  A woman going into PP had ignored me as I tried to talk to her.  I stood in front of the doors, watching her, and just praying for her like crazy.  I began repeating, “Come, Lord Jesus… Come, Lord Jesus….”  And then, this crazy thought struck me out of nowhere– something like, “Where ARE YOU?”  “Why aren’t You COMING???”  And it startled me that I was suddenly so frustrated, as if to say, “Where is God????”  I realized right away that this was probably satan trying to get me to despair, so I began to pray…. without words…. just waiting.  And suddenly, one by one, several people walked by me and said, “Thank you,” or “Thank you for being here,” one right after the other!!!  I was amazed!  I realized that it IS important that I was there today!!  It DOES matter!!  And the Lord IS with us in the battle!!!   I felt a strong wave of the Lord’s presence wash over me.  I stood still and reveled in Him for several moments, just thanking Him.  And THEN– as I was praying my thanksgivings with my eyes closed, I felt a hand on my arm.  I opened my eyes, and a lovely young woman smiled at me and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH for being here.”  I was SHOCKED.  I said, “Would you BELIEVE…..” and I told her about what I had just been praying about…. and she smiled and thanked me for my witness.  After that– I had this strange feeling that everyone was “looking” at me…. like it was “different” somehow.  I was about to leave the vigil, so I walked over to Carolyn and David and asked, “Do I look any different to you than I did a minute ago?”  They said no…. but I sure FELT different.  And I told them the whole story, and how I thought that maybe my encounter with the Lord had changed my appearance (like Moses after conversing with God or something!!).  But even if not outwardly, the Lord CHANGED ME INWARDLY…. to know that YES— HE IS THERE with us at that awful place.  He is THERE.  And it MATTERS that WE are there too.  I thank and praise the Lord!!!!!

 

Helen:

Thank you to the G. couple from St. Philip in Crafton!!

 

Thank you to Kim and Mike from St. Ann in Waynesburg!!

 

Thank you to Anita, Barb, and Connie from St. Paul in Butler!!

 

I did not realize that Mimi (in photo above) comes to pray every day. She said she prays at St Paul and she comes to PP and then she goes back to St Paul.

As we prayed, it started to sprinkle.

Counting Jeff, who came to help Carolyn, there were 12 of us at PP for the 3-4:00 hour.

-Helen

 

 

Let us especially ask for the prayers of the Blessed Mother, Mary, who is known as Queen of All Saints. 

We need all the help from heaven we can get.  Why not ask the Lord’s Mother?  He wasn’t afraid to ask for help from her.  Let’s imitate that.

 

Day 30: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Richard (Gibsonia), and all of our Shift Buddies and prayer volunteers!!

 

40 Days for Life

 

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis added)

 

The part of this passage that stands out to me today is the part with added emphasis in verse 20.  God is able to do…. anything.  What a tremendous concept.

When I look at 933 Liberty Avenue these days, I BELIEVE that God can and will close it down.

He can.  And He will.  Do we trust Him?

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki:

 My shift buddy Peggy and I had a very prayerful time on the sidewalk this morning! I like the early morning shift best because it is much calmer than the afternoon hours. Passersby are still half asleep, and since there is little opportunity for outreach or interaction, it lends itself perfectly to prayer. And it works out well, since I miss my normal morning prayer when I have to be on the sidewalk so early.
Peggy and I prayed on our knees facing the doors for the rosary. Then we also prayed the Saint Michael chaplet and I had the idea, which someone from Elk County had suggested to me, to live stream from a perpetual adoration chapel. So, Peggy and I prayed on our knees the Divine Mercy chaplet and the St. Michael Chaplet while looking at Jesus exposed in the monstrance. It was just like being in an adoration chapel! Looking at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was so comforting and calming, I could sense his presence there on the sidewalk with us. I am going to have to remember to do this more often when I am there!
It was wonderful to see the saints from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrive for the 9 to 11 shift. I am so grateful for all of them! God bless everyone who is praying and fasting and being a witness to life!

Shift Buddy Peggy and Shift Manager Nikki– THANK YOU!!

 

Nikki and Peggy’s makeshift “adoration chapel.”

 

The “prayer posse” from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, along with Sidewalk Advocate Katie (left)

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene was represented by Pastor Joe and Judy, Meredith, Jessie and Chuck. Katie joined us…and provided colorful chalk messages on the sidewalks.

Before we arrived for our shift, a number of the staff from PP came out carrying things for some sort of event. There were still some more staff leaving the building and heading in the same direction as we arrived. There were no abortions…or any other services at PP today. So there was much praying going on.

One staff member came out to cross the street and had to wait beside Katie and me before crossing. Katie approached her and offered material, and I told her that I was praying for God to find her a job that doesn’t kill babies…but she just ignored us.

Here’s my funny story. About the middle of my shift, I was kneeling in front of PP praying for a while. As I finished praying and looked up a young man was coming out of PP, I got his attention and he came over to me and I was offering him the resource card (which he took) and explaining the abortion business going on at PP. He seemed very interested in everything I was saying, and then he said, “I’m just reading the meters.” He was the meter reader!!!!! (haha, that’s what happens when your eyes are shut…I didn’t see him reading all the meters before he went in to PP). But then he told me the story of his cousin who had had two devastating miscarriages and she just found out that she is pregnant again. He was clearly very excited about it. So I was able to rejoice with him and pray a blessing over his cousin. He definitely valued life and it turned out to be a positive experience.

Toward the end of our shift, two staff came out of the building with glasses of water and put it on Katie’s chalk words in front of the building and erased as much of the words as they could with their feet. I told them “God bless you and God loves you.” Katie and Jessie quickly grabbed the chalk and put the words right back!

