Day 41…Thanks to all who made our 40 Days for Life fall campaign a success!

The precious baby pictured here was just born last Thursday…and was saved from abortion when her mother arrived at Planned Parenthood last April for an abortion, but instead decided to accept help from our sidewalk advocates!  We are praising God for this beautiful life and wonder what plans God has in store for her!

We thank God for all of the wonderfully selfless, dedicated people who prayed, fasted and witnessed for life during these past 40 days! We know of 2 lives saved, but believe that God used us to save MANY more that we may never know about. He is faithful and good to those who love Him…and we DO LOVE HIM!!! Our next 40 days begins on February 26th. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas…and I will see you in February!

Enjoy these photos from our closing celebration:

It was wonderful to see Al back on the sidewalk, thanks to his beautiful daughter, Alicia for bringing him! Doesn’t she look like her mom?
Thank you Fr. Thomas More for coming all the way from St. Vincent’s in Greensburg to lead our prayer on the sidewalk!!!
A beautiful time of candlelit prayer and song tonight!
Al and Alicia joining in song!
Nice turn out for the closing of our vigil on the sidewalk tonight!
it was a beautiful night!
Our Christian fellowship kept us warm and cozy on a chilly night!
Melissa closed us with a prayer that she wrote.
The fun and fellowship begins!
Fr. Jason Charon, of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church inspired us with encouraging stories of lives that seemed hopeless but that God used for amazing things!
Benson is only 18 years old but is on fire for pro-life work! He spoke about the exciting place we are at in the pro-life movement and about the very real possibility that we may see Roe overturned and the importance of the next election! He is one sharp young man! Thanks Benson!
Fr. Thomas More encouraged us with stories of saints and reminded us of the importance of our presence on the sidewalk!
Al was laughing at Emcee Joe’s antics…just like old times…only missing Sally! It just isn’t the same without her.
Emcee Joe
Al got a standing ovation when he spoke about his lifelong fight to save lives from abortion!
Al spoke about years of sidewalk advocacy…Picketing Magee Hospital, handing out leaflets at high schools, standing in front of PP three days a week for 30 years, Face the Truth…and more! He was presented with a scrapbook from our team, including photos and messages from the team.
Our scheduling ladies…Donna and Fran…what a great team!
Fr. Jason’s daughter, Nikki and Fr. Thomas More, enjoying the speakers.

Day 36…Thanks to St. John’s United Evangelical Protestant (Burry’s) Church, McKeesport Area Catholic Churches, Redeemer Orthodox Church & Individual volunteers!

Watch where you walk!

Brethren: See to it that you walk with care: not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5: 15-17

This was the reading from my daily missal this morning, and I thought it was a good verse to reflect on, after seeing the huge sinkhole that opened up just two blocks from our vigil site at Planned Parenthood!

Maybe I am seeing too much with spiritual eyes…but to me, this sink hole speaks volumes about the state of our world right now. I took this photo yesterday when I was downtown for my shift. There was a crowd of other amused people who were also taking photos. I think the reason we are so amazed at this sight is that most of us expect that the solid road underneath our vehicle is just that…SOLID. When something that appears solid and strong… suddenly and without warning, simply gives way…it is very surprising! Who would ever expect something like that to happen? But the false sense of security that we have…to expect what APPEARS to be solid to actually BE solid is because we only see the surface. We cannot see what is going on underneath. No one knew that for years, something was going on underneath that road surface…a water line leaking…or whatever…that destabilized the ground underneath the pavement. It kept washing away, leaving just a thin shell of pavement to support the heavy buses and cars. Until the moment came when it collapsed. I wonder if the same thing is happening with our culture? How long can our civilized society continue to function, while we continue to kill our own children by abortion? I picture our families and our faith as being the bedrock…the SOLID GROUND that supports our civilization. Abortion, the killing of our own, innocent children, whose blood is running underneath the foundation of our nation…is destabilizing our foundation. Surely, we are sitting on top of a sink hole much larger than the one in Pittsburgh. It is just a matter of time…

I heard the testimony of Patricia Sandoval at St. Anne’s Church last night. Patricia had three abortions between the ages of 19 and 21 that completely wrecked her life. To help justify her abortions, she took a job at an abortion clinic. When she saw the gruesome reality of abortion first hand, she had to face the fact that she had not aborted three “sacks of cells”…but had killed three of her very own children…and it sent her into a downward spiral of drug addiction which led to eventual homelessness. She is a very pretty woman, had been popular in high school and was a straight A student…with big dreams of success. How did she go from such high expectations to living on the streets…a gaunt skeletal figure with no hair? The answer? The foundation underneath her life had been washed away by the evil culture which had infiltrated her family and school:

When she was 12 years old, Planned Parenthood came into her school to teach them about sex. Patricia was embarrassed when she was shown how to put a condom on a banana. At 12, she was still playing with dolls…the thought of sex had never even occurred to her! Planned Parenthood also taught them about masturbation…encouraging them to do it! They were told about “safe sex” and were told that if they got pregnant, an abortion would take care of it. Abortion was simply a removal of a “sack of cells“…and it was a woman’s right! This was a classroom of innocent, naive children…the perfect prey for Planned Parenthood. The soil of their souls was soft and tender…all the easier for Planned Parenthood to dig underneath…destabilizing it…making it vulnerable for a future collapse. So, of course, when Patricia practiced “safe sex“, as she had been taught…and got pregnant…she chose abortion. And when “safe sex” failed again…another abortion. And for the third time…again. Planned Parenthood’s mission was accomplished. A ruined life. A ruined soul. A young beautiful woman full of potential…numbing her pain with drugs…pulling all her hair out and sleeping on the streets. The sinkhole had collapsed.

Depressing story, isn’t it? It sure would be…if it ended there. But thanks to God, it didn’t! As Patricia hit rock bottom and was curled up in a fetal position on the sidewalk, a waitress from a restaurant across the street saw her crying and came outside to embrace her and told her that God loves her and would forgive whatever she had done. Patricia remembered the God that she had loved as a child…the God that she had written love letters to and tied them to balloons to send them to Him in Heaven. She went back home…the prodigal daughter. She promised God that she would spend the rest of her life working to undo the damage that she had done. She went through a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, where she received the grace to meet her three children; a girl with curly hair, a little boy and a smaller girl. She knew she had been forgiven by God, but had not been able to forgive herself until she saw her children…ALIVE and JOYFUL! They told her how much they loved her and couldn’t wait to have her join them in Heaven. Once she knew her children had forgiven her, she was finally able to forgive herself and heal.

After hearing her difficult life story, I had the impression of the terrible darkness that fills the abortion clinics. We stand outside of them for so many hours that I think we get callous and forget just how terrible and dark they are inside. We are outside where the light of Christ dwells…in our prayers and in our presence. It truly is where light meets darkness. The place where the light meets the darkness is like a horizon during a sunset…where you can see the outline of every tree branch. Or…another analogy came to mind…

It is like the painting of a master…where the brushstrokes of light highlight the most beautiful part of the image...exactly because of the darkest parts contrasting against them. They become the focal points of the painting. We are that focal point on God’s canvas when we pray outside of abortion clinics.

Let’s let God continue to paint His Masterpiece with our lives as HE wills! Lord, let your will be done!

Help us to close our vigil THIS SUNDAY from 6-6:30 pm in front of Planned Parenthood…closing prayers led by Pastor Joe Stump, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Pot-luck social fun and fellowship at 6:30 in the Catholic Charities Welcome Center! Please bring something yummy to share! See you there!

Now, on to the shift reports from today!

Peggy & Carissa from 7-9 am

A lady stopped and told us she got pregnant at 14. Kept the baby.now that little girl is now finishing her PHD.
The joy of her life! I am only sorry I did not get her picture.

