Day 41…Photos from our closing rally

Our 40 Days for Life Team gathered together to close the fall campaign with a wonderful time of fellowship!  Thanks to Catholic Charities for allowing us to use their welcome center all these many years!


I have been honored to meet and become friends with the world’s most wonderful people throughout the 8 years that I have led the 40 Days for Life campaign in Pittsburgh!  Although we all work as a team, and each do our little part…we really don’t get to see each other that often.  So when we do, it is a special time!  Thanks to everyone who did their part on our team, and thanks to all those who signed up for a time slot at the vigil, and to those who coordinated times for their churches or groups to take part in our vigil!  Thanks to those who prayed and fasted!  Thanks to those who prayed and fasted from home and to those religious communities who prayed for us!  Thanks to everyone who joined us in our “knock-out punch fast” on the final day of our vigil.  I trust that God is hearing and answering our prayers!

We thank God for the 4 lives that we know about that were saved during these 40 days in Pittsburgh, and for the 2 lives that were saved during previous campaigns that we found out about during this campaign!  I have no doubt there are many more that we may never find out about…but God knows.  What we did was important.  It mattered.  Every sacrifice, no matter how small.  Every fear and timidity that was overcome by holy boldness made a difference.  Our flower memorials and humble prayers on our knees touched hearts and reminded people that life is important.  God is important.  In the middle of people’s busy lives, they were reminded of this.

Thank you for being a part of this important campaign.  The Lenten campaign will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 6th and ends on Palm Sunday, April 16th.  I hope you will join us then.

In the meantime, please continue to pray and fast for the intention of ending abortion in Pittsburgh.  And enjoy these photos from last night’s closing event.

In Christ,

Nikki


Pastor Joe Stump led us in closing prayers and song
Julie and Billy
Faithful Mimi, alongside brand new team member, Donna
John and Chris
Many came to close the vigil in united prayer!
Kathy brought a final bouquet of roses to leave in memorial.
Jen, Jack and Cathy join in song
Barbara, Pastor Bryan, Nikki, Judy and Kathy
Back in the warm and cozy welcome center, the fun begins!
Delicious pot luck food…it all went as we were hungry after our final fast!
Nikki re-capped the campaign and reminded everyone to continue praying and fasting for an end to abortion!
Nikki recognized and thanked each team member for their service. Here are Diane and Tom, who faithfully deliver the vigil materials each and every day!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas!  See you in 2019!

Day 36…Thanks to St. Juan Diego (Sharpsburg), St. John de la Salle & St. Mary (Delmont/Export), Bridge City Church (New Brighton), CIM-PA (Cultural Impact Ministries) & many faithful individuals!

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” 

Jesus of Nazareth (Luke:13)


Jesus said we must STRIVE…but what does striving look like?

After 35 days of holding a prayer vigil on a sidewalk outside of an abortion facility…I doubt I am alone in feeling a kinship to the strain on this woman’s face.  She (and we) are obviously STRIVING when we put ourselves out there to be a prayerful witness to the value of every person’s life, but why do we do it?  What exactly are we striving for???  We know that Jesus paid the price of our salvation on the cross, and therefore there is nothing we can do to “earn” eternal life…so why do we strive?  Why does our Lord tell us that we must???

God knows that it is in our human nature to strive for SOMETHING.  If left to our own devices, we will strive for things we think are good for us.  We will strive for money, success, power, acceptance, praise, comfort, pleasure and ease.

God, in his wonderful goodness, knows that all those things are dead-ends.  If we spend our lives in pursuit of such things, we will end up being weak, selfish, vain little creatures that will never have the STRENGTH to enter through the NARROW DOOR that leads to eternal life!

So God commands us to strive for HOLINESS!  That simply means striving to live by his teachings and to obey his commandments the best that we can. When I strive to obey His will by standing up for the sanctity of unborn human life, it requires effort.  I have to go against my selfish desire for comfort and easeas I stand or kneel at the vigilI have to give up my desire for acceptance and esteem when passersby insult me and tell me to get a real job (or worse!).  I give up my desire for power and control, as I humbly accept the fact that I cannot save the lives of those precious babies that are being carried through those doors to their deaths…even as they are still safely tucked away in their mother’s wombs.

There is nothing more important than human life.  We can see that by watching the news. The massive flower memorials on the sidewalk in front of Tree of Life synagogue speak loudly to the value of the 11 lives that were taken so tragically on Saturday.

Those lives were important enough that the president of our country made the trip from DC to Pittsburgh, along with his family, to pay his respects to those who are grieving and to encourage those who were wounded.  Even with the hard-hearted and arrogant snubbing from our local and state politicians, and crowds of protesters with cruel messages…he stood strong in his decision to affirm the human dignity of those who were killed. 

Just as our president took time from his schedule to show his respect for eleven precious lives lost…we do the same as we pray at the site where approximately sixty precious lives are tragically and unjustly ended each and every week.  The world is rightly grieving right now…as it should!  Let’s pray that one day the world will also grieve for those who are killed by abortion and forgotten.  Those millions of little ones that have no one to grieve for them.

Strive with me until this day arrives…will you?


Scroll down for today’s vigil reports:

Cathy did a double shift today, from 7-11 am!  Thank you Cathy for your sacrifice this morning! 

Here is her report…

A peaceful morning with the company of a number of fellow pray-ers.  My fellow St. Juan Diego parishioner Mary joined me for the whole morning even though our official parish time was only 9-11.  Peg was there for 7-9, and David, Priscilla, Beth and Dan prayed at various times throughout the morning.  We got the “You should be ashamed of yourselves”  comment, and a worker from the clinic  came out and picked up flowers that were in the circle, saying that we can’t put them there.  I’m guessing they got dragged there by the foot traffic.  Also received thank yous and”God bless you”s.

Dedicated shift manager Cathy, with friend from St. Juan Diego parish and volunteer David, who came to make sure Cathy didn’t stand alone!

Hank managed the vigil from 11-1 and stood with Anna Marie and her husband Bob, from St. Mary & St. John parish in Export/Delmont.  He wrote:

It was a sunny and relatively quiet shift and little traffic into PP.  There were many passers-by from the International Convention of Chemical Engineers some of whom gave us a warm greeting and a thumbs-up.  Bob and Anna Marie from St.John and St.Mary Export were present for the entire shift and we prayed the rosary and other prayers and greeted many people. Nikki stopped by to kneel and pray the rosary and  Lisa from River City Church joined us toward the end of the shift.  Most passers-by seemed positive and only a few flashed dirty looks or made negative comments.  Praise be to Jesus, Lord and Savior.

Lisa from Bridge City Church

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:

I was joined by three prayer warriors from Bridge City Church- Pastor Gary, Mona Lisa, and Vicky, along with Marie from my parish, St. John Neumann.   Such joyful people to be with! 

Vicky and her faithful crew from Bridge City Church!

We received more than several “Thank you for being here” and Thank you for what you do” comments from passersby.  A man stopped by with a full bouquet of flowers, saying that his wife asked him to bring them to us!  One lady, Michelle came by to offer us snacks- she works nearby and prays at PP when she can.  Like several shift managers have mentioned over the weeks, I, too, had been hesitant to put my “Knees on the Ground”.  But today was the day, my last shift of the campaign, to trust God, kneel, and pray.  I prayed the Rosary using my special Rosary of the Unborn (pictured below) that displays an image of an unborn child in each bead.  

Rosary for the unborn…a tiny baby inside every bead!

 

Jeannie was the shift manager from 3-5.  She sent in these pictures of the faithful group from CIM-PA:

Judy, David, Linda, Jim and Donna from CIM-PA witnessed for life today!
Pat with the hat joins CIM in prayer!