I praise God that no babies lost their lives here today!!!

Thank you, Meredith and Pastor Joe!!

 

Thank you, Katie, for your sidewalk chalk creations! They are meaningful and helpful.

 

 

Thank you to Katie and Jessie for re-writing this message of truth and inspiration!!

 

Lisa K:

I am so thankful for the lovely group of people who prayed with me today.  A former Shift Manager, Marilyn, came with a group from St. Richard’s, and it was wonderful to see her again!  And thank you to Cheryl and Margie who joined her.  Thank you also to Bob, who comes so regularly, as well as Mike and his wife, who happened to be downtown for another reason, but wanted to stop by and join us for a time of prayer.

I am especially thankful for the blessings of these dear people, and those who came for the shift following mine, because today there seemed to be a lot of negativity from passersby.  I would never respond with negativity in return, but it does make me sincerely wonder WHY people have to be so mean.  Why can’t they simply disagree with us, and move on with their lives?  I suppose too many of them have been hurt by abortion themselves.  God help them.

 

One of the negative things that occurred before I arrived: PP workers grinding the memorial roses into the ground with their feet. These rose petals made me think of drops of blood that are shed by the millions in that building.

 

Bonnie and Mike, thank you so much for stopping by!!! It was beautiful to pray the rosary with you!!

 

Helen:

Shift Buddy Anita came with Barbara and Connie from St. Paul in Butler and Cathy from St. Mary. Our ever-faithful Benson took his place near the fetal models for a sunny but chilly afternoon. This group never stopped praying for the two hours of the downtown “going home” shift.

A group of about six young women went into PP. We don’t know why. We can hope they were curious enough about our presence to ask a lot of questions.

Dear M. braved the traffic at this crossing, and she made a cushion of the kneeling pads while she prayed.

As we got close to the end of our final rosary, a young couple stopped to look at the fetal models. I walked over and said, “You’re looking at a version of your former self.” The lady smiled. The young man smiled, too, and said, “It’s good these are here. I survived an abortion.” As I gasped and told him how wonderful it was to hear that news, he said, “Yes. That’s why it’s good that you are here to pray.”

As we blessed ourselves, everyone wanted to know what the young man said to me.

And that beautiful news from him is what makes every person, every prayer, every moment of 40 Days for Life the most precious time we can spend in downtown Pittsburgh.

A few minutes before 5:00, Bill arrived in response to the call for a Shift Buddy. Charlie and his bride came at that time, too. Thanks be to God.

 

Thank you to this wonderful group of prayer warriors, including Shift Buddy Anita (in the 40 Days for Life shirt)!!

 

The 3-5pm group praying the rosary. Thank you all!!

Charlie:

 

Quiet night.  My wife, Any, was with me, along with Bill.  A few people were a bit negative but all and all good night.  Just stood and witnessed.  Thanks to all from St. Bernadette’s.

Any and Bill

 

 

I look forward to seeing how God will work. 

And I can’t wait to see this sign on that door:

 

 

 

Day 23: Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Pittsburgh Area Byzantines, St. Bernadette Catholic Church (Monroeville), and all of our Shift Buddies and other prayer volunteers!!

40 Days for Life

I chose you from the world

to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

cf. John 15:16

 

I was thinking about this verse a lot last evening…. and I’d like to share some reflections which hopefully relate to our vigil.

First, the Lord says, “I chose you.”  Do we realize how amazing it is to have been CHOSEN?  To choose someone is not random.  It is quite purposeful.  When I am chosen for anything- even if it is something I’d rather not do!- or something I don’t think I’d be good at- I still feel honored at having been CHOSEN to do it.  How much MORE should we feel honored at having been CHOSEN by Our Lord to be HIS?

The Lord also says, “I chose you from the world.”  Remember the old “duck pond” game at church festivals?  I used to love that game when I was little.  Out of all the little plastic ducks in that plastic swimming pool, I had to choose ONE.  And I’d excitedly turn it over to see what my prize was going to be, as it was written on the bottom of the duck.  It was a moment of suspense for a little child, to search the “pond” with shrewd eyes and decide “Yes, this is the one!!”

A rough and crude analogy, to be sure… because God doesn’t work that way…. exactly.  But He DOES look shrewdly upon His people, and CHOOSES some to do His work.  We see that clearly with people who are universally acknowledged as being chosen to do God’s work: St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), Pope St. John Paul II, Reverend Billy Graham, etc.

But what about us?  Has God CHOSEN us to do His work?  Let me tell you, if we are involved in any kind of pro-life ministry, then I say a resounding YES.  This is not a ministry for the faint of heart.

And finally, the Lord says, “I chose you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last.”  What is this “fruit”?  When the Lord says that He wants us to bear fruit, of course, this could mean lots of things.  And sometimes, the fruit we bear at any given moment depends upon the work in which we are currently involved.  In our pro-life work, then, the fruit we bear might look like some of the following:

 

HELPING WOMEN

 

BRINGING FLOWERS TO THE SIDEWALK TO MEMORIALIZE THE UNBORN WHO WERE KILLED AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD

 

OFFERING POSITIVE MESSAGES TO THE WOMEN, ENCOURAGING THEM TO CHOOSE LIFE

 

SAVING LIVES LIKE THIS LITTLE GIRL’S…. SO SHE CAN BE HELD AND LOVED

 

THROWING OUT A VIRTUAL LIFE PRESERVER WITH OUR WORDS AND PRAYERS, SO LIVES AND FAMILIES CAN BE SAVED

 

BEING PASSIONATE, SHOWING UP, AND PRAYING

 

PRAYING FOR MEN

 

PRAYING FOR WOMEN

 

PULLING SOMEONE OUT OF A DIFFICULT SITUATION

 

SEEKING OUT THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED OF HELP

 

SAVING SOMEONE’S LIFE FROM A PATH OF DESTRUCTION AND REGRET

 

SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE FEEL TIRED

 

ALL of these are ways we can bear fruit in this ministry.  So let us not grow weary in doing good!!

