Stand against evil and Join vigil to Protest planned parenthood

“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing” E. Burke

Join us downtown Pittsburgh for one hour outside planned parenthood in a nationwide effort to pray for the end abortion and defund planned parenthood Saturday February 11 from 9 am to 10 am.

Pgh flyer R6The time has come to defund America’s abortion giant! Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion chain, killing over 300,000 babies each year nationwide and 2,300 downtown, and nearly half of their billion dollar national budget comes from our tax dollars.

But now the new 115th Congress is moving to strip Planned Parenthood of that money! On February 11, pro-lifers like you will take to the streets to demand our government stops funding an organization that specializes in killing children.

Please join us at the Planned Parenthood downtown Pittsburgh from 9 am to 10 am at 933 Liberty Ave as we protest and pray for an end to Planned Parenthood’s massive government subsidy, and an end to abortion in our country.

No need to sign up, just show up and bring a friend. Signs will be provided. You can also walk in a Jericho March.  Also see the flyer in our “About – resources” section.

Visit the Protestpp website to learn more about the nationwide effort: http://protestpp.com/#home

See you on Saturday Feb 11!

PS If you haven’t signed up yet for the upcoming 40 DFL Spring Campaign, please consider doing it now.  Visit SCHEDULE.

 

March for Life 2017

mfl 2017 40daysforlife_button_round

 

Is it just my imagination, or were the Sunday readings for today perfectly applicable to the pro-life movement??  I will be referring to these passages from today throughout this post.

 

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This year’s annual March for Life marked the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 44th anniversary of the March.  Over the span of those forty-four years, millions of pilgrims have walked the streets of Washington, D.C., praying, lobbying, and hoping for some change in our country’s heart when it comes to the issue of the sanctity of human life.

 

I was one of those fortunate ones to attend the March this year.  Allow me to share some photos from the day.  First are some photos from the morning Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center:

 

Bishops and priests during the Mass
Bishops and priests during the Mass

 

The crowd.
The crowd.

 

Some photos from the outdoor rally before the March:

 

President of the March for Life, Jeannie Mancini
President of the March for Life, Jeannie Mancini

 

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump

 

One of the more notable quotes of the day came from Mrs. Conway, above, who said to the crowd, “We see you… we hear you… we respect you… and we look forward to working with you.”

 

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My family and I have gone to the March for many years, but this year, as most of you know, was particularly special.  For the first time in the history of the March, a sitting Vice President came and spoke to us at the rally before the March.  This news was made public only the day before, and so many things had to be altered and put into place in order for this to happen smoothly.  People seemed very patient with the earlier Mass times, and longer wait times to get through security, because we all knew that it was for a worthwhile reason: to see and hear Mike Pence speak to us.

 

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Pence was, as usual, calm, eloquent, and charitable.  His love for Our Lord and the American people came shining through in his words to us.  What a blessing to have such a good and faith-filled man as our second-in-command.

 

mfl 2017 pence (800x600)

But the Vice President’s presence was not the most important presence that day, of course.  The Lord’s Presence was there, as always.  This is why many begin the day of the March with Mass or some other type of prayer.  Without the Lord, we can do nothing.

In fact, one of the things that came to my mind as I was listening to Mike Pence, and observing the people around me cheering for him was a paraphrased line from Scripture: “Put not your trust in princes.”  And then, this morning (Sunday) in Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, what did I read?  “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men; it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)  I believe that at Friday’s rally, the Lord was gently reminding me that in the midst of all the excitement about Pence’s arrival (and rightly so), there was something bigger to be aware of: the LORD is in charge.  Not our politicians- even if they are going to deliver on their good promises.  We must still put ALL of our trust in the Lord.  As is said in the first reading today:

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.

Zephaniah 3:12-13a (emphasis added)

 

At the same time, I would like to remember something that Nikki recently sent in an email to our 40 Days team.  She said:

“I read a quote that I loved in this month’s Magnificat from St. Francis de Sales yesterday while I was on the bus, on my way to the March.  Ironically, Mike Pence used the same quote a few hours later in his speech!  He said, ‘Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.’  I think that should be our motto going into this Lenten campaign!”

