Day 36…Thanks to St. Louise de Marillac (Upper St. Clair), St. James (Sewickley), PCUC (New Castle) and many faithful volunteers!

Why are all the blog posts about God???

If you are new to this blog, you may have perused the daily reflections and noticed that…for a pro-life blog…we mainly write about GOD. If you are new to the pro-life movement…maybe motivated by the Unplanned movie…you may be wondering why we don’t write more about abortion! After all, our entire mission of 40 Days for Life is to END ABORTION. So, why don’t we talk more about it in our blog? Why don’t we speak more of the horrors and the injustices? Wouldn’t it make more sense to do our best to get our readers all riled up so that they will be motivated to show up on the sidewalk?

There is a good reason for this focus on God…and I will soon tell you what it is. But first, I want to tell you about my reputation within my family. Everyone in my family thinks I am a “religious fanatic”. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of the gifts that I have been given in the past few years:

I guess when you think your mom is crazy about the whole Jesus thing…when you have to get her a gift, you go to the Christian store! Actually, one of my most treasured moments with my grand daughter happened while my daughter and her family were visiting last summer. It was the day before they had to return home to Oklahoma, and my (then) 5-year old grand daughter was sitting on my lap. We were sitting on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful summer evening…getting some cuddle time in before she had to leave. Suddenly, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “Mamaw…why do you love God so much?” We hadn’t been talking about anything, so this was a totally random question. It must have been on her mind. I had the opportunity to tell her how good our God is and how much he loves her. I tell you, no matter how many mistakes I have made…and will make in the future…I consider this memory one of my SUCCESSES!

So, back to the question of why we tend to focus on God instead of abortion. Well, the reason is that the battle to end abortion is no ordinary battle, and praying in front of an abortion clinic is different than other sorts of pro life activity. It is different than going to the March for Life in DC…different than volunteering for a pregnancy resource center…different than holding or attending pro life fundraisers or lobbying for pro life politicians. Not to scare off our “newbies“…but praying at an abortion facility is serious spiritual warfare. It involves going physically to the devil’s most “holy ground“. Abortion is his most treasured “sacrament” if you will. It is like entering the belly of the beast. There is nothing that makes him angrier (and also nothing that causes him the most harm!) than praying in front of an abortion clinic.

Thinking we can end abortion without God is naive! It would be like jumping off this cliff and expecting to fly!

It would be naive of us to think that we could just simply show up on the sidewalk and be able to change people’s minds and hearts. Only God can do that. Unless we have a strong, solid base…rooted in prayer and self-sacrifice, we will soon give up out of fear and discouragement. Again, I am not saying this to scare away the “newbies”…but to ENCOURAGE them (and all of us!) to bump up our prayer lives!

We have to be fit, spiritually…lean and trim with fasting…ready to return love for hatred at any moment. If we do this, God will be with us always. He will fight the battle for us. Stay in his Word daily. Have a set time for prayer every day. Be strong and courageous! And be the “religious fanatic” of your family! 🙂

…and come join with your fellow pro life prayer warriors THIS SUNDAY at 6 pm in front of Planned Parenthood to close out the final hour of our 40 Days for Life vigil! Closing prayers will be lead by Fr. Thomas More Sikora, followed at 7pm with a pot-luck celebration inside Catholic Charities welcome center (corner of 9th and Liberty). Come join the fun!

Read on for today’s stories from the sidewalk…

Peggy writes from the 7-9 am shift…

It was a quiet morning. The witnesses from St. Louise were there with me all morning, and some were still there when I left, going to be there till noon!

Fr. Jeremiah came from the Forest Hills parishes. The others are from St. Louise
Amy joins the group, she is from St. Boniface in the north side
Faithful witnesses from St. Louise de Marillac in Upper St. Clair
Witnesses from St. Louise are joined by a passerby who stopped to pray on his way to work.

Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11 am…

The vigil. was blessed with the prayerful presence of many parishioners from St Louise and one from the Presbyterian Church.
There may have been some from another church besides St Benedict the Abbot and St Joan of Arc who began arriving around 10:30, but not sure. There were so many pray-ers we ran out of log sheets and began writing on the backs. Couldn’t find any more.)

Cathy

Seamus, Matt and Joe, strong men of God from St. Louise!
Great crew of prayer warriors from St. Louise de Marillac!

Hank and Judy had the 11-1 shift…

We have been blessed to have good numbers of prayer warriors for the 11-1 shift throughout the 40 Days and today was no exception.  There was a gang from St.Benedict the Abbott, and St.Louise de Marrillac, a couple of individuals from St.James Sewickley, and several individuals (Chrystal, Elsie, Bill joined us for short times. We prayed the Rosary, the Divine Mercy and the Stations of the Cross.  Elsie especially distributed a good bit of literature.  We received honks from three different trucks passing by and several thumbs-up, thank you and God bless you from passers-by.  Only a few negative comments or gestures.  Praised be Jesus Christ.  

Hank and Judy
Sandy and Suzanne from St. James in Sewickley
Sandy and Angela
Crystal
Angela from St. Louise
Linda, Diane and Mary from St. Louise
Nina, Joan and Mary from St. Joan of Arc parish, with shift manager Judy
Great gang from St. Benedict of the Abbott

Rosalina and Francis were the shift managers from 1-3 pm…

Faithful volunteers from PCUC (People Concerned for the Unborn Child), New Castle Chapter, and shift manager Francis in the background

Jeannie wrote from the 3-5 shift…

What a fabulous way to sign off on my last shift for this 40 days for life vigil. I was blessed to be with a wonderful folks from PCUC in Newcastle. We had a young woman stop by and engage us in a very spirited conversation. She was respectful but Had been sold all the typical abortion lies. Claudia and Raymonda were amazing and patient and sincere talking to her and she really appreciated a chance to dialogue. I am sure we planted seeds in her searching heart. Next I was joined by not one but two separate first timers who came down to pray because they had seen the movie unplanned. First tim came he is in the process of moving to Philadelphia but is determined to join whatever group is in Philly doing the same pro life work. Then came Ken who had never been on the sidewalk before but felt compelled after seeing unplanned. What a joyful day to be part of the 40 days for LIFE vigil.

Jeannie
Raymonda, Claudia and Tim from PCUC New Castle prayed and witnessed to the truth!
abandoned beauty…

Joe K. closed us out for the day from 5-7…

First, a big THANK YOU and BLESSINGS to all that make this happen – it has been an honor!!!
Shift Buddies are pretty important for the end-of-day shifts so a special shout-out to all of mine, especially Lori throughout the vigil, Ken today, and all the others (I have forgotten in name, but remember warmly in my heart!).
What a beautiful day, as the wonderful 3-5 group retired I was joined by my brother Knight, Mike and Ken.  It was Ken’s first time and he was inspired after seeing Unplanned and saw that no one was scheduled – Much appreciated my brothers – making sure that I would not stand alone.
It was relatively quiet – mostly positive feedback.  One man in Pittsburgh on business from San Francisco stopped briefly to give us support as well as a few passersby.
We shared, talking quite a bit about the Unplanned movie…
The shift concluded with the ever joyful Tom, Diane, and Penney packing
it all up until tomorrow…

Joe

Mike, Raymonda, Claudia, Tim, and Ken

Day 29…Thanks to St. Bernard of Clairvaux Knights of Columbus (Indiana, PA), Catholic Men’s Fellowship (Mother of Sorrows, Murrysville) and St. Paul Cathedral!

My creation…I shall call him “Rock-head”

So you may be wondering…”What’s up with the head full of rocks? Don’t worry…I will explain. But first, I want to tell you about my prayer time from this morning. I read a beautiful quote in my daily devotional magazine, “Magnificat” by a man named Jacques Fesch (now named a “servant of God”). He was a murderer who experienced a profound conversion before his execution in 1957. The quote is rather long, but worth reprinting here. he wrote:

…”It will soon be one year since the Lord called me in his mercy. As for the exact date of my conversion, I can’t put my finger on it. It happened progressively, as I moved from atheism to a very marked, sincere faith, but when I look back I can no longer discern the landmarks along the way. I had been completely indifferent, but one day I realized that I had new eyes, and a view of reality which I had never anticipated was given to me.