 

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki:

It was a quiet and peaceful shift. We had a nice group From Manordale Knights of Columbus with us for our whole shift. They brought a large bouquet of pink roses, which Peggy distributed around the circle. Peggy and I knelt in the crosswalk facing the doors and prayed. Thank you to everyone who came!

Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus!!

 

Beautiful roses from the Knights, to commemorate those who have been aborted.

 

Thank you to the next group for the next shift– Pastor Joe, Jessie, and Judy!! Tell Chuck we missed him!!

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived on the scene for the changing of the guard at 9 AM – so nice to see Nikki and Peggy on this crisp sunny morning. Meredith, Jessie, Judy and Pastor Joe represented LPNaz and we were soon joined by Katie…a very bright spot in our day. A big thanks to Katie for bringing so many resources and “good” things to hand out to people…and her zeal and determination to connect with people.

I started my shift out on my knees in front of the doors, and immediately the Lord impressed upon me to pray for the babies being murdered inside the building … In my mind there was one particular baby and the Lord led me to pray for Jesus to shield her (I think) from the pain of the brutal slaughter and for Jesus to receive her precious life into His everlasting arms. I was so overwhelmed by the prayer and my mind’s picture that I began to cry. After I finished praying, a young man (“B”) came out (he actually came out a couple times to smoke). I tried to approach him a couple of times, and finally he let me talk to him. I found out that his friend “S” was in there having an abortion. I gave him our resource card and told him she might need some support after the abortion. He allowed me to pray with him and he went back in and waited. I realized then that this was that baby I was praying for. He came out again before I left my shift and even though he was talking on his phone he stopped so I could talk to him. He asked me to pray for S. I told him about my experience of praying for the baby and that the baby was safe in the arms of Jesus and assured him that I would be praying for S. So, let’s all be lifting S up in prayer, that God will bring healing to her life.

         Another lady went in and didn’t totally ignore me but didn’t stop. When she came out, I had an opportunity to talk to her because she had to wait to cross the street. She said she brought someone else in who couldn’t get services anywhere else (not sure what she meant by that), but she was very interested in our resource card and took two. She said she didn’t believe in abortion…so I told her the statistics of our PP and urged her to not support them. Even though she was in a hurry, she took the time to hear the information. She went back into PP a little later and then she came back out with her friend and her little baby. Pastor Joe asked the mom if he could bless the baby and she was happy to receive that. We all joined in that joyful prayer.

         There were three very young ladies who went in. Two of them were in the waiting room and the blinds were open. I had offered them the resource card on their way in but they were not interested. As the two were sitting in the waiting room I stood in front of the window and offered them the card again. They were able to see the picture of the pregnant mom on the sign around my neck. One of the girls looked distressed and seemed to be wiping tears. Meredith mouthed that she would drive them somewhere else for services. When the two girls came out and crossed the street Katie was able to engage them and offer them resources. They at least looked at the material but did not accept them.

         A young man came by who needed prayer. His young girlfriend had died of an overdose in September. It was very tragic. He showed me her picture and she was so beautiful. I acknowledged the tragedy and his loss and was able to pray for him. I can’t remember his name, but perhaps all of you can lift him in prayer that God will continue to mend his grieving heart and be a help in his time of need.

         There were a couple of passersby who could also use prayer…one individual said we were wasting our time. One passerby had a choice name for me and told us to stop talking but he didn’t linger or do any other confrontation. So let’s pray that God turns their stony hearts into fleshy hearts and reveals Himself to them.

         There was a young man riding his bicycle past PP and stopped at the models and was talking to our group on that side of the walk. He explained his past life of addiction and hard circumstances. He said that he was now a Christian. Pastor Joe had an opportunity to pray with him.

         Meredith had an encouraging word for today…she has the sense that this PP is crumbling from the inside…the entire inside is crumbling. As she explained it I envisioned that picture in my mind, and I am claiming that as answered prayers and fasting. Perhaps we can all envision that in our minds and claim it to the glory of God. …The end of abortion at 933 Liberty Avenue in the Mighty Name of Jesus!!!

 

Faithful ladies, Meredith and Jessie

 

Thank you to Meredith, Jessie, and Katie!!

 

Lisa K.:

Today was a sad day, as it was an abortion day, and many people who passed by didn’t seem to want our information.  But at the same time, those who refused were generally polite, not mean.  At least that was good.

Judy mentioned “B” in her report, and he did come out again during the 11-1 shift, this time with “S,” and Katie had seen that S was crying.  Deacon Paul went over to talk to them, and suddenly a woman– a stranger– came out of nowhere and gave Deacon Paul a hard time for coming over to them!!  It didn’t seem like B had a problem with the deacon, but he just told him that S needed a little space.  So Deacon Paul gave her that.  As Judy said, please pray for them.

I am very thankful for all of those who came to pray with us today, including the Pittsburgh Byzantines, as well as Dan, Bob, John, and Lisa.  The Byzantine prayer service we had was beautiful!  Thank you all!

 

Fr. James led us in prayer.

 

Thank you, Dan, for your faithfulness!