Peggy
Pastor Win from St. John’s (Burry’s) Church is a faithful warrior for Christ!
Shift Buddy Carissa with David and Ron from St. John’s (Burry’s) Church
Evangelist Bill

Cathy & Elsie from 9-11 am

Thank you to Win, David, and Ron from St. John-Burry’s Church, evangelist Bill, Priscilla-St John Baptist, Sharon – Sacred Heart, and Debbie – Epiphany for coming to pray today.  
It was mostly uneventful during the shift – a few not nice comments but more smiles and “thank you”s.  However, a young woman walked past three of us women and stopped and engaged the  men.  They told me after she left she said
the sign one was wearing –  “Unborn lives matter” was an usurpation of “Black Lives Matter” and disrespectful. (I wonder if she thinks black babies lives matter?)  She was proud to be a patient of PP and thinks they’re great.  She later returned with a list of things we should/not do to have better success.  Said she was a teacher. Her “protest suggestions included:
-Prayer groups in your place of worship
-Call your senator
-Don’t call people you disagree with child murderers
PS:  Also Christian.  Any 
God who loves all humans would be unhappy.”   

Cathy

Hank & Judy write from the 11 -1 shift

The last Wed of 40 Days was like many of the other Weds, Debbie from Epiphany was with us for the 11-12 hour as she has been throughout the vigil, and Fr.Tim and the Guardians of Life (David, Bill, Tom, Tom, Priscilla, Sharon, Ron, Rudolph, Sr.James  Anne, Gail, Mary and Terri) were out in force as they also have been most of the Weds. Helen and Pat from the McKeesport grouping and Melanie, her daughter Anne and granddaughter Amelia came down from Summerset. Anne’s husband is an army surgeon currently deployed to the middle east.  He is saving lives as his wife and the rest of the 40 Dayers are praying to do. God bless and protect him and St.Michael the Archangel stand guard over him as you do over us.  Almost no PP visitors, but lots of street traffic and a significant amount of literature distributed. Lots of prayers (multiple rosaries, Devine Mercy, Stations of the Cross) and praising God in song.  Many positive and encouraging comments, few if any negatives.   LaDina, an African American woman, stopped by and gave us a copy of a book she has written (Killing Grace) on the evils of abortion.  We look forward to a review of the book in a future issue of the PCUC Newsletter.  All in all it was a wonderful way to finish off the Weds of the vigil….we will preserver in our prayer and witness until the Lord brings this scourge to an end!!  AMEN AND AMEN!!

Hank

Chris, John and Rege “man” the sidewalk from 1-3 pm

The pleasant weather continued today.  I was joined in prayer by John, Frank, Joe, Dave, Nancy, Diane, and shift buddy Rege.  Upon arrival on the sidewalk, we joined Father Tim and his Guardians for Life praying the Luminous Mysteries and lifting their prayers up in song.  Later during the shift, we prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries, taking turns leading the decades.    Rege, on the other side of the half-circle, prayed several Rosaries while on his knees.   We heard more than a couple words of encouragement and support from passersby and I didn’t hear one negative comment (a first for me this campaign).  Jeannie arrived early for her shift and spread rose petals within the half-circle, to commemorate the lives lost inside the building.  She took advantage of the new freedom to lovingly counsel women and couples heading to PP’s door.   When her shift started, Jeannie came outside the semi-circle, put a sign around her neck and was replaced by Virginia as a sidewalk counselor.
 

Chris

Jeannie & Virginia write from the 3-5 shift

Great last day on the pavement. Shift buddies Marilyn and Virginia finished strong. Joe Krol and his church pals from McKeesport were there too. John – faithful prayer warrior joined us as well. Since we had multiple shift managers I found it so interesting to be inside the line with resource cards. A few negative comments but TONS of affirmation including a beautifully pregnant lawyer who stopped to say she was so glad to see us inside the line!! I know my shift buddies will continue on after the 40 days- praise be to God!  

Addendum: I have been missing my umbrella lately-it was a sentimental one given to me after my aunt passed away. Today I brought a big umbrella in the car but I forgot it. So what happened? Of course it rained. Joe K very kindly reached into the bag to give me an umbrella to use from the spares and guess what? It was my late auntie’s umbrella.!!! I have never been so happy for rain in my life! It’s those small moments when we get a sign from God that he really and truly is smiling down on us. God rest your soul Theresa, and thanks be to God for rain!

Jeannie

Joe and David close out today from 5-7 pm

Last Wednesday shift started softly – similar to the drizzle we were experiencing…
 
My reliable Shift Buddy Dave answered the call again to make sure that I was not alone – Thanks Dave!
 
We were shortly joined by Kevin with whom we prayed and shared.
 
First timers, Redeemer North Boroughs joined in and were immediately showered by a middle aged / slightly-altered state couple armed to the gills with typical pro-life edge cases…
 
Talk about baptism by fire (or raindrops in today’s case)…  These young ladies handled it beautifully, with sincerity and attentiveness – letting the woman state her case / position…
 
Not shy, they continued to do the Daily Reflection as well as the Pro-Life
intentions on the back of the Baby Picture signs…  Impressive!
 
The evening was also sprinkled with a few folks that we haven’t seen in a while… Jim from St. Maurice, and Jim, and Lisa…
 
For an evening that was supposed to be lightly attended, it was more that can be asked for – Blessed and reminded that He always provides!!!
 
Tom packed up Wednesday for Thursday as the evening came to soft landing…

Joe K.
Thanks to these first-timers from Redeemer Orthodox Church! Well done, good and faithful servants!

Day 29…Thanks to the Monroeville/Penn Hills Parishes and all the brave souls who showed up today!

When we heard the news that President Trump would be holding a rally today at the convention center here in Pittsburgh, a discussion was had as to whether or not we should cancel the sidewalk vigil. In addition to the logistical problems of parking and road closures, we were worried that our close proximity to the rally could put us in danger of being targeted by anti-Trump protesters. I have always preferred to err on the side of caution, mainly because it is OTHER people’s safety that I am concerned with, and somehow that is more of a burden than simply worrying about my own. However, I have been trying something new lately. And that something new is TRUST“.

I was praying at the vigil with Dolores a couple weeks ago, and in between prayers she told me a story that has influenced the way in which I pray. She said that she knows one of the Sisters of Divine Providence, whose congregation has recently moved to Pittsburgh. This Sister was telling her that when you pray and ask God for something, you had BETTER trust that He will answer! She said that she always asks the Blessed Mother to pray for her to be able to find a parking space when she comes into town. One morning, after praying that prayer, and seeing that all the garages had “filled” signs on them, she pulled up to the entrance and told the attendant that she had reserved a parking space in advance. He shrugged and let her in…and sure enough…there was a space for her! She didn’t lie or deceive…she TRULY TRUSTED that the Lord would provide! Dolores and I both giggled about this story…but seriously…it has affected the way in which I pray.

So…when I prayed about whether or not we should cancel the vigil today…I remembered that Sister’s simple, child-like trust...(which Jesus said we must have!) And so, I decided to ask our team to pray and fast, that God would protect us today. Many of us did that yesterday. So today, with the trust of a child, we simply pulled into that parking space!

Before we get to the sidewalk reports from today, I want to let you know of an exciting pro-life event coming up! Abby Johnson will be speaking at SS. John & Paul Church in Franklin Park on Thursday, December 5th at 7 pm! Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased at this link: https://greatgrouping.org/johnson If you have never heard her story, I highly recommend it! There are still lots of tickets available! Get yours today and I will see you there!!!

Here are the stories from all of those who TRUSTED God Today….

Peggy & Carissa 7-9

All is calm. Traffic very light.
Working people must have stayed home.

Peggy
Fran came early this morning and stayed until the rally began.

Cathy 9-11

Joined by shift buddy Billy, Kevin, Debbie, and Fran. There was not a lot of activity, either on the street or in/out of the clinic, likely because of the road closures for the President’s visit.  Praying for PP workers and clients as well as for the safety of all in town today.

Cathy
Cathie, Priscilla, and Billy
Kevin came from Saint Bernard’s church in the morning and then again in the afternoon.
Linda came from Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Hank & Judy 11-1

Be still and know that I am God!  It was a quiet day, very little street traffic and much less foot traffic than usual so more time to quietly pray with the realization that the Lord’s voice is not in the strong wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire but in the tiny whispering sound which is best heard when we are still.  When I arrived for the shift Nikki was there praying quietly on her knees and Debbie, on the opposite side of the circle,  was quietly praying the rosary.  We were joined shortly afterwards by Lynda from 4th Presbyterian and Fran from St John the Baptist.  We received a number of negative responses to our presence including a young woman who pulled over the stand with the models, but we also received a good many positive comments.  Blessed be the Lord our God who is our strength and or shield!!  To Him be glory and praise for ever and ever!!

