On a Sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Why would anyone do this? Why help others who have no way of repaying? Why give of ourselves and expect nothing in return?
I think it comes down to one word: LIBERTY.
But 933 Liberty Avenue is a location with a misnomer.
A better address might be “933 Sadness Street,” or “933 Regret Road,” or “933 Prisoner Place.” Being a prisoner of one’s past… being a person filled with sadness or regret… this is NOT what the Lord wants for any of His people. And yet, so many WILLINGLY step through those doors in pursuit of one thing: LIBERTY.
Perhaps they desire liberty from the shackles of parenthood… or from the guilt of an illicit sexual relationship… or from the financial burden that a new life might create. There might be many things they want to “liberate” themselves from, but they don’t know that the very facility they are entering- with that hope of liberty- is the place that will make them forever BOUND (not free) with guilt, regret, avoidance, sadness, pain, and many other things.
At 933 Liberty Avenue, true liberty is a LIE.
Jesus, however, brings us HOPE. He tells us that He has come that we might have LIFE, and have it to the FULL (cf. John 10:10). St. Paul tells us that “it is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
For generations, Lady Liberty has stood as a sign of hope for those who seek freedom, who seek liberty. So yes, she is one important sign of liberty:
But…. if I may…. I think THIS one is a BETTER sign of true liberty and freedom:
And because we are Christians- those who follow Jesus Christ- we follow Him and His example. So rather than saying to the abortion-bound couple, the abortion worker, or the post-abortive couple, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed!” (cf. James 2:16), instead we must say, as the Gospel above reminds us,
“I INVITE you into true freedom.”
And while 933 remains a killing facility, that liberty will NOT be found on Liberty Avenue.
And so we invite.
Last evening (Sunday), we held our closing rally to close our 40-day vigil. Thank you to all who came all during these 40 days. This was a celebration of life… and several lives (at least three) were saved this vigil alone! Praise God!
Some photos from our prayer on the sidewalk:
Photos from the time of fellowship
at Catholic Charities:
Others who spoke at Catholic Charities:
Thank you again to all who attended this special event, and especially all those who gave of their time to come and join us in prayer. Let us remember what we are about…. PRAYER. And let us remember Whose we are…. HIS. And let us bring others- INVITE others- to know Him too…. especially those on the sidewalk and inside that building. Despite Liberty Avenue’s name, the Lord Jesus is the ONLY one who can make them truly FREE.
Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Can we see what the Lord is saying here? His love is so great for us. He wants NONE of us to be lost. Yet in the world of abortion, there is so much darkness, confusion, and even despair. But Jesus came that none of us would be lost, and that we might all have the opportunity to have eternal LIFE.
Let us pray that the abortion-bound women and men on Liberty Avenue- and around the world- may come to KNOW this, whether through our witness or not. May the Lord work mightily in their lives to bring them to know Him and to have eternal LIFE.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a calm and peaceful early morning shift. The weather was much milder than I thought it would be; it was very pleasant. I had my faithful partner and friend, Peg, with me for my entire shift. We prayed together and separately during our two hours. Towards the end of our shift there were couples entering the clinic, appearing to be abortion bound. One woman came out and started smoking a cigarette. She looked rather distraught, but would not take any information from me. I prayed for her. We got quite a few positive comments, and some negative ones too. One young woman actually shoved her middle finger right in Peg’s face, almost poking her with it. It gave us an opportunity to live out the Beatitudes and we asked God to bless her.
It was a blessing to see Chuck and Judy, as always! The Holy Spirit works powerfully through them with love. Thank you everyone for continuing on this 40 day journey!
What a busy and full shift we had today! When I arrived, Judy and Chuck told me that many people went in to PP this morning. Sad news, to be sure. Then they told me about a woman who had gone in and out a few times, but she had not wanted any information from them. They pointed her out to me as she came outside again, and she didn’t want anything from me either. But then Mary arrived, from St. Juan Diego parish, who had volunteered to pray with me at 11. She was in God’s place at God’s time, because when the woman came out again, Mary was able to listen to her and share some helpful information with her. They talked for a long time. I just prayed for them all the while. The woman’s daughter was in PP for an abortion, so we prayed for her as well.