 

Byzantine prayer service

 

Pittsburgh Byzantines: George, Patricia, Fr. James, Deacon Paul, and Gerri. Thank you all!!

 

Helen:

Dee and Mary Frances came from St. Bernadette, Monroeville, to pray. After we prayed the rosary, Dee gave away several rosaries to people who saw the red, white and blue ones in her hands, and liked them. Benson took his usual place beside the pole near the new fetal models. I did not know until today that he comes to PP after school every day.

At Mass this morning, I prayed that NO ONE would go into PP while I was there. The only person who went in while we were there was a UPS man delivering what looked like a load of paper.

The crispy cool in the shade was alleviated somewhat when the sun came over the top of the local skyscrapers.

 

Thank you to Benson, Dee, and Mary Frances!!

 

May the Lord help us

to continue to do His work,

and bear much fruit that will last. 

God have mercy on us all.

 

Day 16: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Elk County Right to Life (St. Mary’s PA), Christian Assembly of God (Bentleyville), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, and our Shift Buddies and other prayer volunteers!

40 Days for Life

 

 

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Luke 11:9-10

 

Asking for help.  It is something so basic, and yet, something that is hard for some of us to do.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it has to do with our sense of independence, or not wanting to “bother” anybody, or not wanting to feel weak or helpless.

But in my opinion, asking for help is one of the MOST PRODUCTIVE things we can ever do.  It shows willingness, humanness, and HUMILITY.  It makes us vulnerable before another person, and that vulnerability shows that we are willing to trust.

In the image above, the sweet baby looks so tiny, so helpless.  And he is.  But his father is right there, with his strong hand, to show that he is there, and to help him to feel secure.

The Scripture passage above follows with reminders from Our Lord that “if [we] then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to [our] children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13)

Our God wants to help us.  He wants it so much that He is even willing to offer His help THROUGH other people.  When we stand as witnesses on the sidewalk, and offer help to passersby, we are the ones through whom the Lord is working.  And yet, so many who are in need….. pass right by, or even respond with anger to offers of help.

Sometimes, I wish we had this sign over our heads on Liberty Avenue:

It might show that we are genuinely there to help.

At the same time, we ourselves are in need of help as well.  We, too, need to ask the Lord for help in our prayer, or our speaking to those on the sidewalk.  Let us make ourselves vulnerable to the Lord and TRUST Him.  In doing so, we can be a good example for those who also need help.  We pray that we can all grow in HUMILITY in this way, and not be afraid to ask for what we need.

 

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:

It was a peaceful shift this morning. It was wonderful to see Diane as she was bringing the materials and to spend my two hour shift with my buddy Peggy! We prayed together on our knees in front of the door to Planned Parenthood and then prayed individually and also had some conversation. There was not much activity  going on at Planned Parenthood yet, but a couple people took our yellow cards that were going in. It was a blessing as always to see Judy, Pastor Joe, and dear Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene as they arrived for the 9 to 11 shift.

Thank you to Diane and Peggy!!

 

Ongoing 40-day memorial for the babies who have been killed.

 

Nikki kneeling in prayer.

 

Nikki wearing one of our new signs. Thank you, Nikki, for not being afraid to get your knees on the ground in prayer.

 

Judy, Pastor Joe, and Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Thank you for your faithfulness and prayer!!

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Nazarene arrived at 9 AM with Pastor Joe and Judy, Meredith, and Chuck. It was great to see Nikki and Peg before they left their shift. Later we were joined at 10 AM by Elk County Right to Life from St. Mary’s PA: Janet, Mary R., Mary B., and Laurey. Shortly after that, Therese joined us from Carnegie. (Sorry I didn’t get her pic). It was encouraging to have enough people to pretty much fill the outside of the bubble.

It seemed to be a busy day at Planned Parenthood. Many were going in throughout our shift. We offered most of them the resource card and other information.  Several ignored us completely, but some of them were polite and said, “No thank you” – some said they were going in for other things. One lady said that she had insurance (and basically wasn’t interested in free services) and regrettably shook her head yes when I asked her if she knew they did abortions there. One lady came out with her pills in hand and stopped to let me explain about the services on our resource card. I suggested she use the resources on the card instead of supporting the abortion giant. She seemed to be very appreciative of the information and thanked me for giving it to her.

A gentleman approached Chuck and was rather gruff and loud, saying we were all liars because we didn’t care about mothers after they decided to keep the baby. Chuck tried to respond but the man got in his face, so Chuck had to walk away from him … as the man called him the nastiest name in the book and huffed off. One man in a pickup truck stopped at the light in front of PP, opened his window and repeatedly yelled, “Kill the babies, kill the babies, kill the babies…” until his light turned green and he drove off. Pastor Joe said another person stopped at the light and was yelling as well.  Our hearts and prayers go out to these individuals, and we pray that they somehow saw Jesus in us today and that He will eventually change their hearts.

On a side note we had a gentleman come by who needed $2 to get a bus back to the airport. Between three of us, we were able to scrape together $2 LOL. He allowed us to have prayer with him before leaving and we found out that he was a born again Christian. He was very thankful for the $2 and the prayers. “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.” We thank God for the opportunity to stand against abortion.

Thank you to Janet, Mary R., Mary B., and Laurie from Elk County Right to Life!!

Donna:

As I made my way into town today the garage was full.  I rode around the block a couple of times and ended up in a different garage, where the Lord wanted me.  As I entered the elevator, there was a young couple in there and they just kind of gave me a smirk and a look when I got in.  The thought struck me that they were going to PP and they, of course, were. 