Jeannie wrote:

We had a rainy but lovely time on the sidewalk with folks from   Cultural Impact Ministry- CIM. They are dedicated to bringing to light issues in the culture that Christians should be active on. What a delightful group. Since it was raining I decided to stand in front of Planned Parenthood and sing in the rain. Don’t worry, I didn’t cause any kind of scene lol.  One of my better numbers was actually a song that my son used to sing in grade school— Rain down rain down rain down your love on your people. Rain down rain down rain down your love Lord of all!!!  

Joe K. managed the vigil for the final hour:

It was a extremely quiet / peaceful, but soppy last Wednesday evening shift of the campaign.
I was joined by another large group of folk for the evening.  Led by my faithful Shift Buddies Benson (St. Anne’s) and Jim (Holy Child) as well as a wonderful couple from Cultural Impact Ministries – Linda and Dave.  The group was rounded-out with Lynda from Central Highlands United Methodist.
We shared, we prayed and before we knew it, the shift was over…

 

Day 29…Thanks to Guardians for Life, St. Paul Cathedral and many dedicated individuals!

Tomorrow is day 30.  We are now three-fourths through our 40 Days for Life vigil.  Ten days ago, when we hit the half-way mark, I said to my husband, “Wow, I can’t believe it is already half over…it has gone so fast!”  Now, on day 29, I have changed my mind.  September 26th seems like an eternity ago, and another 10 days seems like it may as well be a year.

This is when the exhaustion sets in.

I shouldn’t feel discouraged.  God has blessed our efforts during these 29 days. There has been good participation at the vigil, and our team has been united and joyful!  We have seen three women choose life at the last minute, after seeing our prayerful witness at Planned Parenthood, and we have found out about another two babies that are alive today because their mothers saw our witness during past campaigns!  So, why am I struggling?  I think it is a spiritual struggle that is going on.  Discouragement is Satan’s most effective weapon and he uses it well against us.

If you are feeling tired as well, if you are wanting to retreat from the battle to end abortion…I would simply like to use this blog post to exhort you to pray more.  We really need to increase our reliance on the supernatural power of God if we are going to be able to persevere.  God knew what He was doing when He came up with 40 Days for Life. By putting prayer first…by relying TOTALLY on GOD to end abortion…and by limiting the campaigns to a 40 day time frame, (thereby giving us periods to rest in between)…we are able to continue this fight without burning out or giving up.

Getting into the disciplined routine of daily prayer is VITAL to our spiritual strength.  We simply MUST have a daily prayer life if we are going to be able to endure and continue to be effective in this battle. 

Good intentions only go so far.  Loving God and hating abortion is not enough.  If we try to rush into the battle unprepared…

We will be crushed.

God wants to use us to save lives and draw lost souls back to Himself.  But we need to be strong in HIM in order for him to use us!  We need to be GOD STRONG!  Daily prayer, fasting and offering our sufferings for his purpose will make us fit instruments in his hands.  

When we are spiritually strong, God will use us to save the weak.

I intended to write this blog to exhort those of you who are feeling tired…but I think I wrote it mainly to encourage myself.

If you have not already committed to a regular prayer time each day, please begin now.  If you are not fasting on a regular basis, please try to incorporate some sort of sacrifice into your eating habits if possible.  If you have avoided coming to the vigil at Planned Parenthood to pray, please ask God to give you the courage and the selflessness to come.  

We need you.  The babies need you, and their families need you.

Now for today’s sidewalk stories…


Charlene wrote from the 7-9 am shift:

Today was such a peaceful, prayerful day. Oh, we had some negatives and it was chilly, but that did not break our mood. Peg and I started with today’s devotional, blessing PP (that everyone who enters leaves), rosaries (Peg on her knees). We were joined by Bill who does a great job greeting people and handing out literature. I noticed that Katie’s chalk message gets more attention than the sign in PP’s window. I brought chalk to freshen up the message and left some in the trunk and some in the traveling case if you are so inclined to do the same! Prayers that your shift is as peaceful and prayerful as today.

Knees on the ground…Peg in prayer this morning

Cathy had the 9-11 am shift and wrote:

It was a quiet shift.  It was a privilege to pray with Barbara, Molly and Colleen from Sts. Anne, Bernard and Winifred parishes.  I was able to share a few “Everyone’s Biography” with a resource card inside.  (These are good for leaving on the bus and in public bathrooms, etc.)

Barbara and Richard filled in for the 11-1 shift and wrote:

The sidewalk was already full as Cathy handed over the shift manager lanyard. Three women from Mount Lebanon Rosary Group were just about to leave.  Guardians for Life arrived one by one, and then more from their group, and then Father Tim.

For almost two hours, they filled the sidewalk with prayer and hymns.  We had a dozen red roses. People were invited to take one and lay it on the sidewalk in front of PP.   The roses represent the babies whose lives are taken by abortion at Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood.  

The chilly air warmed and I think the sun came out.   A Clean Water Group marched down our sidewalk, about 150 people. 

“This was organized by native Americans who came from many states,” said Carol.”I am against abortion, capital punishment and for all life issues.”  Drums accompanied the marchers.  Most of them smiled as they passed. “Clean water is a prolife issue,” they said.

Bob from St. Mary in Kittanning arrived just as we were about to leave.  “I come down when I can,” he said.  “My friends and I are scheduled for the last day of the Fall 40 Days.”

Chris came and Richard and I bade him farewell.

Changing of the guard, shift managers Barbara and Richard, with shift manager Chris and prayer volunteers Bob and Eileen

Chris wrote from the 1-3 pm shift:

When I arrived to relieve Barbara and Richard, I joined two prayer warriors, Eileen and Bob.   Eileen told me she ran a San Diego pregnancy center in the 1980s.  Toward the end of my shift, Geri, a born-again Christian, stopped by and said she’d like to volunteer at a pregnancy center.  Eileen wrote down the address for the Women’s Choice Network location on the Northside.  A man stopped by to thank us for being there, saying he had been adopted in 1961and my friend, Alex, stopped to say a prayer with us.  There was very little traffic in and out of PP, maybe six people over the two hours.  On this cold and blustery day I didn’t hear any negative comments. 

Eileen

Jeannie was the birthday-girl shift manager from 3-5 pm:

It’s my birthday and I’m here praying for others to have their birthdays too
Rose petals on the sidewalk…

It was not an uneventful day down at Planned Parenthood this afternoon. I would definitely say that our presence , including the flowers and the chalking on the street, is definitely “getting to “ those who oppose us. We had three incidents of  Pro PP people lashing out at us. Many many more were supportive of what we were doing, and when one guy acted out a couple of others said “you’re doing the right thing”.  One young woman personified every mistaken pro abortion argument: “don’t you want women to be safe ?” she asked us. We explained that women weren’t safe in abortion. “What if the baby is not going to live? “ We explain that babies who are dying do not have to be killed. “ it’s just a clump of cells” she said, But when we pointed out the 12 week  model as typical for a surgical abortion she said “no abortions are done at that time”. Her final argument was that some unborn children are actually killing their mothers and need to be aborted.  !!!!  I explained that we do not need to help a dying child die.  An employee of Planned Parenthood came out after her shift and actually poured water on to Katie’s  chalked sidewalk and message and took paper towels and tried to rub it off.  I took the opportunity while she was cleaning to talk about how I knew she was doing what she thought was right but there were other ways to help women…. Another young man purposefully stepped on one of our roses  And Wal-la when the rose became a collection of petals they filled the bumper zone. The Planned Parenthood workers had to come out walking over a bed of rose petals. How ironic as it is the symbol of the pro-life movement!  I was joined by Regis and Mary and Sarah from Saint Paul’s Cathedral and my lovely sister Claire from Saint Bernards. We were a hearty prayerful group, and it was good to be there witnessing for the unborn.

