Last summer when Nikki spoke at the 40 Days for Life conference in Orlando, Florida, she was invited to attend the national conference for 40 Days for Life in Croatia. Nikki and Lisa K. are attending the conference and have sent back pictures of their time thus far. Please check in to see the updated pictures. Look for Lisa’s reflection and Nikki’s reflection after they return.
So, Nikki and Lisa left on a jet plane…leaving the driving to the pilot. Nikki spoke at the national conference in Croatia on Day 2.
From the sidewalk in front of 933 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh to the sidewalks of Croatia, the message for life is spoken!!
Connecting for life through the years with 40 Days for Life
Prayer and Prayer Warriors: Daily Prayer
Expect rain… hope like the little girl who prayed for rain… and brought her umbrella to the prayer meeting!! The chalk drawings may wash away, but the message of hope and life is etched in our hearts— all over this world.
Vince wrote the reflection for this blog and invites all to pray:
Sunday, June 18 at 7 am in front of 933Liberty Avenue.
When most people think about abortion, they think about the mother who carries the child and the child itself. Forgotten many times is for every abortion, there is also a father. The father is many times thought of as the one who may be instigating the abortion. Though this may be true, there are many instances when it is not.
During one of the prayer vigils at Planned Parenthood last fall, a young man approached while we were in the midst of our prayers. He stopped directly in front of the window that featured a young woman in a poster, with a warm and inviting smile that seemed to say come on in, we will take care of all of your problems!. This young man stood face to face with this poster for maybe a minute or two and just stared. He finally spat on the window, turned and faced me and continued to move on. The hurt in his eyes was overwhelming. I do not know what his story is, but I think it is safe to say that he is hurting by something that occurred in Planned Parenthood.
We have to realize that there are many men out there who have been impacted by abortion as well. Perhaps, the woman they were involved with became pregnant and unequivocally chose to have an abortion, in spite of any resistance from the father. Let’s face it, if the woman decides to go that route, the man has no say. What can he do to stop her? There may be other instances where a man may have no knowledge at all, that he conceived a child, if the woman decides to have an abortion without ever letting him know.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. It is the final Sunday that we will be reciting all 20 mysteries, on behalf of the unborn, the father’s (& mothers) who lose a child and of course, the ultimate goal, the closing of Planned Parenthood at 933 Liberty Avenue. For those of you who are fathers, come on out at 7 AM for our brothers who have lost a child through abortion. Heck, come on out, even if you are not a father. We would love to see you ladies too! It takes about an hour and a half. You will feel better for it. You will feel even better for it when the day comes that they put the padlock on that place when it goes out of business once and for all, and you know that you had a hand in it. It’s time to fight the good fight all of you good & faithful servants! We hope to see you!
Fatherhood Aborted read the extraordinary work the author completed before his untimely death. The author was a leader with Care Net
Download “Fatherhood Aborted” by Guy Condon & David HazardÂ
Amazon.com describes Fatherhood aborted as a unique look at the emotional devastation men face from being involved in abortion.Â
Fall 2017 campaign to end abortion in Pittsburgh- September 27- November 5
Sign up to pray. Join in with friends, a church group, or gather friends together to pray in peaceful witness in front of the abortion facility in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Check out the schedule.
Peaceful, prayerful and meaningful witness for life.
Also, can you help? Please read this pdf. Witnessing for life is making a difference!!!! No more walk…
WCN is making a difference and needs our help.
Those of us on the front lines in front of Planned Parenthood rely on the wonderful service that Women’s Choice Network provides, (free ultrasound, pregnancy test, and counseling and support of those facing crisis pregnancies). They now need OUR help. Click the link to the PDF to find out how you can help to make sure they are able to continue accepting walk-in clients. No more walk
Sue saved the day with her van, and herself being there for 8 hours, and Beth came back a second time when Sue had to leave. My dad was able to stay for the last couple hours, which was fortunate because David came all the way from WV (and he had to leave to go to work in Ohio!) to donate $100 and some formula, baby snacks and Pedialyte. We left at 6:15, and I’m really sorry if anyone came by after that, I should have stayed till 7! Beth said people can bring donations down between 9 and 11 on Tuesday during her shift.
We collected 2,291 diapers, 2,876 wipes, a swing, 3 bouncy seats, a play mat, 2 baby carriers, several swaddlers and sleep sacks, a set of crib sheets, a car seat cover, a bag of maternity clothes, a few bags of baby clothes, a diaper bag, a high chair, a car seat (not in the picture because I have to check and make sure used is ok) an audio monitor, a few containers of formula and $536.
In addition Katie reports:
The part of the day that sticks with me the most is when two girls came by, and we gave them a resource card. Sue M. asked if they know anyone who was pregnant and the one girl said “Yeah, me.” Sue asked if she was going to keep the baby and she said “No.” She looked sad and had her hand on her stomach. I gave her a “hopeful” gift package and told them about Nick and how I hadn’t been happy at first when I got pregnant. I told her how women grieve after abortions. We both gave her our numbers. I keep thinking about things I should have said and hoping we were able to get through to her and that she’ll call us for help.
Towards the end another woman, J, stopped and took a pregnancy test. She said she was homeless and had two kids that lived with their dad. I gave her a hopeful gift also in case she was pregnant, told her about Genesis and gave her my number. She didn’t seem to be considering abortion but it’s hard to tell. When I asked if it would be good news she said she wasn’t sure, but she seemed interested in Genesis. I hope that’s a good sign.
Last year we collected 4,949 diapers, 4,862 wipes, $693, a stroller, a high chair, a hobby horse, a swing, two diaper bags, a couple bags of maternity clothes and a ton of baby clothes, a few containers of formula, several bottles of baby soap, powder, etc. for the clients of CURO and Women’s Choice Network. Monetary donations can also be made. Katie
Our own Katie, Shift Manager and Sidewalk Advocate, hosted this second annual event!