Hank
Lynda and Debbie
This man came all the way from Kittanning to pray today.
Changing of the guard, Hank, Chris and John

Chris, Rege & John 1-3

Another afternoon of gorgeous weather praying on the sidewalk.  Probably because of the President’s visit three blocks away, there seemed to be less foot-traffic on Liberty Avenue and, according to their website, PP was closed today, although the doors were open.   The only women I saw enter the facility were workers.  I was joined in multiple Rosaries by Bob, John, Nikki, Beverly, and Sarah, as Kevin prayed in the street, outside the semi-circle.  Nikki prayed on her knees and also led a Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Chris

A man stopped and prayed with us, we prayed Melissa’s prayer that she sent to the team, it is an awesome prayer! We need to get it laminated and keep it at the vigil! Another man stopped and wanted to know what the circle was for and when we told him that those who are opposed to abortion cannot go in it he said that he would have to walk around it also, so he did, in solidarity with us.

In the early hours, many people were supportive and thanked us for being there, but as it got later, there was more hostility. One young woman walked past and very quickly sent our fetal model display flying across the sidewalk. No harm done, I blessed her and then picked up the materials.

Nikki
Sara from St. Louise
Changing of the guard again, Missy, Jeannie, and Rege

Jeannie & Virginia 3-5

What a beautiful afternoon on the sidewalk. It was a bit chilly but sunny and Pro lifers showed up today! It seems everyone came early for their shifts and extra people stopped by. We had a handful of cranky folks opposing the president but none of them really seemed up for a reasonable conversation about why we were there. Conversely, a gentleman from oil city and his son who is in the Air Force stopped to thank us for being there, and a gentleman who was part of the airportConvoy parked his car along the side and came out to tell us his life was wonderful because his daughter had a baby girl in May and she was not married and the baby was unexpected. He said the little girl is the joy of his life. It was funny how the two sides of the political side were demonstrated today. My favorite comment was a young couple in their late teens early 20s walked by and took a look at the fetal models. As they were walking by the girl turned to the young man and said, “wow they look just like little people in there!” He said, “well they’re not.” And she said “yeah look at them.” What a beautiful confirmation that the truth will prevail.

Jeannie
Pictured in the group which was pro life strong are Nikki and Joe and Regis and Marilyn and Virginia and Victor (who stopped by on his own ) and Steve who was an added part of team life. We are ready for whatever challenges God may send us.
Lots of volunteers

Joe K & David 5-7

Scheduled folks from the Monroeville / Penn Hills parishes, including Dave and myself…  
Exact order back to front:  Dave, Ed, Lisa, Jean, and Ken from Monroeville/Penn Hills Parishes, and Joe.

Arrived early and the drive in was spooky light with traffic on a golden fall weekday afternoon. Caught-up with Shift Manager’s Jeannie and Virginia as well as Nikki who had been there practically all day – Bless you all!  
Lots-o-lots of foot traffic…  
Prayed and shared…  Early on in the shift seemed to contain more negative comments – the fetal models certainly do seem to hit a “nerve” (aka conscience)…  Amazing to watch Jeannie and Nikki respond beautifully to the drive-by-ers…  
A few folks seemed to want to engage politically, but were politely and brilliantly invited by Jeannie to pray with us…
 
As the afternoon faded to evening the faces seemed to get more friendlier and supportive… The good folks from the Monroeville/Penn Hills Parishes:  Ed, Lisa, Jean and Ken joined Dave and myself in prayer and sharing.
 
The shift ended as calm as it started. Thanks and blessings to all those that came down today and to those praying and fasting for a safe day!!!
 

joe K.

Day 22…Thanks to St. John & St. Mary (Export/Delmont), Guardians for Life, and many dedicated (and soggy) volunteers!!!

Sally’s funeral at Most Precious Blood of Jesus Church this morning…a packed house!

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life…

…Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her: “Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.” Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Proverbs 31:10-12 & 28-31

Today’s epistle in the traditional Catholic readings couldn’t have been a more fitting description of our dear Sally on the day she was laid to rest. It was inspiring to see the church so full of people this morning…each person, touched in some way by knowing Sally. I have never been to a funeral of a person her age that had such a large crowd! It was truly a testament to an amazing life, fully and faithfully lived!

I needed something to shake me out of my discouragement and apathy…to continue this battle to end abortion. How did Sally and Al do it for so many years without giving up? How were they so strong? Why didn’t they get discouraged? I needed to know their secret!

Yesterday, I watched the You Tube testimony of Patricia Sandoval…because she will be speaking at St. Ann Church on October 28th, and I knew I would be spreading the word in my blog post today. (I will post the details for this event at the end of this reflection.) Anyway, as I watched her testimony, the seemingly brusque tone with which she described her three abortions…and then the gruesome description of assisting with abortions while working in an abortion clinic, really made me feel angry and discouraged. I was ready to stop the video right in the middle…but something made me keep watching. As I got to the part when she hit rock bottom, after becoming a homeless drug addict…I saw God’s grace and mercy reach out to save her. It was just the thing I needed to re-light the fire in my soul! (Disclaimer: Her tone was not really brusque…she was just being totally honest about her experiences. It was because of MY weakness and fatigue that I took her tone to be “brusque”.)

I guess after years of pro life work, it’s probably normal to become numb to the outright atrocity that is abortion, and to feel fatigue. Maybe Sally and Al were able to continue this work for so long because they never forgot just how horrible every single abortion is! If YOU need a boost, to REMIND you of WHY we do this… I recommend that you watch her testimony HERE, and then, register to attend the free event to hear her speak in person at St. Anne Church. Email Kathy at moozie51@gmail.com to register. The event is on Monday, Oct. 28th at 7pm (400 Hoodridge Dr., Pittsburgh 15234).

I will close with a story that Sally and Al’s oldest son shared at her eulogy today. He, (Frank), said that while he and his siblings have not had the time to be actively involved in pro-life work, as their parents were… all eleven of them are pro-life because of the values that their parents instilled in them. He said that 13 years ago, he and his wife were hosting a dinner party at their home in Florida. While the guests were gathering in the kitchen before dinner, one woman reached into the refrigerator to grab a beer. As she opened the beer, she casually said to her friends, “Even though I’m pregnant, I may as well have a beer…since I am getting an abortion next week anyway. Frank was horrified, hearing those words. What did he do? What would any of us do??? Well…what he did was this; He proceeded to remove ALL the beer from the fridge and lined them all up on the kitchen counter. Then he said to her, “Well, if you are going to kill the kid anyway…you may as well go ahead and kill him right now!” As you might guess…that was the end of the dinner party! Everyone left and the party was ruined. However….Frank ended this story by saying, “But now, there is a 13-year-old boy who is driving his parents crazy!” A life was saved because of his reacting according to his pro life values, which were instilled in him by Al and Sally! Their legacy goes on. And lives are saved…

I imagine Sally can now see, from Heaven, just HOW MANY lives have been saved because of her life-long faithfulness and self-sacrifice! THANK YOU SALLY!!!

Today’s stories from the sidewalk…

Peggy 7-9 am

God’s people are good! Due to cancellations because of illness, Peggy was scheduled to do her shift all alone this morning. An email went out last night asking for help…and help arrived! What a fantastic 40 Days for Life family we have here in Pittsburgh! Thanks to all who came and prayed in the pouring rain this morning!!!

Peg
Answering the call…Kathy, Phil and Denny…along with Bill, David and others!
Off-duty shift manager, David, drove all the way from Weirton to answer the call this morning!
Our amazing Diane is so creative when it comes to assuring our vigil materials stay dry!

Cathy 9-11 am

Joined, on this wet am, by Priscilla, Dean and Debbie.  Fairly quiet, only a few went inside – some friendly passersby.

Cathy
Elsie was sick today, so Priscilla and Dean answered the call to pray with Cathy! Feel better Elsie!!!