Claire, Mary, Regis and Sara

 

 

 

 

Regis and Claire, beautiful witness to life!

Joe K. wrote from the 5-7…

Wooo,…, Sooie!!!  What a ride for today’s shift – should’ve known that it was a full-moon tonight (the Hunter’s Moon)…

Started the shift greeting / serenading the birthday girl – Jeannie and was informed that it was an “interesting” afternoon.  But, little did I know that I would see it first hand…

Jeannie tried to educate a young woman with the truth who had been past the vigil a couple of times, but this time finally stopped to “talk”…  but the Kung-Fu in this young woman lept out as she sprang into action to show off her “skills”… … …

It was beautiful how Jeannie tried to reason with this person, but ugliness within in this young woman tried to rule the day – though we know the light always wins!!! 

Interesting how the roses that Jeannie had spread around that got kicked and stomped on through the day ended-up beautifully showering the entire area with rose petals – remember, the light always triumphs…

Also spread out through the area were the signs that had the baby pictures on them – Claire, Jeannie’s sister, explained that a lot of people walk past the vigil and just look down – brilliant!!!

Blessed and honored to have a full-shift of vigil attendee’s – Trusty Benson and Audrey joined Mary Jane, Regis, and Lynda for all / portions of the shift – Thanks all of “yinz”!!!

Saw a former co-worker, Bill, that stopped by to say hello / offer support.

A weekend escort of 933 Liberty walked into the building with her significant other and child…but not before tramping on a rose and looking back at me in delight – I just smiled…  The Bert Sommer (Woodstock) song Smile comes to mind:…

Smile and the world smiles with you
Smile all the love is in your hand…

Yes, my brothers and sisters it is in all in our hands how we handle the good, the bad, and even unfortunately, the ugly…The significant other, came through later and stepped on one of the baby pictures.

Please pray EXTRA for this family…

Faithful Tom packed us up for the night, but we shall persevere / return!!!

Day 22…Thanks to St. Paul Seminary, Knights of Columbus (McKeesport Council #955) and many dedicated individuals!

I’ve been thinking a lot about saints lately…

What exactly is a saint?

Technically, a saint is simply someone who is in Heaven.  Hopefully we will all be saints someday, right?  However, when we talk about people being “Saints“…usually we are talking about people who have lived with such extraordinary faith that their lives inspire others to strive to imitate them.  In other words…a Saint is someone who not only gets themselves to Heaven…they help many others to get there as well.  Saints are like luminaries, lining a dark path, which leads to everlasting life with Christ.  Our journey through this life is difficult.  There are those who would prefer to drag us down, rather than lift us up.  I thank God for placing certain people in my life that have been saints to me.  These people help to lift me towards Heaven, and I am very grateful for them.

I would like to talk about Al and Sally Brunn.

Without embarrassing them….I just want to express my appreciation for the impact their lives have had on my life. This past Sunday was their Magee Picket.  Six times a year, (always on a Sunday from 1-3 pm), they stand in front of Magee Hospital with large signs.  Their signs are meant to educate passersby that Magee does abortions, and what abortion actually does to a baby.  Usually Sally texts me a couple days before the day of the picket and I try to make it if I can.  I am sorry to admit that my heart wasn’t in it as I began the drive to Oakland this past Sunday.  I was thinking of all the other things I would rather do on my Sunday afternoon.  But as I stood on the corner of  Craft and Forbes, holding a large sign that showed a 12 week baby who had been ripped to shreds during a suction abortion, I began to watch the expressions on people’s faces as they drove by.  I especially noticed that many young girls and women, who were passengers in the cars, would strain their necks as their cars passed…so they could continue to look at my sign even after they were past me.  I saw many wide eyes and mouths.  It reminded me of a powerful scene from the Gosnell movie, which I had just seen the previous evening.  In that scene, the prosecutor was making his closing statement to the jury.  He had large photos of “Baby Boy B“, (one of Gosnell’s victims), which he was showing the jury.  One by one, he showed each member of the jury the photo.  The expressions on the jurors faces actually made ME cry!  Seeing the shock, sadness and grief of those jurors…gave me hope in the overall goodness of mankind.  People can philosophize abortion and say they are pro-choice.  They can try to make it a political issue.  But when they see it for what it really is…naked and uncovered…most people are horrified.  I cried during this scene and I was glad that I was crying.  It was good to know that my heart isn’t dried up and that I can still cry over abortion.  I have seen the pictures so much, and for so many years, that they don’t make me cry anymore.  But seeing OTHERS see them for the first time, and crying over them…THAT made me cry.

Standing on that corner on Sunday afternoon, I realized….there wasn’t anything more important that I could have been doing on my Sunday afternoon.

If it weren’t for the faith and perseverance of Sally and Al, I would not have been there.  In fact, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be leading a 40 Days for Life campaign and probably wouldn’t even be involved in pro life activity at all!  Why?  Because when God first broke my heart over abortion in 2009, and I didn’t know another soul who cared about abortion, when I got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood all alone…who did I see standing there?  Al, Sally and Bob Newman.  If they weren’t there every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, all year round…I would have never had the courage to continue to go and stand all alone after that.  In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we wouldn’t even have 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh if it weren’t for them.  So, Al and Sally, you have been saints to me.  You have helped pull me up.  And I thank you for that.  Happy 62nd anniversary (this Saturday) to you both!  May God continue to bless and protect you!

What this world needs now is more saints!  People who are willing to give up their own lives for others!

Many of us are willing to give to a certain extent.  But we hold back.  We don’t give radically! I am in this camp, I must admit.  But knowing Al and Sally has made me want to be better.  I want to be like them.  I want to give my WHOLE life, even to the point of foolishness…for Christ.  I hope I never feel that I have done enough.  At the end of my life, I want to be like Saint Paul, and be able to say;

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

If you haven’t yet seen the Gosnell film, it’s not too late!  I think this is a movie all pro-life people should support.  The cast does a superb job and the movie is not disgustingly graphic.  It is playing at the Pittsburgh Mills on Wed., Fri., Sat., and Sunday.  It is also playing at three other theaters through Monday…. Loews at the Waterfront, Mt. Lebanon, and AMC Westmoreland 15.    You can find the times and directions online.


Read on for reports from the vigil today…

Charlene reports from the 7-9 am shift:

It was very peaceful and prayerful today. The temps said it was warmer but the winds made it feel colder. Diane and Peggy were setting up when I arrived…it’s nice to start the day with cheerful people. Peggy and I did the devotional together…and she did her first rosary “knees to the ground”. Peace seems to come to people’s faces when someone is praying on their knees. We were joined for an hour by Bill who prayed and handed out literature.  I want to end this peaceful shift with another quote from Matthew Kelly ,”The world will change. It always has. Will it change for the better? You and I, one moment at a time, get to answer that question together”. Prayer warriors on the sidewalk. Charlene

Peggy had her knees on the ground in prayer this morning!
sidewalk memorial

Cathy wrote from the 9-11 am shift:

No pictures today.  Hopefully someone in a later shift is sending one of the seminarians.  I was hoping to get Barb and Rich to take one, but by the time Rich came all but one of the guys had left to go to DU for class, planning to come back later.  I told them they better get good notes for the one who stayed, skipping class!

The ones who came were Nick, Eli, Alec, Dan, Brian and Dan, plus Clare and James.

I was joined this morning by six wonderful Pittsburgh seminarians and the parents of one of them.  Several women/couples went into the clinic, including one who thanked us enthusiastically for being there so she knew where to go.   Two girls, one carrying a bag, accepted the resource card when leaving.  One woman stopped to talk on her way out.