A little while later, Beth Ann came to join us. The three of us- Mary, Beth Ann, and I, stood in three separate areas, and prayed silently. It was powerful. Regular volunteer, Bob, came for some prayer time and left. Thank you, Bob! Then Kim and Janet joined us, having driven all the way from Wheeling. Then Joan, Megan, and Ginny joined us. Thanks be to God, it was a crowded and prayerful shift. They were all veterans, and so we all sort of took separate “prayer posts” and there was a lot of silent prayer. Amazing. I thought it was beautiful.
After Mary’s hour (and having talked to that woman outside for a long time), she left. But a little while later, she came back. The Holy Spirit was MOVING in Mary!! She asked if the woman and her daughter had come back out; they hadn’t. But as Mary stood there waiting, the woman came out AGAIN, as if on cue. Mary and Sidewalk Advocate Joan went over to talk to her again. So beautiful…. women helping women.
And then, a very bizarre thing happened. As we stood there in silent prayer, a police SUV pulled up right in the middle of the circle. We all watched silently, very attentive. We didn’t know whether some “situation” had happened inside of PP that required police attention. But no…. as we watched, a male officer got out, then a female officer. They opened wide both of the side doors of the vehicle, so they could assist someone. Suddenly, we saw a small, young woman– in handcuffs and legcuffs- both with chains- being escorted out of the vehicle, and into Planned Parenthood. It was such a foreign concept to my brain that I just stood there with my jaw dropped. I had so many questions that we will never know the answers to. It was very disturbing….. Let us pray for that WHOLE situation!!
Ginny cared enough to come. She has sleep apnea, so she doesn’t sleep much at night.
Minnie used the chair that “nobody took.” She and I prayed a rosary and then she had to leave.
A young woman came by and said she prayed for all of us yesterday on All Saints Day. She thinks we will all be going to heaven.
A young couple came by and admired our babies (preborn models). They were happily delighted to see how much development a baby has at such a young gestational age. The young woman thanked us for being here and sharing the images of the babies.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and truly a blessing. Thanks so much to Pam from Crossroads Church in Weirton, Noelle from Grandview Church of God in Beechview, Dave from St. Pio Church in Blawnox, and Jim from St. Maurice Church in Forest Hills, for their prayers and faithful witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. Your commitment to protect and defend life is truly an inspiration. Thanks also to Jeff for filling in for Tom and Diane today.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with each of you. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the closing rally on Sunday. God Bless!
“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person…. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’.”
Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature.
For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This passage above really made me think of the MANY ways that we can all fall into sin and fall away from God. As Christians, we are continually trying to work out our salvation… trying to continually convert… in so many ways.
Abortion affects so many people, and it ALWAYS brings about sadness and pain. The Lord has better plans for His people than sadness and pain! We shouldn’t have to wait until heaven to receive the joy that He wants to share with us in abundance.
So why do some of us flock to abortion- and to the abortion industry- rather than accept His life and love? I don’t always know those answers… but I DO know that our God is a Lord of great compassion and mercy.
I heard a talk about a year ago, given by a sex-trafficking survivor. This woman, now a woman in her 40’s, is a vibrant Christian woman of great hope and joy. It’s quite amazing, considering the horrors she had dealt with as a young girl. But one thing she said in her talk has stayed with me. She said that she knew that the Lord was speaking to her throughout her life, even in various situations as a sex-trafficking victim. On one of these occasions, when a man was forcing himself upon her, she remembers hearing the Lord clearly say to her heart, “I have a plan for you… and this isn’t it.”
And so, I boldly claim the same words of the Lord to those women and men who are victims of abortion, or who work in the abortion industry. The Lord has a plan for you… and THIS ISN’T IT.