Before that, the true God was an indifferent tradition as far as I was concerned. Now, he is all that matters. he is at the center of the world, he rises above my being. he invades me totally, and my spirit cannot escape from him. A powerful hand has seized me. Where is it? What has it done to me? I do not know, for his action is not like the action of men, it is unknowable and effective, it constrains me, and I am free. It transforms my being, yet I do not cease to be what I am.

Then comes the struggle-silent, tragic-between what I was and what I have become. For the new creature who has been planted within me calls for a response which I am free to refuse. I have received the principle; I must go on to the consequences…

I am amazed and surprised at the change which grace has effected in me. Claudel once described the ‘state of a man who has been pulled out of his own skin with one yank to be thrust into a strange body in the middle of an unknown world.’ This is the only comparison I can find to describe my state of complete disarray. I have found peace, but at the same time war. It is a perpetual struggle in which I do gain ground, yet the further I advance the more I perceive my misery and the infinite distance ahead which I must cover. To stand still would be to fall back.

Servant of God Jacques Fesch

As I read this beautiful account of a soul transformed by God’s grace, I thought about Abby Johnson’s conversion, and wondered how it is possible for someone to have such a radical conversion. How did she go from being a Planned Parenthood clinic director to someone who helps abortion workers to get out?

This is where “Rock-Head” comes in. You will notice that He is jam-packed full of sinful vices. There is no room in Him for grace or truth. Even if he WANTED to….he would be unable to care about anyone other than himself. He is blinded by his own selfishness. God just needs a tiny little foothold for his grace to take root. Maybe if old Rock-Head here got rid of just one of those rocks…God could plant a seed. Once grace begins to grow in his soul, he will become aware of the other rocks and he will begin to desire their removal as well. And the hard work of conversion begins. I am speaking from experience, as I used to be a rock-head myself…and am still fighting the battle to root out rocks in my own soul. One great tool that helped me in the beginning is the Litany of Humility. You can find it HERE.

The season of Lent is such a wonderful opportunity for us to become more open to God’s grace in our soul…and to make us more fit to be used by him in this important battle to end abortion! We root out the rocks of selfishness when we overcome our fear and desire for comfort, to stand publicly in witness to the sanctity of all human life in front of Planned Parenthood. We are all at different stages of conversion. And we praise God for the work that he is doing in so many souls…especially in Abby’s and the other 185 abortion workers that have left the industry following 40 Days for Life campaigns!

I will close by saying that my husband and I went to see Unplanned for the second time tonight. We first saw it last Thursday at a private showing that I hosted. Since I was in charge of the event and was so overly-busy that day, I really didn’t get to absorb the movie as I wanted to…so I decided to go back and see it again. I was AMAZED to see that the theater was PACKED tonight! Imagine, a TUESDAY night…and a PRO-LIFE film…was FILLED! I really thought we would be sitting in the theater with about 5 other people. After the show, the audience applauded! I am so moved and encouraged to see that our culture is WAKING UP to the reality of abortion! We have spent so many years, praying, fasting and working. The rocks of sin are being removed and the grace of God is beginning to take root! God is on the move and it is wonderful to see! He is answering our prayers! I praise and thank him!

Read on for today’s sidewalk stories…

Charlene and Peg had the 7-9am shift:

Pansies in the daffodils!

“What can I do for You today, Lord?” “Pray, witness, and be counted” And so we were…Beth,Peg, and I. Praying together and individually . Thanking God it was not an abortion day. Thanking God for the sun, warmth, and pansies in with the daffodils! “ Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.”
Amen!! Charlene

Charlene
Thanks to Beth from St. John XXIII for answering the call to stand with Peg and Charlene!

Cathy and Elsie managed the 9-11am shift:

Cathy and Elsie had lots of prayer partners this morning! Thanks to Roberto, Irene, Bill and Kevin from St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Thomas More in Indiana, and Marie and Diane from St. John Neumann in Franklin Park

Fairly quiet morning – a few ladies went in.  One, L,  pushing a stroller, came out a little while later and talked to Elsie and Beth.  Turns out she had been here a few years ago when two months pregnant with the little girl in the stroller, who looked about 3.  She had talked to Nikki who got her connected to Fr. Jason in Carnegie.  She said that that church family is “now her family” – they really helped her out.  The child’s father had left early on.  She has since met a good man who loves this little girl and they are getting married in a few weeks.  She had come to PP to get birth control, but for whatever reason did not get it.  Elsie told her about the abortifacient properties of BC  and gave her some info on natural family planning.

Cathy

Hank & Judy were the 11-1 managers:

Once again there were good numbers of prayer warriors for the 11-1 shift, 24 in all.  The group included the ever faithful Guardians of Life,  Indiana Knights of Columbus, St.Bernard of Clairvaux, MaryAnne and her daughter from St.Catherine of Sweden, and a regular Dan from Steubenville. Among the Guardians were Jerome and his son Mark and Sr.James Anne.  As the weather has warmed the traffic appears to have picked up and with that the good and the bad.  The bad….more hecklers/angry people than I’ve experienced.  (I wonder if the movie Unplanned has satan worked up).  The good….lots of prayers and song lifted up to Our Lord and Savior who will ultimately give us victory in this struggle.  More good….lots of thumbs-up, thank you, God bless you comments from passers-by and Terri had a banner day distributing literature and engaging many young people in conversation over the issue.  As the weeks of Spring have passed the sun has progressed closer and closer to PP.  We pray that soon the SON will shine fully on PP and the hearts of the nation will repent for the evil perpetrated on God’s children!

Guardians for Life
Shift buddy Judy, with Sister James Ann OFM with Guardians for Life
Mary Anne and daughter Monica, from St. Catherine of Siena
Dan from Steubenville, with Terri with Guardians for Life
Fr. Tim, a faithful pro-life leader!
Guardians for Life
Jerome with son, Mark

Rosalina & Mary were there for the 1-3 shift:

Mary reported that they had to call an ambulance for a passerby who fell in the street and was not getting up. Mary did what she could to help the man until the paramedics got there. It may have been drug related. Other than that, it was a good shift, with Rosalina, Mary, Dan and John as the prayer warriors on the sidewalk.

Jeannie & Missy were the 3-5 shift managers:

Joe and Janet from Saint Pauls with Missy from the north side. The Holy Spirit was really active today —in the wind. All our beautiful rose petals found their way upward and we can only hope that they take with them the sentiments of our prolife Hearts.
 

Jeannie
Veteran prayer warrior Vince brought  down first timer Judy both from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. How amazing that members of this 40 days for LIFE community respond and show up. I was blessed.  Jeannie
 

Charlie & Amy closed out the day with the 5-7pm shift:

It was a quiet night on the sidewalk and we also got quiet a few positive responses over the negative. Just want to thank all the people that came from St John’s tonight.

Charlie & Amy

Day 22…Thanks to St. Juan Diego (Sharpsburg), St. Joseph in Cabot, St. Raymond of the Mountain (Donegal), McKeesport Knights of Columbus and dedicated individuals!

What do you see?

What do you see when you look at this photo? My heart was deeply moved by the sincerity on this little boy’s face, as he prayed at our vigil with his family last week! Others were obviously touched by it as well, because since we shared it on our Facebook page, it has seemingly gone “viral“, being viewed by 31,000 people, shared by 631 and commented on by 195 people! That is a first for our humble little Facebook page! But the thing that struck me were the comments. You see, for me…looking at this beautiful child…all I can see is beauty. All I can feel is gratitude. From my perspective, and from my vision…I can’t imagine that anyone could see anything else. So I was surprised by some of the comments. One in particular grabbed my attention. A woman commented, saying the parents should be ashamed of themselves, for “using” a child to make a political statement. She looked at this photo and saw no beauty. She felt no gratitude. How can that be? How can two people look at the same thing and see something completely different?


