DAY 32: Thank you Holy Child (Bridgeville) and St. Mary Church (Herman), as well as individual pray-ers

image

Birmingham, England

Back on Day 20, Shawn Carney’s post from 40DFL headquarters highlighted an event which took place at the vigil in Birmingham, England.  In case you missed it, here’s what was reported:

In another instance, a Birmingham volunteer wrote that while she was praying outside the abortion center, a teenage girl who was about to enter stopped to talk. Following their discussion, the girl agreed to visit a pregnancy care center instead.

“No one else knows I’m pregnant and I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “All day yesterday, I was walking around town by myself praying that God would give me a sign if He wanted me to keep my baby, but there was no sign.”

Without the sign she was seeking, she decided to keep her abortion appointment. “But as I came to the entrance … I saw that lady holding a cross and I knew that was my sign to keep my baby.”

This story is even more miraculous when you consider that this young woman — who was inspired by the Cross — was not a Christian.

After reflecting for a bit on the amazing power of the cross, what came to my mind was what reportedly happened to the Roman Emperor Constantine in the year 312.  Also in a time of distress, himself was looking and praying for some sort of sign.  And then Constantine, who was not then a Christian, saw on the face of the sun a vision of the Cross.  And at the same time, written across the sky, were these words:  “in hoc signo vinces,” which translates, “in this sign prevail.”

Sea, Sunset, Beach, Glow, West Coast

 

AND NOW, REPORTS AND PICTURES FROM THE SIDEWALK:

Tim B., 7-9

Knights of Columbs
Two Knights of Columbus from Manordale
Choices Mobile Unit
Choices Mobile Unit
Team from Living Hope
Team from Living Hope

day 32 1st shift

The faithful from Living Hope, coming from the Latrobe area, were at the vigil predawn ready to pray and provide a strong witness to life.  What a blessing to have prayer warriors on both sides of the buffer zone.  We were blessed to have Betsy and Jill in the Choices mobile sonogram offering an easy alternative to pp and the Saturday morning regulars Dr. Stephanie, Father G, Joe, David, Bill S. and of course always present, Bill H.  Peace and Joy.

Sue D., 9-11

People were out in droves when I arrived. Tim had arranged to have the big 40 days banner in place, which brings great awareness! Knights of Columbus, Manordale, was represented and Maria who has become a Saturday regular! Several SA were also present! Shortly into the shift, a local Pro-Life physician and her lovely daughter came along to pray. It was their first time standing vigil. It was so encouraging to speak with them…the good doctor was telling us how she has done abortion pill reversals and about a patient she treated who had a healthy baby boy in September!! She encouraged us to keep getting the phone number out there (877-558-0333). It is on our yellow resource card! Jeff, who is pulling two shifts today, arrived shortly before 11am to take over!  Thanks to everyone who came to pray for the many clients entering PP today.

Dean D., 1-3

We’ve been spoiled by so many nice days that today’s weather served as a nice challenge. Thank you Brenda and Marcella for braving the elements with me to pray.  Shortly before I left, the mighty prayer warriors of Crestview Presbyterian showed up (nine strong) to carry the prayer torch into the late afternoon. God bless you all.

Ken, 3-5

I was very blessed today. Our God allowed that I could take a small part in the fight for life. And to help he sent a prayerful, joy filled congregation from View Crest Presbyterian Church. A special thanks to pastor Matt and Pastor Shawn. The song, scripture and prayers that you brought with you were uplifting. One young woman in particular stopped to talk about her views on life. I pray that she was touched by what she heard and that her heart will be changed.

First time participants from Viewcrest Presbyterian Church!
First time participants from Viewcrest Presbyterian Church!

Jeff B., 11-1 AND 5-7

Brenda from St John the Baptist and Marcella From good Samaritan in ambridge
Brenda from St John the Baptist (Baden) and Marcella from Good Samaritan (Ambridge)
Jan from st John the baptist in Baden and Beverly from good Samaritan ambridge
Jan from St. John the Baptist and Beverly from Good Samaritan

DAY 25: Thank you Holy Wisdom & St. John XXIII (North Side), here nearly all day, and SS. John & Paul (Wexford) from 9-12

MY FAVORITE FRUIT

Since the first 40 Days for Life began back in 2004 in College Station, Texas, the prayer, fasting, and peaceful witness by about ¾ of a million people have yielded incredible results.  Where our vigils have been held we’ve seen…

        13,569 lives saved (that we know of)

        156 abortion workers quitting their jobs (that we know of)

        90 abortion centers closed

Now here’s a strange question for you.  If you had to pick a favorite among the three above, the one that stirred your heart the most, which would you choose?

For me, it’s the middle one.

There’s not just one reason for that, but the first is purely personal.  Nothing else moves my heart like a good conversion story.  Abby Johnson’s UNPLANNED, is a great example.  If you haven’t read it, you’re really missing one incredible story of God’s grace at work.

But beyond that, I think it’s the most surprising number of the three.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that it wasn’t even on the radar for David Bereit and Shawn Carney when they launched 40 DFL nationally back in 2007.  Saving lives from abortion?  This was something that was fully expected.  Abortion centers closing?  I’m sure it was a reasonable hope.  But abortion workers quitting?  Who saw that fruit coming?

And finally, there’s this.  When an abortion worker quits – like Abby, or Ramona Trevino, or Sue Thayer – and then runs, like the Prodigal Son, back into the merciful arms of the Father, I don’t think it’s too presumptuous for me to say that, together, we’ve played a role in the saving of a soul.

So with that thought on your heart, please take a few moments right now to pray for that one soul who works for Planned Parenthood Pittsburgh who is most in need of our prayers.  Pray that this brother or sister of ours is graced with the courage to leave the world of abortion behind and run to the Father’s open arms.  Perhaps we could begin by praying the following on behalf of that person:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

And do not rely on your own insight.

In all your ways acknowledge Him;

And He will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

– Proverbs 3:5-7

Merciful Father, Prodigal Son, Close Up

Pat M.

AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS FROM THE SIDEWALK…

Tim B., 7-9

IMG_2463

IMG_2465

Wow did we have a great turn out for the sunrise shift.  From the beginning we had prayer warriors on both sides of the entrance from several of the North Hills Churches and then, like in the old Western movies, “the cavalry arrived.”  Fr. Tim and the faithful Guardians for Life pulled up in two vans and the faithful poured out. Prayer echoed on Liberty Ave.  Plus, we were blessed today to have two priests at the vigil.

Three young men walking by stopped to stare at the fetal models and were very interested.  We offered, and they accepted, a variety of literature to give out to their friends and agreed to consider participating in 40 DFL.  What a blessed morning.

IMG_2467

IMG_2469

 

Sue D. and Sue M., 9-11

Sue and Sue share SM duties for Saturdays 9am-11am.  We arrived at the sidewalk with Fr. Tim and his Guardians covering it with prayer!  Dear Barbara and Holy Wisdom parish were also there.   Holy Wisdom and St. John the 23rd adopted the full day as theirs to pray and offer sacrifice!  Many people from Sts. John and Paul came also, as well as men from a church in Weirton!  The sidewalk was full!

There were many women who entered the doors of PP today.  Some took our cards offering Free Pro-Life help, despite the escorts being out in full force.  Maria from Sion Iglesia commented how the Holy Spirit can cut to the heart and many, many prayers and rosaries were said today!  SA Judy and Sue stood at the far ends to reach as many people as possible!  God Bless everyone who came today and Sue on her Birthday!! TOS (The Other Sue)

Billy subbed as shift manager from 1-3 and wrote:

I was with Barbara who has been there since 7 am, she is such a trooper and is still there. I was with St. John and Holy wisdom churches and we were in such a movement of prayer, I felt God was there for the entire prayer. Nadine who had been with me last week was also there, and Sally, and I believe her husband too.  There was one pro choice protester there, but we tried not to engage and debate. We did have a lot of people pass by and say they supported us. It was such a joy to fellowship and pray there.

I do apologize I didn’t have any pictures for this time. Thanks again for allowing me to lead,

God bless all of those who came..

