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

I’ve been thinking a lot about saints lately…

What exactly is a saint?

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

I would like to talk about Al and Sally Brunn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read on for reports from the vigil today…

Charlene reports from the 7-9 am shift:

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

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

Cathy wrote from the 9-11 am shift:

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

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

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

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

Dan in prayer
Seminarians Eli and Brian in praye

Richard was the shift manager from 11-1

Shift manager Richard with John Paul, a seminarian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

 

Here are the shift reports from today:

Mary wrote from the 7-9 am shift:

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

Shift buddy Peggy with sidewalk evangelist Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benson and Jennifer

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

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

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

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

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

 

Joe wrote from his 5-7 shift:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hanging on for Dear Life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jeannie wrote from her 3-5pm shift:

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

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

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

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

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

French off the bench

Joe and Mary Jane
Philene and Joe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Day 5: THANKS St. Regis/Trafford, St. Mary/Herman, Park Baptist/McKeesport, Holy Trinity Ukranian

” Do I really HAVE TO DO IT?

I am back to the gym after a many month hiatus.  My “poison” of choice :  Boot Camp Class 2-3 times a week.  Burpees, Weight training, Cardio, Core Strengthening …

  • I KNOW exercise is good for me, and that I am a more balanced person when I push myself physically.
  • I KNOW that I am not expected to be the best one in my class, and that there will be many younger and more agile  folks in at the gym.
  • I KNOW, too that my time is not so completely scheduled that I can’t find a few hours a week for this.
  • I also KNOW that God gave us bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and that I have an obligation to maintain His gift.

OK but  I HATE GOING to Class!   I especially despise those first few minutes of “warm up”.  Having sat at a desk all day, my body is shocked into physical exertion and I panic about what the next hour will require.   It takes sheer determination to do this thing that is anything but FUN!

…  Same with my 40 Daysfor Life Shift!

  • I KNOW it is good for me, and I am a more balanced person when I do it.
  • I KNOW I am not expected to be the best on the sidewalk.  (Sidewalk Advocates are amazing)
  • I KNOW that my time is not so completely scheduled that I can’t take several hours a week to be on the sidewalk.
  • I KNOW that God has blessed me with the incredibly good fortune to be ABLE to stand or kneel on my own.

Knowing all these things …..  IT IS STILL SUCH A CHALLENGE  to COMMIT 

NOT my happy place!      But where I NEED to BE…

TO MY 40 DAYS SHIFT! 

I especially dislike the initial approach to PP when I realize that my life for the next 2 hours will expose me to the deepest hurts in our city.  I hate the idea of being so close to a center of  death.  I hate watching broken women and men leave PP.  And of course, I hate being cold or wet or harassed…

SO WHY DO IT? WHY BOTHER?

At the end of my time (at exercise class or )on the sidewalk, whether I am rolling up my exercise mat, or returning my PRAY TO END ABORTION sign to the 40 Days supply bin,  I feel JOY!     In my heart, I know I did what was best — what made sense for who I am as a person.  As much as I didn’t want to be at that place for that time; and  I am changed!

AND when you involve GOD in your tough activity, the added benefit benefits can astound us:

We now know that  PRAYING TO END ABORTION

  • Saves Babies Lives
  • Gives Mothers REAL CHOICES which are not violent or regrettable
  • Converts Abortion Workers
  • Closes Clinics

So…..  We don’t need to Love or even Look Forward to our time on the Sidewalk,

We just need to SHOW UP!

INVEST AN HOUR OR TWO — No Pain, No Gain!

French off the bench

 


7-9am Shift Report  From Pat:   St. Regis/Trafford

SM Buddy  Vince, and Mike, Yolanda, and Albert from St. Regis.

I knew not to make a rookie mistake.  A rookie mistake is to see that the temperature for your two-hour shift will be in the low 50s and to interpret “low 50s” as actually meaning “low 50s.”  When you’re standing out on a cold sidewalk for a couple of hours, even in deceptively nice weather, you know the time has come for layering…and yes, gloves.  (In fact, I’d say that it was only a few degrees away from being an earmuff morning as well.)

Despite consistently not being bright enough to schedule my parish for a day when there is not a huge Sunday morning event in downtown event (this time it was The Great Race), I had three of my faithful fellow parishioners join me for the entire two hours.  Thanks guys!  And we were all blessed to once again have SMB (Shift Manager Buddy) Vince with us to not only lead us in prayer, but to bring prayer guides with mediations on the mysteries of the rosary.  Bill H. also stopped by for a bit and asked for prayers for a recent health concern.

The most interesting thing that happened occurred when I was on the “materials side” of the sidewalk and Mike, Yolanda, and Albert were on the other side.  I noticed that a woman came to speak with them for about five minutes.  The conversation seemed peaceful so I stayed where I was.  Albert told me later that she was from out of town and, as she passed us earlier on her way to the Greyhound Bus station, we were all praying together.  She was impressed by this felt that God had told her to return in order to give us some words of encouragement and to pray for us, which she did.  Thank you so much kind stranger, and may God bless you as well.

  – Shift Manager Pat


9-11 Shift Report from Sue   

Flowers on the sidewalk, from loving prayer volunteers

My shift manager buddy Ken and I were the only folks manning the 9-11 shift this morning.  We prayed the Rosary and talked about the Life cause.  At one point a young man came by and earnestly engaged us in conversation.  He was on his way to catch a bus to his mom’s funeral in another city.  It was such a wonderful conversation due to Ken’s gentle witnessing and the genuine openness of this young man to learning about the pro-life message.  The young man left in a very appreciative and, we believe, enlightened mode.  The “R” family showed up around the middle of our shift and knelt to pray a Rosary.  Ken had brought a bunch of red roses, and the children were happy to place them around the circle.  I wanted to get a photo of them, but my phone was malfunctioning.  This family is a huge blessing to the vigil and always such an inspiration and blessing to me.  As I’ve mentioned many times, I never go to the vigil to be blessed myself, but somehow I always am — every time!  Many thanks to Ken and the R family!!!

For Life,

Sue M.

 


1-3  Shift Report: Bill and Park Baptist Church/McKeesport

SHOUT OUT TO Bill D.  who stepped up as SHIFT MANAGER.  Thanks Bill!

Sunday Sunshine and Smiles

Park Baptist Church Brings PRAYER TO THE PAVEMENT today!

  Photos of the GREAT people of Park Baptist Church in  McKeesport; OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!

 

Roseann, Mary Jean, Margie and Larry

11-1 Shift Report:  RoseAnn

Prayer and SMILES …. more to follow…

PRAYER MOB! Roseann, Rich, Margie, Larry

 


Shift Report 3-5  from Madonna

It was a beautiful day to pray and I am happy John came with me.

Patty, Nadine, John and I said the Rosary.

Nadine led the Divine Mercy chaplet.

There was a minimal amount of insults.

There were a few words of gratitude and a couple of men stopped by to say they were praying for an end to abortion, too.

Thank you and God bless you.

 


5-7 Shift Report from Joe

Holy Trinity Ukranian Church (pictured)Martha,Pat, Natali,Angie, along with Deacon Myron (not in picture) our fearless leader Nikki, joined Jim, Cathy, (my shift buddies) and I, to witness for life

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

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


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

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

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

It makes it all worth it…doesn’t it?

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faithful Knights of Columbus

Chris had the 1-3pm shift.  He wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

In Christ,

Nikki