(Nick, the seminarian from St. Paul’s Seminary who coordinated the group), took these photos and sent them in:

Dan in prayer
Seminarians Eli and Brian in praye

Richard was the shift manager from 11-1

Shift manager Richard with John Paul, a seminarian

Barbara was under the weather today, so hubby Richard held down the fort…but no shift report.  I (Nikki) stopped to pray during his shift, and took this photo.  I didn’t get a picture of Nick, who was the seminarian before him.  While I was there, I knelt in front of the door to pray.  My eyes were open, so I watched as people walked in.  One couple went in and I watched as the man pulled his card out of his wallet and handed it through the receptionist window.  Payment for an abortion, I guess.  He turned and looked at me.  Our eyes made contact for a brief moment.  No expression that I could tell, but I wonder if it made him think that his child must have value…if someone was willing to pray on their knees in the street for him.

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 pm and wrote:

What a joy it was to pray with five men who have chosen the priesthood and are studying at St. Paul’s Seminary.  I was joined by John from Butler, Adam, Sean, John, and Dan.  A man stopped to tell us the story of his daughter, Mackensie, who suffers from Crohn’s disease and is in danger of losing her health coverage.  As he left, we told him we’d pray our next Rosary for her, and we did.  Mary Jane, my faithful Wednesday prayer partner, lovingly offered pregnancy resource cards to every passerby.  Mimi joined us toward the end of my shift and joined us in the Rosary.  There was very little traffic in and out of PP and I didn’t hear one negative comment.  More than a few people said positive things as they passed by and we heard several “God Bless yous”. Thank God, especially in this culture, for young men who hear God calling them and answer His call.

Seminarians Adam and Sean
John, Mimi and Dan
John and Mary Jane

Jeannie had the 3-5 pm shift.  She wrote:

Just another beautiful day with pro lifers in Pittsburgh! I was lucky enough to cross paths with two seminarians Dan and John —who happens to be my nephew. What joy! Mimi rounded out the crowd at three and we engaged in the rosary with the Knights of Columbus men from Corpus Christi in McKeesport. Mary Jane stayed over from Saint Bernards & Pius 10. The sun came in and out but our mood stayed up the entire time. Many positive comments and a few negative ones. The great part is we are available to talk to anyone in a peaceful prayerful way, and that is wonderful.  Debbie from north of Butler was in the city taking her dad shopping and she stayed with us to pray. I told her the best people in the world are on the sidewalk praying at Planned Parenthood. I believe it.

Mike, Mimi, Joe and Debbie
Faithful Mary Jane
Mimi praying to end abortion

Joe K. manned the final vigil shift of the day and sent in this report:

Extremely blessed to start a blustery shift with my fellow parishioner and fellow Knight of Columbus, Mike. along with a perfect trifecta of Faithful Shift Buddies – Benson, Audrey, and Jim.  Just can’t say enough about my appreciation for my Shift Buddies – “yinz” are the best!
The evening was overly calm – a few positive comments and only a single head-shake
Jim from St. Maurice stopped by on his way home from work.
A woman, who stopped by a few weeks ago to discuss her views and prior abortion, stopped
again and after looking at the fetal models further discussed her situation – I offered her info,
though she declined – she’s obviously still hurting after all these years – please pray for this woman…
Got a pleasant surprise visit from an ole Sidewalk Advocate, Jim – who stopped by to pray.
During one of our group prayers just as someone was reading (Matthew 17:5) about the Transfiguration
“While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from
the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am will pleased;
listen to him.”
Blinding sunshine broke through the clouds down Liberty Ave. (The Point end) on us…
Audrey’s students from Duquesne U.. Katie and Joe, who had been there a few weeks
ago, joined us towards the end of the shift – awesome to have the next generation present…
Tom arrived to pack it in, but there was one lasting memory from the evening – as Mike and
I started to walk back to the car, I noticed a young woman had picked up some of the flowers
left on the sidewalk around 933 and was getting her picture with them – thought it was cool
she was getting some enjoyment out of them, but I also hoped she realized why they were
there to begin with (“Both Sides Now”, eh?)…
Shift Buddies Benson and Audrey, Mike (Knights of Columbus), and Shift Buddy Jim
The whole crew…
Lower – Joe & Mike (Knights of Columbus)
Upper – Shift Buddies Jim and Audrey flanking Audrey’s Duquesne U. students Katie and Joe

 

Day 15…Thank you Knights of Columbus from St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Indiana County), Guardians for Life, St. Scholastica parish (Aspinwall), and many dedicated Individuals!

Did you see the wonderful news that a second baby was saved from abortion at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood yesterday?  The seemingly prophetic words of Fr. Thomas More are still ringing in my ears…

“I have no doubt that the babies that will be saved during these 40 days will be the future saints of the Church!”

It is encouraging when we see the fruits of our prayers, but we can still become discouraged by the fact that although we continue to hold these 40 day prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood, year after year…the abortion numbers have not decreased and the abortion clinic shows no signs of closing.  Almost 100 abortion clinics have now closed following 40 Days for Life campaigns…Praise God for that!  But what about Pittsburgh?  Why hasn’t ours closed yet?  We were discussing this at our team meeting last night.  We wondered if there is a spiritual reason for this.


Could it be that Satan has a particular stronghold here in Pittsburgh for some reason?  Do the roots of abortion penetrate more deeply in our area than in others?


As a team we began to pray and asked the Lord what we should do.  The ideas began to flow, I believe through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Here were some of the ideas…which I am asking the members of our team to do, and also suggesting them for our entire 40 Days for Life family in Pittsburgh:

  1. Dedicate one hour of prayer each week (throughout the year…not just during 40 days)…if you are Catholic, that would mean one hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.  If non-Catholic, one hour of prayer in some other way.  The purpose of this would be to cover every day of each month with prayer.  Our team prayer outreach coordinator, Dee Gallagher, has volunteered to coordinate this.  If you are willing to commit to a certain day of the week each week to pray for one hour for the intention of ending abortion in Pittsburgh email Dee at dragallagher@verizon.net
  2. If you are Catholic, please consider requesting a Mass to be said at your parish for the intention of closing Planned Parenthood.  If you are not Catholic, offer up specific prayers during your worship service for the ending of abortion in Pittsburgh.
  3. It was suggested that maybe the reason that we have not been able to yet break the stronghold in Pittsburgh is that we are not fasting enough.  Jesus said that some demons are driven out only by prayer AND fasting!  Although fasting has always been a part of our 40 Days for Life campaign, (thanks to Megan Merante for coordinating the fasting calendar!)…we decided that we need to do MORE!!!  So we decided to ask EVERYONE on our team to fast for the final 24 hours of our vigil.  That would begin at 7:00 pm on Saturday, November 3rd and would end at the closing rally at 7:00 pm at Catholic Charities on November 4th Then we will all be able to break our fast with the delicious pot luck food that everyone brings to the closing rally!  I am extending this request to everyone in our Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life family!  Please fast as you are able.  If you cannot fast for an entire day on bread and water, or liquids only, just give God what you are able.  As shift manager Joe said in his Saturday report. “God will not be outdone in generosity!“.  When we give him our little loaves…HE will multiply them into a MIRACLE!!!  So don’t be afraid to fast.  Don’t think your little offering is too small.  He waits for us to take the first tentative little step towards Him, and then He runs to us to make up the difference!

I am excited to see how God is going to work through us during the remainder of these 40 days!  Thank you for continuing on this journey with me! 