I had thought about Deuteronomy 30:19 as we came today. Where God says choose life so that you and your children may live.

SM Jeff with his first blog picture of the campaign
SM Jeff with his first blog picture of the campaign

Jeff B. 5-7 (report by Pat M.)

During the early part of Jeff’s shift we were joined by four young people from Steubenville, OH, – three of whom are students (graduate and undergraduate) at Franciscan University.  Even though dressed up from having come from a talk by Franciscan University professor Scott Hahn in Sharpsburg, this didn’t stop them from praying on their knees.

For the bulk of the shift, however, it was just the two of us.  The weather couldn’t have been better and the streets were on the quite side given that no major events had been scheduled.  I only heard one negative passing comment and witnessed a lot of people walking by who would not have otherwise known they were passing an abortion clinic had we not had a presence on the sidewalk.  One guy who gave me a fist bump of support was very likely a member of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals given his size and the size of the guy he was with.

MORE PICTURES AND STORIES WILL BE ADDED ON SUNDAY.

 

Day 18: STRETCHING EXERCISES

Kettlebell, Stretching, Fitness

STRETCHING EXERCISES

Thankfully, I don’t get anxious about many things.  But last week I was having a minor case of “high anxiety.”  I had taken a leap of faith and made a commitment to my parish to take on something that was completely new to me – and which would require a great deal of preparation.  And then, the very next day, something unexpectedly happened which all of a sudden ate-up a large chunk of the precious little free-time I have in my life which I had set aside to make those preparations.

How did I react?  Not well.  And not with a whole lot of trust in God.  In fact, the one scripture verse which kept coming to my head was this one:  You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped. (Jer 20:7)

But as I shared my frustration with some trusted friends – and tried to pray about it – things began to unfold in such a way that I got to the point where I could see that things were going to be alright.  And just as I was beginning to see this I read Jen’s post from Friday which began with the following scripture quote:

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7

Ah, yeah.  I needed to hear that.

So what’s my take-away from this?  No one involved with 40 Days for Life is without some level of trust in God.  In fact, I would say that by the very fact that we regularly stand on a public sidewalk and very publicly pray for an end to a practice that many see as a “sacred” right, have a level of trust which is significantly higher level than that of average Christian.

But here’s the thing.  Remember the expression:  “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way?”  You see where I’m going with this?  God uses our trust in him to do great things.  But eventually, he asks us to grow in that trust.  And when we let Him stretch us, we can do even greater things in Him.

Pat M.  

AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS…

Choices mobile sonogram
Choices mobile sonogram
Saturday 7-9 prayer warriors
Saturday 7-9 prayer warriors

Saturday mornings always start peacefully.  It’s dark and there are few on the streets.  Today we were extra blessed as the streets did not have the pink vested pp escorts which are the norm for Saturday morning.  We took this to mean they were not performing abortions. Praise God as many babies were spared today. We were also blessed to have the Choices Pregnancy Services’ mobile sonogram today at the vigil.  A woman was entering the clinic and we offered her the services of the mobile unit.  She said she had to go into the clinic for something but would consider the mobile.  About a half hour later she came back out and we escorted her to the mobile.  The prayers of those from St Maria Goretti, Living Hope Church and the Saturday regulars were heard today.

Tim B., 7-9

 

Dan and Pat from St. Maria Goretti
Dan and Pat from St. Maria Goretti

I shared shift-managing duties today with Sue D. — always a wonderful pleasure.  We were thrilled to see NO ESCORTS on duty this morning!!!!  This can only mean there were few or no abortions scheduled this morning.  Indeed, although PP was open, it did not appear that anyone going in today was abortion bound.

We were blessed to have Dan and Pat with us from St. Maria Goretti.  Eloisa, from a Spanish church, sang beautiful hymns in Spanish.  I was blessed by her singing and her vibrant faith as I stood with her.  She challenged me to learn some Spanish.  Funny that I’ve been toying with that idea myself.  We’ll see!

“M,” a young man who works at the library downtown, stopped by on his way to work.  He told me about his girlfriend who adopted her nephew due to the birth mother having drug problems.  He said the little two-year-old, obsessed with cars and trains, is the light of his life and that to his surprise, he has found himself wanting more children.  He told me he himself is pro-life but he sees reasons to keep abortion legal for people for whom children would be too much of a problem.  Please pray for a complete pro-life change of heart for him and also for marriage and more children for him and his girlfriend.

Later, “L” came by with his girlfriend, “S,” who is in the very early stages of pregnancy.  They are both homeless.  L was very sad and was encouraging S to have an abortion.  We talked to her and she does not seem to be abortion minded,  although she is still deciding.  She told us she has six children in the foster care system whom she wants to get back.  Please pray that L and S will choose life for their child and seek help via the abundance of information we gave them.  We do see L on a semi-regular basis, so I believe they will be back around and will be in touch.

Keep praying,  and, as Beth S. always says, “just keep going!”

For Life,

Sue M., 9-11

Pictures from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Robinson who was there from 11-3.

Image-1 - Copy

 

Image

We had quite a bit of negativity but a few encouraging people as well. It was a new experience for me to pass out the cards and precious feet. One young man was impressed with the fetal models. I gave him one and he asked if he could please have another. He also wanted 2 pins and 2 cards. Dean and I were able to enlighten him on what PP does and doesn’t do and their blob of tissue lie. I think he probably wanted the things to give to other people.
There were a few different occasions where people who looked middle class, educated, and possibly pro-life turned out to be BRUTAL. There is evil out there. A nice young man stopped and asked if we were a pro-life group. He had never heard of 40 Days but thanked us and shook our hands and told us his mother is director of a pro-life pregnancy center in California.
Sharon G. (substitute SM), 11-1
Holy Trinity in Robinson
Holy Trinity in Robinson

First up, thanks Bill for allowing God to use you in the way that He sees fit. Second, thanks to the group from Holy Trinity that showed up in big numbers and prayed strong today. One passerby took issue with the group using the name of Mary in prayer. One of Trinity’s women engaged him in conversation for a while. I prayed for a peaceful outcome and for wisdom if the situation deteriorated. Thankfully it didn’t and thank God for giving me the sense to know when to act and when not to act.
Lastly, thanks Billy who came to relieve me as shift manager. While he had participated before, this was his first time as a shift manager. Next time he will be a seasoned pro.

Dean D., 1-3

Nadine
Nadine
This was my first time ever being a shift manager and I didn’t exactly know what to do, so I pretty much was pretty laid back.
I was standing today with a wonderful lady named Nadine from Edgewood and a lovely Pastor from Mt. Zion Baptist Church from the Butler area named Ben, a father of 4.
I came when the previous group was praying I want to say a Litany to End Abortion and the one Psalm that stood out was Psalm 139:13-14.  “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderful made. Wonderful are your works.”

From 3 to 5, there weren’t any incidents, there weren’t many people going into the clinic, a lot of them leaving the clinic. We had a couple conversations with people passing by.  One gentleman came back and asked us “What are we doing here?” My response was “For babies, their right to life.” I think that’s important that people remember why we are here, we are doing this.  Not because we want to be better than people, but because we care about the unborn. Another girl came and read one of the signs as I approached her to give her a card, she said she was pro-choice she walked away, and then another woman came up and started discussing her thoughts and said it was just a fetus in the womb. I walked back and forth talking to both of the volunteers and the time just went quickly.  I got to hear a story from Nadine about I suppose one of the volunteers who was in the military who almost lost his baby from his wife while in the military, and it just made me think this man who couldn’t leave understood what it felt like to be trapped which most of the girls who look for abortions feel like. Just also hearing that it’s good to have guys here standing for babies when most don’t think we should have an opinion really feels good.