But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matt. 6:23

This is the verse that came to my mind when I pondered how it can be that one person can look at truth and see beauty…and another can see the same thing and think it is something bad. As I was reflecting on this, I checked the Gospel reading for today in the Church (the Gospel reading for today’s traditional Latin Mass), and wouldn’t you know…they apply!

Let them alone; they are blind guides of blind men. But if a blind man guide a blind man, both fall into a pit.

Matt. 15

As I thought about this, I was reminded of the character of “Uncle Andrew” from C. S. Lewis’ “The Magician’s Nephew“, in his “Chronicles of Narnia” series. In this wonderful story, C. S. Lewis lets us witness Aslan creating the world. We watch it being born.

With his imaginative writing, we see Aslan literally “singing” into existence all creation…from the sky and the earth, to the plants and animals.

The children who are witnessing this spectacular show are awestruck with amazement. They cannot believe the beauty that is before their eyes. However, young Digory’s evil Uncle Andrew had stowed away on their adventure…and although he was witnessing the same beauty that the children were, from his perception it was quite different. He was terrified of the animals and especially of the Lion. When the animals talked to the children, although they could understand them and have delightful conversation…Uncle Andrew only heard ferocious growls coming from the animals mouths…and he tried his best to kill them.

Anyone who could look at the photo of this little boy praying, and see anything other than beauty and goodness…innocence and purity…has the eyes of darkness that Jesus spoke of. They are the blind guides from today’s readings.

Why am I reflecting on this? I guess it’s because we see this very thing playing out in this battle for life. Those who are against us are SURE that we are wrong. We are bad people, who are trying to take away women’s rights. We tell them that unborn babies are human beings with just as much worth as born humans…and they don’t understand. They don’t get it. There is no reasoning or arguing with them. They don’t see what we see, and there is no way we can make them see it.

Abby Johnson didn’t see it. For so many years, working for Planned Parenthood, thinking she was helping women. No one could change her mind. But then God intervened. Conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it. But we can pray, and we can plant seeds. God will make them grow, in His time. We just have to be faithful and obedient to our calling to witness to the sanctity of all human life. He will do the rest.

I hope you can get out to see the movie about her conversion, “Unplanned“, this weekend! To find a theater, click here:
https://unplannedtickets.com/

Read on to find out what went on at the vigil today….

NOTE TO ALL WHO PRAY AT THE VIGIL: It is the policy of 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh to recommend to all vigil participants that they NOT bring cash to the vigil, and to PLEASE not give cash to ANYONE who may ask! This distracts us from our mission and our focus of praying to end abortion, and the word gets out fast that people are getting money from us. If you want to give cash to anyone who asks, please do not do it while at the vigil. Thank you!

Also…one of our shift managers, David, has passed on request from one of our vigil participants…to please pray for her son, “J” who is having suicidal thoughts. Please pray for “J” to be delivered! Thank you!

Peg and Mary had the 7-9am shift:

Peg and Mary were the early morning prayer warriors. Peg reported it was a quiet shift, but very cold.

It was a very chilly morning, before 7 AM, when Tom arrived. He said that Diane is feeling better. It was nice to see and chat with Tom and Peg while we set up on the sidewalk. It is day 22 already. Peg and I prayed the devotion for today which was about Job. Our world is full of Jobs. There are so many people hurting, dealing with trials and tribulations and ,yes, unplanned pregnancies. We must have faith and trust that no matter what we face,God, in His Mercy and Wisdom, will redeem it. After Job prayed for his friends, God restored all that he lost. The Lord will bless us as He blessed Job. However, today ,so many people feel independent and don’t acknowledge their need for God.Let’s pray for them to realize that we can do nothing without God and that nothing is impossible with God. The sun was a blessing when it rose above the buildings about 8:30 AM. It felt so good after being chilled to the bone.The rest of our shift was cold but mostly peaceful. There were some thank yous and some dirty looks or snide remarks.Just as kathy arrived there was a young man who stopped to argue for Planned Parenthood. Peg and Kathy  did a good job of challenging him and he listened but couldn’t accept what they said. He thought that he knew everything and just stormed away. Maybe some day their words will help him see clearly.

Mary

Cathy managed the 9-11am:

Mary and I represented St. Juan Diego parish this morning. (Thank you to Peg who waited til Mary, whose bus was late, arrived.)  It was a quiet am, with not very many going into the clinic.
 

Cathy
Mary and Cathy represented St. Juan Diego parish today

Hank & Judy report from the 11-1 shift:

Wow,  what a day!!  There were 30 prayer warriors today for the 11-1 shift.  Fr.Tim and the Guardians of Life, Rachael and her gang from Donegal-Latrobe area, Gloria and Marie from St. Mary Glenshaw, and a group from St. Joseph in Cabot.  As always there is lots of prayer when the Guardians of Life are present.  We prayed the rosary, the Divine Mercy, Stations of the cross and made a joyful noise to the Lord in song.  Terri and Cil distributed lots of literature and engaged a few individual in conversation and Joyce and Rachael had a great conversation with 2 young men.  Once again there was not much traffic going into PP.  We had mostly positive reactions from the by-passers.  Blessed be the Lord , my rock and my redeemer!

Cil brings a great group from St. Joes in Cabot!
Gloria and Marie
Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life always fill the sidewalk with prayer
Large group of faithful from St. Raymond of the Mountain in Donegal

Rosalina is back! She took over for Chris…(please pray for a successful surgery for him today!)  Check back for news from the 1-3 shift…

The people praying we’re Rosalina, myself , Carolina, and a woman from Penn Hills named Karen.
A little after 2 David R and Marilyn came. It was uneventful except that a young man walked up to me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and said he bought them for the babies!!! Karen and I decided to take each flower and say a prayer as we placed them on the sidewalk.
David had an interesting talk with a man who wanted to know more about what we were doing. I heard only a small part but The man realized that it was not about judgement.. it was about love..missy

Missy

Jeannie writes from the 3-5 shift:

We had a beautiful afternoon of prayer and conversation. Only positive comments on this sunny day. Terry from Conneat Lake stopped by to thank us for being there. She worked as a chaplain in the hospital and was in the city visiting her daughter who was in for a convention. It’s wonderful how the pro-life movement brings us all together as one family in Christ.

Jeannie
Lots of petals and flowers on the sidewalk today!
Jeannie wrote that this was her favorite picture…she titled it, “Look mom, no coats!!!” Beautiful, Beautiful, wonderful sunshine!

Joe closes out the vigil from 5-7:

What a spectacular sun-splashed truly spring day on Liberty…
 
The area around Arch was tinged with flowers and rose petals –
and even the flower pots had flowers “in-m”…
 
I was blessed once again to be joined by my shift buddy, Lori.  We shared, and prayed, and even “listened” to a gentleman who stopped
by to discuss his view of our vigil…  and his self-described view
of being on the other side of the line from us…  He was very respectful
and Lori shared with him and brought-up some excellent points that I
thought brought him closer to that line – Job well-done Lori!!!  It
was the first healthy dialogue that I’ve seen in long while…
 
Jim stopped by on his way home from work – it was nice to see him
since I haven’t run into him since the Fall Vigil…
 
There was lots of noise, foot and auto-traffic, but it did not deter
Lori and I from getting in a Rosary before Tom, Diane, and yes, Penney
showed-up and packed us all up for tomorrow…
 

Joe K.

Day 15…Thanks to faithful individuals from Steubenville, St. Joe’s in Cabot, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie, and other dedicated individuals!

Forgiven and set free!

“None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him…”

Ezekiel 18

As I meditated on this verse from Ezekiel last week, I was struck by the word, “crimes”.

A CRIME is something very serious, and it always deserves punishment.