Hank & Judy 11-1

Oh what a beautiful day!!……..the sun was brightly shinning we just couldn’t see it with all the clouds and rain.  It rained the entire shift but it’s always a beautiful day when you can pray together with brothers and sisters in Christ like the Guardians of Life and St. John/St. Mary’s parish in Delmont/Export, including Fr.Tim, Don, Anna Marie, Sr. James Anne, Joe, Tom, Brian, Irene and Terri.  We were also joined by Debbie from Epiphany and Karen from the Latin Mass Community.  Because of the rain we did not hand out any literature. There was very little street traffic given the rain, but we stormed heaven with the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Divine Mercy and Litany in Response to Abortion.  Several people thanked us,  gave us a thumbs-up or a shout-out with their horn as they passed by in their car.  The rain slowed to a drizzle when Rege (SM) and Brian, a first-timer (signed up at the kick-off), arrived and the Son was still shinning!!

Hank & Judy
Thanks to Debbie from Epiphany for filling in during needed hours today!!!
Joe and Don from the K of C
Sr. James Ann with the Guardians for Life
Don and Anna Marie from St. John/St. Mary (Export/Delmont)
Fr. Tim and Guardians for Life
Karen from Most Precious Blood of Jesus parish
Terri and Don

Rege & John 1-3 pm

John and I were joined for the first hour by Kevin. It was his first time. God bless him! We started the shift with rosary in one hand and umbrella in the other. Six or seven young women entered PP. One young woman spoke to Kevin before going into the clinic saying, “I’m going for STD testing. I don’t believe in killing babies.” REGE

Rege
First timer Kevin, with shift manager Rege

Jeannie & Virginia 3-5 pm

We had a very good prayerful time on the sidewalk today. My shift buddy Virginia was there as well as Marilyn from Saint Bernard’s. Suki joined us as did John for a little while. We even had a special visit by Bill our every day shift buddy. Rain was no match for the hearts of prolife first today. I was intrigued by the footwear each of us wear. It is time to put our boots on the sidewalk!

Jeannie
Thanks to Marilyn and Virginia for praying on a gloomy day!
Suki, in prayer

Jim & Audrey 5-7 pm

The 5:00 to 7:00 shift today was small, prayerful, and eventful.  There was a Pens game tonight, so there were more people passing on the street than on a typical rainy, cold Wednesday evening.  Thao, Jim, and Audrey were the prayer warriors.  Thao was approached by a young woman who was homeless and pregnant.  Thao provided her with information about Catholic Charities and they talked about Genesis.  We prayed for the woman through our shift, hopeful she will find the help she needs for herself and her baby.  We prayed for the students at Duquesne University who are working hard to get a Students for Life group on the campus.  God gives us so many blessings and only the Lord can provide an end to this atrocious evil.  God bless the babies and the expectant mothers and fathers – please let them choose life. 
 

Audrey and Jim
Audrey, Thao and Jim bring up the rear on this rainy Wednesday…

Day 15…Thanks to St. Louise de Marillac (Upper St. Clair), Elk County Right to Life (St. Mary’s PA) and our dedicated volunteers and shift managers/buddies!

The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. Go. Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Luke 10:2-4

I remember the first time I met Sally Brunn. It was 2009. I was a fairly new Christian, having been baptized and given my life to the Lord in 2005. God had recently broken my heart after hearing a sermon about abortion. My eyes were opened to the horror, but I didn’t know what to do about it. When I finally got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood for the first time, I only was able to do so because someone had told me that I wouldn’t be alone. I was told that there were three people who went every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 till 11 am. They did this every week, 52 weeks a year!!! So, knowing that someone else would be there, I nervously drove to Pittsburgh. Bob Newman was there with his big signs, along with Sally & Al. I was in my 40’s at that time and they were probably close to 80. I thought they were very old, and was amazed at their dedication to stand in front of Planned Parenthood for so many hours!

When Sally told me that she had 11 kids, I couldn’t believe it! I think I said something dumb like, “I didn’t know it was possible to have 11 kids and still be able to walk!” But there she was…spry, agile and full of energy! Later, talking to Bob Newman, he told me that he also had 11 kids!!! WHAT??? I soon met another saintly pro-lifer named Mary Catherine who ALSO had 11 kids!!! What kind of world was I entering into? In my entire life, I had never met anyone who had more than 4 or 5 kids!

As I began to witness in front of Planned Parenthood weekly, I learned many things from Sally. For instance, I had never heard anything as strange as when she and Al explained that birth control is the cause of abortion! How could that be? Birth control PREVENTED abortion…right? Oh, what an education I was in for…it was to change my life. They never preached to me, but the example of their lives and their commitment to God and to ending abortion spoke louder than any words ever could have.

Growing up in the 1970’s, during the hey-day of “women’s lib“…I was taught by the culture that if a woman didn’t stand up for her rights in a marriage, that she would be like a doormat and that her husband would walk all over her. I believed that if a marriage didn’t make you happy, that you could just leave. A child was better off in a single parent house, then in a house with parents who fought. Of course, that sort of thinking led me to enter very lightly into two marriages, both of which ended quickly. By the time I was 30, I already had two kids with two different last names. Oh, I was liberated all right! It was working out very well for me…NOT!!!

So, when I met Sally and began to see the way in which she quietly and lovingly stood by Al…always supportive of him…my eyes began to be opened. I also saw the way he looked at her, with such love and tenderness. He would always introduce her as “my lovely bride“…and she would smile her huge Sally-Smile. I remember her telling me that on their wedding night, they both knelt down beside their bed in prayer, and gave their marriage to God. God honored that prayer and blessed their marriage with 11 healthy and wonderful children! I remember feeling slightly jealous that I had been robbed of an example like that…and so had virtually NO chance at a marriage and family like theirs. When I grew up, if you were a virgin at 16, it was something to be ashamed of. The thought of actually WAITING till marriage was unheard of!

One story I remember clearly, is Al telling me that he never really appreciated how much Sally did all day, taking care of the kids…until one day when he came home from work to find her on her hands and knees, underneath the kitchen table. He asked her incredulously, “Sally, what are you doing under there?” She answered matter-of-factly that the kids would get food from their sticky hands all over the bottom of the table, so she had to clean it. He got a glimpse of how hard she worked to keep their home, and of all the little things that went into raising a family, that he never even knew about. As he told me this story, he was radiating with love and respect for her!

I never saw one without the other. In fact, instead of calling them “Al and Sally”..it would often come out as “Sal and Ally”! They were a team. They were ONE! They worked side by side…for 30 years raising their family, and for another 30 years on the front lines of the battle to end abortion. They were truly the biggest inspiration and best example of Christian marriage that I have ever seen…and I am forever grateful for the impact that knowing them made in my life. Without them, I don’t think we would have the vibrant pro-life family that we have here in Pittsburgh. Without them, I don’t think I would have the strong faith that I have now. It was Sally who gave me my first rosary, and it was she who was my sponsor as I entered the Catholic Church in 2013.

For many years, they felt the weight and the burden of being there on the sidewalk…knowing that if they didn’t go, the sidewalk would be empty. In fact, until about a year ago, they were still taking the bus to Planned Parenthood, two days a week. Sally would slowly cross Liberty Avenue, using her walker, with Al on her elbow. However, when Al had his stroke a year ago, they were no longer able to come to the sidewalk regularly.

All those years they prayed for God to send more workers for the abundant harvest…and He has done just that, through 40 Days for Life!

I imagine that they are relieved to know that there are now many of us who are picking up where they left off. They can now rest easy…knowing that the sidewalk is covered with prayer. Those babies are not dying alone and forgotten.

Please pray for Sally and Al, as Sally had a major stroke last Wednesday. She seems to be at peace…is sometimes responsive and is surrounded by her loving family. One benefit of having 11 kids…you never have to worry about being alone at the end of life!!! She is anointed and blessed…her bags are packed…and she is waiting for Heaven! Or should I say, Heaven is waiting for her!

Thank you Lord, for Sally, and for her life’s example. I will spend however many more years you grant me, trying to be half the woman that she was.

We love you Sally, and we devote these 40 days in honor of you!

Today’s reports from the vigil…

Peggy was the manager from 7-9 am:

There was a nice turnout from St. Louise. It was very quiet. Only one person went in while we were there. There was a sign in the window of the gay bar advertising their opposition sing-along.

Peg
Faithful men from St. Louise de Marillac parish
So…they want to raise money to pay for other’s abortions…can anyone say BLOOD MONEY?