So certainly, our Vice President’s words were not without the power of the Holy Spirit behind them.

 

mfl 2017 st francis de sales

 

Another speaker at the rally was Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director in Texas.  Most of you know that she is now a well-known pro-life advocate and founder of “And Then There Were None,” a ministry to help abortion workers get out of the abortion industry.

 

mfl 2017 abby johnson (800x600)
Abby on stage with many former abortion workers and other post-abortive women

 

Abby is a great example of those who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake.  Our Lord in today’s Gospel has these words for us:

 

“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Matthew 5:10-12a

 

mfl 2017 persecution version 2 (720x720)

 

Why the crown of thorns?  Because we are soon about to enter into our Lenten campaign for 40 Days for Life.  And it will be a time for us to focus more on the passion of Our Lord.  Let us be willing to not only focus on HIS passion, however, but on our own.  We are all able to enter into His suffering in a unique way when we stand for Him and for His little ones on the sidewalk.  Let us be unashamed and unafraid… for we belong to HIM, so we have nothing to fear.  If we are persecuted for HIS sake, then we will truly be blessed.

ALL IN

I have a confession to make.  For the past year, I have been feeling a lack of “passion” for this struggle against abortion.  I remember when God first broke my heart over abortion in 2009, I was bursting at the seams to do everything possible to join in this fight.  Back then, my heart hurt so badly…the only way I could bring it any relief was to work relentlessly.  Calling pastors, gathering team members, joining pro life groups, witnessing at PP, participating in Face the Truth and Magee Pickets, the March for Life in DC and everything else I could think of.  God has blessed me beyond measure through this work, and so I felt terrible about losing my passion.

Well, I am writing to tell you that I had a realization.  Through prayer, I came to realize that my lukewarmness could be harmful to our 40 Days for Life effort in Pittsburgh.  I needed to make a decision…to be either ALL IN, or ALL OUT.

I really believe we are at a very exciting, dangerous and challenging time.  It is exciting because we have a pro-life president who is promising to defund Planned Parenthood.  It is dangerous because there are a lot of very, very, VERY angry women (and men) right now.  It is challenging because the closer we get to attaining our goal, the more we have to lose if we fail.

After seeing reports that 2.5 million people marched on Washington for the so-called “Women’s March” yesterday, I was discouraged. The faces of angry women and the vulgar and profane messages on the signs they carried were a reminder of what we are up against.  Such a stark contrast to the joyful, family-friendly March for Life that I attend each year!  Sadly, we have never seen numbers like the one they achieved yesterday.  It’s true…anger is a powerful motivator.  We don’t have anger…they do.  We don’t have hate.  They do.   So, 2.5 million people show up once, and every national media outlet covers the story extensively.  On Friday, about 400,000 peaceful Christians will march and the media will completely ignore it.

On February 11th, pro-life organizations around our country are planning a nationwide “Protest PP” day.  They are calling for peaceful protests to take place in front of Planned Parenthood facilities all across our nation.  Pittsburgh will be participating. But how many people will come out for this?  I doubt we will even come close to the number that the “Women’s March” enlisted. I heard on the local news that they estimated 25,000 people took part in the women’s march in Pittsburgh yesterday.  We will be lucky if 100 people show up for the Protest PP event on February 11th!

It is easy to get discouraged when we look at the comparison…their numbers to ours.  But we really can’t compare the two because the source of OUR strength is the opposite of the source of theirs!  Their strength is in their anger, which is like gasoline.  They explode violently…but burn out just as quickly.  Our strength comes from God, who gives us the peace to persevere.  The pro-life movement has persevered for 44 years…and will persevere for another 44 if necessary.  We simply won’t give up.  Ever.

Now I come to the point of this post.  This is where I make my decision to either be ALL IN or ALL OUT.

I decided there is only one cure for luke-warmness…and that is to turn up the heat.  So I decided that I would give it all I have during this next 40 days.  I will do my best to personally fill each and every empty  hour at the vigil (when I am not working at my job)…when our shift managers are in danger of being alone. Being in charge of filling the vigil is usually pretty stressful to me, because I know that if no one else volunteers…it is up to me.  But this time, I am looking at it as an opportunity to test my resolve.