Let us continue to pray for those who need to be reminded of this sacred truth. And let us put our trust in the Lord that He will show them exactly what His plan IS for them.
Shift Manager Reports
I was blessed to share my 7 to 9 shift with Peg as usual. Also we were joined by a man named Joe, from St. John the Baptist church in Plum, whose parish will be coming later today. He couldn’t come during that time so he went out of his way to come early this morning before work. It was a joy to pray and talk with him!
It was definitely an abortion day, we saw many couples going in. Some took information from us, although I am sure it was confiscated as soon as they walked in. A woman named Karen from Hosanna/Word and Worship church came towards the end of my shift, and then we were blessed to get to see faithful Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene as they arrived to take over the next shift.
Judy encouraged us with the reminder that when It seems like our enemy continuously places obstacles before us, that we are to simply keep our eyes on Jesus, and that way we will be able to continue! It is truly God’s gift to us, that he gives us each other! There is no place else in the world that I could meet such wonderful people as I do right on the sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood during 40 Days for Life.
Well, today’s shift flew by. I think it was because I was praying with dear people I know from my parish! Thank you to ALL of the St. John the Baptist parishioners who came to pray with us today!! I was blessed with the presence of the mother-son team of Marlane and Jon, who are so beautiful and endearing.
For my second hour, I had the pleasure of praying with dear Mary from my parish as well. Mary is a joy, and is such a strong and beautiful woman of faith.
We had several positive moments today. A man stopped to tell us how thankful he is for what we are doing, another was when a man passing by in his vehicle shouted out for us to keep up the good work, and another was that a beautiful young woman named Jen stopped by to chat with us. She was beautiful inside and out- and was truly inspiring. She chatted with Mary and me for a while about people that she knew who needed help and resources, and we talked about her church. Jen, if you’re reading this, I hope you come back sometime. It was wonderful meeting you.
As for negative moments, we had one moment where a woman would have engaged us in argument… but we made the conscious decision to remain faithful to our reason for being there these 40 days– to PRAY. Thank You, Lord, for helping us to see that.
A paramedic vehicle was stopped in front of PP for a short time… but with no patient as far as I could tell. I hope that there was not another need for an ambulance just a week after the last one.
The “I support Planned Parenthood” sign was held high when I got to 933, and she held it up for the two hours I was there. Carolyn said she was there for her shift, too. There was a constant rosary rising as the Chippewa, Holiday Park and city bus riders’ line snaked along Liberty Avenue. The occasional “Glad you’re here” or “Thank you for being here” are as good as gold.
The 5-7 PM shift on Thursday was peaceful and prayerful. Special thanks to Tim & Lisa from St. John the Baptist Church, Billy from the Assembly of God Church, and Jim from St. Maurice for their prayers and faithful witness! May God bless pregnant mothers in need and grant protection of the lives of children in the womb.
God has a plan for ALL of us… born and pre-born alike.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.
I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Sometimes we feel like this… like we are crying to God “out of the depths.”
In what circumstances might we find ourselves when we are crying out to God like this? Perhaps depression, disease, financial distress, job loss, death… and perhaps abortion. Perhaps the agony of the decision as a couple discerns whether or not to bring their baby to term. Perhaps the abortion worker who struggles with her conscience.
There are many reasons for us ALL.
That next verse in the above psalm says that God has mercy upon us for our iniquities. How does that even make sense? How is that fair? If I have sinned, I deserve punishment. But according to God, I also deserve mercy… part of which MAY BE a punishment. But if so, it is all for the good of our transformation. According to one dictionary, “mercy” is kindness that goes beyond what is fair.
The last verse above speaks of our TRUST in the Lord. Yes, our theme for this fall’s campaign. TRUST. It also says that “[our] soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.” Why does someone in darkness wait for the dawn with such longing? Because they will finally be able to see clearly. To SEE what the newness of the day has in store. To bring HOPE.