Thanks again for allowing me to lead for you all,
Billy L., 3-5

Pastor Ben from Zion Baptist in Prospect (near Butler) stood from 3 to 6:30
Pastor Ben from Zion Baptist in Prospect (near Butler) stood from 3 to 6:30

 

 

 

 

 

Day 11: Thanks to St. Ann Catholic Church (Castle Shannon), St. Sebastian Catholic Church (North Hills), Church of the Assumption (Bellvue)

Castle, Entrance, Architecture, Old

 THE GATES OF HELL

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.  And the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  Mathew 16: 18

 

Bishop Robert Barron, in a reflection in the August issue of MAGNIFICAT, opened my eyes to what the second part of this passage likely means.  He writes:

“I always took it to imply that the powers of hell would come after the Church and that the Church would always be able to withstand the attack.  But in point of fact, the figure of speech employed by Jesus is meant to suggest something in the opposite direction.  In the ancient world (and really up until practically modern times), an invading army would attack a walled city at its most vulnerable point, namely, the gates.  Therefore, to state that the gates of the underworld will not prevail against the Church is to imply that the community of Jesus is the aggressor.  Jesus is not saying that we will always prevail against their attack; he is saying that they will never prevail against our attack.

“Mind you, we never fight with the weapons of the world, but by God, we fight – and we will win.  We aren’t tremblingly waiting for our enemies to come after us; we’re going after them!  Love will conquer hate; compassion will conquer cruelty; non-violence will conquer violence.  So go forth, disciples of Jesus.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel a little bit more inspired.  It’s not defense we’re playing out there, it’s OFFENSE!  

Pat M.

AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS:

St. Anne's parish, Castle Shannon
St. Anne’s parish, Castle Shannon

 

Guardians for Life of Westmoreland and Indiana Counties
Guardians for Life of Westmoreland and Indiana Counties

Tim B. was on from 7-9:

What a blessed day at the vigil this morning.  We had two priests along with the prayer warriors from St Anne’s and the Guardians For Life.  We participated at 8 am in the Worldwide Rosary and Fr. Tim lead all in Divine Mercy and the Stations of the Cross. While the harvest was abundant today, we had lots of laborers.  We actually ran out of the black “Pray To End Abortion” signs.  What a blessing. The greatest blessing of all was that not many went into the abortion center today.  No doubt God hears our prayers and changes hearts and minds.

Peace and joy, Tim.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STORMING THE GATES!
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STORMING THE GATES!

Sue D. had the 9-11:  

It was a beautiful shift. I arrived and the sidewalk was so crowded with praying people, I almost had nowhere to stand! Good problem to have! Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life were there, as well as St. Anne’s church. It was wonderful to have constant prayer going. Eloisa and Maria from Iglesia Sion Church also showed up. I have seen Eloisa in many pictures and she has become a regular on this first campaign she has participated in! Rose and Stacey from St John the 23rd also came. Shortly after Stacey arrived, a passerby engaged Stacey in a respectful philosophical discussion. I think it was still going when I left. It was good to listen in on the various points and perspectives. PP was definitely covered in prayer on this beautiful day! ~Sue

 

Rose W. from St. John XXIII, and Dot L. & Mary Ann P. from St. Sebastian
Rose W. from St. John XXIII, and Dot L. & Mary Ann P. from St. Sebastian

 

Guy & Mary M. and Judy C., all from St. Sebastian
Guy & Mary M. and Judy C., all from St. Sebastian

Sue M. took the 11-1:

We had a quiet, very prayerful shift today.  All praise and thanks be to God!  Many thanks to prayer warrior volunteers from both St. Sebastian and St. John XXIII.  I was feeling a bit spiritually out of sorts today as I arrived for my shift.  I definitely felt more peaceful as the shift went on.  I believe that sometimes even we ourselves (even though it is not our objective) can benefit from all the prayer going on at the vigil!  My hope and prayer is that the people entering and exiting the clinic, along with those who work in there, benefited even more today from all of the prayer.

Lots of yellow cards were given out and accepted today.  Did you know that we are aware of at least two lives saved because of people receiving those yellow cards and accessing the info on them?  Diane, who created them, keeps them stocked in the smaller of the two boxes — don’t hesitate to give them out, along with the plentiful supply of other literature in those boxes!

 

 

Daniel and Luisa from Assumption
Daniel and Luisa from Assumption

 

Marie from St Sebastian
Marie from St Sebastian

Dean manned the 1-3:

I was glad to have “pray-ers” from both Assumption and St. Sebastian on the sidewalk with me this afternoon.
I gave away 2 of our feet pins. A young woman who had stepped outside of P.P. to smoke, accepted one of our pins and surprised me by saying that she was actually trying to have a baby. She thanked me for literature but, ended up returning inside to P.P. I hope that God leads her to look elsewhere.

Kathy stood from 3-5:

Rick, Mary, and their son from the Assumption church were praying as our shift began. Charlie from Assumption joined them
Many people were out on this beautiful day. A philosopher came twice to talk to the group, talking not debating. I talked to one girl who brought her friend. She had talked to the earlier shift. She put Martha’s Vineyard info in her bag as she said Planned Parenthood threw away our info earlier. As she left with her friend, she said, “I will give her that paper.”

Maggie was the manager of the 5-7 shift and wrote:

Mary and Rick (and friend) from Assumption Church
Mary and Rick (and friend) from Assumption Church

day 11, 6th shift2

Praise God for a very high traffic day and wonderful people from Assumption parish to pray with. We had a lively discussion with man about the sanctity if life . He had some confusion about rape but otherwise was right on. A mother whose birthday was today the day of our lady of the rosary and her son were there with me. She wrote this beautiful poem:

day 11, poem

day 11, 6th shift3

Information about The Magee Project and reports from Day 39: St. Ann Catholic Church (Castle Shannon), Word of God parish (Braddock/Swissvale), St. Sebastian Catholic Church (Ross)

Magee

INNOCENT BLOOD RUNS IN OAKLAND TOO

*  Did you know that abortions have been performed Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC even before Roe v. Wade was decided?

**  And that Magee does between 500 and 700 abortions every year?

***  And that the University of Pittsburgh offers abortion training to medical students and Associate professors at Pitt perform abortions at Magee?

 

Imagine the spiritual walls erected at Magee by decades of shedding innocent blood.  Isn’t it about time for those walls to come down and for a renewed culture of life to be restored!

Each night pray-ers for life meet at Magee Women’s Hospital to pray to end abortion.  Pat took these two pictures on May 2, 2017.  Join in prayer!

IMG_20170502_182911

IMG_20170502_182945

 

Join The Magee Project (founded by our very own Meredith Parente) for a major prayer event:  A week-long Jericho Walk around Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland, from Sunday, April 30th, and ending on Saturday, May 6.

 

From Sunday (4/30) through Friday (5/5) the Jericho Walk will begin at 6:30 PM.  We’ll meet at Magee – on the corner of Halket Street and The Blvd. of the Allies – to circle the hospital one time in silent prayer and meditation.  We’ll then gather briefly after walking to pray together and then and dismiss for the evening.

 

On Saturday, May 6th, we’ll meet at 8:30 AM and circle the hospital seven times in silence. We’ll gather at the end to make declarations about the spiritual walls we’ve asked God to topple and to declare what we are asking God to plant in place of those walls.

 

We’re asking individuals to make the effort to come to as many evenings as possible.  For churches and church groups (such as the Knights of Columbus), the hope is that they would adopt one evening, and then come again on Saturday morning.  Contact Meredith at TheMageeProject@gmail.com or at 412-795-3924 with any questions.

  

As for parking, on street parking is available on Halket St, across from the main entrance to the hospital, but is limited to one hour.  There is also a parking garage available right at Magee’s front entrance.  But don’t park in the Panera/Quality Inn parking lot.  Even if you buy a coffee there, if you walk off the lot, they’ll tow you.

 

And finally, be aware that a launch event for our Jericho Walk will be held on Friday, April 28, at 7 PM at Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene (Pastor Joe Stump’s church), which is at 5604 Interboro Ave. in Pittsburgh.

 

AND NOW FOR PICTURES AND STORIES FROM THE SIDEWALK:

 

There was a nice sized group of prayers from St. Anne’s (Castle Shannon), a few Saturday regulars , and a parishioner from St. Joseph’s.  There were about 15 escorts and, unfortunately, 2-3 customers.  One couple took some information, but continued inside.