So I was struck by the absolute GOODNESS of Almighty God, to give us a COMPLETE PARDON from our just punishment! Imagine going from this dark, dank cell to the beautiful scene pictured above. Imagine the FREEDOM and the GRATITUDE of being completely washed clean and set free from bondage! While I thought of this, one of my favorite verses came to mind…

I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.

Luke 7:47

As I thought about the truth of Jesus’ words…(knowing this from personal experience!)…I thought about Abby Johnson and the movie that is coming out next week, “Unplanned“, which tells the story of her conversion.

Can you imagine being in her shoes? Having had two abortions herself, and helping thousands of other women to abort their children as well…the FREEDOM and GRATITUDE that she must feel for having been forgiven of her crimes? In fact, not only has she been FORGIVEN…but her crimes are not even REMEMBERED by God! It is as if they never even happened in His eyes.

Her hands…which once pieced together the broken bodies of aborted babies…are the the very same hands which now reach out to help others escape.

This movie opens on March 29th in theaters all across the nation! Go to https://unplannedtickets.com/ to find one near you! Don’t be afraid to bring your teenage children…even though the movie has an “R” rating. This rating was given to try to discourage people from going. There is absolutely no bad language, nudity or sex, and the only “violence” that is shown is the violence of abortion. This film shows the truth about abortion, and I believe it has the potential to change many hearts and to inspire many to participate in the ending of abortion.

Wear your gear to the theater!Unplanned features 40 Days for Life gear throughout the movie. Our store is running a movie special, so order now to get your gear in time for the March 29 release!

God is working MIRACLES through 40 Days for Life! Isn’t it an amazing privilege that we get to be a part of it? We are seeing lives saved and transformed through the mercy and forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ! I praise and thank Him for forgiving MY sins, and out of gratitude and love…I happily will continue to be His Hands and His Feet on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood! I hope to see you there!

To watch a short video showing Abby Johnson DESTROYING the argument for abortion during a recent court hearing, click here: https://youtu.be/hCnZOvjJgwo

To read an article about the spiritual warfare they faced as they filmed “Un Planned”, go here: https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2019/03/20/making-pro-life-film-unplanned-was-spiritual-warfare-say-directors/

Scroll down to read the stories from the sidewalk today!

Charlene and Peg were there from 7-9 am

Sidewalk Buddy Peg, with Tracy, Beth and Shawn from Weirton

I refer a lot to Matthew Kelly and Dynamic Catholic. I was introduced to his writing several years ago and just connected. One of his central themes is becoming the best version of yourself. You do that by practicing virtue…that gets you closer to God…and the closer you get to God, the better version of yourself you become. Like Tracy, Shawn, and Beth did. Traveling from Steubenville to stand in the cold for 4 hours. That’s virtue.. Like Peg coming two days a week…that’s virtue. Praying for the babies, greeting strangers, ignoring insults, blessing smiling faces. We practice all these virtues just doing what God asks…we are getting closer to Him…becoming the best version of ourselves we can be.
 

Charlene

Cathy had the 9-11 am shift

Lots of pray-ers this morning!  In addition to 3 from Steubenville who came at 7 and stayed til 11, 5 came from Elk County RTL, plus  2 individuals. There were not a lot of people going into the clinic, but the Urban Pathways school around the corner had a fire drill.  Students lined the sidewalk by us.  Some of the girls were attracted to the baby models.  Some unexpected education for the kids!

Hank and Judy managed the 11-1 shift

Today was quiet and peaceful for the most part.  When we arrived there were people from Stubenville, OH, St Mary PA, and Therese from St, Barbara along with Cathy the shift manager. Good to see Cathy back with us.  As those from Stubenville departed the crew from St.Joseph in Cabot arrived so along with the St.Mary witnesses for life we had a good contingent of prayer warriors for the11-1 shift.  Dan from Stubenville joined us at noon. While the traffic was again light we received warm smiles, thumbs up, thank you, God bless you, I’m with you, comments from a significant percentage of by-passers.  We prayed rosaries and sang the Divine Mercy and Cil distributed literature.  When Chris arrived for the next shift we prayed with him for the success of his surgery and upcoming neurological evaluation.  Blessed be Jesus our Savior and His Blessed Mother Mary Immaculate. 

Shift Manager Judy with dedicated prayer warriors from Elk County Right to Life
Dan from Steubenville, with shift manager Judy
Great group from St. Joseph parish in Cabot, led by our own wonderful Cil! We miss you Cil! Glad to see you are getting better!

Chris wrote from the 1-3 shift:

And then there were 11…I was expecting to be praying with only one other person, Mary.  What a gift from Heaven when nine other prayer warriors joined us.  And five of them had driven a long way, being from the three Catholic parishes in St. Mary’s, PA.  What a commitment by them to pray for those that have no voice!   While praying on both sides of “the half-circle”, we were thanked for being there more than a few times.  Toward the end of the shift, two memorable events happened- first, a seminarian arrived on his bicycle to pray with us (and for Jeannie’s shift) and a man saw us from across the street and walked over to us.  We didn’t quite know what to expect.  He said he knew why we were there and knew he had to cross the street to pray over us.   What a wonderful moment as we gathered in a circle to receive his prayer.

Chris
Bob and Joe
Janet and Amy
Mary, Gretchen and Mary Bea from Elk County Right to Life
Shift Buddy Mary

Jeannie wrote from the 3-5 shift:

Jeannie titled this photo: “When I think I’m too busy…”

Welcome spring. What a joy to stand with all these lovely people on the 3 to 5 shift. We decided that officially spring came at five, but the Good Will and the prayers that were lifted up during those two hours were amazing. I spent some time with L., a woman who asked me about having a baby after a rape. I learned from her that she had been raped years ago & had an abortion Although she went on to have four other children, she still grieved the baby that she aborted.. How beautiful that I had Project Rachel materials to give to her. She picked up one of the roses and said she loved roses and I happily gave it to her she and I shared a hug and a little bit of a cry and she went off knowing that there was someone to talk to who knew exactly how she felt. God is so good.

Jeannie
Wonderful Pro Life witness!
“From the mouths of babes” God hears the prayers of his children.
Tess joins us

Joe was the 5-7 shift manager:

I was surprisingly greeted to a large group of vigil attendees that carried over from the previous shift(s).  They were all from the Carnegie/Green Tree/Scott Parish Groupings of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Margaret, and Saints Simon and Jude.

Some of the names that I can remember include Vince, Bob, Nancy, Al, Pat, Audrey… My sincere apologies to those I omitted…but Thank You All!  My biggest group ever for an evening shift!!!  We were also joined by Mary Jane, Bill H., and Jim who regularly stops by on his way around “tahn”.

Started the shift by praying the prayers for today’s vigil that Vince had kindly printed out for everyone.  A little bit of sharing, then the group distributed themselves around the “Arch de Désespoir” to continue sharing / praying…

Not much interaction with passersby except one gentleman, Steve, who stopped by to “talk”…  Steve has lived a hard life and is desperately in need of prayers, hope, and love!!!  Matthew 11:28 comes to mind – “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Public Service Announcments were dished-out to remind about an upcoming showing of Unplanned – Behind the Scenes tonight at 11:00 PM on EWTN as well as a plug for Relevant Radio – thanks gang!

The first evening of spring shift ended quietly as faithful and always cheery Tom picked up the goods for tomorrow…

Joe

Day 8…Thanks to Dedicated Individuals from Steubenville, St. Bernadette Church (Monroeville) & St. Scholastica/St. Joes (Aspinwall & Ohara)

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.

What sort of emotion do you feel when you look at this photo? Does it make you smile or feel fearful? If we are looking at it in a practical way…of course, we should be afraid. A vulnerable baby, playing innocently right in front of a lion, who if he wanted to, could kill him with one swipe of his ferocious paw. But if we look at it through eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of the protectiveness of God for those who are weak and vulnerable and who put their trust in Him.