Sidewalk Advocates were on their shifts and supported Katie (also a Sidewalk Advocate) with a cause we could all get behind!!!
Rick, Thursday 5-7 shift manager, and his wife did a “drive by drop off”.
Diane D., with a new sign showing help for women, stood for several hours on the opposite side of the street, supporting the drive and directing attention to practical help.
Beth, long time Sidewalk Advocate and President of PCUC, came down in the morning and then came back in the afternoon to stay with Katie so she wouldn’t have to stand alone. Judy, (SA) Sue D. (shift manager, SA and blog writer for 40 Days for Life) and Marian (SA) also supported Katie during the drive.
Tim B and Bill H manned their spots, as usual, early on Saturday. Bill H came back later to check to see if Katie needed someone to stand with her. Judy and Hank, shift managers (and Sue D’s parents) for 40 Days for Life also stopped to donate.
A special thank you to Katie’s mom and dad for donating their time, talent and treasure. And to Nick, Katie’s son, who gracefully shares his mommy!!
One sentence, uttered from a Jewish woman, melted my heart about life. “We didn’t believe they were ripping babies apart.” I was ready to hear that statement for pro-life animation. The day after I heard that testimony on tape, I wrote my first published editorial.
When are people ready to accept a message? I haven’t the slightest idea. I do know one thing though “behold the turtle, it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out.” We deliver the message for life- it seems to be a slow process. And in a city as wonderful as Pittsburgh, PP located in the heart of an entertainment district, delivers the wrong message for fun. Do people know that 933 Liberty Avenue is a house of horror stories next to live theatre?
As a Christian group, we use Scripture to tell our stories because we are priests, prophets and kings. How do we tell the story about life affirming choices when the person listening or reading is not Christian and has no interest in reading Scripture? What if, in fact, Scripture is a “turn off”, the person won’t listen to scientific fact and ignores the obvious?
How do we melt those frozen hearts?
Let us entertain them….
“Frozen” includes veiled references to global warming, so I am told. To me, the movie, a recent family favorite, is about computer animated relationships. Parental Guidance-13 is not suggested although it has very sophisticated concepts masked in loveable characters. Laying down one’s life, betrayal, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation and celebration are serious issues addressed in this well -loved movie. “Frozen” is good for business.
Adults look for more sophisticated distractions, right? The Bible is the inspired Living Word of God-a good read of it could flush a face with colorful embarrassment. It would seem that God has a good grip on understanding and writing about human behavior, but what does He know? No entertainment value in the Bible you say? Think again. One just has to trust that the Script is inspiring.
Life as we know it is full of imperfections, anger, frustration, sin and everything else which is unholy. How would your life be rated- P, PG, PG-13, R or heaven help us- X? Real life can involve scenes of sexual misbehavior, drug use, relationship discord and murder. Jesus’ life, a real trouble maker, would be rated “R” for the violence done to him. King David, an adulterer and murderer, rates an “X”!
Mary, holy as she was, wouldn’t even get a P rating in a production. She was pregnant and not married. Joseph needed a message from an angel- hmm? Have you read St. Augustine’s Confessions (for Dummies)? (I tried.) Moses? Jeremiah? Saul/Paul? So, those “bad asses” on Liberty Avenue think they are tough. Get Saul and David together and their life story could be called “silence of the lambs”. Paul and David have jaded histories! Followers of Jesus have colorful threads in their fabrics.
I started my series of blogs this campaign with a movie about a prodigal. Father Adam Verona, of St. Paul Cathedral, says that prodigal means “wasteful”. Isn’t promiscuous living a waste?
“Life as We Know It”, (not computer generated) with two popular movie stars headlining the marquee, involves two single, career driven characters, who appear to despise each other. Thrown into a situation by the death of their best friends, they reluctantly come to a fork in the road. Their decision to take up the cross that was left to them alters their lives and impacts the future of a young child. The two adults have already had their hearts broken by their friends’ death and melted by the child they love. Is the love for her strong enough for parenthood? Do they pass her off like a basketball or throw her in an oven?
The scenes in the movie are funny, poignant, fact filled and life affirming with parental guidance-13 suggested because of scenes with non-marital sex, marijuana and special brownies. “Life as We Know It”— never a block buster, not a new choice on IMDb but a heart-warming story for frozen hearts. It may not have been the author’s intent, but “Life as We Know It” delivers the pro-life message of sacrificial love. The characters take up their cross daily- falling at least three times. Becoming a saint is a work in progress. (It is my understanding from popular media, that both actors are parents and family oriented- although I haven’t heard them preach a sermon on it.)
No one in their right mind,
would ever suggest killing the child if the parents die first.
Jesus told stories on the sidewalk.We hear stories on the sidewalk and write about them in this blog.We don’t have room to tell them all. There are even dogs who walk by us, one I know by name. He is cute and adorable. I wonder what he would tell his owner if he could talk.
Abba Father has long legs. Here are our letters to Him for His children.
Life is joyful… and we must tell that story.
Pat’s heart was melted again—-5 pm to 7 pm:
Pat’s story is told with permission by the mother, pictured, of these beautiful children.
While I was supposed to have at least a few souls from my parish (St. Regis) and my brother Knights of Columbus from the parish join me this evening, that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, several answered Nikki’s call and I wasn’t alone. Jim came by for about 15 minutes before catching his bus (I took a picture, but it turned out fuzzy). SM Bill stopped by for a considerable period of time, Marian came at six and stayed until the end, and Elsie – who is the best I’ve ever seen at getting people to take literature – stayed with me for my whole shift! Thank you all.