Virginia, 7-9

It was another Saturday with a plethora of pray-ers!  I began my shift with the St. Anne’s Respect Life group in the middle of the rosary.  The man leading had a beautiful booming voice which could be heard on both sides of the circle.  I couldn’t help but think that the escorts must pay attention on some level, especially at the door with the baby models also being in full view!  Beth (SA), Joe (SA), and Joe were also present.  A short time later, a large group from Grove City College came and eagerly signed in and took signs to wear.  You can see them lining the street in the picture, their smiling faces bolstered everyone and it was a joy to have them with us!  Several rosaries, divine mercy chaplets, and many other prayers were offered.  Lots of people in costume passed by for some kind of convention.  We were able to hand out a lot of cards and offer free help to any who was simply open to accepting it! God Bless everyone who came.  Thank you!

Sue, 9-11

Pray-ers from St. Anne's in Castle Shannon w/Joe B
Pray-ers from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon w/Joe B
Grove City College students
Grove City College students
GCC students form their line
GCC students form their line

Three large healthcare facilities offering abortion in Pittsburgh…and we wonder why a city this size worries about the future?  The healthcare giant getting federal funds is located in downtown Pittsburgh where this 40 Days for Life campaign is ending for this season.  But abortion will not stop.  Abortion may not be front and center in some lives for the next several months but babies will continue to die under the watchful eye of PP.

So today we watched and prayed.  On my particular shift, Word of God parish and Madonna del Costello parish was represented by Dave, Maryann, Mike, and Bernie.  None of them are strangers to the sidewalk for life.

An older, distinguished looking gentleman with a camera took a picture of Maryann as she was praying.  He didn’t need to ask permission, but the polite thing to do is to ask.  George was evasive of how he plans to use the pictures other than for class, but under gentle and firm persuasion he did ask Maryann’s permission.  She graciously said yes.  He accepted our brochure to let us know if the pictures he took get published.  Taking a picture of someone in prayer… the man saw something that attracted him.

I was able to reach out to several people going into PP today.  Joan and Judy were also Sidewalk Advocates keeping vigil and reaching out.  A young couple did take post abortion information from me, after the seed was planted and watered by Judy and Joan.

Another 30 something woman would not take information – offered twice.  Visibly stressed and smoking, she told me after she looked at the baby models her mind was made up.  She told me (paraphrasing) “look, there is nothing there”.  I said it is her baby.  She walked inside while telling me to shut up.  Simultaneously, an even older woman walked by and yelled at me that it was the woman’s choice.  I won’t argue that statement.  It is a legal choice, but a deadly one for baby and mother.  The mother just isn’t aware.  Please pray.

The town was full of characters from the comic convention.  Right before I left the sidewalk for the day, two men crossed over to the our side of the street.  Unsolicited, the one said  “Stay vigilant.”  I took that as a message.  God has never spoken to me from a burning bush nor have I had any visions.  But I know wisdom when I hear it.  Anyone coming to the sidewalk must remain vigilant this weekend.  The convention has many dark spirited people walking by.  God is practical.  He told us he was sending us out among wolves.  WE must remain vigilant for life all year round.

Thank you to all of those who I shared the sidewalk with today… you know who you are.

Please keep Deacon Ron from Madonna del Costello and Word of God Parish in prayer.  He usually leads his parishes in prayer at the vigil but sadly, his wife died on Thursday.  The viewing is tomorrow and the funeral will be Monday.  Please pray.

Marian, 11-1

Pray-ers from Word of God parish
Pray-ers from Word of God parish

There was a lot of traffic in and out of P.P. today.  Some of the girls who came out together may have been training as escorts.  As this campaign comes to a close, I have to say how encouraging it’s been to read all of your reports and to stand together with you in this cause.  We uplift one another when we come together in prayer.  If the people who run P.P. we’re being honest, they would place a sign in their window stating, “No Lives Matter”.  Abortion subtracts from all of us.  The abortionist preys upon those who are economically disadvantaged and plants seeds of doubt.  40 Days for Life recognizes and supports that all life is God ordained and has purpose.

Dean, 1-3

Nelson and Sue from Word of God Parish in Swissvale
Nelson and Sue from Word of God Parish in Swissvale

I was so blessed today to be able to stand in prayer and witness with my fellow parishioners from St. Sebastian.  There were lots of folks on the streets of Pittsburgh today, what with a comics convention and a Pirates game going on.  With everyone dressed for spring — and the comics convention participants dressed in many colorful ways! — it was hard to believe that it was snowing just yesterday!

I met two wonderful Spirit-filled ladies, Pat and Bernadette, who are active with a pro-life prayer ministry by the name of Preborn Jesus (www.prebornjesus.com).  And speaking of the Holy Spirit, Bill stopped by as well, as ever on his Holy-Spirit-led “beat.”

We were very encouraged that SO many of the passersby – and even some people leaving Planned Parenthood! — were open to taking the yellow resource cards.  For me personally, it had to have been a record number of cards that I was able to give out.  Praise God!!  One young gentleman and his wife stopped to shake our hands and thank us for being there.  We engaged in a few conversations with some searching souls.  There were some rude and unsupportive comments as well.  At one point, a woman exited Planned Parenthood and purposely knocked the fetal models over.  But the negativity today was far outpaced by the general openness to our message.  Please pray that all of the yellow cards handed out today, along with the conversations had, will bear much fruit!

For Life,

Sue M., 3-5

Linda, Mary Lou, Gloria, and Dot, from St. Sebastian
Linda, Mary Lou, Gloria, and Dot, from St. Sebastian
Pat and Bernadette from Preborn Jesus Ministry
Pat and Bernadette from Preborn Jesus Ministry
Mary Ann, Mary, and Guy, from St. Sebastian
Mary Ann, Mary, and Guy, from St. Sebastian
Jim, Sandy, Dot, and Gloria, from St. Sebastian
Jim, Sandy, Dot, and Gloria, from St. Sebastian

I was asked to re-post my Shift Manager report from yesterday.  Here it is:

IMG_20170407_171702 (1)
 
The highlight of my evening – heck, the highlight of the whole campaign for me – was meeting Violetta and her five children.  The first thing she said when she saw me and our signs (and our baby models) was:  “Oh you guys are just the greatest.  Thank you for being here.”  Then she explained.  She had been at the East Liberty mill seven years ago for an abortion.  As she went in there were people there who were trying to convince her not to have an abortion.  She heard what they were saying, but went in anyway.  Well, through a series of strange events – along with the voice of her conscience – she walked out and decided not to have that abortion.  Then she introduced me to Nyona, who is seven, the baby she was going to abort.  (She’s the one right in front of her mom with the purple coat and the big smile.)  It was obvious the way that she talked that she understood that it was God who ultimately saved her and her baby.  She said that she had made the mistake at 16 of having an abortion right there at PP. We talked quite a while and I have her information from “Silent No More.”  When I shook Nyona’s hand I said:  “I’m glad you’re here.”  She said:  “I’m glad I’m here too.”
 
Pat, 5-7 (Friday)

DAY 32: SS. John & Paul Catholic Church (Sewickley), Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Robinson), St. Ferdinand (Cranberry), St. Therese (Munhall)

Image result for gentleness

GENTLENESS ONE MORE TIME

If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies.  It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination wishes.  In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions.  Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze.

James 3:3-5

I’m glad that “Gentleness” was our theme for this campaign because it gave me the chance to really evaluate how I’ve reacted in the past to people who make negative comments when I’m out there on the sidewalk.  And as a direct consequence, I’ve done much better these past weeks with those who make an insulting comment and then keep on walking.  In fact, I can’t remember a single occasion when I took the bait and made a reply.

However, my success with those who wanted to stay and engage me in “conversation” was extremely limited.  This campaign I had two encounters which clearly fit into this category.  And both times I fell well short of how I’d hoped to behave.  While I was not what you might call “belligerent,” I was far from gentle.  With the second individual, I can remember making more than one sarcastic remark towards her.  Each time I did it I instantly thought to myself, “Now why did you go and do that?”  The one saving grace in both instances was that, even though I had many more points I wanted to get across, once I realized how high my blood pressure was getting (and how fruitless continued conversation would likely be), I disengaged, walked away, and resumed praying.  It was a small consolation, but a consolation nonetheless.