This photo reminds me of one of my favorite works of fiction; C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. In “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, one of the children, (Edmund), is seduced by the White Witch to betray his siblings, all for promises of power and prestige. He realizes too late that he has been used as a pawn, and she has no intentions of honoring her promises to him. By this time however, he is trapped and there is no way to escape. Although Edmund gives up in despair, there is One who has not given up on him. Aslan, the majestic lion, (who represents Christ)…saves Edmund from death, just as the witch’s blade is poised to slice his throat. After this dramatic scene, Edmund and Aslan went for a walk, alone. When they came back, Edmund was a totally different sort of boy. He was humbled, contrite and grateful. Where before he had been afraid of Aslan, now he loved Him and pledged his undying loyalty to serving Him.

It’s funny how our perspective changes after we see the evil we have done and feel sorry for it.

Until that happens, instead of trusting in the goodness of God, we fear Him. That is probably why preachers such as Joel Osteen are so popular, (sorry to pick on Joel)…because they portray God as a nice guy who really doesn’t care too much about sin. (Especially if you are willing to send money!) The fact that the god they preach bears little resemblance to the God of the Bible doesn’t seem to matter much. The important thing is that their god is comfortable…not intimidating…and doesn’t ask much from us.

But when, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of true repentance…we understand how BIG and POWERFUL this God of ours is…and how SMALL and PUNY we are in comparison. We understand just WHO we have offended by our sin! We…a tiny little gnat…have offended the creator of all the universe…from the largest galaxy, to the most tiniest, most fragile flower! When, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, this happens…unless we understand his GOODNESS…we would totally despair and flee in fright. But, since he has come to our rescue, and has fought off the evil one on our behalf…even to the point of laying down his own life…we can trust him. We can become like the vulnerable little child in the photo above…and snuggle right up to His Strength.

This is the state that we must be in, in order to fight this battle to end abortion. It is such an over-whelming foe. If we look at it in a practical way, we should be afraid. But, if we look at it with the eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of God’s protectiveness for those who trust in Him.

If God is with us, who can be against us?

Scroll down to read the accounts from the sidewalk today, written by our fearless and trusting shift managers, and to see photos of those who came to the vigil today.

Peg and Mary were the shift managers from 7-9 this morning:

Shift Manager Mary with the wonderful group from Steubenville
Shift Manager Peg with Tracy and Beth from Steubenville

Rose wrote from the 9-11 shift:

Thanks to Rose who subbed for Cathy during the 9-11am shift. Feel better soon Cathy!!!


Filling in for Cathy again this Wed. and so grateful for the warmer weather!  We had many affirmations today and just a few criticisms.  A young girl, “K”, was very impressed with the fetal models and had many questions.  I gave her some info and she talked extensively with Tracy and Beth.  They said she was appalled that she wasn’t taught this info in schools. She left very grateful for all the info we gave her!  It was a delight to see her face light up – what a blessing for all of us.Theresa and I prayed the pro-life intentions and it seemed that whevever we prayed one someone came by to talk to us.  Fr. Tim’s group came early, and they are always to enthusiastic to be there.  I was very blessed to pray for Life today!!!
 

Vigil participant Tracy wrote:


To add to Rose’s report about Beth and my interaction with a young lady, “K”, at PP this morning: What I failed to add was how shocked she was that in all her 27 years of life the truth had evaded her. 27 years! It is pretty amazing! But, we know full well there are many others who have bought the “Blob of Tissue” lie who are even older than she is!
Keep on Marchin’!
Tracy 🙂

Hank and Judy had the 11-1 shift:



The weather was much better today than a week ago, but there was the usual storm of prayer  when the Guardians of Life are present to petition our good Lord to bring an end to the scourge of abortion.  There were 15 people with the Guardians including Fr. Tim.  We were joined also for part of the shift by Therese from St. Barbara Bridgeville and Lisa and Ed from St.Bernadette. There was a good amount of foot traffic especially during the lunch hour, but not many individuals going into PP.  Several of those passing by gave us a thumbs up, a fist bump, a warm smile, a thank you or a God bless you.  We had the occasional glaring look and one man on a bicycle screamed that we were going to hell for our efforts.  We prayed two rosaries, the Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross and made a joyful noise (we sang) throughout the shift.  Terri distributed a good bit of literature an engaged several individuals in conversation that hopefully will have planted the seed that causes them see abortion for its harmful effects, morally and emotionally, over and above the death of an innocent child.  Praised be Jesus Christ, God-hero, Wonder-counselor, Prince of Peace.

Ed from St. Bernadette
Fr. Tim leading the rosary
Lisa from St. Bernadette with shift manager Judy
Theresa from St. Barbara, Judy and Terri with Guardians for Life
Knights of Columbus

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:


The warmer weather was very much appreciated on the sidewalk.  As always, I was joyfully greeted by Hank, the previous Shift Manager, and Father Tim’s Guardians for Life.  As I greeted Hank, we were told by a young woman walking by, “I wish your Moms had aborted you!”.  Not five minutes later, another young woman yelled, “It’s my *$* $ # body!”  Unperturbed, we prayed Rosary after Rosary and prayed for the two women.  I was joined by non-stop Rosary pray-ers Jerri, Winnie, and Dee, all from St. Bernadette’s, and Marilyn from St. Bernard’s.  Several passersby thanked us for being there.  I also wore what I call “The Sign of Truth” (pictured) that states the number of children, on average, killed each week at PP.  It was good to see people reading the words as they walked by.  There wasn’t much client traffic, but a noticeable number of PP workers going in and out.

Chris wore “the sign of truth”
Three angels from St. Bernadette!
Marilyn

Jeannie was the shift manager from 3-5:


We had a lovely day on the sidewalk today. Lots of positive encouragement and very little negative. We had a couple interesting experiences too. Krista told me that one of the kid on a skateboard had taken one of the roses so I was on the lookout when a young man holding a skateboard came up to me and said he wanted to pray with me. He was a typical teen. He had shaved his head on both sides and had a ponytail in the middle. I was ready for him to begin a verbal assault on us instead of praying with us. Boy was I wrong! The young man whose name is Isaac lead us in a beautiful prayer invoking Jesus mercy and love to end abortion in our country. He even prayed for the workers in the clinic and for each of us standing on the sidewalk!!! Don’t judge a book by its cover! And another beautiful event, the crazy guy came down the sidewalk and was banging Into things and came over to try to push our display over. Out of the bookstore ran a young man who scared off the crazy fellow. The young man said to us “that guy was in my shop yesterday I had to throw him out”. How kind of this young man to come out to try to help us when he saw trouble. Hope is in the air!!
 

Another great afternoon for my women’s movement. Love it Marilyn  from Saint Bernard’s and Mary Catherine and Ann from Saint Scholastica

A beautiful rose, laying forgotten on the pavement. Just like the beautiful children being forgotten inside this terrible place.

Joe stood vigil for the final shift of the day from 5-7 PM:

Overall a very quiet, actually eerily quiet, shift.

I was blessed once again to be be joined by my shift buddy Lori.
We shared with Jim who stopped by and prayed – thanks Jim & Lori!

Not much car / bus traffic and limited foot traffic today.

933 had a lot of folks entering / exiting this evening – must’ve been
some kind-o-meeting???

Another highlight – a little girl stopped by to look at the fetal models and
eagerly took 2 of the take-home ones with her, but not before picking up
one of the flowers and picking off all the petals before catching back up
with her group…

Day 1… Guardians for Life, along with many faithful Christians brave the cold to pray at PP today!

When someone asks you to pray for them, what do you do? Do you stop what you are doing, close your eyes and say a quick prayer? Maybe you even get down on your knees for a moment. Truthfully, the sort of prayer that most of us mean when we say we will pray for someone does not cost us much. But what if someone was asking for prayer because they were in very grave danger? What if instead of just closing our eyes and saying a quick prayer, we got in our car and drove to where they were and prayed for them in person? How much more would that mean to the one asking for prayer? Has this ever happened to you?