As of today, we have only about 150 hours filled, with 330 hours left to fill.  If you would also like to test YOUR resolve…to see if YOU still have the passion…I ask you to help me.  Go to the schedule page of this site to see what hours need filled, and let me know what hours you can fill.  Or go to www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh to sign yourself up for hours.  Consider making a weekly commitment during the 40 days if possible…especially during the times when you see no one else is signed up.

Remember to use our 40 Days for Life flyers or bulletin inserts in your church to let your parish or congregation know about this up-coming campaign.

At this crucial time in American history, I have decided that I am going to be ALL IN.  I hope you will too.

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

 

 

How did Jan 22, 1973 affect you?

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In January 1973 I was a senior at Bishop Canevin high school and filled with the joy and anticipation of being done with high school and the mixed excitement and fear for what was ahead. Prior to January 22, 1973 I wasn’t the least bit aware of what was taking place within the Supreme Court. And when they announced their decision in the Roe vs. Wade case, it never hit my radar.

However, I was fortunate. I had a courageous English teacher who brought it to the attention of our class and then polled the class on our positions on the decision. Sadly at that moment my knee jerk, uninformed position was a reflection of the changing popular values of the late 60’s and early 70’s. On that day, this hormone enraged teenager saw this decision as an enabler of the “unconditional love” pop culture of the “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” times. (Writers note: I am not confessing to sex or drugs but will admit I liked rock ‘n roll). When asked, I saw pregnancy as something like a light switch. It could be on or off and now off rather easily.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t hold this position for very long. Our teacher simply explained the facts of what pregnancy and abortion really are and talked about the physiology and spirituality of life beginning at conception. It was like being hit by a lightning bolt of truth. Just like that, my naive misunderstanding of pregnancy was shattered and my “hall pass” for uncomplicated sex was taken away within one class period.

That day planted a seed. One that would take some time to grow and blossom but one that was firmly planted and through God’s providence and the examples of others was watered and began to grow albeit very slowly.

Although 1973 was a long time ago, I didn’t realize how profound an effect it would have on me. (I’ll skip my personal journey to the present time.) Now in the new millennium I am a “pro life activist”. Beyond the joys of my vocation as husband and father, I find meaning and purpose in my efforts to end abortion and save lives through prayer, witneTim Barrss and counseling outside of an abortion center.

My calling is to witness downtown Saturday mornings year round with my big signs. It started as one day a month, now it is every Saturday. That’s my calling. I’ll admit it’s not always easy. The lure of staying in a warm bed, having another cup of coffee or reading the sports page is always there not to mention the deterrent sometimes of foul weather. Oh well, that’s my calling.Tim selfie

 

So how did the unleashed evil of Jan. 22, 1973 affect you? Was a seed planted that is ready to grow stronger and taller? Are you being called?

OK, here comes the pitch, if you want to put your faith into action with deeds and get more involved with the pro-life movement here in Western Pennsylvania. There are lots of ways. Here are just a few to mention:

  • If you are not going to the March for Life in Washington come pray downtown either Saturday morning Jan. 21 or 28.
  • Join your churches pro life group (or form one if none exists. We can help.)
  • Participate in the upcoming 40 Days for Life spring campaign March 1- April 9 as either an individual   click HERE or with your church group: Contact Nikki at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com
  • Get more involved with 40 DFL and become a shift manager by committing to two hours a week for each week of the campaign: we need someone for Sunday 3-5 pm.
  • Use 40 DFL Flyers or bulletin inserts at your church to speed the word about the upcoming campaign. Visit our GET INVOLVED page.
  • Get involved with the Magee Project to end abortions there
  • Pray for the 40 DFL team, and all pro life advocates and for the end of abortion
  • Become a Sidewalk advocate and attend the training seminar (contact us for more info)
  • Stop downtown to pray at the abortion center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday mornings (abortion days) and join others in their witness year round.
  • Send this to a friend and ask them to join you in witnessing to the TRUTH of abortion.

God bless you in your journey and may it bring you peace and joy.

Tim B.