But recently, I’ve discovered that there’s another reason for me to be grateful for this theme of gentleness.  It’s had the subtle effect of making me look at some other aspects of my life – specifically, how I interact with those I work with and those I live with.  Turns out that I’m not as gentle as I thought I was.  And now I know that I need to both pray and work so that some changes can take place in those areas as well. 

May God grant us all an increase in gentleness in how we deal with all of our brothers and sisters. 

GENTLENESS - TITUS 3 2

 

AND NOW, OUR REPORTS.  WE LEAD OFF WITH GINNY G. WHO, ALONG WITH BILL. H., FILLED IN AS SMs:

Parishioners from Ss. John and Paul joined us this morning in praying for life.  A little into the shift Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life joined us and prayed the rosary and the Stations of the Cross. There were fewer escorts, but still several (3-4) at each post.  One of the parishioners from Ss. John and Paul approached the escorts (these escorts were very young girls) and tried to engage them in dialogue, mentioning Abby Johnson’s book, etc.  No dialogue followed her attempts to discuss pro-life matters.  There were couples going into the PP building, a few took literature but none came out to the best of my knowledge.

God Bless,
GINNY. G., 7-9

 

So many people, and so MUCH prayer, going on on the sidewalk this morning!  Father Tim and his Guardians for Life were in full swing when we arrived, and we were blessed also with many more prayer warriors from St. Michael in Wheeling, Ss. John & Paul of Franklin Park, Holy Trinity in Robinson, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Kittanning.  Sadly, it was also quite the busy day for the clinic as well.  We reached out to many who were entering and exiting but received no responses or apparent interest.  I should qualify that – WE did not see any response.  With ALL the prayer going on today, complete with folks on their knees on the sidewalk, I believe firmly that hearts were touched and seeds planted.  The Lord will bring those seeds to fruition, in His time!

At one point, as we were praying vocally as a group, a young man approached and came down the sidewalk in between our two lines of prayer, raising very loudly his opinions that we were only there to advocate control over women’s bodies and that we should be promoting safe sex instead.  All of the prayer warriors simply continued praying.  He finally calmed down after speaking with a small group consisting of a few escorts and a few vigil participants.  I personally rejoiced that that varied little group, even with their opposite opinions, were able to placate him.  We prayed for him.

Keep praying for Life!

Sue M., 9-11

Fr. Tim and his Guardians for Life
Fr. Tim and his Guardians for Life
 Prayer warriors from Ss. John & Paul, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guardians for Life
St. Michael in Wheeling
Tom & Mary Jewel with K of C sign
Tom & Mary Jewel with K of C sign
NOT SURE
Prayer  warriors from Ss. John & Paul, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Guardians for Life
Ss. John & Paul
Ss. John & Paul
Holy Trinity in Robinson
Holy Trinity in Robinson

Saturday morning is a busy time on the sidewalk in front of PP.  Not only is the sidewalk full of prayer warriors who come from a variety of places — but the doors are always opening and closing at PP.  Pedestrians abound as they walk to the convention center, bus terminal, and to the Strip District.  Volunteers who are doing their best to help keep Pittsburgh clean walk by with their rubber gloves and garbage bags.  The many stress related cigarette butts in front of PP get picked up and are traded in for money for the organizations – cigarettes by the pound.  PP earns those groups some money…cigarette butts are plentiful.

The day was gloomy.  It was catching.  Liberty and Smithfield is a place for many close encounters.  One young woman who gave me permission to share briefly was waiting for her sister who was inside PP having her second abortion.  The woman with whom I spoke was distressed about the decision.  We talked at length while prayer warriors from Holy Trinity prayed on the other side of the circle. The woman took pictures of the signs that Diane had made that advertise the 800 # s for help – aptly titled:  Abortion Hurts Women.  This woman, hurting from her sister’s decision, was there to support because she already knows the after affects on the sister from the first abortion.  While not agreeing with the decision to abort, she didn’t leave her sister in need.  We hand out Project Rachel information because, while not agreeing with the decision to abort, we know post abortive men and women need help.  This young, wise woman agrees that abortion should be illegal.  I met Jesus on the sidewalk today and God knows her name.

PP had 18 women upstairs today with many being minorities.  The women get a sonogram and a pill to start the process.  There is a book upstairs that has testimonies from women who have had abortions…evidently one woman testified that she was having her 6th abortion at PP.  PP thrives on repeat customers – and many come from far away.

It was a gloomy day on the sidewalk today.

Marian, 11-1

Hayley shared her story against abortion with me.  She is one of seven children and when she lost her father four years ago at the same time that her mother was expecting, they were being counseled by a doctor to have an abortion.  But her mother didn’t and both are doing well today.

Thanks to Joe W. who put in extra time on the sidewalk this afternoon.  There were several clients at P.P. today and no one seemed interested in accepting the alternative information that SA Maggie was handing out.

Dean, 1-3

SA Maggie and Hayley from Seton LaSalle.
SA Maggie and Hayley from Seton LaSalle.
Dear ladies from Holy Trinity in Robinson Twp. who prayed with us today.
Dear ladies from Holy Trinity in Robinson Twp. who prayed with us today.

The 3-5 shift today was pretty quiet which is a blessing when you are a rookie substitute shift manager.  The ritual changing of the guard took place from Dean to me and off I went.  Within a few minutes of my wondering if this would be a solo mission, Mary from St Sylvester’s in Brentwood arrived and we promptly started a Rosary.  Less than a decade in and Mike from  St. Ferdinand’s in Cranberry (my home Parish) arrived. Less than 3 decades in and my namesake brother, Bill, arrived and the four of us were there together for the majority of the shift.
Bill’s daughter, who is 7 months pregnant stopped by to add some joy to our time there.  Near the end of the shift Adam arrived, followed by my relief, Jeff, and the baton was successfully passed forward.

Bill S., 3-5

new 1

Mike, Mary, and Bill

(Sorry. I wasn't able to rotate this picture for some reason. PM)
Proud papa, daughter and grandbaby still hiding!!

 

Jeff B., 5-7  Bill, Mike and I stood for the  5 pm shift.

 

Pat M.

DAY 25: A day that was a little different.

BONUS FRUIT!

 

By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.  So by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:16-20

So what is the fruit of 40 Days for Life?  And is it good fruit?

Well, since God planted the 40 Days for Life tree back in 2004 in College Station, Texas, it certainly has grown.  Campaigns have been held in 675 cities in 40 countries, with over 700,000 people taking part.  And where these campaigns have been held the fruit has been 12,914 lives saved (that we know of), 143 abortion workers quitting their jobs, and 83 abortion centers closing their doors for good.  So yeah, I’d say that’s some pretty good fruit – and I thank God for calling me to be a part of it.

However, this week found me meditating on a different kind of fruit that 40 Days has produced.  Because it’s something above and beyond our obvious mission, I’ve come to call it “bonus fruit.”  

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to once again reconnect with a friend and college classmate.  Each campaign Laurey’s group makes the three-hour drive from Elk County, stands vigil and prays for three or four hours, and then makes the long journey back to “God’s Country.”  And each time they do, she and I get together for a short hour’s break for a coffee at Bruegger’s.  In fact, when the schedule of churches gets posted, the first thing I do is to find out what day they’ll be coming down so I can reserve it on my calendar.  I try not to let anything interfere because I really look forward to our talks which center on our respective families and our shared Catholic faith.  Every once in a while I’ll mention to her that the only thing that would make it any better would be if she could manage to bring with her another friend and classmate from our days at St. Vincent – her husband Brad.  Would we have ever reconnected as we have without 40 Days for Life?  Maybe, but not likely.  Bonus fruit.

This experience started me thinking.  Why is it that there’s a part of me that actually looks forward to the start of another 40 Days for Life campaign?  An experience which will have me standing on a city sidewalk in all sorts of weather and have some very respectable looking people hurl insults at me.  An effort which will have me tied to a computer every Saturday as I struggle to put together yet another stinking blog post!  (Offer it up, Pat.  Just offer it up.)  For crying out loud, I even enjoy our team meetings.