How many people have prayed for you during your lifetime? I would guess that there are so many, that you have no idea of the number. But, imagine if you truly were all alone in this world…and had NO ONE to pray for you. Having others pray for us is so natural and normal, that we simply take it for granted…but this is not the case for everyone.

While I was at Planned Parenthood last week, I offered life-affirming resources to five abortion-bound couples. But sadly, all five refused and walked through those doors anyway. For each of the five, I knelt and said a prayer for that little one. I laid a tiny cross on the sidewalk for each. As I looked at the pitiful sight of those tiny crosses, it occurred to me that each one represented a PERSON who had NO ONE to pray for them! No one except me, that is. If I hadn’t been there, they truly would have been all alone. Abandoned.

I imagined each baby being carried gently in the arms of God’s Angels to Heaven. And I imagined God showing each of them the person who had prayed for them…who had interceded for them on their behalf. I realized what an incredible privilege it was, to be the ONE PERSON that prayed for them and I wondered if they prayed for me in return? I hope so.

So we begin our 40 Days for Life today. We pray for the babies, the moms and dads, the grandparents, and for each other. We pray that we may not fall victim to fear or discouragement from seeing so much darkness and sadness. We remember that we are not meant to be at peace with the world, but that we ARE meant to be at peace with one another. Our joyful Christian fellowship is a gift from God, to help us to persevere…in LOVE.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:7

Thanks to all who fasted today, to start us off with a spiritual “bang”! In closing I just want to share a prayer from Mass today that really confirmed to me why we have to fast:

Grant us, O Lord, to take up our duty as soldiers of Christ by holy fasting that we, who are going to struggle with the evil spirits, may be protected by the help of self-restraint. Through Christ our Lord.

We are indeed struggling with evil spirits when we pray and witness at abortion clinics! Isn’t it helpful to know that our fasting can actually help us to fight against them?

Scroll down to read the stories from those who began our 40 Days for LOVE today…and see photos from our kick-off prayer procession from last night!

Charlene was the first shift manager of the campaign, and she writes:


First shift of the Spring Campaign. I’ll have to admit I had mixed feelings. Last night’s Mass had me “ready for the challenge”…but this morning’s weather had me ready to huddle back under the covers. God is good…I was dressed in so many layers I could barely move…the Lord held the wind down…and thank the Lord and Diane for hand warmers. My attitude got a positive adjustment again. And Praying with Peg and having Mary join us certainly brought warmth.
 
Last Sunday, the first reading had a sentence that stayed with me. “As a test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of the just.” The country has gone to a place so sinful we can’t fathom it…but it has become part of what God wants us here for. He wants us to be ready for more “tribulation” than just the weather…this campaign may be the “test of the just”…the test of us!!
Charlene
First shift of the Spring campaign…notice anything missing?
Faithful shift buddy Peg bundled up against temps in the low teens this morning!

Cathy was sick today, so Rose W. kindly agreed to sub for her from 9-11. She wrote:

I arrived a little after 9 this morning and prayed several rosaries with Mary.  Elsie was there and stood on the other side of the circle distributing her pamphlets. Theresa came around 10 as Mary left,and prayed with Elsie.  After Mary left, I walked back and forth with my sign in hand, to keep warm.  I went as far as the Gyro place and the man inside gave me a thumbs up and so did I.  Several other people gave a thumbs up as I was walking and said ” thanks for doing this” which really blessed me!  I was so grateful when Fr. Tim’s group arrived 10 minutes early so I could go home and thaw out. It was a privilege for me to be among the frozen today 🙂

Hank was the shift manager from 11-1 and wrote:  

Cold and quiet for the first of 40 Days.  Very little foot traffic, but plenty of prayer warriors.  The Guardians of Life were there in full force, 16 in all including Fr.Tim.   There was vocal prayer and song the entire 2 hour shift, the Rosary, Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross and many other devotions as well. Theresa from the Salvation Army was there with us from 11 until noon, both she and Elsie covered the 9 to 11 shift.  The sun was progressing down the street toward us as I left so I’m hoping Chris got some reflected warmth for his shift.  God is good, praise be His holy name for wind and rain, snow and ice, warmth and cold!

The bitter cold didn’t keep the faithful prayer warriors from Guardians for Life away!
Christian joy overcomes the sadness of abortion!
Theresa from the Salvation Army joined the frozen prayer warriors!

Chris wrote from the 1-3 shift:

It was a cold and brisk shift on the sidewalk today, but very rewarding.  I believe that prayer warriors witnessing for the unborn in the bitter cold make more of an impression on people walking and driving by than when the weather is warm and pleasant.  When I arrived, I was greeted by the dozen praying Guardians for Life.  What a joyous sight!  During my shift, I was joined in silent prayer by Dan from Steubenville and Missy from Butler.  Missy is a first-time participant.  I asked her what encouraged her to come and pray on the sidewalk as part of 40 Days for Life.  She replied that she’s been pro-life her whole life, but that she was so upset with the recently-passed NY State law allowing abortions throughout pregnancy that she felt she had to get involved, get off the sidelines, and do something.  I gave her a big hug and welcomed her.  Not much traffic in and out of PP, several “God Bless Yous”, a “Special Blessings on this special day (Ash Wednesday)”, and a few negative comments.  I also noticed that the barriers on the street in front of PP, that were there last Fall, are gone.

Thanks to Dan and first-timer, Missy, for coming out to the freezing sidewalk today!

Jeannie had the 3-5 shift and wrote:

It was a great-  if freezing – 3-5 shift on the sidewalk this afternoon. I was joined by Marilyn from Saint Bernard , Annie from Amplify and Edith from Saint Nicholas.  At one point we were walking back-and-forth like we were doing a civil rights protest or a worker strike. It reminded me of the women’s garment workers  .  We received a whole lot of affirmation This afternoon and really just one or two negative comments. At one point someone yelled “ you go ladies” – and we all smiled.  Sun came out now and then and the snow was pretty— all in all a peaceful, prayerful start!

Marilyn, Jeannie, Annie and Edith. My kind of women’s movement!
We had lovely orange roses all along the yellow line.

Joe K. finished out the first day from 5-7.  He wrote:

Thanks to Shift Manager Joe and Shift Buddy Lori for praying in the cold tonight!

Best way to set the scene for this inaugural shift – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”? Or maybe the Dante’s Inferno icy Ninth Circle of Hell (Treachery) – which may be more befitting of doors of 933 Liberty Ave. outside of which we pray and witness.

The cold faded away a bit as I settled in and started to join in sharing with my new shift buddy, Lori.  We were almost immediately stopped by a women who passed the vigil, did a double take on the fetal models and doubled back to discuss…  This woman was hurting, she indicated that she had multiple abortions and that one day she would have to answer to God.  Lori jumped right in talking to her and told her that our presence is about L-O-V-E and gave her a big hug…

 Love & prayers for this woman please!
 In sharing with Lori, I found out that she is a ATTWN (And Then There Were None) member and knows Abby Johnson.  Lori shared that she left her job upon finding out that a project she was assigned involved tissue from aborted babies – how courageous!  ATTWN helped her in her transition to a new job.
 
During the last half of the shift, John stopped by to witness and indicated he would be back throughout the campaign. Not long after John joined us, Jeff stopped by and was extremely supportive of our cause and shared that he had lost his child to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
and discussed abortion in the context of folks that wanted children, but for whatever reason, are childless…  Jeff asked to pray with us and in a powerful moment, all 4 of us joined hands as he led us in prayer.  Jeff indicated that he would try to get back to vigil again!
 
Jim (my old Sidewalk Advocate compadre) stopped by after work to say hey and share some fun and seriousness…  
Tom sans Diane (get better!) hauled away our gear for a warmer tomorrow!
 
