I hope you are all enjoying the summer! Summer is SO much better than winter…isn’t it? This post is just to let you know of the events that are scheduled for this summer, in preparation for our next 40 Days, which are September 28th – November 6th.
Sunday, August 14th, 7 pm- 40 Days for Life Benefit Concert by Intent (www.intentworship.com) to benefit Pittsburgh’s fall campaign. Concert will be held in the sanctuary (auditorium) of Word & Worship Church, located at 1200 Wolfe Avenue in North Braddock. Come worship with us to the beautiful music of Intent, and support our fall 40 days!
Saturday, September 24th, 3 pm – 40 Days for Life Kick-Off Event! Held at 917 Liberty Avenue (Phil’s Parking Lot). Come, join in Christian fellowship as we prepare for 40 days of prayer, fasting and vigil to end abortion! Intent will lead us in praise and worship, and we have many inspiring speakers lined up to motivate and encourage you. Speakers include Fr. Tim Kruthaupt of Church of the Resurrection, Pastor Rick Paladin of Word & Worship Church, Pastor Shawn Kirkland of Living Word Church, and Rev. John Patterson.
Planning Meetings are held on Tuesday evenings at St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Synod Hall in Oakland. Meeting will begin at 7pm, and are open to all who would like to help out with our fall campaign. The dates for the planning meetings are as follows:
July 19th ~ August 9th ~ August 23rd ~ September 6th ~ September 20th.
We had a wonderful close to our 40 day vigil yesterday, with singing and praising the Lord. Marci Deal’s Amazing Grace group was there for the second half of the day, and many families and individuals had stopped at the vigil to pray throughout the day. Here are some photos:
Holy Wisdom Parish sponsored the 6 hours from 1 to 7pm on Thursday, April 14. Although not many people could come on a week day we took the day because it was available. People came. We had enough.
It was sunny and warm. The sidewalk was crowded.
One man stopped and said that he and his wife volunteered with the Tea Party. He thanked us for our witness. I thanked him for his. Another person, on his way to lunch, offered to bring me water. I was grateful. I hadn’t realized how thirsty I was.
A young man stopped for quite a while. He thought that abortion must be available to a woman violated by rape. He was sure she would be angry and would hate the baby. I noted that abortion would violate her again. We discussed forgiveness, adoption, women’s biological response to motherhood and the support of her loved ones. I wondered why the baby should die so horribly. It hadn’t done anything wrong.
He mentioned that he had a son and daughter, each by a different woman. For a moment, he wondered out loud if a different management of his sexuality might be better for him. In the end we agreed to disagree about rape and abortion. He gave me a big hug.
One of our young men volunteers offered a leaflet to a woman passing by. She looked at him, crumpled the leaflet and threw it back in his face. Good thing he was too tall for her to hurt him.
As evening came, a man walked past and entered the bar next door. He was wearing high heels and very little clothing, almost a woman’s bathing suit. Elaborate makeup and a wig completed the effect. I was reminded of the quote from Jeremiah, “More tortuous than all else is the human heart.”
Standing in front of Planned Parenthood holding signs; “Pray to end abortion,” “Take my hand not my life,” “Abortion hurts women,” “Men miss lost fatherhood,” “I regret my abortion,” 40 Days For Life volunteers provoke conversation. We know that silence and secrecy strengthen the abortion industry. We know that a baby being killed by abortion is physiologically unable to scream. We know that the baby’s mother is silenced by shame. And we know the power of prayer.
We are here to pray to end abortion and to invite others to join us. Many people arrive, bring out their Rosary and stay for about a ½ hour. Along with our hymns and formal prayers, our conversations can be a form of prayer. We offer abortion alternatives to women going in and out of Planned Parenthood. We offer God’s blessings to the people who are apparently employed there. We listen as Jesus did with the woman at the well.
The volunteers I met were people of God whose company was a gift to me. I learned about many prolife efforts in our area.
What a beautiful, sunny, blessed morning at our vigil! Although there were no churches signed up for this morning, I had plenty of company, between Katie, Beth, Cecilia and Barbara. Here are a couple photos:
The best part of today was at 10:30, when a beautiful young girl who was headed into Planned Parenthood stopped when I asked if she would like some information about alternative places she could go. She took my information and listened as I explained that Planned Parenthood makes its money by selling abortions, and that is what they will be pushing her to do. She was receptive to going to a crisis pregnancy center instead, but had no transportation to get there. I offered to drive her there, and she agreed. We drove to Choices Pregnancy Center in Coraopolis, where she found out that she was indeed pregnant…10 weeks! She even got an ultrasound, and was moved to tears when she saw her baby moving around on the screen. When we left, she proudly showed me the photo of her baby, and she has an appointment for follow-up next week. She was concerned about telling her parents…especially her dad. Also, she doesn’t believe that her boyfriend will want her to keep the baby. But, I believe that she has bonded with this baby, by seeing the ultrasound image, and I don’t believe she will let anyone talk her out of having her baby…praise God! “A” is 21 and a part-time student at CCAC. She is truly a beautiful young girl, and it was a joy and a privilege to be used by God to deliver her out of the blood-stained hands of Planned Parenthood and into the loving hands of the Christian women at Choices Pregnancy Center. On the way home in the car, “A” kept telling me how nice they were to her, and what a nice place it is, and thanked me for bringing her there.
Thank you for your prayers and sacrifice! It has made these “saves” possible. We are up to 9 possible lives saved in Pittsburgh so far! All Glory to God!
I was dressed in jeans and my WVU hoodie. I was alone and probably looking a little stressed. I hesitated as I stepped into the cross walk, unsure of exactly where I was going (even though I had driven by first – it looks different on foot). I clutched my purse and my eyes darted from one side of the street to the other; wondering where do I go exactly and will I need to let someone know I’m here? I was still more than a block away, but I immediately noticed the bright yellow vests that Abby Johnson had described in Unplanned.
And then a man approached me, hand outstretched with some sort of pamphlet of information. ”Please look at this before you go in there.”
“Oh, no, I’m actually here to pray.”
And it began.
The man (I’m embarrassed I don’t remember his name) smiled, welcomed me, and started to walk with me. Over the next block I told him this was my first time participating in a 40 Days for Life vigil and asked if there was someone I needed to check in with since I had signed up for the 9:00 hour. He introduced me to another man (again, horrible with names, next time I will take pen and paper in addition to my camera) who was holding one end of a 40 Days for Life banner.
Both men asked where I was from, when I said Morgantown they commented how far of a drive it is. Funny how those from Pittsburgh always think it takes so long to get to Morgantown and those of us from Morgantown don’t think it’s that far at all.
I was told about ‘the line’. The line separating life and death. The line that I was not permitted to cross while praying. And as I was looking at the line, a young woman and what looked like maybe her mother walked into PP. Instantly tears filled my eyes. Was she going in for an abortion? Was I ready for this hour?
There was a group across the street praying a rosary and as I was very uncomfortable standing right next to ‘the line’, I decided I’d head across and join them. Thinking maybe I’d come back across the street in a little while. I had remembered to take my rosary with me and I was glad to have a group to follow. The lady who I needed to check in with was also across the street and while I wasn’t worried about ‘getting credit’ I wanted to be sure they knew that the person who had signed up for the 9:00 hour did indeed show up.
From 9:00 to 10:00 on Saturday morning it was what I thought and expected. And it was not at all what I thought or expected. It was more. so. much. more.
There were men and women. Young and old. All there, praying.
As I watched those who crossed the line, who entered PP, I found myself wondering about their story. Wondering if they thought like I used to – that PP would offer them all of their options; that choice was necessary, even if it wasn’t for me?
After I’d signed in, I stood next to two young girls holding a Gabriel Project banner. “Hold it up proudly, they can see it from inside through the windows.” They can? “Yes, they can.” And the girls smiled and held their sign up proudly. Their hope contagious.
Then there was a woman who crossed the street. Arm-in-arm with her daughter. One of the 40 Days for Life women, wearing a sandwich board sign, immediately approached them as they crossed.
At first, I couldn’t hear her words, but I could hear the mother’s response – and it wasn’t nice. She followed them all the way to the line. Reminding the mother that it was her responsibility to protect her daughter. Almost begging her not to do it. She stayed in the street, just outside the line praying and calling out to the woman and her daughter. Occasionally she’d turn just enough that I could catch a glimpse of her face from across the street. The pain was visible. And heart wrenching.
Tears filling my eyes as I let myself process what was going to happen. My heart breaking as a daughter trusted her mother; her mother who was leading her across the line between life and death. And a voice whispered to me deep from the pit of my stomach ‘that’s what I’d do if it were you.’ A flashback of a conversation from a ride in the car when I was in high school; when my mom and I discussed a friend who everyone suspected had had an abortion. Maybe that’s why this road to being pro-life was one I fought against turing down so hard? Thank God it was never me.
A few decades of the rosary later and two girls about college age came out. One of them was wearing a Duquesne sweatshirt. If our Catholic campuses aren’t reaching their young women, how can any of us expect to?
As I watched the coming and the going, those praying and those working, I couldn’t help but notice that the PP escorts often looked our way and laughed. But it wasn’t a deep belly-laugh. It was more of an uncomfortable laugh. I wondered what they really thought. I wondered if their hearts were being changed.
As the clock neared 9:45, I felt tugged back toward the other side of the road. To move closer to the white line. I thanked the man who had shared their vigil guide with me and told the girls holding the banner I would be praying for them.
And as I started to cross the street once again, I couldn’t help but notice the irony. The PP in Pittsburgh is on Liberty Avenue.
I put my toes on the edge of the white line, next to a lady who later would tell me she is 72 and stood up to the K.K.K all by herself in 1972. I bowed my head to pray, keeping my eyes focused on the line between life and death.
As 10:00 arrived, I was surprised at how quickly the time had gone and a part of me was sad that it was time to leave. I thanked the man who was holding the 40 Days for Life Banner for welcoming me so warmly. I looked to see if the first man was still down the block across from the parking garage and was glad to see that he was. It seemed fitting to say goodbye to him just before crossing the street for the last time. This time, I was walking much more confidently and he knew exactly who I was and why I was there. He greeted me warmly. I thanked him for his help and for welcoming me so kindly, saying ‘God bless you,’ as I walked away.
No, God bless you.
And with that I crossed the street for the last time and prepared to head home.
Today is day 36 of our 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil to end abortion with God’s help. We have maintained the vigil at Pittsburgh’s Planned Parenthood abortion clinic now for 36 straight days. At least 700 people…many for the first time…came to pray and witness their belief that abortion is wrong at our vigil. 74 churches and/or church groups participated at the vigil. To see photos of them, go to http://www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh/index.cfm?load=page&page=24 We hope and pray that at least 8 lives have been spared from abortion in Pittsburgh. Nationally, 382 lives have been spared during this spring campaign.
While I was at the vigil this morning, along with some wonderful Christ-followers from St. John the Baptist church in Plum (see photos at the end of this message)…a man came up to talk with us. He expressed his agreement with us that abortion is wrong, but felt that it was cruel to take a public stand against it right where it happens. He explained that in his opinion, once a girl gets to the abortion clinic…she has already made the difficult choice to have an abortion, and that our presence there is just going to add to the pain that she is already feeling. He was very respectful and sincere in expressing his opinion to us, and I very much appreciate that he took the time to stop and share his views. So, I was thinking as I was driving home this morning…is it mean to witness against abortion…right where abortions happen? This man had said that we should be focusing our efforts on helping women to choose life BEFORE they get to the abortion clinic. I agree! That is the noble calling of crisis pregnancy centers… which we ALL should be supporting. But, back to my question…is it MEAN…CRUEL…to stand as a witness against abortion…at the SITE where women (some hurting very badly and in obvious pain over this choice that they have made) are walking in to have an abortion? It is true that on the day in which their abortions are scheduled, they are so numb and have closed themselves off to any other choice…and are making a bee-line to the door to just get it over with…that it is indeed rare for a woman to change her mind at that last minute. So, are we causing uneccessary pain to these poor women by our presence there? I believe this man has a valid point…and I know that many pro-lifers share this view point. So, I would like to express my thoughts regarding this.
I think it is mean to intentionally cause anyone pain…if there is no benefit to the person who is experiencing the pain. If I hurt someone by sticking a needle in their arm just to cause pain, that would be mean. But, when we take our child to the doctor, and they need a shot, the doctor sticks a needle in their arm and causes them pain…but it is not “mean” because the pain is for their benefit. So, whether or not something is mean…has everything to do with intent. Our intent by participating in the vigil aspect of 40 Days for Life is to bring the truth, love, forgiveness and hope of Christ to the abortion clinic…which is so full of despair, anger and deceit. We do this because we have FAITH that when we stand there, as Christians, that the Holy Spirit is REALLY present in that place, and we TRUST HIM to do HIS work on the hearts of the women going in to the clinic, and on the hearts of the family members who are with them, and on the hearts of the passerbys. So our intention is not to cause pain to these poor women, our intention is to help them and hope that through our physical witness the Holy Spirit will bring good from evil…even when they go ahead with the abortion. Sometimes one has to hurt before the healing can start.
So, we know that many women HAVE changed their minds and decided to give birth to their babies because God used our presence at the abortion clinic. Even if ONE woman changes her mind, it is worth the pain that other women may feel because we are there. But, still, how about all the thousands of girls who still walk in those doors and have abortions. We upset them, and they still went ahead with it. Shouldn’t we feel badly about hurting them? Should we simply turn our backs to them, so they don’t have to see our signs…out of respect for this difficult decision they have made? What if she had made the difficult decision to end her life, and was standing on a bridge, ready to jump? Wouldn’t we be doing everything we could to stop her? It is basically the same thing. If you have never watched or heard women give their post-abortive testimonies, it is heart-breaking. So many of them say that if only someone had been there to tell them not to do it, that they would have changed their minds. You can watch women share their testimonies at http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/
So, in conclusion, I think that if our opinion that witnessing at an abortion clinic is “mean”, that shows that we really don’t believe that any good will come of it, and that it is only causing needless pain to women who are already suffering. That shows our faith…or lack of it. If we think our presence there won’t do any good, then we really don’t believe that God is at work through us…and if that is the case, then it IS mean. So, I invite everyone who has FAITH to come and participate in the vigil! This is only for the faith-filled Christian!
Also, since we do need to reach the women BEFORE they come to the decision to abort…and it IS important to support our local crisis pregnancy centers, please support Women’s Choice Network and Choices Pregnancy Center by attending their “Walk for Life” events. You can register for Women’s Choice Network’s event which is on May 1st at noon by going to http://www.ministrysync.com/event/home.php?template_id=3719&lid=629606 . Or, register to participate in Choices Pregnancy Center’s Walk for Life, which is on May 7th at 9:30 in Coraopolis, go to http://www.ministrysync.com/event/home.php?template_id=3983&lid=605910
. .. If you would like to sponsor me, while I walk for Women’s Choice network, you can go to http://www.ministrysync.com/event/website/?m=645288 to make a donation.
Just a reminder, our last day of the vigil is this Sunday. Please let me know if you plan to come, and what time. Also, mark your calendar for our 40 Days for Life closing event…an Ice Cream social on May 1st at Allegheny Center Alliance Church’s Simpson Hall from 3-5pm. This will be immediately following Women’s Choice Network’s Walk for Life at PNC Park…so after you work up an appetite walking for life…head on over to ACAC for some icecream and fellowship!
The cold rain didn’t keep the faithful folks from St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Gregory Nazianzus Byzantine parish away! Here are some photos of a few of the faithful folks who came to the vigil to stand for life…and to try to rescue those staggering toward the slaughter.
Monday, day 34 started on a quiet note…with no church presence until St. Thomas a’ Becket joined our vigil at 4:00. However, I was blessed during my morning shift to be joined by Vicki and Dani…and their tiny tots. These are the two women that I wrote about…who awe and inspire me that, with six children each (and another one on the way for Vicki) can somehow find time to come to the vigil and pray…with a few of their little ones with them! Here are some photos of us:
Later in the day, faithful witnesses from St. Thomas a’ Becket parish in Jefferson Hills, and also some from St. Killian’s in Cranberry joined our vigil. Here are some photos of them:
We are in our last week now. I hope to be able to communicate with everyone through email again by this afternoon! Let’s stay strong in our prayers, fasting and vigil all the way through day 40! I would like to invite everyone to come to our vigil on Sunday, the last day…so that we can maintain a strong prayer presence on our last day of this spring campaign. Please come if you can.