I look forward to the next campaign because it’s a reunion of old friends.  By the grace of God, 40 Days for Life has given me the chance to get to know some of the very best people on the planet and I consider it a joy just being in their company.  I’ve been able to grow from their example, benefit from their prayers, and have had the chance to offer my prayers for them as well.  Some tree, huh?

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.  

Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth.

Sirach 6:14-15

TODAY THE VIGIL WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.  BECAUSE OF A POLITICAL EVENT OCCURRING ONLY A BLOCK AWAY – AND THE ANTICIPATED COUNTER-PROTEST OF THAT EVENT – WE DECIDED TO LEAVE THE SIGNS THAT DIANE BRINGS EVERY DAY AT HOME AND HAVE A LOW-KEY, LOW-VISIBILITY DAY WHILE THAT EVENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL.

Virginia, Dan, and David
Virginia, Dan, and David
Jim and Jimmy
Jim and Jimmy
Mark, Joe, and Dan
Mark, Joe, and Dan
Pat and Dan from St. Maria Goretti
Pat and Dan from St. Maria Goretti
Patty from Denver
Patty from Denver
Faithful family from Saints John and Paul
Faithful family from Saints John and Paul

Sue, Tom, and Rosemary

Sue, Tom, and Rosemary

It was a prayerful, peaceful, and blessed early morning at the vigil and so much warmer than past Saturdays (Thank you God).  Dan and Pat from St. Maria Goretti shared in prayers with the year round Saturday morning regulars of Virginia, David, Jim, Joe, Mark, and Bill H.  The weather was so good that Randy biked down to join in prayers. Patty, who is with FOCUS in Denver and who was visiting her daughter at Duquesne, lead us in the 7 Sorrows of Mary prayers.  It was wonderful.  A beautiful and prayerful family from Saints John & Paul made a powerful witness as they stood in a circle in prayer.  While the PP escorts were present on both sides and across the street, the clinic did not have many going in, hopefully due to our presence, witness, and God’s grace.  Peace to all those who come after me today.

Tim B., 7-9

The 11- 1 shift was attended today by Leslie who came from Providence PCA in Coraopolis.  Leslie and her family fund-raise for Choice Pregnancy Center.  Jim, from Holy Trinity Knights of Columbus, also came to pray.  George, a strong advocate and “walk the talk” adoptive parent prayed from his prayer book.  Nadine came to pray from Word of God parish in Swissvale – Madonna de Costello church.  Katie and Judy worked as Sidewalk Advocates today.

Saturday is an abortion day so activity in and out of the doors was busy.  People willing to take information did- and of course there are always those who do not take information.  Stacey from St. John XXIII parish also stood with us during part of the 11-1 shift, arriving during the 9 – 11 am shift.

Thank you for your witness today.
Please keep informed of our vigil through the blog posts and emails.
Family takes care of family!

Marian, 11-1

Wow, God is providing the most fantastic weather this weekend!  When I arrived, Tim was finishing out his shift. We had lovely Marsha, her husband, and 3 children + Nephew! from Saints John and Paul.  I joined them in praying the rosary and divine mercy chaplet.  Dan and another lovely lady from St. Maria Goretti represented their parish.

There was a steady stream of clients entering PP.  Please pray in particular for a woman who had an abortion today, but did accept information…that she will seek the help that she will need.  Ken from Kittaning and Stacey also came and spent time in prayer.  I believe this holocaust will only end by prayer, so I thank God for these 40 days of opportunity to bring it to the sidewalk!

Sue, 9-11

I don’t have much to report today as I was advised to not attend today’s vigil by our dear Nikki.  I was on my way into town and drove past the protest on Liberty Ave.  I saw at least 4 police vehicles and overall it looked pretty intense.  Thank you Nikki and Marian for looking out for me.  By the way, discretion is the better part of valor.

Dean, 1-3

Despite the chaos in the afternoon on Saturday, Jeff B. came out and served as shift manager from 3-7.  Thank you Jeff and those who joined you.  Here are his pictures.

A couple from St. Sylvester's stayed from 3 to 6
A couple from St. Sylvester’s stayed from 3 to 6
Pastor Bryan - back in action
Pastor Bryan – back in action
A family from Assumption parish in Bellvue
A family from Assumption parish in Bellvue

AND HERE’S A PICTURE FROM EARLIER IN THE WEEK:

Katie with her sidewalk chalk
Katie with her sidewalk chalk

Pat M.

Day 18: Thanks to St. Alexis (Wexford), St. John (Baden), Good Samaritan (Ambridge), and Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Butler)


 

DOING GENTLENESS – PART 2

The year was 1974.  The place was Kinshasa, Zaire.  And the fight would become known as “THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE.”  George Foreman was the undisputed champion with a record of 40-0 (37 by knockout).  The challenger, and decided underdog, was former champion Muhammad Ali.  Ali’s supporters weren’t just afraid that he would lose.  They were afraid that he’d be killed.  But Ali had a plan. 

Beginning in the second round, Ali frequently began to lean on the ropes and covered-up to protect himself as best he could, letting Foreman punch him on the arms and body.  He would later dub the strategy “the rope-a-dope.”  By the 8th round, both Foreman’s punching and defense became ineffective as the strain of throwing so many wild shots had taken its toll on him.  Ali was then able to move in on the exhausted Foreman, knock him to the canvas, and win the fight on a TKO (technical knock-out). 

Foreman’s fists were arguably the most lethal in the history of boxing.  And this resulted in his earning early-round knockouts in nearly all of his bouts.  But it was in this strength that Ali deduced his weakness – a lack of stamina. 

So this is the lesson I suggest we take from Zaire and bring to Pittsburgh.  When someone insists on going “toe-to-toe” with us out there at the vigil, they’re expecting us to verbally punch back.  After all, doesn’t everybody?  But if we decide instead to listen patiently to all they have to say – without interrupting – what then will happen? 

At the very least, “fight-fatigue” will eventually set in upon our opponent because we won’t be giving fuel to their fire.  As a bonus, we’ll have some time to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what we should say if that chance does come about.  And if it does come, I’ll also suggest that we begin by respectfully summing-up their point of view to make sure that we have it straight.  By following the principle of seeking to first understand, then to be understood, will be a further surprise – and a little more water on their flame.

Where things go from that point, no one can say.  But if we approach these encounters from the beginning by remembering to STAY HUMBLE AND REMEMBER THE RUMBLE, we’ll have given ourselves ‘a puncher’s chance’.

AND NOW OUR STORIES AND PICTURES FROM THE SIDEWALK

It was a quiet, peaceful, and prayerful morning.  The Saturday regulars were joined by the ladies from St Alexis in Wexford and Mark, a prayer warrior.  Then Father Tim and his van full of the faithful Guardians for Life filled the street with prayers and song.

Tim B., 7-9

Ladies from St. Alexis
Ladies from St. Alexis
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life
Guardians for Life

Part of my Lenten devotion is a daily email with a reflection and something to think about for that day.  Today’s theme was “This Day We Fight”. On the way down to PP I kept psyching myself up for the fight and thinking, YES…This Day We Fight!!! We are there to fight for those women, children, fathers and workers.

Well, when I arrived there was already an army amassed including Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life, a large group from St Michael’s in Wheeling, and a Sister Jolene(?) (sorry if I didn’t get her correct name).  She came to pray in honor of her brother’s birthday.  Her brother, Fr. Joseph, passed away in October 2015.  He was a devoted Pro-Life advocate throughout his priesthood.  Sister also wants us to know that 40 Days for Life is remembered daily in prayers at the Mother House!  The battleground was set with many PP escorts and many praying pro-life warriors.  Chuck and his group were doing the Jericho march, Bill came and walked around the circle in constant prayer.  A lot of clients went in and a lot of life-affirming information was handed out, including the 10-week precious feet pins!  Please pray for a couple who was in need of housing.  A trio of lovely ladies from Good Samaritan came as I was leaving to start their shift.  We all covered that place in so much prayer that I left confident we won this spiritual battle, ’cause we are God Strong!