It was a very busy day today with many people in and out of PP.  Thanks to all the prayer warriors who came from near and far and prayed today: Mary, Mary B., Janet & Laurie from Elk County Right to Life, Bill from FPCP, Therese from Heidelberg, Bob from St. Paul’s, John from St. James (West End), Bill from St. Bernard’s, and Bob from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie. 

We had many people pass by, some good and some not-so-good comments and gestures.  We had a woman by the name of “A” stop by and said her little girl, Madison, was saved 2 years ago because of 40 Days For Life.  She said keep doing what we’re doing.  Praise God!  I noticed another gentleman that went by twice, and both times he was praying the rosary.  Also PP was having trouble with their door again today.  Praying that is a sign of things to come.

 

The sidewalk memorial flowers in the rain.

 

A close-up of the heart of the pro-life message. Thank you, Donna!

 

Thank you to John, Mary, and Jim who joined us in prayer this afternoon!

 

Helen:

Shift Manager Carolyn (back row) and beautiful prayer volunteers!

 

God bless the participants from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton!

 

Benson joins the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton folks!

 

Wonderful witnesses for life!!

 

Charlie:

Amy and I were joined tonight by Ben and three guys from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Walt, Vince, and Al.  Nice time, got to pray a rosary. We were later joined by Kathy and a family from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. The family was an inspiration as they knelt and prayed the rosary with their small children. Towards the end of the shift, we had a small confirmation by two men, but it only lasted for a minute. They seemed to be part of the bar club next door. All in all, a very good night.

 

Thank you all for joining us in prayer!! God bless you all!!

 

Thank you to the dear people from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Benson too!!

 

Thank you for bringing your beautiful family to pray with us!!

 

 

May the Lord continue to inspire us

to ask, to seek, to knock. 

May we always ask Him for the gift of continued HUMILITY. 

May the Lord bless us all!!

 

Day 9: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Shift Buddies and other prayer volunteers, and a special thank you to Bishop David Zubik!

40 Days for Life

Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.

Luke 10:5-6

 

As most of you know, the theme for this fall’s Pittsburgh vigil is HUMILITY.  I find it a beautiful and very meaningful theme.  And from a practical perspective, it is an extremely helpful attitude to have when on the sidewalk at the vigil.

When we have humility, we will not fall into confrontation, argument, anger, rudeness, etc. with those who are passersby on the sidewalk.  MANY stories about 40 Days for Life show the facts about how CRUCIAL it is for us to be humble and loving.  It means EVERYTHING.

The passage above reminds me of that.  To paraphrase the words of Jesus, when we wish peace to all on the sidewalk, if the person we encounter there is peaceful, then our peace will rest on him.  If not, it will return to us.  We have only to remain humble before the Lord to be able to be open to that peace and hold onto it.

THANK YOU to all who came to pray at the vigil today…. a special THANK YOU to Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  It means a lot for him to have joined us today in prayer.

 

Bishop Zubik chats with Nikki before we pray.

 

A passerby stops to greet the bishop and ask for his prayers.

 

The bishop begins a rosary with the group.

 

Our group gathers with the bishop in prayer on the sidewalk.

 

Thank you to all who joined us in prayer.

 

SHIFT MANAGER REPORTS:

Nikki:

I was very grateful to have my shift buddy Peggy this morning. It was just the two of us for the 7 to 9 shift. We both prayed on our knees the rosary, right in front of the doors, outside of the circle, after laying our flowers on the sidewalk. A funny thing happened, however.  Within a minute of laying my flowers on the circle, a young mom with her toddler came walking by. The sweet little boy saw the flower  and picked it up and they walked away happily enjoying the beautiful flower! I had to laugh, I wish I could have been fast enough to get a picture of him. He was so cute! Anyway, that got Peggy and I thinking that it would be nice if it was made more clear that these flowers are a memorial for the babies who have died. I think most people when they walk by do not really realize that babies are dying there, and so they don’t understand the significance of the flowers. Anyway, we had a very prayerful and peaceful shift.  It was a blessing as always to see Judy and Chuck, at 9 o’clock for the Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene time slot, and it was a double blessing to say that they had brought Pastor Joe Stump with them! Thanks to everyone for all you are doing to bring the light of Christ to that dark place at 933 Liberty Avenue.

Peg and Nikki starting our day off in prayer.

 

Our beautiful flowers to memorialize those killed at PP.

 

Nikki greets the next shift’s group, with Chuck, Pastor Joe, and Judy!

 

Judy:

We had beautiful weather for our vigil today. Our Lincoln Place Nazarene group was Pastor Joe, Meredith, Chuck, and myself. We were joined briefly by Judie who stopped by to pray on her way to the dentist. She was an encouragement. We were also blessed by Bill’s presence for a while towards the end of our shift. The rain held off until near the end of our shift. That was a blessing to us.
There was a fair amount of traffic in and out of the PP doors today. We were able to intercept several people to give them information about free services at our pregnancy centers. They seemed willing to receive the information but continued through the doors. There were a couple rude people who gave us the finger gesture all the way into the building but they were not verbal. One of them kept looking at me through the door so I bowed my head and started praying.

Meredith, Judy, Chuck, and Pastor Joe. Thank you all for your prayerful presence!!

 

Thank you to Judie for stopping by!

Lisa K.:

Several beautiful things happened during this shift today.  While I was praying with Carolina, a young woman who went into PP walked past us several times, and three times we tried to give her a resource card.  The third time worked.  Carolina was able to convince her that she had options other than PP, and the woman took the card.