The highlight of my evening – heck, the highlight of the whole campaign for me – was meeting Violetta and he five children. The first thing she said when she saw me and our signs (and our baby models) was: “Oh you guys are just the greatest. Thank you for being here.” Then she explained.
She had been at the East Liberty mill seven years ago for an abortion. As she went in there were people there who were trying to convince her not to have an abortion. She heard what they were saying, but went in anyway. Well, through a series of strange events – along with the voice of her conscience – she walked out and decided not to have that abortion. Then she introduced me to Nyona, who is seven, the baby she was going to abort.
It was obvious the way that she talked that she understood that it was God who ultimately saved her and her baby. She said that she had made the mistake at 16 of having an abortion right there at PP. We talked quite a while and I have her information from “Silent No More.”
When I shook Nyona’s hand I said: “I’m glad you’re here.” She said she was glad she was here too.
Barb’s report from this morning 7 am- 9 am:
Oh, the weather outside was frightful.
But the prayer was so delightful.
And so we decided to stay.
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Brrrr…. Cold weather, warm hearts.
The sidewalk was warm and cozy as people crowded in.
Over our two early hours Richard and I counted Diane, Marian, Al and Sally, Patty, Dan, Karen, Kim, Kathy and Bill.
Patty and Dan drove in from Steubenville.
Sheila arrived from out of state to manage the next shift (what a woman!).
Sheila sent in pictures from her shift from 9 am to 11 am:
There was nothing out of the ordinary this shift, except for lots of passersby dressed in various costumes! Someone said that’s because there is a certain show in town. Sounds like fun! And, there were plenty of Pirates fans heading to the stadium for the noon game. Brrrr!
Kathy (sidewalk advocate) and I talked to a 22 year old woman who was looking for help (cost to cover a moving van) to move out of a dangerous neighborhood. She is pregnant and has two other children; her husband is disabled. She shared her story of how she came from being an atheist to a Christian who is studying to be a pastor! No doubt that the Holy Spirit is at work in this young woman…she gave such a powerful witness. She said she would like to spread the word of life to those in her community and beyond. She has numerous friends who have had multiple abortions.
She herself considered abortion when she and her boyfriend were homeless and pregnant with their first child. She was worried about how they would survive. He told her abortion was not an option and assured her that they would find a way, because their child deserved to live. They married shortly after that and are ‘getting by.’ Kathy and I are looking into how we can best assist this young woman. Sheila
11 am to 1 pm:
I would like to offer a special thanksgiving to those who stand during the 11 am- 1pm shift. We may not know your story, but God does. Marian
Bitter day but it did not keep Mimi ( late 80’s ) from joining us in prayer! What an inspiration!!! Elsie was there before three and stayed to 7. Her kind smile to passersby touched many hearts! Thank you Esther and Nati for braving the cold😌!
You need to read this again!! Joe K from Wednesday, April 5
Drifted into the 5-7 shift with a personalized version of (Ringo Starr’s version of) the “No, No Song” – Finally – No gloves, No hat, No hand warmers, No winter coat,…OK, you get the idea…
The group from Saint Bernadette’s came strong and stood strong for my entire shift – Tom, Beverly, and Mary Frances were hold-overs from the previous shift and we were joined by Lisa and Ed. Bill H. stopped by on the way home as did Jim who stayed through most of the shift…Just a whole lot of sharing going on… Even got to talk a little music, of course, in a religious context… about someone who knew a famous Pittsburgh musician who attended St. Bartholomew’s in Penn Hills…Was able to hand out a “Watch me grow!” brochure to a curious young women looking at the fetal models.Minimal folks exiting 933 Liberty this fine evening… Looking at 933 (“the kingdom of rationalization”) the Dylan song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” echoed in my head with lyrics like “He not busy being born is busy dying,” and “Money doesn’t talk, it swears,” – abortion, forgiveness, greed,… all in one uncomfortable, though tidy dark package…All comments, facial expressions, and even hand gestures from the passerby’s were ALL positive+++The usual joyous group of kids and mom passed by late but not before their usual stopping and handling of the fetal models… They never tire of this and are just awesomely amazed at the models… Mary Frances told the littlest one that he came from his mom’s belly and it was too cute to watch him immediately turn and ask his mom for confirmation that this was indeed true. Lastly, just want to send out a BIG THANKS to all that make this happen – thanks for the opportunity and blessings with being able to serve this campaign. God Bless!!! Joe
To everything – turn, turn:
For those who stood in the snow this campaign, “Glinda” sent snow in response to the poppies’ sleep inducing coma spell cast by the green-faced broom rider and eventually cold, icy, snowy weather made for fun in the “Frozen” world. My mother called snow- “nature’s fertilizer. ” God is in charge of the weather! He knows what is He is doing!! He is trustworthy in big things, He is trustworthy in little things, too!)
A family member told me that if pirates can figure out how to entertain the family unit and find treasure, then we can!!
“Surrender Dorothy!!”I know this is a foolish question, but has anyone not seen the Wizard of Oz?The author of the classic line of stories was a devout Methodist according to the internet.So, I would think he knew something about Scripture.I also think L Frank Baum lifted some ideas from the Bible.But don’t tell anyone because then people may not read the books or continue to watch the movies.
Isaiah 54:17“No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you.This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord.”
I hated to watch the Wizard of Oz on the annual night of viewing when I was a kid.But then I married into a family who had a tradition of celebrating the once a year special television event, so I watched.I hated, hated those monkeys.They frightened me more than the wicked witch herself.
When my daughter was little, the movie became a family favorite of the next generation. I was beginning to pay attention.I had to, my kids liked the movie. The story was the theme for her 4-year old birthday party.Invited guests came as characters.The wicked witch was already melted- black hat and a cape in the corner. A special woman named Dorothy was our Dorothy! Does it figure that I was “Auntie Em”?”