Cathy and Elsie were in charge from 9-11 am:

We had a very quiet morning, but with lots of prayer-ers!  St Louise de Marillac- Sherri, Cindy, Debbie, Diane, plus a couple for awhile from the early shift, Elk Co. RTL – Laura, Janet, Kelly, Gretchen and Mary Beth, plus some individuals – Bill L., Priscilla, and Debbie.  I hope I got everyone.  So thankful for all of you!
 

Cathy

Hank and Judy managed the sidewalk from 11 am – 1 pm:

Another beautiful Oct day in the Burg….Lord how we look forward to the day when we can be outdoors enjoying the sunshine with abortion and PP done away with.  But our colors are true and we’ll stay the course and persevere in prayer until this scourge is ended.  Many prayer warriors as has been the case the past two 11-1 Wed shifts.  When I arrived I was greeted by the Rocco family form Elizabeth Anne Seton, there was also a strong contingent throughout the morning from St.Louise deMarillac.  Those from SLD joining the 11-1 shift were Mary, Patti and Denise.  Elk County Right to Life had a group scheduled for 10-2 that included Kelly, Lori, Janet, Gretchen and Mary Bea.  Mary from St.Monica was there when I arrived and when I left, and Jerry and Barb form Our Lady of Fatima arrived around noon.  Debbie from Epiphany has been there all 3 Weds for part of the shift.  Wed is not an abortion day and traffic in and out of PP was light, although, probably more than usual.  We prayed multiple rosaries, and the the Divine Mercy.  We did distributed a good bit of literature and had 10 or 12 individuals who gave us positive comments, but I’m still amazed at the number who simply ignore us or seem totally indifferent.  We are warned “If you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”  In this month of Our Lady, we ask Our Lady of Victory to intercede for us for the victory over a culture of death.

Mary, Denise and Patti from St. Louise de Marillac parish
St. Louise ladies for life!
Debbie from Epiphany
Kelly, Lori and Janet, dedicated prayer warriors from Elk County
Mary from St. Monica
Jerry and Barb from Our Lady of Fatima, and Denise from St. Louise
Gretchen and Mary from Elk County Right to Life

Rege and John were there from 1-3 pm:

Quiet afternoon. Peaceful and prayerful witness given. Love of our Lord evident and shared.

Rege
John, Barb and Barb

Jeannie and Virginia from 3-5 pm:

What a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk! I was joined by my shift buddy Virginia and my dear friend Marilyn. Mimi made an appearance and took over the sidewalk for her rendition of the rosary. David joined us halfway through the shift as well. We had lots of supportive. conversations today.  A gentleman stopped who was giving support to a homeless person and learned she was pregnant. He came to us knowing we would know where to direct her. Another man came and stopped by because he recognized Mimi from church. He said a few hail Mary’s with us!  The woman who stopped and applauded us in the wheelchair last week came over with her granddaughter on her lap in the wheelchair she asked if we could use some additional volunteers. She takes care of her granddaughter and drops her off and picks her up a couple days a week. she said she will stop and pray with us. How good is God? That good. We had a ton of daisies from my garden so we gave a lot out to little ones and a particular young girl was really fascinated by that precious one baby we gave her. All in all a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk. 

Jeannie
David, Marilyn and Virginia praying the pro life intentions

Joe K and David from 5-7 pm:

What a stunning Indigenous Peoples Summer Evening…
 
I was blessed to be joined by my volunteer shift buddies – David and Thao. We soaked up the sun, shared, and prayed what a peaceful, easy feeling!
 
Pretty quiet on the sidewalk – a few positive comments and appreciation for us being out there. In particular, one gentleman struggling physically to get up with street with assistance thanked us and said we could use more folks out there.  In comparison, another gentleman in a wheelchair stopped by to talk to us about the vigil, but he seemed a little hardened…  What was beautiful was how it was a total team effort by David, Thao, and I to respond to witness to this young man’s questions / issues…  Hopefully he will hear and see the truth that was laid out for him…
 
The evening seemed like it ended quickly as faithful Tom came by to pack-up the vigil for Thursday…

Joe K.

Day 8…Thank you St. Bernard of Clairvaux Knights of Columbus, St. Paul Cathedral, Guardians for Life, and many individuals!

“Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such little child for My sake, receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matt. 18: 1-6

See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven always behold the face of My Father in heaven.”

Matt. 18:10

I will never forget the very first time I gathered up my courage to come to Planned Parenthood to witness and pray. It was probably the most frightening thing I had ever done in my life up to that point. I wrote about that experience in “My Story”, posted HERE, if you are interested in reading it.

What surprised me the most was that the “witnessing” part did not make me feel nearly as uncomfortable as the PRAYING part did! In fact, standing there, holding a sign, was kind of “emboldening” to me…it gave me a sense that I was finally DOING SOMETHING…you know…standing up for what I believed in! That part was good! But, the first time I closed my eyes to pray…while standing on that sidewalk, I immediately began to feel self-conscious! I was not expecting to feel embarrassed to pray in public because at the time I belonged to an awesome Assembly of God church, that had an amazingly talented worship band.

Every Sunday, with my hands raised high, my eyes squeezed closed…sometimes with tears streaming…I PRAYED IN PUBLIC! So, why was I suddenly ashamed to pray in public in front of Planned Parenthood?

As I reflected on today’s Gospel reading, quoted above, I tried to meditate on what the traits are that little children have, that Jesus asks us to imitate. Of course, I thought of child-like traits such as: innocence, purity, humility, obedience and trust. And I know that God wants us all to strive to grow in these virtues. But as I thought about it, another, less obvious trait came to my mind. How about the trait of “lacking in self-consciousness”? You know what I mean, don’t you? I’m thinking of my little one-year old grand babies. If I even mention “The Wiggles” or “Baby Shark” to my grandson, his chubby little legs start pumping! he loves to dance and I can tell that he already has music in his soul! He will dance anywhere, no matter who is watching! I love to dance also…but I am too embarrassed to do it, say in the grocery store. If a song that I enjoy begins to play while I am shopping, I have to restrain myself from bopping down the aisle…because I am self-conscious of what others may think. I don’t want to embarrass myself by dancing in public…which is a good thing! I am not advocating for dancing in the grocery store, unless you are under the age of seven.

But, I DO think that when we feel self-conscious or embarrassed about praying in public, on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, that we need to think of being childlike in our innocence of what others may think of us.

Childlike trust and innocence is what God asks of us!

I guess when I think about it, the reason that I could pray so boldly “in public” while at church, was because I was in a large group of fellow believers who were doing the same thing. But when I got to the sidewalk for the first time, I was the only one praying among a crowd of busy people going about their lives…and I felt like I was totally out of place.

Lord, please help me to be like a child in my trust and love for you, and in my innocent lack of self-consciousness when it comes to giving you honor and glory in public!

Before I go on to today’s shift reports…I wanted to share a couple photos from a baby shower for a young girl who chose life, which Fran and I attended two weeks ago:

Angel sits among mountains of gifts donated by our loving 40 Days for Life team, including a hand-made baby blanket!
Angel’s mom was overcome with emotion when she saw the gifts of cash and gift cards that were donated by our team!

Angel’s mom gave me permission to share these photos. You may remember her story from a blog post last spring. They had come to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, allowed us to talk to them about all the help that was available. Her aunt eventually told us that she had prayed that morning, asking God to send her a sign if they weren’t supposed to do this. She told us that she believed that WE WERE THAT SIGN! We were blessed to take them to Women’s Choice Network in the north side, where we got to go into the ultrasound room and saw her 15 week baby girl moving around on the ultrasound screen! When Angel saw her baby, she courageously chose life for her daughter. Thanks to the generosity of many members of our team, she has been given a good start and has been provided with all the items she needs to welcome this little girl into the world later this month! Thanks to everyone who donated to help her, and thanks to all of you for stepping outside of your comfort zone to be a sign of God’s love and mercy on the sidewalk!

One last thing…before today’s reports from the sidewalk…if you are Catholic and you haven’t yet signed up for an hour of adoration at St. Stanislaus for the 7-day, 24-hour prayer vigil…they are BEGGING for help! Many hours still are not filled! Go HERE to sign up for as many hours as you can! I know that God will send much grace to our city by this prayer vigil of love!

Now…on to the shift reports from today!