A young man began to open the door to PP, and we mentioned to him that we could direct him to free resources elsewhere.  He said he was looking for diapers.  I asked him whether he had checked with Catholic Charities, and he said, “Yeah, and they told me to come here!”  I knew that didn’t sound right!!  So after discussing things with him for a minute, I finally said, “I’ll walk down to Catholic Charities with you, and we’ll check it out.”  He took me up on it.  As we walked to CC, he filled me in on his situation a bit, and he just seemed like a confused kid, really.  We got to CC (which he said he had NOT gone to), and the woman there was as helpful as could be.  The man was helped right away, and he was so happy that when I said good bye to him and held out my hand to shake his, he smiled and said, “Can I give you a hug?”  I laughed and said, “Sure!”  He was genuinely thankful.

Lastly, a small thing.  Carolina and I prayed together for quite a while today.  She is a beautiful soul!  And she was worried that she didn’t know all of the rosary prayers in English, so I said, “I don’t care, pray them in Spanish!”  So she did, and I was able to pray the Hail Marys with her in Spanish.  That was a beautiful moment for me.  Thank you, Carolina!!

 

 

Nikki, Shift Manager Barbara, and Carolina waiting for the bishop to arrive. Thank you for being there, ladies!!

 

Nikki placed a little doll among the flowers by the PP wall, in memory of the babies killed at PP.

 

Helen:

The arrival of Bill and Arlene meant Carolyn was no longer alone. 

Around 4:15 the rain came, and by 4:30 every step was a slosh.

A man with a little boy came along and said what he has wanted for

a long time is a rosary. I gave him the one I was holding and he was

delighted. He immediately put it over his head and left with a big thank

you. He wants to teach his son to pray.

 

As 5:00 got closer, I thought most of the people exiting PP would be

employees. Wrong! A young woman approached the white car parked

in front of the book store. Bill offered her one of our yellow cards and

said, “You might get some help from these numbers.” She said,

“You have already helped me. I could not go through with it. I’ll have to

suck it up and face my problems.” Translation: “I will not have an abortion.

I will have my baby.”

 

A little later a young woman came out with a person I’d guess was her

father. He looked very happy. She did not. I offered her a yellow card,

and she took it and kept walking. She did not look like she was in a 

hurry to join him as he walked up the street. I’ll pray for them.

 

For about half an hour the rain poured. The cross walk in front of PP was a pond

about 8″ deep. Many people sloshed through, ruining their shoes. Even those who

went around those “new” barriers found more water . Whoever put up those

barriers was not thinking of pedestrians on a rainy day.

One young woman stopped and said, “Do you volunteer to be here?”

 

The 5:00-7:00 shift had to brave the storm, but they arrived ready to stand

and pray in the rain as the sky grew darker. 

 

I hope all went well while Bishop Zubik was with you.

 

Helen gets a shot of this little teddy bear among the flowers.

 

May the Lord bless you all as you continue to pray, fast, and

participate in the vigil.  He is with us! 

Let us remain HUMBLE so we can continue to do HIS will on the sidewalk!! 

Thank you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Patrick Catholic Church (McKeesport), SS. Simon & Jude Parish, and all of our other volunteers!

 

40 Days for Life

 

 

What has been, that will be;
what has been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun.
Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!”
has already existed in the ages that preceded us.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

 

Ever since time began, there have been the joys, celebrations, wars, marriages, sins, and repentances of life.  One of those joys, for many, is getting married, then getting pregnant and having a child.

One of the sorrows of life, for many, is when someone close to us dies.

These basic joys and sorrows of life– birth and death– have never changed.  Scripture tells us in the passage above that there is “nothing new under the sun.”

If this is true, then why do we think that NOW– in present-day 2018– we NOW have the answers to all of life’s problems?

Examples:

Unhappy in your marriage?  Get divorced.

Want to enter into a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse?  Have an affair.

Not feeling fulfilled as a stay-at-home parent?  Leave your family and start over.

Don’t feel like being a parent yet?  Use contraception.

Don’t want the baby already conceived in the womb?  Have an abortion.

SOME people claim that these are basic assumptions of the modern world…. this is the way things work in 2018…. we have to keep up with the times….

But didn’t we just read in Scripture that there is “nothing new under the sun” and that when we THINK that something is “new,” it has really already existed in all the ages that went before us?

One would THINK that something that claims to be “new” would also be “improved.”  And yet, have ANY of the above cases improved our lives?  Is the general quality of life in our culture made inherently BETTER because of divorce, adultery, abandonment, contraception, or abortion?  I think that most of us reading this would say NO.

So, if these things are not new… and definitely not improvements… then WHY DO THEM?

 

If THIS is what we all want:

…then why are we continually using the WRONG means to get there??

 

If we want to be truly happy and free, then we must follow God and His will.  There are no other options.  And some things He made a certain way, to have a certain PURPOSE.  This includes sex.  And when we decide that we are taking matters into our own hands….. that sex can be what I want it to be…. that I can create my own reality….. then the TRUE meaning and purpose of sex does not get lived out, and we are no longer following God’s will, and therefore…. we will not be happy or free.  We will NOT live “happily ever after.”

But ACCEPTING the truth of God’s plan for life and love that God has created…. well, that will clearly bring us the happiness and freedom that we seek.  It is not in trying to be “new,” “trendy,” or “modern” that our true happiness lies.  God is MUCH smarter than we are.  He KNOWS that nothing is new under the sun.  He just wants US to figure that out.

May we HUMBLE ourselves, and live according to HIS will.  And we will be truly happy and free.