P.S. Sharing a thought on our current campaign’s theme and the current
liturgical period that we just entered into (Lent)…  
I heard a speaker once suggest that a common / causal perspective of
what we see / have of Jesus upon the Cross is one of pain and suffering,…
but from the Cross what is Jesus’ perspective looking out at us?
 
Of course, it’s LOVE!
 

Last night’s Kick-off Mass and prayer procession was a beautiful event and a perfect way to kick off our 40 Days for Life! Thanks to Fr. Chris Donley, Fr. Thomas More Sikora and Fr. Jeremy Mohler! I would also like to thank Noah for providing the beautiful, spiritual music. Thanks to everyone who came! The church was packed with faithful pro-life Christians and many braved the bitter cold for the one-mile walk to Planned Parenthood, where we concluded with a prayer service, led by Fr. Chris. Scroll down for photos from this event:

Making a joyful noise inside the walls of St. Patrick Church!

It was a night of warm Christian fellowship inside the Church.
Noah blessed us with his beautiful musical talent!
Fr. Chris Donley gave a powerful sermon about Mary’s “un-planned” pregnancy and prayed that all woman who are in this situation will allow God to work through them to bring their child to birth.
Three holy priests, offering the sacrifice of the Mass for the intentions of 40 Days for Life. What a blessing!

Prayer procession along Liberty Avenue
Prayers in front of Planned Parenthood

Preparing to Run…

“Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9: 26-27.

This verse has been one that has been in the forefront of my mind and in my prayers for the past two weeks. I think the Lord is keeping this verse front and center for me because I am so weak by nature. Running a race is not what I want to do. Training for a race is not appealing to me. My nature is not easily disciplined. I like rest, comfort, ease, food and wine. (Lots of wine!) If the Lord had not broken my heart over abortion years ago and called me into the fellowship of so many faithful pro life Christians, I am afraid that I would have made a terrible mess of my life by now. But in His wonderful love and goodness…God did not leave me to rot in my own weakness! By working in the pro life movement, surrounded by so many faithful Christians, He has helped me to grow spiritually. He is what sustains me.


My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.'” 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I meditated on this verse this morning, the image of a tomato vine came to mind. I thought about how heavy the fruit of the vine is, and how if it is not supported by a “cage”, it just lays in the dirt and rots. It occurred to me that every one of our prayers, acts of devotion and acts of kindness to others are places where the vine of our lives attaches us to God. HE is the “cage” that is holding up the heavy fruit of our lives! Without the structure and the discipline of prayer and acts of charity, our weakness will destroy us. As St. Paul said, “His power is made perfect in our weakness”. Although from my perspective, it seems to be that MY WEAKNESS is made perfect in HIS STRENGTH!

God is using our presence in front of Planned Parenthood as a fence to keep out those who He is planning to save.

Last Friday, as I prayed during my weekly shift as a sidewalk advocate in front of Planned Parenthood…after talking with so many people whose hearts seem to be hopelessly hardened…I decided to simply kneel and pray, and let my body posture say the words I couldn’t say. As I was kneeling, watching couple after couple walk through those terrible doors…I had the thought that the circle that surrounds the doors of Planned Parenthood is like a sink-hole, into which so many souls are lost. It is terribly discouraging for us to watch, but it occurred to me that although we are watching those who are being lost in that great sink-hole…God is using our presence there as a fence to keep out those who He is planning to save. There are those who see us praying and will come to realize the value of life, and a seed is planted. Those who are tempted to abort see us and their minds are changed. Someone comes to Planned Parenthood for an abortion appointment, sees our witness, and silently turns away without ever telling us.

So, as we prepare to embark on this 40 day journey of prayer, penance, acts of charity, let’s be encouraged that by clinging to God and trusting in Him, He will bring good fruit from our efforts! He will use our witness on the sidewalk to save lives and souls, and He will lift our heavy weakness in his strong hands!

Check out the vigil schedule to see where you can help by CLICKING HERE. Let me know where you can help. My most pressing needs right now are the following:

  • Friday, March 8 from 3-5pm (someone to pray with Pat)
  • Saturday, March 9 from 3-5pm (someone to pray with Katie B.)
  • Saturday, March 9 from 5-7pm (someone to pray with Jeff)

Please also consider helping to kick off our 40 days in a spiritually powerful way by FASTING on Day # 1. I realize that Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting anyway, but please consider going the extra mile and making it a day of bread and water or liquids. Sign up to help us to fill our 40 day fast by CLICKING HERE

Finally, join us for our Kick-off pro-life Mass and prayer procession from St. Pat’s in the Strip to Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, March 5th. For details, CLICK HERE. And when you come to the sidewalk to pray, remember to bring a flower in memory of a precious life lost.

Remember to bring a flower when you come to pray. Leave it on the sidewalk in honor of a precious life lost to abortion.

Thank you for running this race along with me and so many brothers and sisters! I look forward to running with you!

In Christ,

Nikki

Revealing that which was concealed…

“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Matt. 10:26-28

When God first broke my heart over abortion back in 2009, (through a sermon called “Stop the Holocaust” by Dr. John Guest )…it was like an awakening for me. The horror of abortion was revealed to me and it truly broke my heart. One of the worst things about that time in my life was that I didn’t have anyone else to share my grief with. It seemed as if the rest of the world was oblivious to what was happening. It was as if I were a little girl in Nazi Germany, who saw the trainloads of suffering people screaming out for help, but when I went to tell my mommy…she didn’t believe me. The most frustrating thing about our culture at that time was the abortion industry’s propaganda that they put out to the world. They portrayed themselves as seeking to offer compassion and care to women in crisis. They wanted to be seen as the “good guys“. And we pro-lifers…how were we portrayed? We were the angry, self-righteous religious zealots who wanted to take away women’s rights. Abortion was not the killing of a baby, but just the removal of a clump of cells, and most people mistakenly believed abortion was only legal through the first trimester.

My goodness, how the times have changed! The new abortion laws in New York, which are calling other states to follow suit, are awakening people from their slumber. People who were uninformed or apathetic in their views are now being awakened. God is on the move and He is using us!!! The anti-life forces are no longer hiding behind the mask of compassion. Evil is being revealed for what it is. That which was concealed is being revealed! It is God who is doing this, and He is using 40 Days for Life as an important instrument in this work! In fact, as you probably know, Abby Johnson, the former director of the Planned Parenthood where 40 Days for Life began, had a radical conversion, left the abortion industry and now leads a ministry to help other abortion workers to leave! The writers of “God’s Not Dead” have made a film about her conversion (and the role 40 Days for Life played in it!) that will be released on March 29th, which will have a showing in Pittsburgh. I don’t have the details yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do. For now, you can WATCH THE TRAILER HERE and mark your calendars for March 29th!

While I was watching the State of the Union Address last week, I was struck by the image of the “women in white” sitting stone-faced while the rest of the room broke out in explosive applause, following President Trump’s call to repeal the barbaric late-term abortion laws, which basically amount to infanticide. I found myself shouting to the television screen, “Come on you dumb women…stand up and clap! How stupid can you be? To openly defend the killing of full term infants? Really??? That is what you are going to hinge your political platform on? You are so fearful of losing your “rights” that you are willing to condone the killing of babies as they are being born? Ladies…you are on the WRONG SIDE!!!”

CHOOSING SIDES. That is what it is boiling down to. God is forcing us to choose our side. It occurred to me that if a morally just nation decided to attack a certain town because of humanitarian abuses that were happening there…they would first seek to clear the area of all innocent civilians. In the same way, If God is going to bring a just punishment to our land for the shedding of so much innocent blood and the breaking of moral laws…wouldn’t he first try to clear away the innocent civilians? Wouldn’t those who were uninformed and unaware…those who were deceived by the propaganda be like the innocent civilians? Could God be using these barbaric laws to awaken those who were deceived so they are forced to choose a side?