Peggy & Carissa, 7-9 am

Off-duty shift manager Charlene joins Shift manager Peg and shift buddy Carissa for the 7-9 shift this morning!
Mark stops by to pray

Cathy & Fran, 9-11 am

It was a pretty quiet morning as far as clients, only a couple or so going in plus some workers.  A couple who were stranded here trying to get back to NY were in need of some breakfast.  They had been to CC, as suggested by the first shift, but were not able to get anything there and did not know where else to try.  She is 6mos pregnant.  I gave them 2 Subway cards.  They later came back to thank us. They have an appointment with Traveler’s Aid.  Those with Fran and me were Beverly, Priscilla, Bill H, Bill, the evangelist, and Debbie.  Also St Bernard KoC and the Guardians for Life, from 10 or 11 on.

Cathy, 9-11
The Guardians for Life and Knights of Columbus filled the sidewalk with peaceful prayer
Bill and Bev answered the call to stand with Fran and Cathy!

Hank & Judy, 11 am – 1 pm

WOW!!! What a time on the street!   The Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels and 21 Guardians for Life praying for the end of abortion.  Wondering how many angels were present with us besides our own personal guarding angel.  Is it possible that the guarding angels of all those who lost their life at this abortion mill were there with us?  The Guardians for Life most from St. Bernard in Indiana PA included Irene, Rudy, Joe, Lisa, Brian, Tom, Dan, Dave, Bob, Dennis, Ray, Bill, Sr.James Ann, Tom, Theresa, Cheynne, Elsie, Michele, Keith, and Beverly.  Fran from St Joseph Verona and Debbie Ephiphany  Raudolph St Louise also joined us.  Prayer was a constant..rosary, Staions of the Cross, Divine Mercy, litany of the Blessed Mother and joyful noise to the Lord which was called singing!  No abortions today…little PP traffic but lots of people passing by.  Some nasty looks, but again many ” thanks, God bless you, I’m with you  Some good encounters.  Judy spoke with two women and hopefully their heart was opened to allow the grace of God to enter in.   We pray with St.Bernard of Clairvaux in giving thanks that “heaven denies us nothing that assists us, these celestial spirits (Holy Guardian Angels) have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us, and to guide us”.
To God be glory for ever and ever!!  Amen

Hank, 11-1
Shift manager Judy
Two faithful Knights of Columbus from Indiana PA
Fran with Debbie from Epiphany
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, K of C and Guardians for Life filled the sidewalk with prayer today!
Fr. Tim with the Guardians for Life
Judy, engaging a young woman in discussion of the issue of life in the womb
More Guardians…

Chris & John 1-3 pm

The nice warm weather continued today.  God is turning the heat up on PP.  I was joined by Joan, John, Carole, Louise, and Jerry.  We prayed several Rosaries, the Sorrowful Mysteries.  Given where we’re standing, I feel that’s the appropriate Mystery to pray. 
About halfway through my shift, Jeannie, the next shift manager, stopped by to give us daisies from her yard, both to hand out to passersby and to adorn the “half-circle” on the sidewalk.  There was very little traffic going in and out of PP, more than a few friendly comments, and two angry people shouting at us, one from across the street and one from a passing car.  On the positive side, it always makes me smile inside when I notice passersby glancing at and reading the fetal development sandwich board and looking at the fetal model display. 

Chris, 1-3
Carole, Louise and Jerry came from Kitanning to pray!

Jeannie & Virginia, 3-5 pm

I’ve ventured to the sidewalk to stay knowing I might well be by myself but I am a Catholic and today is the feast of guardian angels and they did not disappoint! John was here when I came and Marilyn and Rose came as well. And before my shift ended Pat and Celeste came to join forces. It was very active and inspiring day on the sidewalk. Many people stopped and thanked us for being there, and for the first time in a while the school kids were interested in having a little bit of a conversation.  We even had support from a person in wheelchair who stopped right in front of the door pointed to us and clapped. Astonishing! Taking a cue from my sister who did the same I put a few of our baby pictures against the Planned Parenthood outer wall with some flowers in front as you would for victims of crime. It is very very effective, as three people stopped to ask what happened to the baby. I explained that children are killed in that clinic every week and we are memorializing those lost lives. What an afternoon! No nasty comments whatsoever and tons of inklings of changing hearts and minds. The angels certainly were Watching over us!

Jeannie 3-5
Guardian Angels must have prompted John and Rose to stop by to pray during a needed time today!
Pat and Celeste joined in prayer also!

Joe K. 5-7 pm

St. Paul’s Church Grouping came strong this evening from beginning to end…

Initially, I was joined initially by Jackie and Joe from St. Paul’s, then Mary from St. Stephen’s, then Diane and Mark from St. Paul’s, and finally my brother Knight Mike from St.Patrick’s in McKeesport.  Oops, forgot that Jim from St. Maurice’s stopped by on his way home from work too…

A lot of sirens, buses, and foot traffic filled the muggy evening, but there ended up being very little interaction with passersby…  Most of the evening consisted of sharing and prayer – It was great to pray the rosary as one big group – witnessing to all the passersby…

Joe, 5-7
Mike, Mary, Mark, Jackie, Joe, and Diane

Day 1…Thanks to Fr. Tim’s Guardians for Life, and many dedicated volunteers!

“At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.”

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.

And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra 9:5-9

This morning, before my morning prayer time, I asked the Lord to help me to write this blog post quickly...as I had a late night last night, at our amazing kick-off Mass and Eucharistic procession to Planned Parenthood. Because of that, I was up till 2 am posting the photos, which you can see at http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/2019/09/25/oh-what-a-night/ Anyway, I didn’t have much time to write this, since today is the day I babysit my cute little twin grand babies…so I asked the Lord to help me. And He did. When I read the daily Mass readings, the one quoted above from Ezra really says it all! Thank you Ezra for writing my blog reflection for me today! Can’t you see the similarity between Ezra’s situation and ours?

What struck me the most about our procession last night was the CONTRAST between our FAITH and the bewildered UNBELIEF of those who saw us. First of all, I want to thank Pittsburgh Police, Zone 2, for their outstanding protection and assistance! They went above and beyond their duty to make sure we crossed all the roads safely! But, back to my thoughts about CONTRAST. Just look at this picture:

The line between darkness and light can’t get more CONTRASTED than this!!!

Just look at that photo. The MOST PURE, the MOST HUMBLE…contrasted with the most WICKED, the most EVIL and IMPURE place in our city. Wow. Just WOW!

It really HAS to be this way, in order for change to be affected, doesn’t it? If something needs to be destroyed, the most effective way of destroying it is with something that goes directly against it’s created purpose…something that CONTRASTS. Satan knows this. That is exactly why he loves abortion so much! He intentionally targets the most sacred love of a mother for her child by tricking her into turning the MOST SAFE PLACE on the planet (her womb)…into an execution chamber. And this she does to the person who is the MOST INNOCENT, MOST DEPENDENT, and who would love her more than anyone else. Not to digress too much, or make this post too lengthy, but there is another old testament verse that speaks about this:

Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Exodus 23:19

The trick of the devil to use what God created for a good and holy purpose, and twisting it into something that is opposite…a CONTRAST. This is such a terrible thing, that God even warned his people not to cook a young goat in its mother’s milk! Why? Because the PURPOSE of that milk was to nourish and sustain LIFE for the young goat…and if that milk is used to destroy the body of that same goat, it is now corrupted from its good and holy purpose.

So, last night, as I saw the CONTRAST between darkness and light in a very clear way. Standing in front of such an evil and dark place, I realized that we are taking back what the devil has stolen from us! He has tricked us into thinking impurity and immorality are no big deal. But when we stand in front of an abortion clinic where 3,000 babies die each year…we get a ring-side seat to see just where that “harmless” immorality leads. We are not going to be fooled anymore! We are going to CONTRAST all of the works of the devil, with the works of our GOD! If the world indulges in fleshly pleasures…such as overeating, drinking, laziness, selfishness, anger and pride…we will COUNTER those vices with the virtues of bodily restraint, abstinence, fasting, love, humility and self-sacrifice. This is the CONTRAST that will REPEL the enemy of our souls, and will ATTRACT his weak or lost children, back to safety and holiness.