Prayer and Fasting

Matthew 17:21     “But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.”

 

prayer requests

 

Prayer and Fasting link

 

One of the reasons why I love being part of 40 Days for Life is the peaceful, prayerful witness and the mission of 40 Days for Life.  The outreach that we do is based on knowledge of the truth of abortion presented in our peaceful and prayerful presence on the sidewalk in front of PP.  Peaceful and prayerful does not mean naive and wimpy.  It takes courage to stand in the public eye to witness for life.

Sometimes the voices of 40 Days for Life are behind the scenes giving time, talent and treasure for life.  So, I would like to highlight in this post the fasting  aspect of 40 Days for Life-Pittsburgh.  In order to do that, I reached out to Megan who manages the Prayer and Fasting link that is listed above and at the end of this post.

(also listed on the Get Involved Too page).

Megan reports:

We  have a fasting calendar where you can sign up to fast and pray during our 40 Days for Life vigils.  This is not to replace your presence at the prayer vigil. We need you out front!

  • How does the fasting calendar work?  At least 1 person signs up for each of the days during the 40 Days For Life Campaign
  • What do you do? Fast for 24 hours, either bread & water fasting or liquids only
  • When do you fast?  Pick one or more days between Tuesday, February 28th at 7 pm and Saturday, April 8th at 7 pm.  Your fast begins at 7 pm on the date you select and will continue until 7 pm the following day.  Therefore, the majority of your fast will be on the FOLLOWING day you sign up
 I asked Megan how she became involved with 40 Days for Life.   One person can make a difference?!!
Megan reports:

A friend asked me to join her for prayer in front of Planned Parenthood 5 years ago and that was my first “hands on” experience with 40 Days for Life.  As I was thinking about prayer and fasting and the incredible spiritual battle with abortion, I thought about Jesus’ life and his experience in the desert.  Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days.  I didn’t think I could that. 

Then during Mass one day I thought, “I can’t fast for 40 days straight but 40 people could fast for 1 day”.   I knew people were fasting but thought it would be powerful to make sure all 40 days of the campaign were covered with continual fasting and everyone fasting the same way.

I didn’t know Nikki personally but I gave her a call. She thought it was a good idea and asked if I’d be willing to coordinate it and- voila, the fasting calendar was born : ).  As important as the foundation of prayer and fasting is to this battle, what’s needed is people out front, peacefully bringing the presence of Christ, as Abby Johnson will attest to.  
Megan
(Abby Johnson is a former PP director who credits her conversion of heart to the presence of prayerful witnesses on the sidewalk in front of her PP location.)

 

Thanks Megan and  all those who pray and fast for life.  I signed up for a day to fast for the first time this year.  Megan’s story inspired me!
Be inspired and inspire others like Megan and her friend!
bread and water

God has shown His Faithfulness…WILL WE?

lonely-funeral

Have you ever been to a  funeral that was poorly attended?   Did you wonder why so few people cared?  I remember attending my grandfather’s funeral many years ago.  It was pitiable.  There were only 10 or 15 of us who traveled to Florida to say goodbye.  He had no religion, so it was held in the funeral home.  There were no friends, only his four sons and their wives and children.  It made me sad to see that a person could live for 90 years and have so few people at their funeral.  It was obvious that not many people cared that he had died.  On the other hand, is there anything more inspiring then when the church is over-flowing with family members and friends, grieving together for their lost loved one?  That truly is a testimony to a life well-lived, is it not?

I bring this up to make a point.  The cold hard truth is that 3,000 innocent lives are lost behind the doors of Planned Parenthood in downtown Pittsburgh every year.  These children are precious, unique treasures…never to be replicated.  They are loved and cherished by our Lord…but who among us cares that they lived (however briefly), and who cares that they died (however unjustly)?