About 7 years after that party, God used the story to teach me a lesson.
How does God take a popular story and make one pay attention to the lesson that it teaches?He asks you to listen and to surrender.And that is exactly what I did.I surrendered to His will (still hoping I wasn’t surrendering to the other side! Surrender… didn’t the witch want Dorothy to surrender to her?)
The ruby red slippers were the key.What did Dorothy learn in her adventures?She learned “there is no place like home.” So, after a turbulent time in my life, I surrendered to God’s will.It took me two years to actually figure it out.I kept getting clues.Then something clicked in my brain while I was standing in a gift store in front of a pair of those red shoes. I started appreciating my role as a stay at home mom and my new role as an advocate. I admire Pope Benedict XVI-he knew something about red shoes too!
I kept listening!God keeps talking!
Did Dorothy have a great imaginative adventure or nightmare? Depending on how you view the violence she experienced, Dorothy could have been having a great ride or truly been in the valley of death.Not sure?It is always easier to tolerate violence when you are not the victim or eye witness.
Dorothy was protecting something she loved.Like the rest of us, she found out she couldn’t do that on her own. Dorothy had to trust the wisdom of the Good Witch. We have to trust the wisdom and inspirations of God.
I love the story-Dorothy and her not so perfect and fearful friends liquidated the evil.It was a cup of water that brought down the witch.Reminds me of Baptism.The evil spirit fled.
“Let the wicked depart from here.”
Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked leave behind his way.And the unrighteous man his thoughts.And let him return to the Lord, and He will have (compassion) mercy on him. And to our God for He will abundantly pardon.”
When the slaves recognize their feared leader is up in smoke, they shout, “Hail to Dorothy, the wicked witch is dead.” A bratty teenager, a lion with no courage, a scarecrow without a brain and a heartless tinman win freedom for the captives. L Frank Baum used the foolish characters to shame the wise.
I think Dorothy had an excellent spiritual adventure.
Conquering evil on the sidewalk- with friends, God’s Word and water!We pray that the slaves to abortion will surrender their lives to the will of God.
David D. already has the broom.
Barb’s early report for the 7am to 9 am shift:
Barbara has a heart for the women and the unborn. Don’t you wish there was a guard at the door of PP to say: “Come back, tomorrow”? Then the woman in Barb’s report may have had a change in her own heart.
Thanks Barb… and I want you to know that after I left this morning, God blessed me with meeting newborn twins- boy and girl. The grandmother and the mother and I had a chance to talk. I held the baby boy!! Many blessing and thanks be to God for the signs of life he gives to us.
Now for Barb’s report with the usual suspects present (Al, Sally and Katie as SA):
Rain challenged, faithful people greeted Richard me as we arrived soon after dawn. Diane and Marian come to the sidewalk daily, confidently intending, as do all the other 40 Days for Life volunteers, to push the pendulum toward life. It hurt so much to see the young woman struggle and finally get that PP door open. She had ignored our offers for help “today, right now,” looked away, and hurried to the door. She was alone and dressed in the clothes pregnant women wear so they can be “comfortable” after an abortion. She had chosen abortion for the baby growing so near to where her heart was beating …two hearts beating so close to each other were about to be separated. One would continue to beat. The other heart and little baby body would be discarded as medical waste. Barbara 7-9
I think Katie had two roles today— double casted as a Sidewalk Advocate then one as Shift Manager:
Katie’s report from 1 pm to 3 pm:
Amy, Rob, Gretchen and Rick from Holy Sepulchre Parish had already been there 2 hours when I got there and they stayed till the end of my shift. Several people going in took literature, and there was at least one woman who really looked like she was there for an abortion, but it seems late to just be getting there so that was confusing. The man who delivers products to a local eating establishment asked if they really do abortions in there; he said he always thought they only did referrals but we told him they do abortions up to 18 weeks at that location. He said he’s against abortion except in cases of rape. (Please see information on our resource page about “in cases of rape)- 0.3%.
Pictures of Women and Man of valor
from Sheila and Marie: (9-11 and 11-1)
Sheila’s report from the sidewalk today— influencing with signs and conversation and learning what abortion workers think… Please read!!
Due to the rain, traffic on the sidewalk was minimal. And so was the traffic into PP. But I had an interesting encounter with a male PP employee (I had never seen him before). This young man was leaving the clinic then returned to speak to me. He asked, “Don’t you think there are enough people in this world? Don’t you know that very soon all our resources will be depleted?” I respectfully replied that I did NOT believe that and gave my reasons why. He went on to share his belief that abortion is a necessary evil. He said , “I know it sounds harsh, but they’re only babies after all.” OUCH! Our spirited conversation continued from there then ended in a respectful manner. He walked away, laughing and shaking his head at our signs. Sheila
Lisa’s report was in but hiding in spam. So here it is:
Quiet and rainy in front of Planned Parenthood with little exchange positive or negative huddled under our umbrellas. John braved the rain without an umbrella as another sacrifice as we all consistently prayed during the time.
“ When we pray, God works!” Our greatest power lies in prayer!!!!
Pat ends the Friday shift from 5pm – 7pm then heads home to write his report in time for the email then prepares for the Saturday reports… Pat is good fruit!!
I began my shift with Fran from St. Joseph’s in Verona. Turns out we know a few people in common. She had been there since 3 so once the group from Jeanette came, I told her she could go home. Thanks for being there with me, Fran, so I wouldn’t be alone.
It was great to see Ed from Ascension parish in Jeanette and Paul from St. Paul’s in Greensburg once again. They are brother Knights and it’s always a privilege to pray with them. And of course I always enjoy talking a little bit about St. Vincent College with Ed since he and I are both alums and many (if not all?) of his kids went there.