Sue D., 9-11

 

Warriors from St Michael's in Wheeling
Warriors from St Michael’s in Wheeling
Good Samaritan Pray-ers!
Good Samaritan & St. John’s Pray-ers!

I will title this:  “Judy from the Northside was spat at today.”

This is what she wished she had said in response:  “God would love you if you had spat at God Himself…because your life is precious beyond words!”  Judy and I are Sidewalk Advocates together and as a result have become friends too!  I was standing next to her as we saw the young men approached.  Judy offered information and the spit came in response with the spittle landing right at her feet.  Just previous to this, I had asked Anita from WV to be one of the dedicated prayers for us as we witness on Saturdays.  “The devil saw Jesus in Judy today as it walked by.”

As I came into my favorite coffee shop to write this, a middle aged woman was sitting discussing her writing with a mentor of sorts.  The woman was wearing a hat with horns.  If you know me by now, I had to ask her before left “Why the hat?” She responded it was part of an act and she decided to keep wearing it.  I told her I write about people I meet.  She smiled, left, and another woman with interesting symbols on her sweatshirt sat down… to be continued!!

So I ask questions of the many wonderful witnesses who come to the street called Liberty at a site where liberty is ripped from the womb.  The three ladies pictured are not only active in 40 Days for Life, but they are Ladies of Charity and in a women’s group which hosts baby showers.

I met Mark who came with the group for WV.  He has been witnessing since the abortion clinic was in the other location in Pittsburgh.  Bob, who prays everyday as he walks by, also has been praying since the abominable clinic was in that other part of town.  I asked the young escorts and the women coming out of the volunteers training program today if part of the training included showing them what an abortion looks like-  videos are available.  No one would answer me– not even the trainer herself.

Marian C., 11-1

We handed out some of the Rachel’s Vineyard literature to S., who had been at P.P. today.  She asked us to pray for her.  We know that she’s hurting right now.  Otherwise the afternoon went fairly quietly.

Food for thought when refuting the abortion argument: The abortionist sells the concept that the unborn baby is an nonviable mass of tissue.  But, they know the harvest potential from selling these babies organs.

Dean D., 1-3

Beverly and Jan from Good Samaritan-Ambridge and St. John's-Baden.
Beverly and Jan from Good Samaritan-Ambridge and St. John’s-Baden.

Began the shift with sun shine.  Ended shift with Sonshine Jerome from St. Thomas Moore and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion Baptist.  Prayed throughout this shift.  Pray for T.  His girlfriend was awaiting her abortion upstairs.  God let him talk in such a way that it was shared that it’s never too late to leave the clinic and not have the abortion.  He took our info then went back in.  Intense prayer followed for him and girlfriend.  At end of shift Sonshined as SM Joe and Pastor Ben ministered to homeless man.

Kathy K., 3-5

Prayerful Christians serving the Lord.  Carry on Christian soldiers!!!  (Picture below.)

Joe W., 5-7

 Jay, Kathy and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion church in Portersville
Jay, Kathy and Pastor Ben from Mt. Zion church in Portersville

Pat M.

Day 11: Bellevue and Manordale Knights of Columbus

Image result for getting coffee at the drive thru

GENTLENESS:  THREE TIPS TO GET US THERE:

Gentleness is our theme for this campaign.  And the little story from the drive-thru might be a good image to have in mind as we each prepare for our next scheduled time on the sidewalk.  Based upon my own reactions to confrontation – both good and bad – I’ve identified three key things we can do which will better enable gentleness to come through:

  • BEFORE you go, “Ya gotta pray!” – When I’ve failed to specifically and intentionally ask God to put you in the proper frame of mind, and to display the type of demeanor out on the sidewalk that He wants, I’m nearly doomed to failure. But when I remember to do this – even after I’ve already started my shift – I know that the grace I need to overcome my oh-so-natural impulses is there to draw on.
  • When you’re THERE, “Ya gotta pray!” – There isn’t one among us who doesn’t take some time to socialize a bit with our fellow pray-ers at the vigil. It would be unnatural not to.  But if we aren’t spending the bulk of our time on some type of prayer, then common sense tells us that we won’t be nearly as prepared to respond with gentleness when someone expresses their displeasure with us.  And while I can’t prove it, I’d be willing to bet that those who really don’t like us find it much more difficult to confront a group in prayer than one in casual conversation.  Consequently, they’re a lot less likely to do so.
  • Bite your tongue – No way to sum it up any better.  Most of the negativity we receive as we stand vigil (at least 80%) comes in the form of, what I call, “drive-by” comments.  These are people who, as they walk past, say something derogatory, but keep on going.  Fine.  Let them go.  Resist the urge to offer a retort.  To absorb the blow with grace gives evidence of your gentleness.  But saying something in response simply is to invite a confrontation.  [I’ll talk about how to deal with a “frontal assault” confrontation in a future post.]

But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father.

Mt 5:44-45

 

It was a glorious morning and I was blessed to be surrounded by the year round Saturday morning “regulars” of Virginia, David, Joe and Bill.  We were joined by sidewalk advocates Jim, Sue and Beth.  Cory who was coming by for the parade stopped and prayed for some time with us.  We prayed passionately for a young couple who entered the clinic crying. We tried to talk with her and give her resource info her but she wouldn’t engage.  Pray for her.

Tim B, 7-9

IMG_2102

Virginia, David, Bill, Joe

Cory and Beth
Cory and Beth

C.O.L.D.!!!  But as always, we (Sue D., my tag-team shift manager today, and I) found warmth on the sidewalk this morning, the warmth we always feel when surrounded by friends and fellow prayer warriors in the pro-life movement.  Early in the shift, we were blessed with the regular Saturday-morning Sidewalk Advocates working their “beat” as usual — Marian C. and Judy V. — along with Beth (“Just-Keep-Going“) S.  Bill H., another regular (to put it mildly!), was also there.  Soon Stacey R. arrived, and then later in the shift, Ken B. and Chris C.  Rosaries and prayer ensued.  Several people and couples entered and exited Planned Parenthood during our shift this morning.  We approached them and offered help, but unfortunately only one woman entering the clinic accepted our literature.  The annual St. Patty’s Day parade attendees and participants, most of them sporting a lot of green, were out in full force.  We were able to distribute a considerable amount of literature to passersby.  Marian and Judy engaged several people in what I know were meaningful conversations as they lasted awhile!  During the time I was there, no one reacted negatively toward us, and all was peaceful.  Marian, who had arrived on the sidewalk around 9:30, took over shift manager duties at 11 to prepare to continue to freeze, along with Judy, for two more hours — God bless them!  Keep praying!!

Sue M., 9-11

Ken B., Stacey R., and Chris C. (Chris is from St. Bernard; the other two did not list a church)
Ken B., Stacey R., and Chris C. (Chris is from St. Bernard’s in Mt. Lebanon)
     On this cold day, the 4 men remained in continuous prayer by reciting the decades of the Rosary.  Praying men on the sidewalk are a powerful witness to women, but especially to other men.   The signs they chose to wear were the Choose Life signs which have the Knights of Columbus logo.  Like kids in a candy store- these Knights were joyful to see those signs!!
    Many positive comments could be heard as the pedestrians passed by after the parade.  The few mocking comments that were made, were made by women.  At the end of the sidewalk, when they meet God, they will have to answer for that.  God does not appreciate mockery.  Judy, my Sidewalk Advocate partner, stayed through our usual shift as Sidewalk Advocates.  Judy is starting a pro-life group at the north campus of the community college.  Three staff members have agreed to be her sponsor and over 40 students signed up to join the group.
    The clients coming out of PP were not receptive today to taking information.  Everyone thinks they are going to be fine… especially the friend walking out with them.  Deceptive practices make people assume incorrectly.  The baby models, as usual, brought a comment or two.  One boy about 10 years of age stopped and asked about them.  He thanked me for (briefly) explaining the sizes.  He seemed to understand when I said you were once that size in your mommy’s “belly”.   He was smiling as he walked away.
    Two men stopped to talk after seeing the baby models.  Once gentleman took a card and cared about the message of the models.  His friend had a little different attitude.  He thought the models were rubbing salt in the wound of women coming out after having an abortion.  We agreed that abortion is hurtful.  I explained that how women feel after coming out of an abortion clinic is because of the choice they made.  The truth does hurt at times when wrong decisions are made.  Our presence on the sidewalk is not hurting anyone.  I heard two comments to “mind your own business”.  I thought to myself–we are.  Life is our business.  Thanks to our benefactors who supply the hand warmers.  That great invention was needed today.  We may have had cold hands (especially Charles) but as they say – cold hands, warm hearts.
     From the sidewalk, with grateful appreciation for those present today,
Marian, 11-1

 

20170311_110853

Bellevue Knights of Columbus

I was pleasantly surprised by how much approval we got from passersby.  Only a few had anything negative to say.  Planned Parenthood seemed fairly quiet today, with only workers there today.

Dean, 1-3

Dennis and Gerry from Murrysville Knights of Columbus
Dennis and Gerry from the Manordale (Murrysville area) Knights of Columbus
Dave and Don from Murrysville Knights of Columbus
Dave and Don from the Manordale Knights of Columbus
Manordale KofC group shot
Manordale KofC group shot

A special thanks to my brother Knights of Columbus who recognized that their presence, on a day when the St. Patrick’s Day parade was being held, would be especially needed.

Pat M.

Image result for getting coffee at the drive thru

Day 4: Holy Wisdom parish and St. John XXIII Latin Mass Community

ARE YOU ALL IN?

Image result for "All in"

Back on her January 23rd post Nikki wrote about how she was fighting the lukewarmess she was feeling towards the upcoming Lenten campaign.  She knew she had to make a decision:  either be ALL IN or ALL OUT.  Thankfully, God gave her the grace and the courage to commit to being ALL IN.  Then, just a few weeks later, she wrote the following:

I also think that it is more important than ever to add FASTING to our prayers!  Jesus said that some demons can only be driven out by prayer AND fasting!  St. Augustine said that fasting and almsgiving are the two wings that carry our prayers to God!

I think you see where I’m going here.  If we’re going to be ALL IN, then fasting needs to be a big part of our lives during this Lenten campaign.  With that in mind, I have a few tips to offer with respect to that most challenging spiritual discipline:

  • Let God decide what kind of fasting you’ll be doing. While you may have your own ideas as to what you want to fast from, your fasting is sure to have more of an all-around impact (i.e., not just with respect to saving lives and changing minds and hearts, but on bringing you closer to God) if you surrender all of your ideas and simply pray:  “Lord, what is it that You want me to give up?”  Then, pay attention as you go about your day to listen for His answer.
  • Start small and build.  There’s the decision to be ALL IN on fasting, and then there’s the actual execution of that decision.  There are many things I feel prompted to give up as Lent approaches, but I know that I’m not strong enough to give them all up at once.  So I start with one thing and give that up during the first week (usually sports-talk radio).  Then, by the time I get through that week and have become somewhat acclimated to that sacrifice, I’m ready to add some other small thing to it for the following week, and another the week after.  That gradual build-up makes the arduous mountain that fasting can be, seem not so steep.
  • Consider committing to a day on bread and water OR liquids only through our fasting calendar. Really, when you can choose which of these two fasts to do for 24 hours (7PM – 7 PM), it’s not as hard as you might think.  The first step in getting there is to go to this page of our website and scroll down to the link which says:  Prayer and Fasting for life.

AND NOW, THE SHIFT MANAGER REPORTS:

SM Barbara L. was with her parish ALL DAY on Saturday.  And her husband Richard was her assistant SM for 6 of those 12 hours.  [I’d call that being “ALL IN.”]  Here’s what she had to say:

Today, Holy Wisdom and Saint John XXIII Parishes helped cover Pittsburgh’s 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil.  Joining in prayer were Chris, Beth, John, Al, Sally, Bob, Rose, Richard, Barbara and Claire.

Since the beginning God has called His people.  God designs vocations and they are awesome.  You will not be bored. Saint Peter, one of my favorite people of God, in saying yes, progressed from virtue to virtue and ended upside down.  Peter’s is an outstanding beauty in the stories of love.

We arrive and stay to pray on this sidewalk because we are looking for God.  Abortion hurts the baby, the mother, the father, the grandparents, the siblings, the baby’s whole family.  The abortion hurts the doctor, the nurses, the secretaries, cleaners…everyone working at the abortion site.  It is almost inconceivable that abortion, killing the baby, is promoted as a solution to a crisis pregnancy.  Yet, people promote abortion publicly and shamelessly.

Thank Goodness, seeking and choosing this terrible “solution” need not be the last chapter in the story of a crisis pregnancy.  Life is the solution your heart seeks.  Let your baby live.  Repent and turn to God if you have had an abortion.  Pittsburgh prolife organizations have the back of those of us who meet you on the sidewalk.  Our hearts and “HELP” sheet are crammed with help for you, ready right now.

Barbara

Beth, Sally, Al, and John
Beth, Sally, Al, and John
Pat (delivering the materials), SA David, and SM Richard
Pat M. (delivering the materials), SA David, and SM Richard L.
Pat and SM Tim B.
Pat and SM Tim B.

The frosty temperature didn’t prevent over a dozen of the faithful of Father Tim’s Guardians for Life or those from Holy Wisdom parish & St. John XXIII Latin Mass Community from praying and witnessing at the dawn of this day.  The Sidewalk Advocates had counselors in all directions from the clinic.  One group of four men walking down the sidewalk walked around our prayerful group on the road rather than thru us.  I believe it was out of respect.  Hopefully we had this same effect on those women or couples thinking of entering the clinic.  Maybe, just maybe, we saved a baby today.

Tim B, 7-9

 

Bill, Virginia, Richard, Joe
Bill, Virginia, Richard, Joe
Fr. Tim and his team
Fr. Tim and his team
"All Day" Barbara in the middle
“All Day” Barbara in the middle

IMG_2092

IMG_2093

The weather was unwelcomingly cold as I arrived at the vigil today — and it sure stayed that way!  The Guardians for Life were in full force and faithfully praying the Rosary.  The PP escorts, as they always are on Saturdays, were also in full force.  In the minutes before 10a, many people, mostly women, were entering PP.  Since I am on the sidewalk every Saturday morning as a representative of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, I’ve come to know that PP holds training meetings regularly on Saturdays at 10a, so undoubtedly that is what was going on.  I have never been able to find out, though, just what exact purpose the training is for …. it is still a goal of mine to do so, as they attract a fairly large number of people, more people than can possibly be employed inside PP — and I never see any repeat faces from week to week.

With the large numbers of the Guardians for Life, one always wonders if anyone will be left praying on the sidewalk when they leave!  But we were blessed soon afterwards with Claire, Rose, Rose, Tripp, and Mary from St. Boniface, along with “regular” Ken, and the sidewalk remained filled with prayer.  Sadly, however, only one young woman entering PP during the time I was there accepted our offer of literature.  Keep praying – we’ve only just begun!

Sue M., 9-11

Do you wonder if we make an impact on what people think of those who pray in front of PP?  Last night as I was leaving the vigil to catch my bus, I noticed a young couple smiling/chuckling while looking across at PP.  I caught the young woman’s eye and asked if they wanted information as to why 40 Days for Life stands and witnesses.  The woman asked “Why are the men kneeling?”  The engaging conversation lasted about 5 minutes with at least one other person at the bus stop hearing the explanation and the friendly and fact filled conversation. The couple, open to hearing the message, saw and heard something new about PP last night because they saw two men kneeling.  Thanks  Pat and Matt for your witness.  The two young men who passed by, before I crossed the street, also noticed.  Grown men kneeling in prayer – what an awesome sight!  Men who support women…who could ask for anything more?

Marian, 11-1

Not many people were out this afternoon. I prayed with Barbara and Bob. Thank you Barbara for praying the whole vigil today. You really are an inspiration for the rest of us. Don’t give up.

Dean D., 1-3

Dean, Shift Manager and Bob, Saint John XXIII Parishioner
SM Dean and Bob, Saint John XXIII Parishioner

 

Pat M.