40 Days for Life exists to bring HOPE. By praying each day for an end to abortion, what does that do but bring people’s awareness to the POSSIBILITY that something BETTER than abortion exists?? May we continue to help one another (especially those on the sidewalk) OUT of the darkness and into the HOPE of TRUSTING in what our God has in store for us.
Shift Manager Reports
Here are two photos from the 7 to 9 shift. It was great to see Tom and Diane and Peg when I arrived at seven. Joe came with me today. We had a peaceful, prayerful shift. It did appear that Planned Parenthood was open for business; two single girls and one couple entered while I was there. Chuck and Judy arrived for the 9 to 11 shift.
We had a good day at our vigil today. Chuck and I held down the fort with a couple special visitors (Randy & Bill). During our shift, there were 2 couples who went into PP, and we tried to offer them information about free services, but they just ignored us and went inside. They did not come out of PP during our shift. There was another lady who came out and was waiting for someone. I approached her and gave her the card with the contact information for free services. I asked her if she was in PP for an abortion. She seemed shocked and laughed and said that she was not, in fact she had 5 children.
We had a couple passersby who made quiet negative remarks or rolled their eyes about our presence there; otherwise, all of our acquaintances were very positive. One gentleman walked by us, stopped and turned around and came back, took out his phone and showed us a picture of his beautiful daughter who was just born yesterday. He allowed us to pray a blessing over his new daughter and family, and to thank God for a beautiful little life. Another young man came by and looked at the baby models, and we were able to talk to him. He had no idea that PP did abortions. He took out his phone and showed us pics of his 8 month old nephew and said there was another nephew due to be born soon. We had the opportunity to pray with him as well and prayed a blessing upon his little nephews and their family. Another gentleman stopped by, seemed to be a little troubled, but commented that he would like to get involved in 40 Days for Life once he got his life settled. So we gave him the 40 Days brochure and had the opportunity to pray over him and ask God’s blessing to work out all situations in his life.
We had a lovely surprise that Randy K. stopped by during our shift to encourage us…and it was very encouraging and uplifting to us. Bill also stopped by and joined us and encouraged us as well with a testimony of healing. We are praying that God changes the atmosphere on that section of sidewalk. Today, we noticed so many more positive responses to our greetings to people as they passed by…and the 2 negative comments and 1 eye roll were not aggressive at all, but one was somewhat polite. Thanking God for His presence and praising Him for changing the atmosphere!
Thank you so much to all of the beautiful people who came to pray today during the 11-1 shift. Thank you, Judy and Chuck, who had the shift before me and got to meet my husband. Thank you for being the prayerful, Spirit-filled people you are!! Beth Ann, our faithful “non Shift Manager” (but she kinda is) was there, filled with charity and peace as usual. Thank you!! And the group from Holy Spirit and St. Nicholas was a joy to meet and pray with. Thank you to all!!
One scene struck me as I was preparing to leave. A man was talking to me and so I didn’t feel that I could call out to the couple entering the doors to PP at that moment. It made me so sad, for two reasons: first, when anyone enters those doors, my heart is saddened. We all know the dangers, the pressures, and the influences (demonic as well) that are present in that place. I wish to see NO ONE use their “services.” So that was sad to begin with.
But then what made it more profoundly sad to me was this. As the couple walked in, the man had his hand over the woman’s back, as though her were “helping” or “ushering” her in the door. It made me ill to see how a MAN- who should be protecting women- would do such a thing… leading her and their child right into the literal jaws of death. It made me angry- maybe for the first time in a long time on the sidewalk. Our men need to be standing up for women!! Please, any men who are reading this- please continue to be the wonderful witnesses for life that the Lord has called you to be…. and that includes protecting the women in your life.
One of the sad and terrible realities of some abortion days:
Please keep the woman in prayer who was taken by the ambulance. Thank you.
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and somewhat different. When I arrived at 5:00 PM, there was a lady taken out of Planned Parenthood on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. Please pray that all goes well with her while she is in the hospital. Please also pray for a man who was crying because his wife had an abortion years ago.