So…here we go! I am trusting God for many miracles during these 40 days! We already witnessed a big one last night! Thanks be to God!!!

Read on for today’s shift reports:

Peg and Carissa had the first shift of the fall campaign! From the 7-9 am shift, they write:

First shift on the first day of the fall 40 Days for Life! I’m so honored to stand outside, pray and offer the hope and love of Jesus to the city of Pittsburgh and those involved with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry with these lovely ladies!
 
To put things in perspective… The Nazis killed 6 million Jews.
The US alone has lost over 60 million babies to abortions since 1973 (Roe v. Wade). That’s 10x more than the Holocaust. And while each is an abomination, this child Holocaust is still happening every day right in our very backyard.😢💔
 
Do you believe prayer is powerful? Do you believe fasting moves mountains? Do you believe Gods heart weeps for every life lost and destroyed by abortion?
 
If you do, please consider joining us on the sidewalk over the next 40 days. If you can’t make it to the sidewalk, there are opportunities to pray and fast with us. Go to www.40daysforlifepittsburgh.com or message me! I’ll be glad to get you connected in any way!!

Carissa, Wed. 7-9am shift buddy
Veteran shift manager, Cathy (who was sick with a cold but came anyway…You are AWESOME Cathy!!!), off-duty Tuesday shift manager, Charlene, Shift manager Peg, and her buddy Carissa were the bright smiling faces that kicked off the first two hours of these 40 days this morning!
Thank you Diane and Tom for making sure our witness includes education to all passersby about the TRUTH of life in the womb! We know lives are saved because of this!
Charlene with new participant, Thao. Thank you Thao for helping us to fill needed time slots!!!

Cathy and Elsie had the 9-11am shift:

It was a fairly quiet day, with few clients going into the clinic.  Shift buddy Elsie, an Sidewalk Advocate, and Jim H. (also an SA), Priscilla, Bill L. and Debbie D. were there to pray and/or try to make contact with people.  Some people took literature, received a few “thank you” or “God bless”.  A gentleman who works down the street with one of the supporters of Mary’s House in Brookline stopped by to chat for a few minutes.  A tour group passed by.  The tour guide said, to no one in particular, “Oh, that’s an abortion clinic!”  like he had never realized it before.  I ‘m sure our presence  brought on that realization.

Cathy, 9-11

Hank and Judy were the shift managers from 11am-1pm:

It was a wonderful day to start the 40 Days for Life   The weather was beautiful temps in the low 70s and sunshine.  There was a lot of foot traffic passing PP but it was not an abortion day so not many people going into PP.  There were many prayer warriors as has been the case on most Weds from 11-1.  Fr.Tim and the Guardians for Life were there as usual and included 9 individuals (Irene, Rudy, Brian, Lisa, Joe, Tom, Dan, Terri,  and Fr), Debbie from Epiphany was there from 9-12, Elsie stayed beyond her earlier shift, John from St. Killian and Dan from Steubenville arrived at noon and Pat  dropped by for a short time.  Many passing by greeted us warmly with a thumbs-up, thanks, or God bless you.  We distributed a wealth of information (more than any in my past experiences) and Terri engaged and offered assistance to the friend of a young woman contemplating an abortion.  While the reason for our presences is heart-sickening we are blessed to be gathered with strong people of faith and of course where 2 or 3 gather in my Name, there I AM. 

Hank, 11-1
Joe and Dan, with the Knights of Columbus
Guardians for Life
Debbie from Epiphany
John from St. Killian’s
Faithful Fr. Tim, with his Guardians for Life
Dan from Steubenville, OH, was with us since noon.

Chris and John kept the vigil going from 1-3pm:

What glorious weather for the start of our campaign!  God smiled down upon us.   I arrived to the Rosary being prayed and prayers sung by Father Tim and the Guardians for Life.  I was joined by Dan, Joan, and John during my shift, with each of us praying multiple Rosaries silently.  There was light traffic in and out of PP, friendly comments and hugs from passersby and several unfriendly comments, too.  Our attempts to provide resource information cards were mostly rebuffed, but we still smiled and asked if they had a friend who needed some help. 

Joan
Wed. 1-3 shift buddy, John

Jeannie and Virginia held the fort from 3-5pm:

OK I have to admit it. This was one of those shifts that makes me very very nervous. Why? It was as Mary Poppins would say “nearly perfect in every way”.  The weather was beautiful, not to hot or too cool. Those who were for us were deeply for us.  Those who I call the “incidentals” the mailman , the UPS deliverer, the policeman  etc were agreeable and friendly.    Those who objected to us being there stopped and talked about it in a civil way, and we were able to open their hearts and minds.  We even managed to chat with one of the bar staff!!!
 
AMAZINGLY we had a woman explain that she had been raped and allowed her son to live because she felt it wasn’t his fault. We promised Christina prayers. I was joined  on the sidewalk by 2 amazing women including  the best card giver -outer ever: ,Virginia! 
 
My day was blessed, so I told Virginia get ready because all the bad stuff might be coming!!!   

Peace,

Jeannie, 3-5
John and 3-5 buddy, Virginia
John and Virginia, and those waiting for a bus.
Our wonderful Fran came on her “day off” to boost the prayer ranks today!

Joe, Jim and Audrey completed the final two hours on the first day:

back in the saddle again…  I’m back
 
First shift of the campaign, beautiful September eve…
Wonderful prayer warriors witnessing for life!
 
Greeted warmly with smiles and hugs from Shift Manager’s Jeannie and Virginia… Mostly quiet for while as Fran faithfully stayed over from the prior shift for the entirety of last shift.
 
Jim from Holy Child and Patrick from St. Mary of Mercy joined in and we shared and prayed on one side of the arc while Fran manned the other side…  It was Patrick’s first time!!!
 
Mostly positive / appreciative comments, though Jim did step-up quickly to save the fetal model display from potential harm as a woman approached it a bit aggressively…
 
Audrey joined in and before you knew it the first day came to a close as Tom & Diane (without Penney) came to pick-up the new groovy display…

Joe K. 5-7
Tonight’s prayer warriors, shift buddies Jim & Audrey, with Patrick and Fran
Nice new set-up, brought to us by Diane and Tom!

Oh, What a Night!!!

This was the most amazing way to kick off our 40 Days for Life EVER!!! Thanks SO much to Bishop Zubik for allowing Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament to be present with us in front of Planned Parenthood! And thank you to Fr. Chris Donley and Fr. Jason Charron for carrying Him through the streets of our city tonight! We are praying for many miracles in these next 40 days! To see the videos of our prayers on the sidewalk tonight, go to our 40 Days for Life Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/40daysforlifepgh/
We began with a holy Mass at Epiphany Church.
Our Eucharistic Lord processed with us through the city, from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood. The Pittsburgh police were AMAZING! They stayed with us for the entire route, to make sure everyone safely crossed all the intersections!
Leaving Epiphany Church in Uptown
Our faith was on display!
Onward Christian Soldiers!
Fr. Chris carrying Grace and Mercy through the streets of Pittsburgh, what a witness of faith to our city!
Crossing Liberty Avenue…almost there!
I was so glad we brought our Lord past this church!
I find it hard to describe the feeling I had, seeing such holiness at this place tonight. God is SO GOOD!!! Thank you Fr. Chris and Fr. Jason!!!
Continuing on around the block, to encompass the entire block with Jesus’ authority!
I love this picture! This is the kind of faith we all need to have! Like a child!
So beautiful!!!
As we processed through the narrow alley, on our way around the block, the group began a spontaneous singing of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”, which sounded so beautiful as it resounded off the buildings!
We ended in front of Planned Parenthood for more prayer.
Megan, who coordinates our 40-day fast! I am sorry that I didn’t see you to say hi Megan!
We all have a little light…let’s let it shine for these next 40 days!!!

Bringing out the BIG GUNS…this Tuesday!!!

Our Lord Jesus Christ is SO merciful…SO good! All praise and honor and glory belong to Him!

For almost 10 years now, we have been covering the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood in prayer with the most humble, self-sacrificing, loving members of the Body of Christ in our entire Pittsburgh area! For 18 consecutive 40 Days for Life vigil, hundreds of my beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord have sacrificed their time and comfort, to make sure that our witness of love is able to continue in front of those doors of death at 933 Liberty Avenue. And yet, during these same ten years, as we stood by helplessly, 30,000…yes…that is THIRTY-THOUSAND…precious little babies were killed behind that very door. It is hard to even wrap my mind around that number!

Lord, how can we stop this???

We know the answer. He has told us to unite in prayer and fasting, and to remain in loving witness at that terrible site for 40-day time periods. He has made it very clear that he is moving in a powerful way to bring the issue of abortion front and center. He has removed the mask…the attractive veneer that the abortion industry so carefully painted upon the ugly procedure called abortion. He has performed miracles to give us hope, as former abortion workers such as Abby Johnson, Sue Thayer, Dr. Haywood Robinson and many others have joined us on the side of life.

So….why haven’t we seen any miracles in Pittsburgh?

I realize that I shouldn’t say that. We have seen PLENTY of miracles.

The first miracle has been our UNITY. As a team of many members of different churches, we have not let our differences cause division in this important battle to end abortion.

There have been many other miracles as well! We even know some of their names! Let’s see…I remember Jaden, Ralph, Adriel, Rowan, Wyatt, Winnie and Danica…to name just a few. There is another miracle due to be born next month, whose baby shower I will be attending tomorrow…and two more little miracles in their mother’s womb who are due to be born in the spring.

Still, I have to admit that I am disappointed that we have not seen the BIG miracle like 103 OTHER cities have seen…and that is the CLOSING of their abortion facility! When, oh Lord, will 933 Liberty Avenue cease to shed innocent blood? When will it be REDEEMED for YOUR good purpose???

Well, after almost 10 years…I think it is time to get out the “BIG GUNS”. Don’t you? So, what are our “big guns”? Certainly they are not what the world would think of when they think of power. Our weapons are the opposite. In fact, they are what the world deems to be the most foolish.

I shared a Facebook post today that sums up what I am talking about.

Jesus showed us by his life how we are to win this war. By our love, meekness and humility. And, he gave us himself in the Holy Church. He promised that he would never abandon us…that he would remain with us forever. For Catholics, he gives himself daily in the consecration of the Mass. He gives himself as food. And so, on Tuesday, we will be getting out our BIGGEST GUN EVER as Fr. Chris Donley carries the Blessed Sacrament…which is JESUS HIMSELF…as HE leads us on a procession from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood! We will process around the block and pray, with our Lord present in his very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity…right on the sidewalk in front of those doors of despair and hopelessness!

Everyone is welcome to join us for a kick-off Mass at Epiphany Church at 6 pm this Tuesday, and if you are able, to walk for the hour-long procession at 7 pm. Here are some instructions and the route we will take:

40 Days for Life Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood Instructions

  • Procession will begin at Epiphany Church at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 24th. We will walk to Planned Parenthood, circle the block and then return to the Church.
  • Please process in double-file line to avoid blocking the sidewalks to other pedestrians.
  • Please avoid unnecessary conversation during the procession, in order to keep it prayerful and solemn.
  • Feel free to pray vocally or silently, as you wish.
  • There may be a need to halt for traffic when crossing busy intersections.  If the processional line gets broken up, we will all get caught up again at Planned Parenthood.

Please pray, fast and sacrifice as much…no….MORE than you think you can during these 40 days! The roots of evil go very deep under that abortion clinic…and we need to give as much of ourselves as possible to loosen the soil so that God will pull them out!

We have two URGENT needs at the vigil next week! At 4 pm on Friday, shift manager Pat will be ALL ALONE if no one signs up! And on Saturday, September 28th, shift manager Jeff will be alone from 5-7 pm! Please let me know if you can come during those hours! Email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to sign up.

Finally, I want to let you know about another opportunity to get out your “big guns” in Pittsburgh! There will be a seven-day, 24-hour, round the clock Eucharistic adoration prayer vigil inside of St. Stanislaus Church, in the Strip District, beginning at 8am on Monday, October 7th and ending on October 13th. They need two people per hour, 24 hours a day, for seven days. The rosary and chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed out loud before the Blessed Sacrament EVERY HOUR for these seven consecutive days! Think of the prayer power and the GRACE that God will pour out upon our city!!! I have signed up for my hour already! Go to: http://www.pittsburghrosarycongress.org/ to sign yourself up!

In Christ,

Nikki

Afraid of Commitment?

You know, I constantly have to fight against the fear I have of doing too much…of over-committing myself.  I’m afraid that if I take on one more thing, that will be the straw that breaks my back.  Can any of you relate to that?

I believe that that’s a tool the devil uses to stop God’s children from really working against evil. If enough good people are too timid and too afraid to go that extra mile, to give themselves away and we content ourselves with filling up our lives with spiritual exercises…you know, going to church and Bible studies…which are all good, but if we fill up all our time with that, and we don’t leave any room to actually do the work that God is calling us to do as his followers, then that plays right into the devil’s hands.  Then we have a bunch of good and holy people, sitting in churches, praising God while the rest of the world outside of our churches are in such desperate need, while we are too busy inside our churches to go out into the world to bring his goodness and his light and truth to those who are starving for it. 

Now I am not saying that I can go out on my own strength.  If I am maxed out and I feel that I just cannot fit one more thing into my life…and I just go ahead and commit to doing one more thing on my own strength…that won’t work.  I will collapse.  I’m to do this in his power, in his strength, trusting in him.  And as long as I make prayer a daily priority, as long as that’s my foundation, then whatever I commit to do, after that, on top of that, then God will give me the strength to do it. 

When I feel that I just can’t do anymore, what really endears me to God…to his most beautiful, sacred heart, is when I am afraid to take that next step, but I do it anyway.  Not in my own strength, but I do it leaning in to Him.  Leaning into His strength, trusting in Him.  Saying, “Jesus, I’m afraid to do this, I’m afraid this is too much, I’m afraid I’m going to fall, but I’m going to do it anyway, knowing that you’re in control, you’re in charge of me.  And if it is too much for me, and if I do fall, I’m going to fall pleasing you, and you’re going to pick me up, and you’re going to dust me off, and I’m going to be stronger for the effort.  And I’m going to be closer to you, for that effort that I put out there for you.” 

When I do this, I can never lose.  When I take that next step, when I don’t think I can do it, I do it anyway, in the strength of Christ, I can never fail.  He always uses it for good…for my good and for the good of others.

So I encourage you, if you’re afraid to sign up to come to the vigil, if you feel that you just can’t do any more in your life…as long as you’re putting Christ first every day in prayer, Bible reading and worship or Mass, then you don’t need to fear.  Go ahead, sign up, make that commitment.  I’m not telling you that just because I’m trying to fill up the vigil  hours, which I am…I’m telling you that for your own good…for our own good as the Body of Christ!  You know, Jesus tells us that if we try to hold onto our lives, that we will lose them, it’s when we give our lives away that we find true life.  And he doesn’t lead us astray.  He tells us this because he knows we’re afraid.  We’re afraid of giving away too much.  We’re afraid of being empty if we give away that last bit of energy that we have.  And… That’s the devil’s lie.  The more that we give away of ourselves…the more that he fills us with His strength and his power.  And once we do it, and we taste it for ourselves and we see it, then we want to do it more because we know that it’s true!  But we have to do it that first time!  We have to take that step in fear and trusting in God, and doing it anyway.  Do that, and I promise you, you will not be sorry.

Here are the times that we most need help during this fall campaign (which runs from September 25th – November 3rd:

  • EVERY WEDNESDAY 1-3 pm!
  • EVERY SATURDAY 5-7 pm!
  • (1) Wednesday 9-11 am (Oct. 23)
  • (2) Tuesdays 12-1 pm (Oct. 8 & Oct. 29)
  • (3) Fridays 3 – 5 pm (Sept. 27, Oct. 25 & Nov. 1)
  • (2) Saturdays 3 – 5 pm (Oct. 26 & Nov. 2)

Of course if you cannot come during any of these times, we still need extra coverage ANY time from 7 am to 7 pm EVERY DAY from September 25th through November 3rd! Sign up when you can or just show up! We need to show the world, God and ourselves that WE CARE about the sanctity of each and every human life…and THIS MATTERS TO US!!!

Contact Fran to sign up. Email her at franmac98fmc@gmail.com