Lastly, be sure to mark your calendars for Monday, October 22nd to come to the vigil to meet Shawn Carney, President and CEO of 40 Days for Life!  He will be visiting our vigil in Pittsburgh at 6 pm and after praying with us we will hold a brief reception at Catholic Charities Welcome Center from 7-8pm.  Desserts and coffee will be provided.  Shawn will have signed copies of his new book, “40 Days for Life, the Beginning of the End of Abortion” available for purchase.

 

Here are the shift reports from today:

Mary wrote from the 7-9 am shift:

I wanted to take a picture of Diane and Peggy before the sun came up this morning but my camera wouldn’t work. Peggy brought a  beautiful bouquet of yellow roses and we prayed the opening prayer for day 15. There were no churches or individuals scheduled for this shift. Pat came to pick up his big burgundy bag and he brought a giant red rose. Bill came and passed out his literature. A man became upset and showed him something in his phone saying that it is illegal to get closer than 8 ft to anyone passing by. Bill is a little aggressive offering  his brochures but he is very friendly,always saying”I have something for you. God bless you”. Bill looked at the phone. Peggy smiled. He said that we do it every day. He kept saying 8 ft bubble zone over and over. When we didn’t argue with him, even though Kathy said  he’s wrong,he  finally left.I’m surprised that Bill gets half of those passing by to take his handouts and smile back. The other have just say no thanks.A women stopped and told Peggy and Bill that she had to get an abortion because of human trafficking.The workers were having trouble swiping in this morning,got frustrated and had to go around back.  We had to move the signs because some men came to fix a drain and had to dig up the bricks in the front where the plants are.  Bill was asking about the Gosnell movie and I told him that some of us are getting together to go and see it.  I finally got my phone camera to work and got one picture of Peggy and Bill  before our shift ended.

Shift buddy Peggy with sidewalk evangelist Bill

Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11 am and wrote:

There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity at the clinic.  Carolina, Marianne and I prayed together and separately until the Knights from St. Bernard’s arrived, later followed by others from the Guardians for Life.  A pregnant couple, with a small child, stopped in their car, seeming to ask directions.  They did not speak English, though did have a translator on their phone, but it was no help to me.  They were looking for pregnancy help so I told them where Catholic Charities was, which may have been what they were looking for anyway.

One of the workers walked by and said “Here are some signs for you.”  The signs read:  “Hey! I’ve spent MY LIFE the way I want to.   LET ME TELL YOU HOW TO SPEND YOUR LIFE.”   “SOMEONE    -Please-  GET ME A REAL JOB!”      And,        “I’m A MIDDLE-AGED WHITE LADY with a ton   of privilege!  I WANNA TELL YOU WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR BODY!”

Ahh…HUMILITY!  Aren’t we glad it is our theme during these 40 days?

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

Praise the good Lord for a beautiful sunny day!  There were 27 people praying and witnessing for life today on the 11-1 shift.  Fr. Tim and The Guardians for Life were there again in full force praying the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy and singing the songs of our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate.  Kevin from St.Thomas More, Indiana joined us for the 1st time and Gale (Gabriel Project) and Diane (CCHC) from the Johnstown area were there also.   Katie arrived around noon to swell the ranks.  We prayed and distributed an extensive amount of literature.  Lord hear our prayer to end the scourge of abortion.

Diane and Gale from Johnstown
Fr. Tim leads prayer
Guardians for Life
Kevin from Greensburg
Tom and the many Knights from Indiana

Chris was the shift manager from 1-3pm and wrote:

Another beautiful, warm day on the sidewalk praying for the little ones.  And then there were 10…  Nikki sent an appeal on Monday, thinking I would be praying alone at PP.  Nine prayer warriors heeded her call and joined me.  What a blessing!  Mary Jane and Arlene, who I met last Wednesday, returned to pray with me.  Benson had a ½ day at his high school and joined us, praying in the street, on his knees, in powerful witness.  Jennifer, mother of eight, came to pray for Life and give thanks to God for her family.  Marilyn and her husband, Tom, saw Nikki’s message and came down to pray the Rosary and Divine Chaplet on the sidewalk.  Katie was lovingly insistent, handing out potentially life-saving literature to passersby.  More than a few positive comments and “God Bless yous” were heard.  All in all, a great day to pray for those without a voice.

Benson and Jennifer

Jeannie (AKA “French off the Bench”),  wrote from the 3-5pm shift:

What a beautiful afternoon on the sidewalk. Brilliant sunshine for most of my shift and then a few rain sprinkles to cool us all off. 

On the sidewalk this afternoon was the most wonderful expression of life in every age and lived to its fullest. From Little Nick whose energy is astounding through to Wise Bill,  who sat on the barrier —— and everyone in between. We had it all. 

And we had the power of prayer most importantly. What a great group of prayer warriors today on the sidewalk. Very quiet. I noticed that the Planned Parenthood staff does not like to come out to wait to cross the street while one of us is in front of the building.  their exit for when the light is on so they can quickly passed by. I was praying in that area for a while and it made me smile to think they had to accommodate my prayer! God is good.

Volunteer from St. Joseph in Dorseyville
Dedicated members from St. Scholastica parish

 

Joe wrote from his 5-7 shift:

Transitioned into the shift a little early today by sharing with my favorite Pro-Life Sign Grommet Maker – Ms. Jeannie.  Shift overall was extremely quiet and positive – maybe it was consistent spritz of precipitation?  One young woman stopped and looked at the fetal models in amazement of the 12-week model and indicated that she was 12-weeks along.  She expressed her appreciation for us being there cheerfully moved on…

I was joined by my Shift Buddies from Holy Child – Audrey & Jim – how faithful.   We prayed a little, but mostly shared… I’ve truly been blessed on my shift – Thank “yinz”!!!

On a side-note I just wanted to briefly mention that with much talk / news lately about the courage of a women speaking up, let us also not forget women who will be Silent No More!  Maybe you saw Saturday’s Shift Report where there was a picture of a beautiful note and flowers from a mother to her son…  I cannot imagine…

The night ended with Faithful Tom, picking it up / packing it all away for hopeful tomorrow…

Attached is a photo of my Faithful Shift Buddies from Holy Child – Audrey & Jim

 

Day 8…St. Louise de Marillac Church (Upper St. Clair), Corpus Christi Parish (McKeesport) and many faithful individuals answer the call today!

Hanging on for Dear Life!

This image is how I feel right now, spiritually.  Please allow me to explain.

In my shift report last Wednesday I wrote, “As I was praying on my knees in front of Planned Parenthood, I sensed that somehow, something is now different…something has changed”.  All week I have had this feeling that the Lord has answered our prayers.  He has removed the cover of darkness and exposed evil…making it clear.  No more deception.  People are now free to choose good or evil.  Everything that we could do, has been done.  What I didn’t write in my shift report were the words that I felt the Lord gave me while I was kneeling in front of Planned Parenthood.  Those words were, It is Finished.”  I am not a prophet, so I don’t know if this is really from the Lord or not…but it seems to fit this new sense of relief that I am feeling in my soul.

I say that I have a sense of relief, but that is not a good description really…because I am working at a frantic pace all day, every day.  But as I am rushing around trying to do everything I need to do… I now feel that I am being carried along by God.  Instead of me having to do the “pushing”…it is now God doing all the work!  And it is truly a relief!  (Even though I am not resting.)

The analogy that has come to my mind is one of a group of backpackers who have hiked for many grueling days to get to the launch site for a whitewater rafting adventure.  While they were hiking through the woods, it was mostly by their own strength.  They had to push themselves to get up early and push through the physical exhaustion and discomforts of trekking through the wilderness.  Now that they are in the river, it is completely different.  It is not up to them to push themselves…the raging water will do that for them.  But, they still need to be alert and energetic!  They cannot let their guard down as they maneuver the dangers of the waterBut it is different.  The river is in control.  It is their responsibility to stay in the boat and hang on for dear life! 