I would like to especially thank Dave from Oil City, Billy from Plum, Jim from St. Maurice, and Jane, Peggy, Sam, and the other faithful parishioners from St. Bernadette in Monroeville for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. Let’s keep the prayers up while at the vigil, and not let any distractions keep us from praying the rosary and other prayers.
May God bless you and your families always!
We began this post with the Scripture passage that reads, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord….”
Pittsburgh may not be the largest city around, but there are lots of things going on here every day. For most people who were in our city today, they did not know that preborn babies were killed. And they did not know that a woman was taken away from an abortion facility in an ambulance.
But we cry to God “out of the depths.” We cry to Him for mercy. May we entrust our city and its families, its women, its children… to HIM.
“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. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
In the first photo above, we see an open door. If we knock and the Lord opens up to us, I would really hope that what He opens to us is NEW and BEAUTIFUL. That is what I see in this photo. It may seem like a desert wasteland all around us, but just wait and see what happens once the Lord opens a door to us…. WOW.
May He continue to show us, through the power of His Holy Spirit, the GREAT and WONDERFUL plans He has for us as Our Father. And His plans are for ALL of us…. the abortion-minded, the post-abortive, the abortion worker…. for ALL of us. May we TRUST in His plans and be OPEN to them. May we ask… seek… knock.
Shift Manager Reports
Nikki reports from the 7-9 shift:
It was a quiet and peaceful shift this morning. I was very blessed to share the sidewalk with a wonderful group of knights from the Manordale Council in Murrysville. Thank you to Don and Dennis and the others who came! Thursday morning regular, Peg, was also there, and of course Bill stopped for a while. I don’t recall any comments, either positive or negative. I think most people are still half asleep during the early morning hours, but it was a privilege to be there! I gratefully passed the torch to Judy and Chuck when they arrived for the 9 to 11 shift. Thank you everyone, for your prayers and witnessing! We are making a difference!
Lisa K. reports from the 11-1 shift:
It was wonderful to have the St. Richard group with me to pray today… thank you, ladies!
One thing that struck me today was… how mean and angry people can be. It’s sad, really. We are there to help… to be a refuge, to be humble…. and I know that we don’t always act perfectly or say things perfectly… we might forget something important we wanted to say to someone…. there are all kinds of mistakes and imperfections, but that’s being human. It certainly shouldn’t elicit meanness or anger. But it does, continually.
I realize that much of the anger comes from people who are post-abortive, and still hurting. But I wish they would know that healing and help is available…. even for them, who might think it’s “too late” for them, since they’ve already had abortions. But God knows their situations perfectly. He always shows up right on time. His healing has no expiration date.
I pray for all of the hurting men and women out there who haven’t yet accepted God’s healing. Perhaps they will have the inspiration to ask, seek, and knock… as we read about in the passage above.
Carolyn and Terry report from the 1-3 shift:
I told Carolyn today that I was so sorry that I FORGOT to post her report and photos from last Thursday! So I’ll post them today:
First, Carolyn said about last week’s shift:
It was very rainy, we had a group of prayer warriors from Lutherans for Life.
Then, she added a few photos:
And now for THIS week’s photos from Carolyn… 🙂
Rick reports from the 5-7 shift:
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and peaceful. I would like to especially thank Johanna from St. Peters Church, Mike from the Greek Orthodox faith community, Tim from St. Maurice Church, and the faithful parishioners from the Reformed Church in Penn Hills, for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. May the peace and love of Christ be with all the vulnerable and defenseless, and may the hearts of all come to cherish God’s precious gift of Life!
Please remember, we are in need of prayer volunteers
to join Shift Manager Joe on Sunday, 10/8, from 5-7 PM.
Please sign up now or email Nikki to let us know if you can help. Thank you!!
[Jesus] said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. 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.
An abundant harvest is a beautiful thing. But imagine an abundant harvest, like the one in the above photo, but with only ONE laborer. We’ve probably all been there…. much work to be done, but too few to do it.
The solution, according to Jesus, is to “ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” We must continue to ask the Lord for pro-life workers and advocates to help us in our mission of prayer and ministry to the people on the Liberty Avenue sidewalk.
Jesus also tells us in this passage that He is sending us “like lambs among wolves.” But are we to fear this? No. Our Lord is completely trustworthy. While driving to the vigil today, one of the last things I heard on the radio was a song with these Christian lyrics: “I am not alone…. I am not alone…. You will go before me. You will never leave me.” This REALLY lifted me up to go onto the sidewalk with confidence. We ALL can have that confidence and trust in the Lord while on that sidewalk…. in that “field.” There is much work, much harvesting to be done. We can’t slack off now. 🙂
Shift Manager Reports
Thursday 7 to 9: it was a quiet and peaceful shift this morning. It was a blessing to be joined by Peg. We each prayed silently one on either side of the circle for most of the shift. Near the end of our shift we noticed Meredith on the other side of the street with her pro life literature. It was great to see her! Soon we were joined with wonderful Judy and Chuck from Lincoln Place Nazarene Church. They are both so full of joy and the Holy Spirit shines so beautifully through them! I am constantly encouraged by the gift that God gives us through 40 Days for Life by putting us all together as a family and God!
Another thought I had today, as I thought about the gospel from Luke, is where Jesus sends his apostles out, saying he is sending them like lambs among wolves. Isn’t that what he is doing with us? Our peaceful, vulnerable witness in front of Planned Parenthood, surrounded by hostility, sounds like he is using us in the same way! To proclaim the kingdom of God! I wonder, if the cities in which 40 Days for Life campaigns are taking place, are the very places in which he intends to pour out his Spirit in the coming days? Thank you everyone for praying and witnessing today!
Today, Jody and Chuck and Meredith from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene
and Beth Ann from St Alexis stood firm as faithful missionaries to our Father God, spreading His love and message of grace and compassion.
It was a rather hectic shift today! But it was good for me to remember the “hectic side” of this ministry; many times I get WAY too complacent. Two main things to mention: Please pray for Carly (not her real name) who went into PP today for an abortion. Her male friend had come outside for a smoke, and I was able to speak to him. Shift Manager Pat and I saw them later, walking away from PP. But we’re not sure what had happened- whether the abortion had taken place or not. So thank you for the prayer support she still needs.
And there was a man who approached one of our participants who was CLEARLY under the influence of drugs or alcohol (or both). He talked to us a tiny bit, and tried to hug one of our participants, but I did not allow him. And the poor guy was in REALLY bad shape- he could hardly stand up straight. Well, a few minutes later, the cops arrived. None of us had called them, so I wasn’t clear on the situation, but within minutes, SIX police officers were surrounding and frisking and searching this guy. They were very gentle and soft-spoken with him, as he could hardly communicate. But we think he had some drugs on him. Crazy. Thank GOD this did not involve our vigil at all. Just painting a picture of the scenes during my shift… and of course, while all of this was going on- and before and after- people were entering PP, and Deacon Paul and I reached out to help them…. but very few were receptive. But I am not deterred. We NEVER know how the Lord will use us.
The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was very prayerful and encouraging. Special thanks to Mary Catherine, Ann, Vincent & Vicky from St. Scholastica in Aspinwall for their faithful prayers and witness. Vincent lead us in singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which was inspirational.
May the Lord bless us and keep us close to His most Sacred Heart and may the lives of unborn children be cherished, and hearts be converted, through the grace of God, the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and the faithful witness, prayers, and fasting of Christians and others throughout the world.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: This people says: “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” (Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:) Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
Haggai 1: 2-4
The house in the above photo looks pretty, looks cozy. Right? In our lives, MOST of us find that we live pretty comfortable lives. Maybe not perfect, not ritzy (for most), but comfortable. But in the passage from Haggai, the Lord asks the people, almost with exasperation, “Really? You need to focus on your own homes, your own lives, while the house of the Lord lies in ruins? Where are your priorities?”
Every time 40 Days for Life rolls around again, I am always struck by this kind of side-by-side contrast. The typical middle-class American happy life v. the sad reality that some people live. The reality that involves unwanted pregnancy, sadness, doubt, fear, possible ostracization, and all kinds of other difficulties. Our priorities THANKFULLY are made to shift when we begin each new campaign. We are struck by the needs of someone else. The needs that the Lord wants us to be attentive to.
Shift Manager Reports
What a beautiful day to shine for Jesus! The weather was just perfect. I was blessed to have my wonderful friends from Saint Joe’s come with me for my 7 to 9 shift! We were also joined by Peg who has selflessly committed to come every Wednesday and Thursday morning throughout the entire 40 days! Also, Eloisa came again this morning, what a joy it was to talk to her and get to hear her story! God is so good to us, he sent so many wonderful brothers and sisters to our 40 Days for Life! We did not receive any negative comments, except for one man who drove by yelling out to us that we should adopt from the foster care system, to which I yelled back that I did! One lady stopped and prayed for us, that was beautiful! All in all, it was a good shift! Thank you to all who came!
From Lisa K.:
Nikki was right. It was indeed a beautiful day. It felt good to be back on the sidewalk, praying and offering help to those in need. Several of the young women rolled their eyes or shook their heads at me, as if to brush me off. But that’s okay. And I told several of the workers that we’re praying for them. I hope they know that we really are.
I had a wonderful group with me from St. Bernadette, and others who stopped by. Thank you all, for being part of our 40 Days family!
Rick wrote from the 5-7 shift:
The Thursday 5-7 Shift was peaceful and prayerful. Thanks so much to Marian, Diane, Regis, Michelle and Mark from St. Paul’s Cathedral, Nick from St. Maria Goretti, Michael from Sacred Heart, and Bill for their prayers and witness for unborn children and pregnant mothers in need. May the grace of God cause the hearts of many to change and our country ensure liberty and justice for all, born and unborn!
And friends, let us remember why we are doing this. We stand and pray for the baby boys…
And baby girls…
And for the expectant parents…
And for the siblings…
And for the grandparents…
And for ALL who will encounter these unborn people as they grow into the beautiful creations that God intended them to be.
THANK YOU ALL for your continued prayers and fasting. It makes a difference!!! Let us always put our trust in the Lord!!!!!!!
This fall’s kickoff was held at Holy Wisdom parish on Sunday evening, September 24. It was a great way to begin to “recharge” for the upcoming campaign. Thank you to Sue David, our new director, for leading us in prayer and encouragement!
We were blessed to hear from so many wonderful pro-life leaders, the first of whom was Kurt Kondrich, the Senior Director of Development for Human Coalition. He not only spoke of his amazing daughter, Chloe, who is a Down Syndrome teen, but he reminded us of the urgency of the pro-life message, and to always defend the defenseless. Thank you, Kurt!
After Kurt’s inspiring talk, we received encouragement and blessings from three clergymen. First was Pastor Joe Stump. Thank you, Pastor Stump!
Next, Fr. Fred Gruber gave us some words of wisdom and gave us a blessing. Thank you, Father!
Pastor Bryan Werner also gave us some emboldening words, and prayed a blessing over us as well. Thank you, Pastor Bryan!
A big thank you to Lindsay as well- one of our faithful Shift Managers, who led us in song, sounding like an angel!
One of the things that Sue had talked about this evening was that this campaign’s theme is TRUST. She mentioned that she pictures Jesus holding out His hands to us, and just asking us to hold on to those hands.
What was amazing is that Sue spoke these words as she was standing right next to THIS statue:
That could NOT be a coincidence. Thank You, Lord!
We look forward to praying with you all on the sidewalk again, beginning this Wednesday, Sept. 27! Thank you in advance for all of your prayers and assistance to the most vulnerable in our society. God bless you all.
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!