There were a number of hostile (but brief, thankfully) encounters and only one passerby who was encouraging. I had a somewhat bizarre encounter with a woman named A. who, after coming out of PP, wanted to talk to me and I think wanted me to say it was OK that she’d had an abortion in the past. I prayed for her on the way home.
Please access the website for Sidewalk Advocates for Life– continued peaceful, prayerful witness and outreach all year round. Get trained. A good follower of Jesus does not go to the sidewalk unprepared for spiritual battle. It isn’t the protest and potential for incited violence that is going to end the violence of abortion. It is the peaceful, prayerful, educational witness and follow up that is working.
“Are you listening?” asked Lisa. Again her question reminded me of a friend’s favorite verse (Father Joe from Somers Point, NJ) always loved-
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Why do you follow Jesus? Is it because of what He did or didn’t do?
I was raised in time when political leadership challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” The man credited with those words was killed in 1963- martyred or assassinated- has never been determined. I was in fourth grade at the time. Five years later, in 1968, a man with a dream was martyred. He was killed for his faith and action. I was in ninth grade. Both of these men fit into the category of Jesus followers who were “tax collectors and sinners” like the rest of us.
In 1973, when I was a sophomore in college, 7 out of 9 leaders (5-4 in 1992), with no right to make law, decided it was legal to kill the truly innocent. Our pro-life ministry is founded on the babies’ blood. Sometimes we call this large group of dead babies (59 million and counting), the Holy Innocents. They are born dead at the hands of men, woman and other. It is comforting and romantic to believe that these dead babies are held in the lap and arms of God. But there is no romance in how they were killed…only violence.
On March 24, 1998 I was a teacher in a second- grade class dealing with a violent child (red hair and freckles). March 24, 1998 was a particularly difficult day with the child. I left school that day at a fork in the road of decision. Arriving home to take care of my own family, I turned on the news. Does the name Shannon Wright evoke a memory for you? Today is the anniversary of her death which happened on March 24, 1998 in a middle school in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Her death was a watershed event for me. I remember her daily because on that day, March 24, 1998 she became Jesus to a child in need.
“I asked Jesus, how much do you love me? Then he stretched out His arms and died for me.”
“While schoolmates were conspicuous in their attendance of the children’s funerals, a huge contingent of teachers was among the 600 who attended Wright’s service at Bono Church of Christ. Leaning on each other, hugging each other, the educators said Wright’s death resonated in a personal way.”
She is but for the grace of God, go I.
Romans 5: 5-8 “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Unlike police and fire fighters, teachers do not travel across the country to attend funerals so I was not among the huge contingent of teachers attending her funeral (I lived in southern NJ at the time). But God gave me the opportunity, a few years later, in a laundry room at a Disney World hotel to speak with and listen to a school counselor who worked at a school in Jonesboro. The words I remember most from her testimony was “It was like a war zone that day.” Other schools were impacted- not just the site of the massacre- 4 or more killed at one time for one purpose.
March 24 is also the anniversary of the martyred death of Bishop Oscar A. Romero as he was doing his work.
“We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.” ― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love
He is but for the grace of God go I.
We are not all called to be killed for our work or faith, but someone just may set the bar so high, that we have to challenge ourselves to do better. Shannon Wright’s death challenged me to be a better teacher. Priests and ministers are not killed for their faith in America as much now as in the past, but in other nations- while doing their work- clergy of all ranks and denominations are martyred. What events are watershed events for clergy?
On April 20,1999, there was a watershed event that touched every school in America. Principal’s learned on that day they better listen to the messengers otherwise their schools will be in utter confusion from death and destruction. So, the nation has had to learn the lesson over and over and over again my friend. The schools who ignored the warning signs on the eve, faced destruction in the morning. Schools had to learn to take better care of the children under their charge. It is an ongoing commitment. Why do children kill children?
I do not remember a time in my life when we have not had violence of some sort, and I am “39 in Jack Benny years”. Violence is never the solution. I wish we could say that WWII rid the world of the philosophy of Nazism violence but it didn’t. We adopted their philosophy, (using Margaret Sanger’s take on the sanctity of life) as Constitutional law on January 22, 1973. “It was the education among them who decided who lived and who died.” (Holocaust survivor). There is not a faith denomination around that has not had its fair share of false teachers on the morality of abortion. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (collectively) are pro-choice.
So, who do we follow- the world? Most readers of this blog know that is a rhetorical question for them. But maybe, just maybe somebody is reading this blog and needs to be challenged to answer that question?
How do we know babies are killed if it is just tissue or a parasite? Begin getting the answers by asking the surviving parents. Read pro-life news because the secular media doesn’t report the truth about abortion. “On January 13, 1987, the remains of thirteen aborted babies were found in a dumpster behind an abortion clinic in a town in Minnesota-as reported in the Pro-life Action Ministry news (http://plam.org/)”. Finding those babies in a dumpster was a watershed event, laws changed in Minnesota regarding the care of the dead aborted babies.
Dean had food for thought last Saturday. “Food for thought when refuting the abortion argument: The abortionist sells the concept that the unborn baby is an nonviable mass of tissue. But, they know the harvest potential from selling these babies organs.”
40 Days for Life was founded, on the blood of these baby martyrs, by a few people sitting around a table. The founders were not just “spit-balling” theory. They formed an action plan of which we are all part.
“Nothing would be done at all if a man waited till he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it”- Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman from the National Institute of Newman Studies (Thanks to The Oratory).
Gloried and romanticized from conception to unnatural death, violence is still a sin. (Nikki wrote about the Ten Commandments and sin this week too. We don’t discuss our themes with each other.)
Father Stubna said at Mass in his homily last Sunday, March 19:
“The devil doesn’t want us to recognize our sins. He doesn’t want us to turn to Jesus for mercy.” I saw Father after Mass and told him I literally wrote those words down. He gave me permission to use the words for this blog.