When I went to the Assembly of God church, I remember my pastor saying one Sunday, “If our nation passed a law making it illegal to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” That saying really convicted me. I also think it applies to the defense of human life. We call ourselves “Pro-Life”…but how many of our friends, family and neighbors know of our pro-life views? Would there be enough evidence to convict us? When we stand in prayerful defense of vulnerable human life at our 40 Days for Life vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, we are publicly witnessing to the truth that human life is sacred. It is clear to EVERYONE what side we are on!!!

If you wish to make it clear to everyone (including yourself) that YOU stand on the side of LIFE…join us for this Lenten 40 Days for Life  journey!  We need your help!  Our vigil is only half-filled as of this writing.  You can view the schedule by clicking HERE.

You can volunteer to be a “shift buddy” to one of our shift managers that is in danger of having to stand alone! They are: Wednesdays 1-3 (for Chris), Wednesdays 3-5 (for Jeannie), Fridays 1-3 (for Elaine), Fridays 3-5 (for Pat) and Saturdays 5-7 (for Jeff). Email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com if you can help!

Sign up to fast on certain days by joining our 40 day fast (liquids or bread) by clicking HERE.

Use our campaign flyers and bulletin inserts at your church to help get the word out! We are out of our printed stock, but you can save and print them yourself from this link: Click HERE to view them.

Mark your calendars to join us for our kick-off Mass and prayer procession on Tuesday, March 5th.  All are welcome! Details are posted HERE.   


Remember that our theme for these 40 days is LOVE. If we LOVE, we must be willing to sacrifice. Where there is no sacrifice, there is no love.

What better way to show your love for God than to sacrifice a little time and comfort…overcome a little apprehension and fear…and publicly pray for an end to abortion in front of Planned Parenthood? I hope to see you there!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

Overcoming Evil with Good



Given the terrible news from this past week…from the way that poor boy from Covington was treated by the media, (and worse, by his own principal and bishop!!!)…to the heartbreaking celebration in New York of the legalized killing of full term infants…it is easy to think that evil is winning right now in America.

It can be terrifying to think of what we are up against. There is a raging hatred against all things good. All things pure. All things innocent. The forces that seek to destroy morality and goodness seem so strong. And we…we seem so small, sort of like this little boy in the above image that I selected for this blog post.

This is why today’s Epistle was such a comfort to me when I read it. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans gives us the key to overcoming the evil in our midst:

Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man render evil for evil, but provide good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as far as in you lies, be at peace with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is Mine: I will repay, says the Lord. But, if your enemy is hungry give him food; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:16-21

I was struck by the phrase, “Overcome evil with good”. The word “overcome” is a fighting word! It speaks of conflict, struggle…WAR!!! Normally, we would think that we would need weapons of FORCE in order to defeat an enemy…but that is not what we are instructed to do. Our Good Lord tells us that HE will handle the vengeance part…that is not up to us. What does He tell us to do to our enemies? That’s right…we are to do good to them. In other words…we are to LOVE THEM! Hence, it is no accident that the theme for these next 40 Days for Life is LOVE!

Loving those who seek the destruction of purity and innocence is not easy. It is not for wimps. Doing good in the face of evil is not for milk-toast Christians. It is for us. Thanks be to GOD that he gave us 40 Days for Life! It is the PERFECT response to the evil of abortion! We have the opportunity to witness the love of Christ to abortion bound parents and grandparents…abortion workers, and to our fellow citizens. We get to show them HOW MUCH THEY MATTER…to us, but more importantly…to GOD!!!

So…I am writing this post to ask for your help. Please sign up for a time slot at our 40 Days for life vigil. Your prayerful witness could save a life, as well as an eternal soul. Go to http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule// to view the schedule of churches that have already signed up, and then email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to have her add you to the schedule. (Or you can email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com, or just reply to this email).

Use our campaign flyer/bulletin insert and bulletin announcement to spread the word at your church. You can order them from me, or print them yourselves from the links that are posted here: http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved-2/

Also, please prayerfully consider volunteering to be a “shift buddy” for one of our shift managers that do not have partners to stand with during their shifts. If you commit to be a shift “buddy”, you only need to come IF and WHEN there is no church signed up. You are committing to be the back-up prayer volunteer, to make sure that the shift manager does not have to stand alone. These are the shifts that need “buddies”:

  • Mondays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Marie)
  • Tuesdays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Mike)
  • Wednesdays 9-11am (buddy needed for Cathy)
  • Wednesdays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Chris)
  • Wednesdays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Jeannie)
  • Wednesdays 5-7pm (buddy needed for Joe K)
  • Thursdays 11am -1pm (buddy needed for Lisa K)
  • Fridays 9-11am (buddy needed for Kathy L)
  • Fridays 11am-1pm (Shift manager needed for this shift!)
  • Fridays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Elaine)
  • Fridays 3-5pm (buddy needed for Pat)
  • Fridays 5-7pm (Shift manager needed for this shift!)
  • Saturdays 11am-1pm (buddy needed for Dean)
  • Saturdays 1-3pm (buddy needed for Billy)
  • Saturdays 5-7pm (buddy needed for Jeff)

Finally, I hope you will mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 5th at 6pm to attend a pro-life Mass at St. Patrick Church in the Strip, followed by a prayer procession to Planned Parenthood to kick -off our 40 days prayer vigil! Fr. Chris Donley of City Center Parishes will celebrate Mass and lead the procession. All are welcome!!! Please come and help us to spiritually prepare for 40 days of prayer, fasting and public witness at Planned Parenthood, so that we can indeed overcome the evil happening at 933 Liberty Avenue with the power of God working through us!

Thank you and I hope to see you soon!

In Christ,

Nikki Bruni

40 Days for Life Begins March 6th!

It is that time again!  Pittsburgh’s eighteenth 40 Days for Life campaign will begin on March 6th and go through April 14th.  As of this writing, 99 abortion clinics have closed following 40 Days for Life campaigns, and I am praying that Pittsburgh will be number 100!  But, even if we aren’t, we can’t give up petitioning Heaven!  We must persevere and trust that God will answer in His time.  The theme for these 40 days is “LOVE”.  It is because we love God and our neighbor, that we are willing to persevere through the difficulties of praying on the sidewalk for 40 straight days, in all sorts of weather, facing all sorts of reactions from passersby…both positive and negative.

We are living in confusing times and it is not always easy to know what to do.  However, there is ONE place where I feel completely confident that I am doing the right thing.  That is when I am praying for an end to abortion in front of the place that kills 3,000 babies each year…Planned Parenthood in PittsburghWhen I am standing there praying and offering life-affirming options to abortion-bound couples, there is no confusion or doubt.  There are precious human lives (and souls) that are in danger, and it is NEVER wrong to be there to offer hope, help, mercy and love.  Sometimes God intervenes and lives are saved.  Either way, our prayers and witness are never wasted. 

I was blessed with twin grandbabies this past summer.   When I am snuggling these little ones against my neck, breathing in their new-born scent…seeing how vulnerable and helpless they are…my resolve to continue to fight to end abortion is strengthened.  There is nothing more precious and valuable than human lifeIf we believe that we can trade our children for affluence and an easier life, we are falling for the enemy’s biggest “scam” since the Garden of Eden.  It is like trading the largest diamond in the world for a fake ring from a dollar store! 

Will you do what you can to help me in this mission of uniting the Body of Christ in this battle to end abortion?  Take a look at our vigil schedule at http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ to see what times need to be filled, and contact me if you have a few volunteers who are willing to help.  Some churches take 12 hours, some take 6, most take 4 hours, but even if you can take 2 hours, it will help.   Rest assured, there will be a 40 Days for Life team member to welcome and guide your volunteers when they get there.

Please use our campaign flyer (CLICK HERE) and bulletin announcement (CLICK HERE) to spread the word to your congregation about this wonderful, life-saving campaign. You can print them yourselves, or order them from me by emailing me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com.

Thank you for your help! 

In Christ,

Nikki Bruni

40 Days for Life Campaign Director