I have been coordinating 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh since the fall of 2010.  This Lenten campaign (March 1st through April 9th) will be the 14th time that I have sought to unite the Body of Christ to provide a peaceful, prayerful witness in front of Planned Parenthood for 40 straight days.  To be honest, I really thought that our days of being permitted to witness in front of abortion clinics would rapidly be coming to an end.  If the election results had been different (as I fully expected them to be)…I thought that the Church would be soon entering a time of persecution in our country, and that our ability to publicly witness our faith was in jeopardy.  To say I was amazed as I watched the election results throughout the night and into the morning of November 8th and 9th is an understatement.  40 Days for Life has never looked to politics as an answer, and we never will.  We look to God, and we trust HIM!  What He has given us through the election is a reprievea chance to continue working!  As I watched the television that night…wide eyed and with my mouth open, I realized what a grace we were being given.  I said out loud to the Lord, “Lord, I vow I will work harder than ever to do what I can to help bring an end to abortion.

Just look at what is happening all around us!  Planned Parenthood is facing the very real possibility that they will soon be stripped of federal funding, and may  also face federal charges for the illegal sale of baby body parts.     Abortion clinics are closing, crisis pregnancy centers are growing, abortion workers are converting, and more Americans are becoming pro-life!

God is clearly hearing our prayers, and is answering them!  He has shown us HIS FAITHFULNESS….so now it’s our turn to SHOW HIM OURS!  Will we be faithful to Him when it is cold and snowy…windy and rainy…when we have better things to do than stand on a freezing sidewalk?  

Even if all we can do is to grit our teeth, go against our will and FORCE ourselves to do this twice a year…IT IS ENOUGH!  In fact, the more we force ourselves to do what we do not want to do…out of our love for God…HE will take our meager little sacrifice…our little offering, and HE will multiply it and do GREAT things with it!

I have said from the beginning that the GENIUS of 40 Days for Life is that it allows everyone to do their little part…for just 40 days with long breaks in-between.  When we unite our individual little sacrifices, TOGETHER we have a BIG impact!!!  The key is persistence!  We just have to keep going and not give up.  Just as a little trickle of water will eventually wear down solid rock, so God will use our persistent prayers to move mountains.  Listen…can’t you hear the rumblings?

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

  1. Email Nikki at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com to volunteer to be a shift manager or substitute shift manager:  We currently need a shift manager for the Thursday 3-5pm shift and the Sunday 1-3pm shift.  If you have prayed at the vigil numerous times and you agree with the peaceful, law-abiding concept of 40 Days for Life, we would love to add you to our vigil shift manager team!
  2. Select your times to witness at the vigil and help us to fill these 480 hours!  Let us not allow these poor little one’s funerals to be poorly attended!  Email Nikki at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com  to sign up your church (click here to view the current schedule of churches already signed up), or sign yourself up as an individual at https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/
  3. Use THESE FLYERS at your church to spread the word about 40 Days for Life!  You may order them from me ($4 per hundred), or print them yourself.  There is also a printable BULLETIN ANNOUNCEMENT that you may use to let your church family know about the up-coming campaign.
  4. Bring my memorial painting THE PIETA to your church to help give names to all 2,492 babies killed at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood in 2014!  There is no cost to host the painting for a week, and it may help you to inspire new people to join you on the sidewalk!  The painting is available any week during February, part of April and May and June!  To view the schedule of churches that are hosting this painting, go to http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Pieta-Travelling-Schedule-1.pdf

I hope to hear from you soon!  Thank you for your help!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

Happy New Year

Spring campaign to pray for the end of abortion-  March 1- April 9

 

happy-new-year

“The Baby New Year is a personification of the start of the New Year commonly seen in editorial cartoons. He symbolizes the “birth” of the next year and the “passing” of the prior year; in other words, a “rebirth”.   Wikipedia

 

May this year of 2017 be a year of “rebirth” for America.  May the people of this country recognize that killing the unborn baby is a hopeless act which leaves nothing but grief for the future.  May we learn to give the child the opportunity to lead a wonderful life.  If we continue to judge the future prospects of the unborn by the circumstances of the babies conception and economic circumstances of the mother- then find that baby in the womb is worthy of abortion, we are condemning our own future.       Marian

 

From the movie It’s A Wonderful Life:   Clarence, George Bailey’s guardian angel shows George what life would have been like for others if he had never been born.   The message for life is powerful.   Clarence tells George:

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Don’t leave a hole in your life or the life of others,   Choose Life!