That is how I feel right now.  For many years, we have struggled with our own weakness, fears, laziness…busy schedules…WHATEVER….but we have persevered in this spiritual battle against abortion.  We have held 17 consecutive 40 day prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood.  We have LABORED and have suffered weariness on occasion.  But now…oh now...we are in the water!  We see God moving!  He is now carrying us!  We don’t know how it will turn out, but we trust in HIM and know that HE is at work BIG TIME!!!  Now is not the time to relax or let our guard down, however!  It is time to pray and fast more than ever before!  If you haven’t heard, Brett Kavanaugh’s wife is asking everyone to pray Psalm 40 over their family each day.  Please pray this Psalm for them, and consider fasting as you are able.  I am also including David Daleiden in these prayers also, and have been adding the St. Michael the Archangel chaplet for him each day.  You can learn how to pray this chaplet HERE.

The Gospel from today is from Luke 9, and the verse that struck me was, No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

We have been hard at work behind the plow all these years.  Let’s not look back now!  Keep our focus on God…our spirits humble and trust in our good and gracious Lord, and HE WILL DO THE REST!!!

Read below for the shift reports from today, where many faithful brothers and sisters are keeping their hands on the plow!


Mary is a new shift manager and is doing a fabulous job!  Here is her report from 7-9am:

While it was still dark beautiful Diane arrived with our setup for the day. Diane and my faithful buddy Peg(with a big bouquet of flowers)were there to greet me when came at 7 AM. Together with Chris and Denny from St Louise de Merillac ,we said the opening prayer for day 8. Karen and Brad, also from St Louise joined us at 8 AM. Denny asked us to pray psalm 40 with him. I didn’t know until he and Chris told me that Judge Kavanaugh’s wife requested us all to say this prayer. Denny also led us in the very beautiful humility prayer,which I never heard before. I am so happy that he introduced me to it and I intend to pray it daily. At 9 AM , before we departed, Tom from St Louise arrived. Another man(also from St Louise)was on his way,stuck in traffic.It was wonderful to meet all of these beautiful people from St  Louise de Marillac-thank you so much.Our trusty manager Kathy was there to take over,along with Tom and how can I forget our friend, Evangelist Bill Lang. We had a basically uneventful shift but, I believe,a very heartfelt,quiet, prayerful, witness.   

Faithful shift buddy Peg, in prayer
Karen, Brad and Denny from St. Louise de Marillac parish held vigil all morning today!

 

 

 

 

 

Tom from St. Louise
Denny and Chris
Peggy brought a beautiful rose!

 

 

 

 

 

Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11…and wrote:

Had quiet morning praying with the good people of St Louise de Marillac.  Did talk briefly with a girl going into the clinic for birth control, and was able to give her “everyone’s biography”, the resource card and a flyer on birth control.  Later a woman stopped to say she had given up her second child for adoption because she knew she could not care for her.  Even though it was hard she knew she did the right thing.  Her first child was taken from her at age 9 because she (the mom) was on drugs.  Pray for them and  others like them.

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

Good day w 9 people from St Louise de Marillac there to pray until noon. The group included Seamus, Tom, Randy, Mary, Joe, Diane, Jean, Angela, and Matt. We prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy multiple times and distributed much literature. Arlene from St. Maurice and Paul from Christ the Light of the World Duquesne. By passers were for the most part positive some indifferent and only one negative We were all blessed to witness for life today. hank

More faithful prayer warriors from St. Louise!
St. Louise had a great showing today!
Thanks to Paul and Arleen who answered the call to come at noon today!

Chris was the manager from 1-3.  He wrote:

What beautiful weather to pray in!  At the outset I was joined by Arlene, Paul, Mary Lou from St. John Neumann (my parish), and Mary Jane.  A short while later, Nikki knelt in the street facing the doors of Planned Parenthood, in silent witness for the little ones whose lives have been and will be lost there.  What a powerful message to the workers inside those walls.  We received many positive comments and just several negative ones.  The most moving moment came when a 60-year old woman stopped by with her teenage grandson to talk with us.  She said that she had an abortion 45 years ago (1973, the year of Roe v. Wade…).  When asked if she remembered it, she looked at us sadly, and said, “Yes”.  She and her grandson looked at the fetal models and the grandmother commented to him that he was born prematurely and fit into her hand.  She pointed to our largest fetal model, and said “about that size”.  After they left, we all thought how powerful and lives-changing it would be if abortion-minded women about to enter PP could hear her story.

 

Shift Manager Chris brought a friend with him, pictured with Rose Mary who answered the call to help!
Mary Lou and Mary Jane made sure Chris had prayer companions during his shift!
Mary Lou and Chris

Jeannie wrote from her 3-5pm shift:

What a beautiful day down on the sidewalk today. I was greeted by Mary Jane and soon joined by Joe who was working double shift one for his parish and secondly a shift manager. We had several folks during our shift come up unexpectedly and say how grateful they were that we were here. These were not typical people you expect but rather a wonderful representation that abortion touches everybody.

We were joined later bye Philene from Saint Bernard‘s and we were able to do the luminous mysteries in addition to the sorrowful mysteries and even a chaplet of divine Mercy. It’s always good to be there when the school kids are coming by.   The fetal models are priceless. They all look at them.

We had 2 interesting encounters with young women who objected to us being there. One young girl said she appreciated our right to free speech but she thought the pro-life position was misogynistic. I thought it was funny that she was voicing her complaint to 2 women !

For another woman and I showed her the beautiful ‘young one’ Model we have & invited her to take it.  In both situations we presented a loving,  open, discussion-based opportunity for these women to come forward.

I hope that in the future they will stay and talk. We certainly have created a safe and loving place for it.

French off the bench

Joe and Mary Jane
Philene and Joe

And last but not least, shift manager Joe reports from the 5-7pm shift:

A stunningly beautiful Indigenous Summer evening provided the backdrop for the last shift of today…

I was blessed to be joined with Shift Buddies Benson (St. Benard’s) and Jim (Holy Child).  We shared, we prayed, and we interacted with passerby’s that stopped to talk…

Tonight’s theme seemed to be on “interaction” for which Colossians 4:6 seems to sum it up best:  

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.”

One woman passed by once and raised issues that the Fetal Models were (I’m paraphrasing now) “not accurate” 🙂  She returned a little later and re-iterated her “concerns”… I tried to explain that it was consistent with the “Watch Me Grow” flyers that we have available.  She would have none of it and offered no details as to the issues…  After she had left, Benson astutely noted that there was additional info posted on the models from The Mayo Clinic that backed up the sizes of the models and the flyer…

3 teenage girls stopped to talk, with one in particular doing the majority of the talking asking us our questions about our Pro-Life positions.  This now 2 weeks in a row, young folks have stopped to talk / discuss in a healthy way –  yes, there is hope!

I must commend Jim on how he addressed the questions from this group in a respectful and meaningful way – I just had to just shut-up / not but-in and watch the Spirit guide him – it was beautiful…

Another woman stopped by briefly to express being “confounded” by our focus on “the egg” – She didn’t stay long enough for us to talk further that Pro-Life is Pro-Woman!  

The rest of the night was spent in prayer and ended when Faithful Tom & Diane came to collect everything for tomorrow – Thanks Guys!

 

 

Day #1…St. John’s (Burry’s Church), Guardians for Life & many dedicated individuals begin our 40 day prayer vigil!

Is God using 40 Days for Life to save the FUTURE SAINTS of the Church?


In a Mass last week, held especially for our Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life team, Fr. Thomas More Sikora reflected in his homily these words;  I have no doubt that the babies saved during these 40 days will be the future saints of the Church.”

Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.  Really.  Let them sink in.  Remember them when you are standing on that cold, wet, depressing, dreary, dirty, noisy sidewalk…in front of the place that ends the lives of 3,000 human beings each year.  Think of their significance when couple after couple ignore your witness of hope and walk through the doors of death.  Be encouraged by these words when angry, wounded people lash out at you for standing for life and truth.

“I have no doubt that the babies saved during these 40 days will be the future saints of the Church.”

It makes it all worth it…doesn’t it?

I need add nothing more.  Please scroll down for photos and reports from the first day on the sidewalk…

and click HERE for photos from the kick off event last night.




First time shift manager, Mary, along with veteran shift-buddy Peggy, were on the sidewalk at 7am to greet Pastor Win and his group from Burry’s Church as they began our 40 day prayer vigil!  Here is Mary’s report:

Diane and Peggy arrived bright and early before 7 AM to deliver and set up our material for the day. Pastor Win, Ronald, and David  from St John Unit.Evan. Protestant Church arrived at 7. Together we prayed the opening prayer for day 1 of 40 days. Most people passed by without acknowledging us. Sarah heard on the radio that we were here and stopped to say thank you. Michael, a young teen stopped and asked if the babies being aborted looked like our models. He said that his Aunt worked at an abortion clinic but she really doesn’t want to. I talked to him about Abby Johnson and gave him some literature. Shatera stopped  to show her 5 year old daughter, Serenity, what she looked like in Mom’s belly. I gave her the little model that I got at the kickoff yesterday. Evangelist Bill Lang joined us for an hour and passed out literature. Peggy brought a beautiful rose to lay on the ground. Pastor WIN knelt in prayer for a long time, next to the curb with his head down,like the Fatima children. At one point, an alarm started going off and a dozen people came out for a few minutes before filing back in. Maybe it was a fire drill. There were a lot of people going into planned parenthood today. Most of them wouldn’t look at us. I hope that our prayers saved some lives. If not today,then down the road because I know that we planted some seeds.

Pastor Win with two men from Burry’s Church, along with shift buddy Peggy
Street Evangelist Bill Lang stopped by to witness

Our long-time team member Cathy had the 9-11am shift today and wrote:

Had a quiet shift, hardly anyone went into PP.  Had a few friendly comments, and a couple not so friendly comments, from passersby.  I did give out a number of “Everyone’s Biography” and the resource cards (tucked inside).

First time participant Theresa, with long-time shift manager Cathy
Pastor Win spends much of his prayer time on his knees…a powerful example of humble trust in the Lord!

Hank was the shift manager from 11-1 and he writes:

It was a very good 1st day of the 40 Days.  The Good Lord held off the predicted rain at least during the 11-1 shift and there was a lot of sidewalk traffic.  Much of the sidewalk traffic came from the international convention of Emergency Room Nurses being held at the convention center. We engaged nurses from Texas, California, Arkansas, and other states as well as some from West Africa and Iceland.  There were an abundance of prayer worriers  throughout the shift.  Fr.Tim and Fr. Thumma and the Guardians for Life (Ray, Nancy,  Irene, Gail, Rita, Donna, Brian, Celest, Terri, Mary, Lisa, Dot) and Tom F. and Tom P with the K of C.  Additionally,Theresa from the Salvation Army and Edith from St.James Swickley along with Dan from Stubenville.  If you’ve ever had the privilege of being at the vigil with the Guardians then you know the 2 hours were filled with prayer and song….alleluia, alleluia praise the Lord!!!!!  

We distributed a goodly amount of literature and received many “thanks” and “God bless you.”   One woman did challenge the accuracy of the fetal models and another was verbally abusive, but the day was overwhelmingly positive.

Faithful Knights of Columbus

Chris had the 1-3pm shift.  He wrote:

When I drive downtown for the first shift of a new campaign, I sometimes feel a little trepidation.  All that melts away when I’m greeted by the faithful Guardians for Life and Hank, the 11am shift manager.  The weather held for the first hour and then the heavens let loose.  I was joined by John, Dan from Steubenville, Nicholas, and Dianna.  Edith was lovingly relentless in offering pro-life literature to passersby and clients exiting PP.  We received more than a few “God bless you’s” from people walking by and I got to meet some babies with their Moms and Dads.  One of the women who stopped to talk is four months pregnant and was radiating happiness and joy.  Not a single negative comment was heard.  Now, if I had just remembered to bring my flower…

Dan came all the way from Steubenville OH to pray today!
John is a long time pro-lifer from St. Valentine parish
Nicholas and Dianna

Jeannie was the shift manager from 5-7 and was very grateful that a dedicated individual signed up so she didn’t have to be alone!  Thank you Joe!  Jeannie writes:

We had all three seasons out today!!! All of them lovely—- and,  I might be one of the few people that is happy to have the new street  arrangement outside of Planned Parenthood. Certainly for times when there aren’t abortion -bound women, the ability to stand right in front of the entrance is a real bonus. Joe and I were happy to use the waterproof cards and pray a few scriptural rosaries snack – dab in the view Of the main doors !  No incidents of displeasure and several thumbs up from the passersby

Thank you Joe for making sure shift manager Jeannie wasn’t alone!!!

Joe K. had the 5-7pm shift and wrote:

Starting Day #1 / Shift #1 with a reflection for the campaign – Ephesians 4:2

…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love…

The weather looked a little ominous to start the 1st shift, but it all held off…yeah!!!

I was blessed to be joined on the inaugural shift with my shift buddies Jim and Audrey from Holy Child in Bridgeville.  We prayed, shared, and talked.  A couple of passerby’s stopped to talk about their views and ask questions about the vigil and our views…

Audrey talked with a woman who was obviously impacted from a prior abortion and Roger engaged us in a respectful and meaningful discussion of his opposing views, but seemed open to listening – Folks that often want to “talk” to us also don’t often want to listen, Roger did – With God’s grace I believe we handled it all with humility, gentleness, patience, and love!  

The very busy / early foot traffic faded quickly – Jim F., as usual, stopped by on his way home. 

We were also joined near the end of the shift by Lynda and some of Audrey’s students from Duquesne U. It’s always a joy and blessing to have the next generation present – it’s hope, a sign to me, that the next generation is queued-up and that God’s Will will be done – Victory is assured (though no one said it would be easy)!!!

The evening ended peacefully and thankfully to all who became a part of this evening…

Benson is a high school student who is extraordinarily dedicated to defending human life! He commits to come to the vigil nearly every day during the 40 days! With shift buddies Audrey and Jim
Some of Audrey’s students from Duquesne University join her on the sidewalk

 

Thanks to all who prayed and witnessed today!  May God continue to keep His  Mighty Hand upon us and use us for His Good purpose!

In Christ,

Nikki

 

40 Days for Life begins NEXT WEEK…HELP NEEDED!!!

40 Days for Life kicks off NEXT TUESDAY evening at 7pm inside St. Paul Cathedral’s SYNOD HALL, and the 40 day prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood begins at 7am NEXT WEDNESDAY!

As of right now, just 64 churches have signed up for a time slot.  There are still 25 churches that took part last time that have not signed up yetIf you have not yet signed up, please look at the schedule HERE and email me to take your slot.Out of 480 hours, only 320 hours are now filled with church groups.  That leaves 160 hours that we need to fill!  Of those 160 hours, there are 48 hours that are absolutely critical because the shift manager has no one to stand with them!


I understand people’s reluctance to do this…I really do!  If God wasn’t giving me the motivation and the strength to do this, there is NO WAY that I could!!!  No one wants to go to Planned Parenthood.  Not the prayer volunteers, not the women going for abortions…not even the workers.  It is a dismal, depressing and dark place.
But the truth is that our presence and prayers are important!  Lives are saved from abortion, hearts are changed and souls saved!