 

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:

It was an honor to witness and pray today with Peggy and Mary Ann. The sidewalk was quiet and peaceful this morning. At the beginning of our shift, a man named Charles stopped to encourage us and asked to pray with us. He prayed a wonderful prayer for God to be with us.  Peggy brought a bouquet of roses and we laid them on the painted line in memory of the children lost there.  Mary Ann brought homemade cookies,  and let me tell you, she bakes a mean cookie! Thank you Mary Ann!
 I decided to take advantage of the space directly in front of the doors to Planned Parenthood, since the walkway is now protected by the new planters, we can safely stand there without having to worry about being hit by a car. I felt like I should kneel, especially since I was wearing a sign that says “Knees on the Ground.” I ended up kneeling on the bricks for the entire rosary, and I have to say it felt right. In fact, I feel like something inside of me changed while I was praying. I can’t explain it, and maybe it is not even right to tell you, but whatever it was that happened, I think it is a good thing. I just feel like I have been given a grace from God that is a new and fresh Resolve. I know how important 40 Days for Life is, and how God is using it in such a powerful way, but I think I was taking it for granted and not really appreciating the magnitude of the greatness of this gift that God is giving us! As I prayed, I felt like this is the most important thing we can do right now! I felt like all the cover of darkness has been removed, and evil is being exposed in all sectors of our world, both in the Church and in our government. People now are free to choose good or evil, there is no more deception. There is nothing left to do for us now, the work has been done already! Now, we simply must pray and fast. Offer our sufferings to be joined with the Lord’s sufferings, and in reparation for sin. I think God whispered to me that he would like me to come to the vigil every day during the 40 days to simply pray the rosary on my knees. I want to try my best to do that. Thank you everyone for joining us in this worldwide movement of God!  It was wonderful to see Meredith and Jessie come for the 9 to 11 shift and to see the beautiful red roses that they brought to honor the babies.

Wonderful Pat was there to bring the materials, as he will be doing every Tuesday and Thursday morning in place of Diane, while she babysits her grandbaby. And faithful Peggy who comes every Wednesday and Thursday morning!

 

Flowers lining the circle, symbolizing the beautiful and fragile lives lost here.

 

Charles was a passerby who stop to encourage us and thank us for being there. (Pictured here with Mary Ann and Peggy.)

 

Jessie and Meredith from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene brought beautiful roses to lay on the sidewalk.

 

Meredith:

I hadn’t been down to Planned Parenthood since last 40 Days for Life, so the new sidewalk arrangement was very interesting! Traffic in and out of PP included what seemed likely to be abortion-bound couples, and lots of contraception appointments. Had some good times of prayer, and I brought a friend from church with me who had never been down before but wants to be more involved. This year, a neighbor is able to help get her son off to school, so she plans to come for our church shift every week. What a blessing! The flowers on the sidewalk are very moving! They were definitely noticed by passers-by. One young black man made a point of stopping to encourage us to keep up the good work and he appreciated the significance of the flowers. Keep up the good work church and don’t lose heart!

 

Lisa K.:

It was a really good time of prayer on the sidewalk today.  I praise God for that.  Unfortunately, it seemed rather busy at PP.  But praying and talking with Rita was especially nice.

One young woman stopped by to look at the baby models, and shared that she had had a miscarriage at 6 weeks.  We offered our sympathy.  She said with a smile that they are trying again.  We offered a prayer for her.

Thank you to all who came and prayed with us!

Thank you to Rita and Fr. Tom from St. Patrick in McKeesport!

 

Thank you to Nancy and Donna from SS. Simon and Jude!

 

Thank you to Dan, who is a Ph.D. theology student, and took time out of his busy day to come and pray with us!

 

Carolyn:

It was a very good day.  Some healthcare workers stopped to talk with Nancy, one of our prayer volunteers.

A woman came out of PP with a small child, saying that she was there to receive emotional support.  I told her that WE could provide her with that.

Bill had left, but came back to pray with us some more.

A very difficult woman began talking to the group.  She was very pro-abortion and wanted to argue.  I knew that the way to talk to her was through loving, not arguing.  

All in all, a very good day on the sidewalk.

 

Helen:

I was glad to know Carolyn was not alone from 2:30-3:00. Almost as soon as I got there, a very attractive, well-groomed, well-dressed lady came along and told us how much she disagreed with all we do.  She sees the developing baby at any stage as “a blob of cells,” and believes women are free to do as they choose.

Carolyn is the teacher for the youngest children at her parish, and she did a beautiful job of showing how God’s love is evident in creation of a baby. The lady was not interested in facts or morality, just choice.  But she thanked us for being kind to her. She said she was “wasting her time,” but we were glad she stopped.

Anita came with two lovely ladies from Butler. We prayed four rosaries, each of us leading a group of mysteries. A tall, red-haired young man from Mt. Lebanon joined us, and another man just came along and led a rosary for several decades.

The usual waiting line for the bus stop did not come as far as PP, but many people looked and slowed to peek at the “babies.” It’s worth the trip just for those who are seeing for the first time the miracle of “how babies grow.”  What a revelation! as another young man (in his 20s) learned why we are there, how the babies grow, and what they do at PP. His reaction was worth the whole day.

As we finished the rosaries, the 5:00-7:00 group arrived.  Seeing a husband and his wife at the vigil was beautiful! I noted that he is a member of the Catholic Men’s Fellowship.  As the 5:00 group came, it was noticeably cooler, and the rain changed from drops to a regular sprinkle. I did not see any umbrellas. Maybe the rain did not stay.

Lori came to pray with us.  She talked a bit about meeting Abby Johnson and how Abby helped her. I was wearing a St. Vincent College sweatshirt. She asked me if I went to St. Vincent. I told her it was my son’s school. She said she went to Seton Hill. Yes, she knows Sr. Anne I., who has brought Seton Hill students to our Pittsburgh affairs. We should all get to know Lori.