Then on Sunday, March 19- W.O.R.D radio once again, during “Through the Bible”, presented a program about the Scriptural response to abortion. Psalm 139 is a Scriptural passage identified as God’s word about abortion. The preacher during the 7:00 pm hour said that abortion is a sin and someone needs to tell the person it is a sin.
We are kind and gentle on the sidewalk, so we offer life affirming alternatives, but let us never forget that abortion is a violent sinful act. Let us never forget the devil doesn’t want us to understand this because “it doesn’t want people to turn to Jesus for mercy.”
With God, there is forgiveness and redemption when we confess our sins and seek His mercy. Our nation needs to seek the mercy of God- collectively and individually. We cannot undo the killing that has happened but we can set the bar higher for life for the children of the future.
Following are the reports from the sidewalk today from 40 Days for Life volunteers who stand in front of one (of two) of the most violent places in Pittsburgh. We offer life affirming choices and peaceful solutions to the abortion minded and the abortion workers. Keep your eyes on winning this fight to change the hearts and minds-. one starfish at a time!
It is just a matter of time and there is no limit to the things we can do with your witness and the Grace of God.
(Reports are in reverse chronological order!)
Pat reports from the 5 pm to 7 pm shift and heeds Tim’s advice!!
I told David and Pastor Larry when I got to the sidewalk (they had been there since 4 I believe) that when I heard about how good the weather was going to be for this evening that I was almost as happy for them as I was for me because their church – West Hills Baptist – is so dedicated to being here each campaign. David and Pastor Larry are always so good about passing out our literature to those who pass by. This enabled me to feel comfortable enough to go to the other side of the circle and simply pray.
In my one conversation of the evening I failed to follow my own advice from last week’s blog. But at least I stopped the conversation when I realized this and the man (Curtis, who needs many prayers) moved on to David and Pastor Larry. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get a “do over” next week.
Lisa C reports for the 3 pm – 5 pm shift:
We had a super team of prayer warriors who stepped forward when they heard that from 3 to 5 today coverage would be sparse!!! Thank you for your smiles, prayers, and witness in face of a few hostile remarks!
As Jesus opened not His mouth except in love so Tony, Katie, Dave, Larry, Jim ( who brought at least 2 dozen roses to share with passersby), Jen (whose birthday was today), Ethan, Alex, Mark as well as Esther, Nati, and Daniel showed Christ’s love in front of PP!!!
Charlene sent this wonderful picture in for the 1 pm – 3 pm shift:
Katie was our shift manager during the 1 pm to 3 pm shift:
It was such a beautiful day, especially compared to last week! People seemed more willing to take literature today. I was able to talk with a man who went in with a girl and seemed interested in the resources but she didn’t come back out for about 2 1/2 hours. We got some negative comments and some positive ones but nothingout of the ordinary.
9 am to 11 am: Sheila engages in conversation which can make a huge difference!
There was steady abortion day traffic during my shift. One young couple entered the clinic, refusing any resources. They exited about five minutes later, and the young man took a resource sheet from me. He insisted that they were just there to get information about PP for a paper they’re working on at college. Hmmm, never heard that one before, but you never know!
One bright spot was when a young man passed by and then returned to engage us. Bill H. had just arrived. The young man said he had a terrible problem with the fact that men can get away with impregnating women and walking away, while we’re “telling women they have to carry that baby no matter what.” Bill shared his personal experiences with the young man, who then walked away with a better understanding of the issue. The young man said he would do his part to talk with his peers to promote life
7 am- 9 am Barbara and “the usual suspects”:
Friday at 6:50 am felt cold and wet downtown.We kept lids closed and everyone put on the 40 Days signs.They survive theweather. The rain continued.Al and Sally came followed by Kim and Kathy.Our layers of winter clothes kept the rain out.It feels so nice to be in the rain without an umbrella.
Planned Parenthood says bad things about planning parenthood.
Staff hurries in, voices low, no smiles.When you look in the front windows, you see beige flat walls and black trim, closed doors and hard floors.There are no pictures, no wall paper, no potted plants.You do not hear people talking and calling to each other.No sound of music escapes from the closed windows.
The sidewalk counselors kept close watch to offer their many alternatives to a person who thinks abortion is a solution for their pregnancy. Barbara, 7-9
Many years ago, I read this brief paragraph in the Catholic Digest. The selection is appropriate for us, as 40 Days for Life prayers and Sidewalk Advocates. We are called to be faithful.God sees the big picture. He helps us. As He sees what we are doing, His Will be done! The selection was used to address the prevention of children killing children in our schools to my former BOE.I think it is appropriate here:
“It was a warm afternoon at a fast food restaurant.We were four mothers, strangers, watching our children. Suddenly, one of the little boys banged his forehead.Immediately, his mom ran to console him.Meanwhile, one mother picked up the paper refuse, and another ran to tend to the baby who had been left alone and a fourth hurried to get ice.Then a worker brought an ice pack.The commotion ended and we separated, each remembering the team work we had experienced. We had been united in our concerns for that little boy.”
Our 40 Days for Life family tree has many branches.Although coming from different life experiences and faith practices, our common ground is Jesus and our collective and individual commitment to deliver the message to stop abortion.There are many people in the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh family who participate long after the 40 Days for Life campaign is over.Several of our members assist with crisis pregnancy centers, others have adopted children, some are board members of pro-life political action groups (40 Days for Life is non-political) and still more witness in the Face the Truth tours.Sidewalk Advocates for Life is a fruit of the 40 Days for Life ministry.The Magee Project is also a fruit.Each of us is called to assist one another.No one can do this alone.
Prayerful witness on the sidewalk is a start. Jesus did not stay on the mountaintop nor did He always remain silent when in public. No one would have had the miracles to report if He had remained silent. His praying must have been quiet, not loud and chanting, so that he did not frighten the people listening. When I listened to the Knights of Columbus praying the Rosary last Saturday on another very cold day, their voices were in unison- not one overpowering- united with the Holy Spirit in prayer.
Diane makes sure we are prepared with materials. She prepares well before the campaign begins and is always thinking of ways to deliver the message. She is constantly thinking of us and our comfort level on the sidewalk.. Come prepared to stand in all sorts of weather, as most do- Diane even includes umbrellas- and we know about the hand warmers!!
Come prepared with knowledge and what to say if someone needs your help or needs re-direction. If you are new to the movement, concerned about what to say or how to help, the links below are informative and practical. And trust that God will never put your heartfelt witness to shame.
Recently, I turned on my favorite radio station, W.O.R. D. (one of two great Christian stations in the Pittsburgh area -W.A.O.B. is the other one), I heard the last few minutes of a pro-life message from Focus on the Family- http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/stepping-up-to-defend-life.Scott Klusendorf, (of http://prolifetraining.com/) a pro-life writer and speaker, was featured.I share the information here and encourage you to listen and share. Sometimes we need to let the “drive by” walk on… but those who stop to engage, we need to educate. Jesus spoke the truth in love….. it needs to be spoken on the sidewalk too. (The transcript can be read if you prefer.)
He writes: “This is extremely difficult for me to write—I shed many tears, contemplated deleting it, and prayed diligently for direction. Approximately 22 years ago, as a prodigal, I conceded to my girlfriend’s request to abort our child around the 5th week. The pain of that decision still haunts me today “
Scott Klusendorf poses this question:
Since when does size determine humanity…?
Reports from the sidewalk today:
Friday really is a happening day. Everyone looks forward to Friday.TGIF means a weekend has almost arrived and you can lean back and breathe more easily…even if you like your job…and IF you have a job that goes Monday through Friday…more and more rare for most people, sadly.
But Friday is an abortion day at PP in downtown Pittsburgh.If you have your abortion this Friday, you cannot lean back and breathe more easily.You will never be the same.The change is an irrevocable loss.When you go in the PP terrible front door, you are a parent.After an abortion, you leave…still a parent, but with empty arms.You leave the body of your baby behind, in the trash. Your choice makes you the parent of a dead baby.
Prolife people standing outside feel terrible for you.Some of us are still mourning the choice we made for our abortion…perhaps an abortion we chose to have decades ago. Even if we did not have an abortion, every adult knows anguish.
Even after you have an abortion, God loves you.He loved you before you were born, moments after you were born, years later and will love you into eternity.We are standing outside PP because we know this.We have help for you.Let us help you.
Barbara 7-9 Shift Manager
The early birds get greetings from long time friends. Lynn is a favorite pedestrian!
Sheila reports that she had a lengthy talk with someone at PP today who is very conflicted about decisions being made. Sheila is a long time sidewalk advocate. Peggy, also a Sidewalk Advocate, was also on the street today manning her year round shift. When a confused and conflicted person reaches out to us on the sidewalk, it is a miracle.. even if we do not know the end results.
11-1: Marie is a long time shift manager with 40 Days for Life- but is camera shy!! 1-3: Katie ( Katy gets the green today— with her last name, I would think she has a wee bit of leprechaun in her family.) Katie is an amazing, innovative presence on the sidewalk- chalk and all!
The group from St. Margaret Mary was there when I got there and they stayed during my whole shift. Several people went in and out of PP. A couple of them took literature but no one stopped to talk to us. The sidewalk didn’t seem much busier than usual because of St. Patrick’s Day (with all the bars and eating establishments). Someone from a Quest diagnostics went in and out with a cooler.
3-5: Lisa C.
The Cahill women and two freshman nursing students- Tess and Maura- were an inspiration!!! Their constant prayers, smiles, and determination in the cold weather for life was warming to the heart! Thank you😊👍🏻 Lisa C.
For a night when we had the Home & Garden show at the Convention Center, the Penguins had a home game, and, oh yeah, St. Patrick’s day fell on a Friday, things were incredibly calm and peaceful. I was happy to have Judy from the Northside with me for the full two hours to both pray and talk with.
Pat and “Judy from the Northside” are long time advocates for life. Pat includes here:
My pro-life involvement includes being a SA for life for 1 hour/week, being part of the planning committee and a regular prayer volunteer for the Magee Project, and being the Pro-Life Advocate for my parish Knights of Columbus council.
ALL IN!- any kind of weather- 40 Days for Life family pray together! The newest member of our family tree- (He may have to lose the cup though!)
Then the Lord formed human beings from the dust and sent each of them back to it again. 2 He gave them only a limited time to live, but he gave them authority over everything on earth. 3 He made them to be like himself, and gave them his[a] own strength. 4 He made all other creatures afraid of them; he gave them authority over all the animals and birds.[b] 6 He gave them their tongues, their eyes, their ears, their minds, and their consciences. 7 He filled them with knowledge and understanding and showed them the difference between good and evil. 8 He gave them his own insight to let them see the majesty of his creation.[c] 10 They will praise his holy name and proclaim the greatness of all he does. 11 He made knowledge available to them and gave them the Law as a source of life. 12 He made an eternal covenant with them and revealed his commands to them. 13 They saw the splendor of his majesty and heard the glory of his voice. 14 He warned them against unrighteousness and taught each person how to treat others.
Mighty Ducks, Crooked Arrows and the Prodigal Son
Moviemakers, like Jesus did, use stories to teach lessons and impact cultures.Do you ever wonder where the writers get their motivation for story lines?The Mighty Ducks is a series of movies about the underdog team in the sport of hockey.Crooked Arrowsis about the underdog team in lacrosse.By the end of each movie, the losing team is victorious due to individual effort, teamwork and bouncing back from failure. Included in each storyline is the coach who, in each instance, is a prodigal son working out relationships, dealing with ethical issues and finding his true spirit.
Crooked Arrows, for example, a movie about the Native American game of lacrosse, demonstrates the prodigal son story.Mentored by a wise father, grandmother and older friend, the prodigal, returns to the “Creator’s game” of lacrosse. The three wise adults hold the prodigal accountable along the way. The older friend encourages him to, “Look inside. Ask your heart. The truth may sleep, but it never dies.” Challenged to honor the Creator, the prodigal searches his conscience and heart.
The prodigal son of course is a familiar story to Christians. The pro-life movement has many prodigals in its midst.Who better than prodigals to testify to the errors of walking away from responsibility and family?Prodigals have examined their hearts and consciences, then repented and now fight for the lives of the unborn.
From The Ascetic Heart-“though prayer be the target, it is also the bow by which the arrow is launched to hit the mark; and so the ascetic heart prays, that it might learn to pray.His cry remains, “Teach us to pray.Pray within us.”
Pictures and reports of prayer from the sidewalk today:
Barb reports on the prayerful witnesses from the early shift, 7 am to 9 am:
Already there were Marian and Diane.Almost on the tick of 7, four men arrived to witness.As the sidewalk filled (leaving the obligatory passage for pedestrians) Harry, Dave, Bill, Sam, Phil and Martin from North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church and Sally, Al, Bill, Michelle, Kim and the football coach from a Catholic high school shared company with Richard and me.
One of the younger men from North Hills said that he is getting married soon and he and his fiancé look forward to having a large family, maybe 9 children.
Another of those men has relatives living near Dubuque, Iowa.He works in commercial real estate.The abortion site there had been losing money and closed.He and friends arranged finances and bought the building for a pregnancy support center.
Michelle cheered the entire sidewalk, wishing a “God bless you!” to just about every passerby.
Kathy L sent in these pictures from the 9 am -11 am vigil today.
As a fill in SM, I was greeted by Kim N. (SA) just leaving, and Dan from Holy Family Church in Steubenville, OH, and a great group from The Reformed Presbyterian Church of the North Hills. Parents, Charles and Phoebe, brought their three darling children and all wore life signs.
Shortly after my shift started, a woman passerby stopped to look at the fetal models and openly shared how she had an abortion years ago, due to being on drugs, and how badly she felt when she saw fetal development pictures corresponding to her aborted child’s age. I offered Rachel’s Vineyard info which she took and Sam prayed for her before she left.
Another woman coming out of PP to smoke accepted information for her friend who was inside getting birth control. Several passersby accepted Forty Days for Life fliers.
Katy O. reports for the 1 pm to 3 pm shift that prayer is always the answer when dealing with the adversary.
Beth S. and Bill D. were there for the first part of my shift, and Beth said she thought there was some kind of volunteer training going on. Later several people came out and one was holding a volunteer handbook.
Ron, Joe and Fran came a little later, and I gave two kids who were interested in the display fetal models.
Right after Marshall and Joseph arrived a girl spit at us so we said an Our Father for her.
Marshall reports for the 3 pm to 5 pm shift.
The shift started with an angry, 30ish woman who decided to express her frustration with our cause by spitting on or near us. We forgive her in the name of the Lord. A warm welcome on a cold day.
Other than the warm welcome, the shift was spent in prayer and reflection. We hope that our prayers will effect the workers, vendors and guests at PP.
God bless all of you,
Pat M. manages the 5pm to 7 pm shift on Fridays but can often be seen at lunch or early in the morning as he walks to work. During the vigil he can also be seen praying on Sunday with his family. Pat writes the reflection and the blog on Saturdays. His report for tonight:
The evening was windy, cold, but uneventful (the calm before the parade?). I was blessed to have sidewalk veterans Lorie and Mary, along with first-timer Tom for my entire shift. God bless them for enduring. And God bless SM Sheila C. who signed-up the Weirton Catholic Churches (Sacred Heart of Mary and St. Joseph) to help cover our vigil.
Choose life! Honor the Creator.
The pro-life movement may appear at times to be underdogs and losers, but the greatest story ever told promises victory for those who believe in the Creator! Praise and honor to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!!
During the month of February, our nation celebrates Black History Month- recognizing the accomplishments, and being honest about the sufferings, of the black population. The abortion industry has targeted the poor and minorities.A young, female PP volunteer told me today that the fetus inside the womb is a parasite. Who taught her that? PP teaches that and so does our nation’s collective silence on the evils and acceptance of abortion. (Things are changing though.)
Today, while editing this post, I read that the woman behind the name “Roe” died at the age of 69. Norma McCorvey, a white woman, has a story as summarized here by The New York Times (click on Norma’s name). A Supreme Court decision, Roe vs Wade to which her name will be forever attached, is based on lies. The ruling has led to the slaughter of millions of unborn children of all races. Norma McCorvey regretted her involvement with the court case and the pro-abortion industry. Today, although she was repentant, she met her Maker. May God have mercy on her soul. May God have mercy on us all for the things we have done and have failed to do for our unborn brothers and sisters.
PP has made a deliberate attempt to groom the minority population into believing abortion is not only a right, but is right. Fortunately, the black population has people who know the truth. Please read about Mildred Jefferson and listen to what she has to say in the video below. Then take time and watch the pro-life documentary, Maafe 21- Youtube link. The word maafa “(also known as the African Holocaust) is derived from a Kiswahili word meaning disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy.” African Holocaust
“……I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood……”
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… I have a dream..(Copyright 1963. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.)”