My heart melted yesterday when a woman, whom I now call my friend, texted me photos of her little girl on her first day of school.  This woman went to Planned Parenthood a few years ago…scared and thinking abortion was the only answer.  Because we were there to give her hope and courage…little “A” is now a happy little pre-schooler.  It was just what I needed to see yesterday, as the stress and discouragement of trying to persuade and beg folks to give up a few hours of their time to come to pray was starting to weigh on me.  Seeing this little girl, alive and with a whole lifetime of promise and possibilities ahead of her…and seeing how much my friend has grown closer to God and is being blessed in her life…I was reminded of how important this work is. 

It is a stark, cold fact that if no one had been in front of Planned Parenthood that day, my friend would not have her beautiful daughter, but would have only an empty hole in her heart instead.

I have learned that when we trust God and step out of our comfort zones, out of love for Him, that HE blesses, restores and fills us with everything we need!  He is always ready to fill us with his grace…but like a pond already filled…the water becomes stagnant and can no longer receive any more unless we have outlets for that water!  It is only when we give ourselves away to others that we have room for God to fill us with fresh grace.

So please help us as you can!  Click HERE to see the schedule and let me know when you can come.  And please consider helping by taking the MOST CRITICAL hours, when shift managers are alone.  They are:

Mondays from 3-5pm
Tuesdays from 3-5 and 5-7pm
Wednesdays from 1-3pm
Thursdays from 1-3pm and 3-5pm
Fridays from 1-3pm

Help to spread the word at your church by using the FLYER and BULLETIN ANNOUNCEMENT (both linked) in your church bulletin, and join us at our KICK OFF EVENT (linked).

I hope to see you on the sidewalk!

In Christ,

Nikki Bruni

 

URGENT REQUEST! Vigil is only half-filled with just two weeks to go!!!

Our 40 Day Vigil is looking pretty patchy right now!  We have only 240 of the 480 hours filled! 

40 Days for Life is an opportunity to show the world and our God that we love Him and each other, by standing in a united, unbroken wall of prayer and Christian witness for 40 days.  God is using 40 Days for Life in a powerful way!  Unfortunately, unless many more people sign up, it is looking like all we may be able to muster is a weak, pitiful, broken-down wall.

If you haven’t signed up yet…or if you have signed up, but can still do more…PLEASE check out the vigil schedule HERE and then email me to sign up for as many empty hours as possible.

I understand that there is a lot of bad things happening in the world and in the Church right now, and many people are bewildered and discouraged.  But, there are also a lot of exciting and good things happening as well!  God is on the move and He is coming to rescue us…but we may have to endure some hard times before that happens.  Stay strong in your faith and do not give up the fight for goodness and love!  The truth is, if we cannot even manage to have three individuals on the sidewalk in prayer from 7am to 7pm for forty days…if there are not enough Christians in Pittsburgh that believe that God will answer the prayers of His children when they humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways…then truthfully…we do not deserve to see God end abortion.  I apologize if that sounds harsh.  I understand that everyone cannot do everything.  There are many worthy causes that I do not participate in myself, and I know that everyone cannot come to Planned Parenthood during the 40 days to  pray.  I am not being critical.  But there are a LOT of Christians in Pittsburgh…and surely there are 480 people who can each take just ONE hour out of 480 hours to come at pray on the sidewalk.

SO, please help if you can!  And please also sign up to help us in our 40 day fast by clicking HERE. 

Help spread the word at your church by using the bulletin announcement (HERE) 

And make sure to join us at the KICK OFF EVENT on Tuesday, September 25th at 7pm in Synod Hall in Oakland!  Rev. Adam Stump, Fr. Chris Donley and musician Katy Blythe will motivate and inspire us to begin this 40 day journey of prayer, witness and fasting!  I expect to see miracles during these forty days!

May God bless you!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki Bruni

nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com


(Scroll down to see photos from the memorial service for the observance of Remembrance Day last Saturday at St. Paul Cathedral, where the lives of those who have died from abortion were honored.)

Many thanks to Charlene for organizing it and to Fr. Kris for leading the prayers!  Charlene wrote:

The Blessed Virgin’s Birthday…and Remembering the Victims of Abortion who are are with their Blessed Mother in Heaven. It was a day that helps us think about why we are on the sidewalk, why we kneel, why we pray and why we sacrifice. We pray that someday, our Memorial Service will be about times past. Charlene

Our Best Moments…

Our Best Moments…

Last summer, while enjoying the music of Randy Koslosky’s family polka band at St. John the Baptist parish festival, I was captivated by the sight of a large, tattooed dad…dancing with his little daughter.  This bearded, burly-looking tough guy was merrily bouncing up and down holding his little girl, who looked to be about three. He didn’t seem the dancing type, and I thought to myself, “What else would be able to get a man like this to dance in public…other than the love he obviously has for his daughter?”  I was struck by the truth that children make us BETTER people!

For instance, my daughter in law gave birth to twins this past July.  My son is young, just 25…and they just got married last August.  So, before their first anniversary arrived…they became parents of a son and a daughter!  That is a sure way to grow up fast!  So, my son…who has always loved his video games…now spends more time cuddling, feeding and changing his little ones.  Although he misses his video games…I know he will look back on this time in his life with pride.  He won’t be sad about the video games that went un-played.  He will be happy for the time he was able to spend bonding with his children.  But if he were given the choice right now…I bet he would choose the video games.

I am the same way.  If I have the choice…I will choose selfishly.  My mom had a knee replacement last week, and so she has needed me lately.  Some evenings, as I collapse into bed and I think back upon the day, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to help my mom, and I feel satisfied that I accomplished something worthwhile and meaningful.  Realistically though, I know that would have spent my time on other things if I had been given the choice.  On Monday, I actually had the opportunity to spend my day as I chose.  I ended up being lazy, wasting time and eating too much.  When I went to bed that evening, I didn’t have the sense of satisfaction that I had on those days when I did NOT get to choose how I wanted to spend my day.  I am realizing more and more that our FAMILIES make us BETTER!  Family connections, responsibilities and obligations keep us from focusing on our selfish selves…which, at least speaking for myself…I will do every time if given the chance!  (Is it any wonder that the FAMILY is the area that Satan seems to be the most intent on destroying?)

I believe that our best moments are always those in which we have given ourselves away for the good of someone else.  

This is what we get to do during the 40 Days for Life.  We get to give ourselves away!  We get to do something that we really wouldn’t choose to do…if we are honest.  But when we lay our heads on our pillows at night, and we think back on our day…we will have the satisfaction that we did something that may have saved a life from abortion. We may have changed a heart from death to life, and a soul may have been saved.  We probably won’t find out about it until we get to Heaven…but we know that by our prayers and our presence, we have made a difference.  We have accomplished something important!

We need YOUR presence at the 40 Days for Life vigil from September 26th through November 4th!  Our vigil is less than half-filled!  Go to http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/ to see what hours need filled, and then email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com to let me know how you can help.

This is an important time to continue the prayer, fasting and peaceful witness to end abortion!  Never have I heard so much about the possibility of the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade as I do now.  On one hand, it is exciting because we can see God moving in a powerful way!  He is shining his light…exposing the evil that has been permitted to grow in the hidden, dark places.  It is encouraging to see this!  But on the other hand, it is disturbing to see the fierceness of those who prefer the darkness.  They are absolutely LOSING THEIR MINDS!!!  We really need to just keep our focus on Jesus and pray like never before!  Come to the vigil.  Kneel in prayer if you can.  And remember to bring a flower in honor of a lost child to leave on the sidewalk.

You will be glad you came.

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki