40 Days for Life International Symposium was INSPIRING!

NOTE:  Scroll down to the bottom for information about up-coming local pro-life events!


I was blessed to be able to attend the international 40 Days for Life Leadership Symposium in Phoenix last month with two wonderful team members, Beth Svirbel and Judy Stump.

Beth, Judy and Nikki at the 40 Days for Life symposium in Phoenix

We were so inspired to be with hundreds of other team members from campaigns all around the nation and from other countries as well!  Here is a group photo of all of us:

40 Days for Life local leaders from all around the nation and other countries shared ideas and were inspired to keep fighting the battle to end abortion!

We met up with Krunoslav, a friend I met last summer from the Croatia 40 Days for Life team.  He had traveled all the way from Croatia by himself for the conference!  It was such a joy to see him again!

Kruno from Croatia joined us for much of the conference. It was a blessing to see him again after getting to know him last summer on my visit to the 40 Days for Life Croatia conference!

We were inspired to hear motivating talks from other local and national leaders, including:   Elissa Graves of Alliance Defending Freedom ; Alison Centofante of Live Action Ministries ; Sue Thayer, Former Planned Parenthood Director – turned 40 Days for Life local leader ; Rev. Brian Walker and Brian Gibson of Pro Life Action Ministries, along with many others!

Hundreds of local leaders were inspired and motivated during a weekend of pro-life education and unity in Christ!

We were able to talk with other team members from cities all around our nation and our world, and were blessed to realize that we aren’t fighting this battle alone!  There are many dedicated people all around the world fighting this battle for life, and putting Christ first.  We are united in our love for HIM!

We met up with a 40 Days for Life leader in Florida, who was originally from Pittsburgh (Bethel Park). Jane has a great team of pro life warriors in Florida and has seen 40 Days for Life make a huge impact in her town!

We enjoyed the Christian fellowship of our fellow pro life brothers and sisters, and were informed and inspired by all the speakers…but I have to say that there were two highlights that were particular moving for me:

  1.  As we were gathered together for Friday night’s gala event, a “surprise letter” was put up on the screen.  We noticed that the letterhead was from the White House…and the letter began with the words, “Melania and I extend our greeting to those attending the 40 Days for Life bi-annual leadership conference in Phoenix AZ.”  At that point, I think my jaw hit the floor.  It was a letter from our nation’s PRESIDENT…addressed to US!!!  He encouraged us in this battle by writing a letter to us!  I kept trying to close my mouth…but it continued to gape.  I looked around the table and saw the same expression on everyone else’s face as well.  I saw others wiping tears from their eyes, as I was doing the same.  “WOW”, is all I can say about that.
  2. Sue Thayer’s personal testimony of her conversion, from being a Planned Parenthood clinic director, to becoming a 40 Days for Life local leader, and then having her Planned Parenthood clinic close following her first campaign was just amazingly inspiring!  She was funny and real and honest…and it gave me hope that if it can happen to her, then it can happen to any of the clinic workers!  Nothing is impossible with God!

We came away from this conference inspired and ready to begin our fall campaign (Sept. 26 – Nov. 4).  We are ready to pray and fast and witness on the sidewalk for 40 days…but we need your help!!!  It is time to begin getting the vigil schedule filled!  Please let me know if you can sign up to pray for a certain time block…either once during the 40 days, or once a week during the 40 days!  Email me at nbruni@40daysforlifepgh.com if you can help.  Together, we can do this!

Beth, Judy and Nikki enjoying some down time on our last day of the trip

P.S.  I have to share this photo of my newly born grand-babies, Nora and Jensen!  They were considerate enough to be born BEFORE the symposium, so that I was able to attend!  They are such sweet little things, and are a reminder of how precious life really is:


National Day of Remembrance is Saturday, Sept. 8th!

Memorial Service for Aborted Children at St. Paul Cathedral

On Saturday, September 8, pro-life Americans throughout the country will gather at the gravesites of aborted babies and other memorial sites dedicated in their honor for the sixth annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.

Solemn vigils will be held at these sites to commemorate the more than 59 million children who have lost their lives to legal abortion since 1973, and to remind our society of the humanity of the unborn child. Please join us for the memorial service at the Cathedral:

When: Saturday, September 8, following the noon mass

Where: In front of the memorial for the unborn at the corner of Craig and Fifth Ave.
More Info: Contact Mark Sullivan at mark_w_sullivan@yahoo.com

Together let us remember the victims of abortion and pray for a final end to this injustice in our land during the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children.


 

Fall 40 Days for Life…Important Information!

I was inspired to choose HUMILITY as the theme of our next 40 Days for Life (Sept. 26 – Nov. 4), after witnessing a profound witness of humility on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.  

Two weeks ago, at the end of a very sad and discouraging sidewalk advocate shift, we were wrapping it up and preparing to leave.  My sidewalk partner knelt to pray before leaving.  Now, I have seen many people kneel to pray on the sidewalk before…and I myself have often knelt to pray on the hard brick pavement.  So I am not sure why her prayer moved me so much on this particular day…but I felt my eyes well up with tears as I watched her unselfconsciously pray, as if she were all alone in her room.  Seemingly oblivious to the many passersby, her face covered with her hands, she poured her heart out to her God…her Father.  It was so intimate…so touching.  I noticed that others seemed to be moved by her witness as well, as they walked by.

Driving home that morning, it occurred to me that the theme for our next 40 days should encompass what I witnessed on the sidewalk…GENUINE HUMILITY.  And I thought that we should ask people to come to kneel for a few minutes of prayer, and to leave a flower on the sidewalk in honor of a child.  Not that this is intended to be a “show”, or to be a “ploy” to try to draw emotion from people…but that it will be an HONEST show of respect for the lives of the children that are lost there The humility of kneeling on the sidewalk is a witness to others, (as well as to ourselves and to God), that we are helpless to save these children…but that we care, and believe that their lives matter.  The flowers will speak to the beauty of each life that is created by God.  Whether Planned Parenthood allows the flowers to remain as a witness on the sidewalk, or they choose to pick them up and throw them away is irrelevant.  The flowers will speak…either from the sidewalk or from the garbage cans inside Planned Parenthood.  They will speak for the beautiful babies who cannot.  

I realize that this is a very exciting time in the pro-life movement…with Justice Kennedy’s retirement and the promise of a pro-life justice being appointed to the supreme court.  There is actually a real chance of Roe Vs. Wade being overturned!  That is simply amazing!  But I don’t want to get too excited yet.  This is not the time to celebrate…it’s the time to pray and fast more than ever before!!!  It’s the time to be HUMBLE.  The verse from Psalm 131 came to me as I was driving…”But I have calmed and quieted my soul, as a weaned child with its mother…”

Genuine humility does not get angry or impatient.

We have been working hard for many years.  We have prayed our hearts out.  We have fasted.  We have been a public witness for life on the sidewalk…no matter the weather.  We have been there with our signs and our fetal models, showing the beauty and truth of life.  Hearts and minds are changing in this nation.  It’s true that there is an ever-increasing division…but I think that is okay.  When the lines are clearly drawn, there is less chance that anyone will be deceived into choosing the wrong side.  Everything is out in the open…finally.  I can’t seem to walk past the television without hearing the words “abortion” coming from it.  That is a big change from 10 years ago.  The issue of abortion was hidden, swept under the rug…dressed up in fancy phrases such as “women’s health”.  No longer.  It is now being called out for what it is.  This is all God’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

But whether or not this will be the time that Roe Vs. Wade is overturned…I don’t know.  I plan to pray and fast for this intention, but no matter what happens…the important thing is to continue to humbly fight this battle on our knees.  To not give up hope.  To not get too excited about the highs and not get too discouraged by the lows.  To simply TRUST that God is working.  Our prayers are being answered.  The harvest is indeed great….and so we need to ask the Master of the Harvest to send more WORKERS!!!

Which, in fact, leads me to the reason for this email.  I have been working to prepare for the fall campaign, and our faithful vigil shift managers continue to be the bedrock of our 40 day witness on the sidewalk.  Almost all of them have recommitted, although a few have had to take a break.  We have a need for some new vigil shift managers.  I normally try to personally recruit vigil shift managers, but I would like to put this out there to everyone this time.  If you feel God prompting you to become more involved in 40 Days for Life, and to become one of our wonderful team members, please reply to let me know how you can help.  There are 3 weekly shifts that I need to find vigil shift managers for.  (This will be from September 26 – Nov. 5).  They are:

Mondays from 5-7pm

Thursdays from 5-7pm

Fridays from 5-7pm

If any of these shifts would fit into your schedule this coming fall, and if you feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to step out in faith to help us maintain our 40 day prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, please reply to this email to let me know.


I also want to let you know of another opportunity to be a witness for life in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, July 18th.  It is called “The Bridge Project”, and is organized by Pro Life Action League.  The idea of this project is to provide a witness on bridges over high traffic roads during rush hour.  There are no graphic images on the signs, simply the words, “Abortion takes a human life”.  The witness will be from 7-9am and then again from 4-6pm.  It will be held on the Gerst Way overpass, which goes over Rt. 279 in the north side of Pittsburgh.  4 people are needed for the 7-9am shift, and another 4 people are needed for the afternoon shift.  If you are interested in finding out more information about this, contact Peg Donley at pegdonley@gmail.com  or at  (412) 303-2064.  Now more than ever, it is important to keep the pro-life message visible to as many people as possible!  This is one way of reaching thousands of people!


Finally, the Diaper Drive was a huge success!  Thanks to all who donated, and thanks to Charlene and Dick for organizing it!  Here is what Charlene wrote:

Charlene and Dick lead the 40 Days for Life Diaper Drive!

The Diaper Drive was a great success! I knew it would be as soon as I saw all of the escorts scurrying around trying to see our permits. 🤣Thank you to all who contributed..you have helped a lot of families! We got a car full of diapers and wipes..and $340 in cash! Wahoo! It was good to be back on the sidewalk between campaigns and Dick loved organizing the diapers so they all fit! It was a good day…hot but as Tim said, “We will remember this when it is 5 degrees and snowing”.

Thanks for being a part of our 40 Days for Life family!

May God bless you!

In Christ,

Nikki

Prayer Vigils for the Unborn

You are all invited to join us for a FULL rosary on behalf of the unborn.  We will be asking for our Mother’s intercession on behalf of the unborn, specifically for the closing of the Planned Parenthood located at 933 Liberty Avenue.  Each Sunday, throughout the month of May, we will be reciting all 20 mysteries.  We will be kicking off this devotion on Sunday, May 6th at St. Alexis’ Church, following the 11 AM Mass & Baptism.  We anticipate commencing at 1 PM.  The 3 remaining Sundays, we will actually pray in front of Planned Parenthood, bright and early, beginning at 7 AM.

We must keep in mind that Mary is the Queen Mother and was bestowed this title virtually at the time of her acceptance of being the Mother of Jesus.  A common misconception today is that the Queen is the woman married to the King.  For the Jews however, the mother of the King was in the role of the Queen.  A prime example is in the Book of Kings, with Bathsheba as the mother of King Solomon.  Bathsheba was the wife of King David, but only became queen when David passed on and Solomon became King.

Fast forward to the Book of Revelation, in chapter 12, “A great sign appeared in the sky. It was a woman clothed with the sun, with moon under feet, AND ON HER HEAD, A CROWN OF TWELVE STARS.  SHE WAS WITH CHILD AND WAILED ALLOWED IN PAIN AS SHE LABORED TO GIVE BIRTH.”  As you can see, she was already wearing the crown, while she was with child.  According to Scripture, she was already Queen mother, before she actually gave birth.

What way to better honor our Mother, than to seek her intercession on behalf of the unborn.  What better time to ask for her intercession than during the month of Mary.

I hope you are able to make it to at least 1 Sunday if not more.  Incidentally, this prayer vigil will be held on one other special Sunday in June since mothers are not the only ones who are impacted by abortion,  we will be there to pray on Father’s day, June 17th as well, again at Planned Parenthood, 933 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh at 7 AM.

~Vince P.

40 Days for Life Spring 2018 campaign is over…thanks to all who participated!

The sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood will seem empty now that 40 Day for Life is over.

It is always bittersweet when a campaign ends.  It is difficult to maintain a 40 day, 12-hour-per-day vigil…and we do need a break…but it is hard to say goodbye.  Especially when we know that people will continue to enter those sad doors of death, thinking that the solution to their crisis is to end the life of the child within their womb.

I am very thankful for everyone who sacrificed their time and comfort to come to the vigil, and for those who prayed and fasted!  There were 79 churches/groups who officially took part in our vigil, and many individuals who participated.  We know of one woman who changed her mind and chose life during our 40 days, and we found out about a baby that was saved because of our witness two years ago, that we never knew about!  We believe that God uses our presence on the sidewalk to save lives, change hearts and draw souls to Himself without us ever knowing about it most of the time.  The next 40 Days for Life will go from September 26th – November 4th.  

However, you don’t need to wait until September to stand up for life!  If you feel God tugging on your heart to do more, and feel called to become a regular sidewalk advocate, Kathy L. said that their numbers are getting pretty thin…and they could use some reinforcements!  Contact her at kathlaslow@yahoo.com to find out more information about how to get involved.  In addition, Meredith needs more people to pray at Magee Hospital as part of her “Magee Project”.  Contact her for more information at meredith@rescuepittsburgh.com


This Friday, come to Planned Parenthood at 10 am to pray the Stations of the Cross.  

Planned Parenthood does abortions on Good Friday, so we will be there, praying for those who are being led to their deaths…as we honor the passion of our Lord Jesus. (Sponsored by PCUC)  Prayer will end before 11am.


On April 28th, a PROTEST PP Rally will be held, as part of the nationwide effort to defund Planned Planned Parenthood.  Click the link below to open the flyer to get the details: 

Protest PP flyer 4-28-18 

The media reported that tens of thousands of people showed up for Pittsburgh’s “March for Our Lives” rally this past Saturday.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if even 100 individuals care enough to show up to defend innocent human life from abortion on April 28th?


Thank you for joining our efforts to save lives and to turn our culture back to one that respects ALL human life!

Scroll down to enjoy some photos from last night’s closing rally.

Your grateful sister in Christ,

Nikki


Pastor Joe Stump, of Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene led the closing prayer in front of Planned Parenthood, and spoke words of encouragement to us in the Welcome Center of Catholic Charities. He spoke of the need for national repentance. Our nation has been polluted by the shedding of innocent blood, and God’s blessing CANNOT be upon us until we have repented!
We gathered in front of PP for closing prayer

 

Prayer led by Pastor Joe
Patty is a faithful member of our team. She keeps the church groups reminded and equipped, and our email list up to date!
Pastor Joe is a powerful and eloquent speaker!
Diane and Tom make it possible for us to have our vigil materials on the sidewalk. They selflessly deliver each morning, and pick up each evening…for 40 days!
About 60 people gathered together to celebrate the closing of a successful 40 days!
Kathy L. spoke of the need for more people to join the year-long sidewalk advocates
Meredith spoke of the need for continued prayer at Magee Hospital
Jeannie is BACK after a miraculous healing from a broken neck, back and collar bone. God answered our prayers! Jeannie spoke of the need for our participation in the up-coming Protest PP rally on April 28th!
Nikki and Joe recognized all the team members individually with a photo collage.
Nikki thanks Diane and Tom for their amazing service to our team.
Nikki recognizes team member (and Executive Director of PCUC), Helen.
Long time team member Marie receives her gift.
Team member Pat presents Nikki with a gift from the team.
Thank you to our wonderful 40 Days for Life team!
Team photo collage, given to each team member

Day 40…THANK YOU! Lifeline Volunteers, Butler; Word of God Parish, Madonna del Castello Church, Swissvale/ Braddock; Saint Agnes, West Mifflin; Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Armstrong County

Look at these guys!  A tiny toy bear and gorilla.  Are they what the first 40 Days for Life witnesses looked like to Planned Parenthood?

When our first coordinated 40 DAYS FOR LIFE campaign hit the pavement in front of Planned Parenthood in Texas, 2007, did Planned Parenthood yawn?  Look at these guys! No money…no numbers…no power…no looks!  No problem!

Our sisters and brothers at PP have eyes, but they cannot see.

No money. No numbers. No power. No looks.

Do we need the influence of powerful people?

Do we need their bags of money?

Surely not!  BORING!

We bring prayer, fasting and witness to the sidewalk.

God defines the goal.

God accomplishes the mission.

  We are God’s “pencils.”

Finding the words to show this from the inside, where our hearts can see, where all the action takes place, needs an expert.  Let’s enlist Gregory the Great, 540-604 AD.  Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., THE LOVE OF LEARNING AND THE DESIRE FOR GOD, is where I first heard Gregory talk about God.

Gregory the Great experiences and describes spiritual states with great subtlety.  His experience gives him a strong sense of human suffering, a strong sense of the effects of Original Sin and the value of weakness and temptation for spiritual progress.

At the root of this concept of the Christian life is a lively awareness of man’s misery.

Man’s wretchedness comes from his physical nature, from Original Sin, and from the egoism which harries each one of us.  Egoism is always on the watch and tends to vitiate all our actions, even the good ones.

It must be put to rout constantly.   This is necessary at the outset of our actions.  We must purify our intentions.  It is necessary during our actions, and again at the end, for it is always a menace to us.

The love of the world lulls us. But, as if by a thunderclap, the attention of the soul is recalled to God.

___________________________________

Compunction is an act of God in us, an act by which God awakens us, a shock, a blow, a “sting,” a sort of burn.

Compunction is a gift beyond our power to understand.

It is God Himself who is working in us by His mysterious action.

This action of God is accomplished in us by all kinds of trials, the thousands of sufferings of life,

sin itself, and, above all, temptation.

Permission to tempt man is given by God to the demon because of the benefit resulting from temptation.

Temptation encourages the purification of intentions, it humbles, and it is a cure for pride.

This is why God accepts the risk involved.  Temptation and even sin are less grave than pride.

___________________________________

With humility there grows the desire for Him who alone can fill our inner emptiness.

Compunction hollows us and thereby increases our capacity for God.

The force of love intensifies the spiritual quest.  A new weight carries the soul toward God, the weight of love.

The soul hardened by egoism becomes tender.  The cold soul is warmed and cleansed of its rust.

Brought back to its true center of gravity, converted, the soul is simplified and freed.

The Lord accomplishes this in us.

Our part is to consent to it.

___________________________________

One must above all, and first of all, make oneself sensitive to this invisible action of God.

___________________________________

The ultimate role of compunction is to bring to the soul a longing for Heaven.

The soul does not become indifferent or unfeeling.

At peace, it enjoys tranquility.

It consents to its condition, which it understands better.

It consents to God.

It accepts its tasks.

It grows in stature, and as it were, is dilated.

The soul becomes fruitful in the service of God.

Daniel 3:91-92, 95

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Certainly, O king,” they answered.

“But,” he replied, “I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”

Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants that trusted in him.”

http://usccb.org/bible/daniel/3

Special thanks to the following religious communities for their commitments to pray for us during these 40 days:

Sisters of the Divine Redeemer; Sisters of St. Joseph, Baden; Monastery of Saint Clare, Langhorne; Carmelites of Erie; Felician Sisters of Coraopolis; Carmelites of Elysburg; Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy

And a special thanks to WAOB Radio!


 

Through the end of 2017, local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders have reported these blessings, God’s answers to their prayers: 5,251 total campaigns; 741 cities; 47 countries; 750,000 individual participants; 19,000 churches; 13,998 lives saved from abortion; 170 abortion workers quit their jobs; 90 abortion facilities closed.

https://40daysforlife.com/mission/

 

 

___________________________________

 NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK 

 

 

 

JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER

Today was the coldest Sunday morning of the whole campaign, but that didn’t stop Rose, Vince, or Bill from joining me on the sidewalk to pray for the cause of life.  We were able to help a homeless woman who stopped, and Rose gave out many of the sweet little “story of your life” brochures.  One young man took a brochure and headed off down the street, stopped halfway down the block, and then came back to us.  He asked if we are a pro-life group and thanked us heartily for being there when he heard that we are.  As one of my sidewalk mates put it, that was a “warm hug from God.”

To every person who has been a part of this 40 Days for Life campaign, I share that thanks and that hug with you–God bless you all!

Bill, Rose, Vince, Faithful Sunday Morning PrayerWwarriors

Sue wrote from the 9-11 shift:

Well, if March is going to go out like a lamb, it had better change its ways soon!!  It was as cold a day as I’ve ever experienced on the sidewalk.  Yet that did not deter my prayer companions Kathy, Patty, and JoAnne.  JoAnne came all the way from East Palestine, OH to her first 40 Days vigil ever.  We prayed from the Psalms, the Rosary, and the petitions on the back of the signs.  Passersby were generally friendly or neutral, although we did have a single negative comment from a young man.  A large group from Butler, PA arrived toward the end of the shift, along with several others.  Sidewalk Advocate Jim joined us later in the shift.  As Kathy and I were leaving, we had a chance to minister to a young woman who said she was stranded in town (well, Kathy actually did all of ministering!).   Long story short, although the woman did have other needs, Kathy was able to buy her a warm meal at Arby’s.  The woman told us she had three children and also expressed that she is pro-life.

 

Patty, Kathy and Joanne brave the cold this morning!

Lamb or no lamb, the end of this March focuses intensely on The Lamb — The Lamb of God — who does take away the sins of the world.  We know he will bring about the end to abortion in His time.  I have been privileged to have taken part in this vigil, as I have in years of 40 Days for Life vigils here in Pittsburgh.  I would like to thank each and every participant who has stood with me this Lent; indeed, I thank everyone who has been on the sidewalk at any time this Lent.  And I thank Nikki and Diane & Tom and all of the organizers of this vital ministry.  May God bless you all with a joyous Easter and with blessings all year ’round! 

For Life, Sue M.

ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS

“Wonderful people” is how to describe all those who participate in 40 days. The wonderful R. family from St. Bernard’s, Debbie, Jeannie, Barb, Ed and Chris from Lifeline in Butler, Isaac and Anita from St. Paul’s in Butler were all great prayer warriors and compadres. Their presence and their prayers and sacrifice helped to warm us on this cold Sunday.

Wonderful R Family
Saint Bernard’s Parish
Debbie, Jean, Barb
Lifeline, Butler
Ed and Chris
Lifeline, Butler
Isaac and Anita
St. Paul’s, Butler

___________________________________

MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER

We prayed for 2 hours straight!

The sun was shining and I know that good triumphs over evil. One day Planned Parenthood will close down!

Sunny Sunday
Word of God, Madonna del Castello, Swissvale, Braddock
Parishioners come to pray

__________________________________

LINDSAY 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER

Bricklayers: Today, I was struck by the rather unique  brick design of the Planned Parenthood building. Some very talented masons built that brick facade long ago. If it wasn’t such a sad place of death and destruction, and if the windows and building weren’t filthy, you can almost imagine that once upon a time before Roe vs. Wade that it was a nice building,  maybe even pretty. The other thought that struck me was that ironically, Planned Parenthood is closed on Sunday and all major Christian Holidays (except, sadly, their most prolific killing day on Good Friday).

I guess in a way, the unique brick design and the Judeo-Christian days of operation give me hope that:

1) We are all bricklayers for Life, being used as masons for God as he creates his unique design in each and every one of us, even the passersby, victims and workers of PPH.  We are in a way building on His Foundation, one “brick” at a time, a shelter for the hopeless; and

2) Since PP is closed on Sunday, Christmas and Easter, that despite themselves, they are closer to God and His Commandments than they realize or will admit to.

So keep praying and laying those “bricks”, good people of 40 Days for Life. You are creating a shelter from the storm; hope for the hopeless.

Thank you dear prayer warriors from St Agnes, St. John XXIII, St. John’s of Delmont and Our Lady of Guadalupe for your witness today, for getting your hands full of “mortar” while toiling for God’s beautiful design. And for singing gorgeously while bricklaying!

Sunday Sidewalk Prayer Warriors

JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER

Witnesses begin to arrive for Closing Rally today.

 

God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Genesis 1:31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 39: Thanks to Marathon Prayer Warriors Holy Wisdom & St. John XXIII ALL DAY

“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS….”

Celebrating a rare  NO ABORTION SATURDAY  at PP in Pittsburgh!!!

Da Vinci’s Last Supper, Detail – Milan

I never appreciate Christianity as much as  I do at this time of year when we enter into this most holy week  —  what an incredible blessing it is to journey with Him, and to remember and reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ.

I was blessed to be in Milan last Lent, and to see firsthand DaVinci’s larger than life Last Supper.  I wanted to share a few images with you as we journey together during this holy time!

The Last Supper was painted in a Dining Hall! It is beautiful, enormous, compelling….

On the opposite end of the Dining Hall where the Last Supper is painted is another, not quite so famous painting which would foretell what was to become of this itinerant preacher.  I was taken by the busy-ness of the crucifixion scene, and while it was embellished by the artist, the reality is that crucifixion was a public spectacle– the crosses lined major travelways and the Romans used the slow, painful torture of crucifixion as a deterrent for Jews who might challenge or disturb the Roman order in Jerusalem. I can imagine all who would turn away from these sites– mothers shielding children, sensitive folks pulling their robes over their heads, friends of the crucified unable to bear the suffering…  The Romans wanted Jews to watch these crucifixions, but just like like today, human torture tears at our hearts, and we turn away in pain.

Visitors leave roses at this panel on a door at the Milan Cathedral

It reminds me of what we do on the sidewalk each day- Even though we do not visibly show the horrific human torture of abortion, we are witnesses: visible signs of the uncomfortable truth that lives are lost in abortion, and —-some passerbys automatically turn away.

I always find it challenging to redirect someone who wrongly believes our fetal models are gorey or grotesque… This happens with adults and young people alike! It seems that the only ones who can immediately appreciate the models are toddlers and young children.  They immediately say “baby” !!

The reality is that any representation of human flesh — even the beautiful models of unborn children, touches our senses in a deep way.  When we draw attention to the living, vulnerable bodies of our brothers and sisters,a human reaction is inevitable– and so many people become strangely anxious.

As we witness to the love and hope offered by the One whose suffering we will claim as our salvation this week,  He is truly with us.  

This is one of my very favorite pictures from Milan– To me, it represents our world so well…    This was a busy, noisy, confusing intersection in the old part of the city.  I stood and watched countless pedestrians, busses, scooters, drivers for a few minutes, amazed at all the life and noise and activities in the street.

AND  THEN, I saw HIM.   There was Jesus on the cross, painted onto the left side of the second traffic arch! He had been there all the time! What a comfort it was to be reminded that Jesus is with us, that He died for us, loves us, and invites us to perfect joy with Him.   He remains at the center; the sure promise of our eternal destiny; the hope for us all.

 

 

This is an enlargement of the picture above-  Remember, amid your crazy, busy, noisy lives,  He is with you ALWAYS! Blessed Holy Week and Joyous Easter to all!


Shift Reports from TODAY on the Sidewalk with Holy Wisdom and John XXIII Prayer Warriors:

NO DEATHSCORTS = NO ABORTIONS TODAY!         Praise be to GOD!

7-9 Shift Report from Sue

Barbara, Michael, Bill and Virginia – EARLY SHIFT

The very-welcome sunshine was beaming down between the buildings when Kathy L. (Sidewalk Advocate) and I arrived.  There were no escorts this morning, a sight which always makes my heart leap, as usually this is a Saturday indicator of it being a non-abortion day. The lower-than-usual number of people going into PP seemed to confirm that theory.  We were greeted by a large group of pray-ers from many different churches, including St. Joseph Cathedral, St. Michael Cathedral in Wheeling, St. Mary in St. Clairsville, OH, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and St. Ferdinand.  Barbara, shift manager and blog writer, was there for the whole day and glowing & smiling just like it was a summer day. She reached out to a young passerby who stayed and prayed with us for awhile.

During the second half of the shift, many young people began to enter PP for what we learned was a training session.  For what, I don’t know.  We had some positive responses from passersby and some negative ones.  One man quickly walked by and said to us, “Get a life,” a comment which I always find ironic.  A 55-year-old woman came by and told me a sad story of her mother forcing her to have an abortion at age 17.  She said she knows she is forgiven after asking God, but the horror and sadness of the experience has stuck with her. We saw a few people with signs headed for the “March for Our Lives” event in Market Square.  Again, that LIFE theme …. Bill stopped by a couple of times.  All in all, it was a peaceful — yet cold! — morning on the sidewalk.                             

St. Alphonsus’ Finest: Marie, Donna, Beth

9-11  Shift Report from Tim:

Katrina and Clare with Sister Jolenta this morning
              Bill and Birthday Boy Bill!

What a brisk and blessed morning it was.  I was blessed to have Barbara and Richard join me from the beginning. They plan to pray and witness for the entire day at the vigil.  Several young men stopped to look at the fetal models and engage in conversation. One of them, Michael, joined in prayer and stayed for my entire shift. Sister Jolenta joined us and shared that she has been to Mass before arriving and offered it for all of us.  I was blessed too, with several groups of women coming to pray and many of the regular year round prayer warriors including Bill S. who was celebrating his birthday.

The best blessing of all was there were no pp escorts which we hope means they were not performing abortions and many babies were spared today.

 


11-1 Shift Report from Dean

Holy Wisdom crew joined by folks from W VA and Ohio today!

I was thankful to have the inspirational company of Barbara on the sidewalk today. Thank you for giving so much of your time.
Many people were leaving P.P  today without accepting information about the pregnancy support groups.

I continue to pray for people to change their hearts and minds on this issue.  At least we stood in witness to life and we really never know the seeds that are planted by our presence and prayer.  


1-3 Shift Report from Billy

Rose and St. John XXIII members join the group

Hi everyone today’s vigil was awesome. Today the March for Our Lives gun protest was going on & many people commented.  One said we should ‘get behind a real protest’.  lol

Around 1:30 a young girl by the name of Jessica stopped by. She is a young mother who opposes abortion and is currently fighting for of her custody daughter. She poured her heart out to Barbara and to me. 

While this was going, on a woman named Rose came to join to pray. Jessica stayed my whole shift— She was so soft spoken please pray for her! Also a man came and asked for money and I left for a second to buy him food and when I came back a lady named Mimi came to pray.   

Members of St. John XXIII stand for LIFE

Mimi, like Bill H. is an AMAZING everyday 40 Days for Life prayer warrior and we are blest to have her 3-5pmjoin us each day!

Before I left Jessica got information from Kathy to join us for 40 days again.It was an eventful day for sure!       Thanks again to all the volunteers who joined me today!

Your brother in Christ Billy 

 


3-5 Shift Report from Kathy

Prayer outside planned parenthood was in process when I arrived. Mimi was in charge!  Barbara smiled. Rose and Barbara listened. Beautiful picture!  Throughout shift, members of Barbara’s church came and prayed.

Tim, a student at Byzantine seminary, prayed and shed sunshine on Liberty Ave . 
Honored to be on sidewalk with precious people. Cant forget Jim, sidewalk advocate,, spent time passing out info to many people, his presence was greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

MORE TO COME… stay tuned!

Day 38: Thank you to Elk County Right to Life, West Hills Baptist Church, St. Regis Catholic Church, and Individual Volunteers!

So here we are on Day 38, with just two days left to go.  We’ll be gathering in front of Planned Parenthood on Sunday evening at 6:30 PM to mark the end of this campaign and to praise God for the many blessings He has bestowed on us during the last 40 days.  It has been a long, cold, wet battle. We are tired and Jesus is granting us a time of rest now, as He often did for His apostles. But we know there’s more work to be done to bring about the day that every human being is recognized, respected, and protected as a precious child of God.  That means it’s also time for perseverance.

Nikki, guided by the Holy Spirit, named the virtue of perseverance as the theme of this campaign.  It’s so fitting. We don’t know God’s timetable for this battle, only the outcome: complete and total victory for the Lord of Life!  What a beautiful reason to hope.  And hope is the key to rallying ourselves to persevere.  Most Reverend Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, spoke of this hope in his keynote address at the 2016 Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Dinner:

“People sometimes ask me if we can be optimistic, those of us who are religious believers, about the future of our country.  My answer is always the same. Optimism and pessimism are equally dangerous for the believer because both God and the devil are full of surprises.  But the virtue of hope is another matter. We have every reason to hope.  Scripture tells us we must live in hope, and hope is a very different creature from optimism.  Hope is the grace to trust that God is who he claims to be, and that in serving him, we do something fertile and precious for the renewal of the world.”

So please, have a blessed and joyful Easter, catch up on sleep, thaw out your toes.  But then make your way back to the task at hand in a spirit of perseverance and hope.  Sidewalk Advocates and their prayer partners stand in solidarity with those who suffer all year through.  You can learn more about them by contacting Sue at susanmcgrath526@comcast.net And if Planned Parenthood is still on Liberty Avenue in September, 40 Days for Life will be there, too.

How is God calling YOU to continue fighting for the cause of Life?

~Jen


Here are pictures and reports from today’s vigil…please stop back as more are added!

Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:

Daylight was already peeking around the building tops and Diane and Tom had the sidewalk furnished.  Our last Friday was underway.  There was absolutely no rain or breeze.

Al, Bill, Jen, Kim and Ryan arrived.  Jen and Ryan are sidewalk preachers.  Jen had amazing and repeated success engaging people.

Jeannie came with a bundle of prolife signs she had refurbished.  She had flattened, strengthened and refreshed the signs, replaced the strings and inserted grommets.  She stoutly refused to enter a conversation about Wallace and Gromit.

Al and I prayed a Sorrowful Mystery Rosary and included Sally’s recovery in our intentions.  She is steadily getting better.  The sidewalk is much colder without her.

Many people recognized and greeted us.  Moms with kids in tow headed for the day care center just down the street, smiling and calling their kids to keep them near.

All of us will probably be here again in the fall.  As Joe says, “All to the glory of God.”

 

Cross Roads Preachers Jen and Ryan with Al
Sidewalk Advocate Kim

Jeannie, 9-11 AM:

What a beautiful collection of the body of Christ we had this morning on the sidewalk. We saw a little bit of the sun, but the devil allowed the cold to persist and we kept each other’s spirits up through prayer. I was blessed to have Jen and Ryan full of The Holy Spirit to deeply engage several passersby with the word.  In this picture a gentleman who stopped and started talking to them on the street chose to be included in the middle of the bunch!!!!!

The 10 o’clock hour brought me five fantastic women from St. Mary’s PA Right to Life. I am sorry that my picture of them did not work out.  We had several groups of young people come by maybe classroom excursions, and it was great to see them appreciate the Fetal models. It’s funny how the first reaction is that it is something off color or grotesque.  Then — once they realize what it is and that each of them was at one time that tiny and that perfect — it’s a different story.

Jen, Ryan, a visitor, Al, Cathy. Great group!
These five blooms represent the five beautiful women who stood and prayed the Rosary at Planned Parenthood this morning from St. Mary’s, PA.

Marie, 11 AM-1 PM

Nancy, 1-3 PM:

Not much traffic in or out of PP.  The cold sidewalk was made bearable by the warm hearts of the prayer warriors.  Elk County group stayed from 10-2, and West Hills Baptist church were there from 2-5.   A few individuals also prayed.  It was very encouraging to see the many witnesses for life standing up for the lives of the unborn babies and their families.

Lisa and Family, 3-5 PM

Pat, 5-7 PM:

Well, I signed my parish (St. Regis) up for this time slot, but I was the only member there this evening.  Thankfully, I had my faithful prayer partner, Bill from St. Philip’s in Crafton, with me for the entire time.  I also had a brother Knight, Paul, along with his wife Pat (St. Ferdinand’s in Cranberry), with me for the first hour.  I believe they had already been there for at least an hour before I arrived.

Perhaps it was the cold, but this seemed to be my longest 2-hour shift of this campaign.  While the streets and the sidewalks were both very busy, I can’t remember a single negative incident.

Bill, Daniel, Paul, Pat, with Nadi in the front