 

A wonderful group, led in prayer by Anita!

 

Faithful volunteers in prayer

 

 

Flowers on the sidewalk, from loving prayer volunteers

 

Thank you all. 

We appreciate your prayers, faithfulness, and HUMILITY. 

God bless you.

Day 37: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Patrick Catholic Church (McKeesport), St. Joseph (Verona), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (Carnegie), and all of our other prayer volunteers!

40 Days for Life

 

 

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him.

Genesis 17: 3

 

Today’s First Reading is a long passage from Genesis.  But each week, I look at these readings, and see where the Holy Spirit stops me.  And He stopped me here, at this first line.  This line from Genesis 3 makes me remember that we cannot hear God when we are focused on self.

This holds true for those of us on EITHER side of the abortion issue.  For those of us who are pro-life, we must be outward-looking…. focused on the woman or man before us who is in need of our help.  For those who are pro-abortion, there also must be the outward focus: What is good for my child?  What is good for the rest of my family?  What is good for the father/mother of my child?  If the focus is on self, then the chances for abortion are certainly higher.

May the Lord enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we can be HUMBLE enough to prostrate ourselves before Him, and listen to what He wants to tell us.

 

 

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

 

Nikki:

It was a cold and icy morning, but it was a good shift. My faithful partner Peggy was there the whole time. Vicki came to pray for a while and Bill stopped by briefly. Katie also came to reach out to the abortion bound clients of Planned Parenthood with alternatives to abortion. The sidewalk was very icy and many people were slipping. I was warning people to be careful, but one woman did go down onto her back. We helped her up and she was OK, thankfully. I asked the security guard if he could throw some salt out, but he told me that it was not Planned Parenthood’s problem. He said the ice was in front of the bar and that we should ask them. I told him they were not open but he simply said it wasn’t his problem.
 
We didn’t get much interaction with passersby; some eye rolls, that is about all. One woman, however, stopped in the middle of the circle and proclaimed the blood of Jesus over that place and prayed and proclaimed that that place would be closed and that the evil would be defeated. She told us that she had had abortions and now realizes that abortion is murder. It was awesome to watch her pray so boldly.  I actually got chills listening to her pray, it seemed prophetic. Of course, it may have just been the cold, but I hope it was the Holy Spirit! Thanks, everyone, for your sacrifice this morning!
 
Nikki

Peggy and Vicki praying, in the early morning cold. Thank you, ladies!

 

 

 

 

Meredith:

It was the quietest Thursday of these 40 days as far as clients going in this morning. We only saw one couple go in during our two hours there.
We were a bit distracted by the icy sidewalks as two people fell and lots of others did “ice dances!”
Thank you everyone for coming out to pray during these 40 Days for Life! I hope you’ll come out and bring a friend a time or two before our next 40 days. Your prayers are always needed outside of 933 Liberty Ave.
I hope, too, that you’ll plan to come over to pray at Magee-Womens Hospital, where 500-700 abortions are committed every year. Over half of those abortions are committed in the second trimester. If you’d like to know more about that opportunity, drop me a line at TheMageeProject@gmail.com.
Hope to see you at the closing Sunday evening!

Thank you to these two amazing women, Shift Manager Meredith and Sidewalk Advocate Katie!

 

 

Lisa K.:

The 11-1 shift today was relatively quiet.  I had wonderful companions, including Denise, a Thursday regular, who is not pictured here.  I am so grateful for their presence and prayers… especially to Fr. Tom from St. Patrick parish, who came prepared with holy water and blessed salt, which he prayerfully sprinkled around the sidewalk.  Thank you, Father, for all of these special blessings!!

We had several words of blessing and thanks from passersby today.  Maybe it was the sunshine?  But my favorite line came from a black man who, as he passed us, said casually, “God’s got y’alls back.”  I loved it.  

 

Ted, Fr. Tom, and Rita from St. Patrick’s in McKeesport, along with Linda from Holy Spirit parish in West Mifflin. Thank you all!

 

Helen:

What a wonderful day! We enjoyed the beauty of two families from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie.  Both families brought five children, all of them prayerful, pleasant, polite and patient. An added bonus is that we also had one more baby in utero and lovely Isabel was celebrating her 12th Birthday.

With the families was a fine blond lady who would make a super Shift Manager.
(I’m sorry I’ve forgotten many names, so I won’t try to guess.)

We all sang “Happy Birthday” to Isabel, and then we prayed the rosary. No fidgeting, fussing, or fighting, and the children took turns leading the decades. We also prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet before the families walked into the sunlight.

After they left, we still had two Knights from the parish, and another young lady who came from her office at the other end of the Golden Triangle.

The sidewalk was busy with not just the students and bus lines; we also had the company of many members of the American Society of Black Engineers, who are having gatherings in Pittsburgh.

 

Thank you, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioners!!

 

This Knight of Columbus brought new meditations on the mysteries of the rosary. Thank you!

 

The Knights of Columbus brought signs for everyone who arrived. Thank you!

 

Isabel (R) celebrated her 12th birthday! Happy Birthday, Isabel, and thank you for spending it with 40 Days for Life!!

 

There’s a baby we can’t yet see in this photo! But he or she is in utero, fully alive, and waiting to be born!

 

The children in prayer. Thank you all!

 

Beautiful smiles on this sunny day.

 

Thank you to these beautiful families and the other members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton who joined us today!!

And let us recall the outward focus of our love. 

May our humility allow us to hear the call of the Lord for our lives and our families.

 

“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.”


-Pope St. John Paul II