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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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,
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.
“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS….”
Celebrating a rare NO ABORTION SATURDAY at PP in Pittsburgh!!!
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!
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.
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
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.
9-11 Shift Report from Tim:
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
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
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.
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!
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 email@example.com. 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?
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.”
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.
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.
40 Days for Life
When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him.
Genesis 17: 3
Today’s First Reading is a long passage from Genesis. But each week, I look at these readings, and see where the Holy Spirit stops me. And He stopped me here, at this first line. This line from Genesis 3 makes me remember that we cannot hear God when we are focused on self.
This holds true for those of us on EITHER side of the abortion issue. For those of us who are pro-life, we must be outward-looking…. focused on the woman or man before us who is in need of our help. For those who are pro-abortion, there also must be the outward focus: What is good for my child? What is good for the rest of my family? What is good for the father/mother of my child? If the focus is on self, then the chances for abortion are certainly higher.
May the Lord enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we can be HUMBLE enough to prostrate ourselves before Him, and listen to what He wants to tell us.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a cold and icy morning, but it was a good shift. My faithful partner Peggy was there the whole time. Vicki came to pray for a while and Bill stopped by briefly. Katie also came to reach out to the abortion bound clients of Planned Parenthood with alternatives to abortion. The sidewalk was very icy and many people were slipping. I was warning people to be careful, but one woman did go down onto her back. We helped her up and she was OK, thankfully. I asked the security guard if he could throw some salt out, but he told me that it was not Planned Parenthood’s problem. He said the ice was in front of the bar and that we should ask them. I told him they were not open but he simply said it wasn’t his problem.We didn’t get much interaction with passersby; some eye rolls, that is about all. One woman, however, stopped in the middle of the circle and proclaimed the blood of Jesus over that place and prayed and proclaimed that that place would be closed and that the evil would be defeated. She told us that she had had abortions and now realizes that abortion is murder. It was awesome to watch her pray so boldly. I actually got chills listening to her pray, it seemed prophetic. Of course, it may have just been the cold, but I hope it was the Holy Spirit! Thanks, everyone, for your sacrifice this morning!Nikki
It was the quietest Thursday of these 40 days as far as clients going in this morning. We only saw one couple go in during our two hours there.We were a bit distracted by the icy sidewalks as two people fell and lots of others did “ice dances!”Thank you everyone for coming out to pray during these 40 Days for Life! I hope you’ll come out and bring a friend a time or two before our next 40 days. Your prayers are always needed outside of 933 Liberty Ave.I hope, too, that you’ll plan to come over to pray at Magee-Womens Hospital, where 500-700 abortions are committed every year. Over half of those abortions are committed in the second trimester. If you’d like to know more about that opportunity, drop me a line at TheMageeProject@gmail.com.Hope to see you at the closing Sunday evening!
The 11-1 shift today was relatively quiet. I had wonderful companions, including Denise, a Thursday regular, who is not pictured here. I am so grateful for their presence and prayers… especially to Fr. Tom from St. Patrick parish, who came prepared with holy water and blessed salt, which he prayerfully sprinkled around the sidewalk. Thank you, Father, for all of these special blessings!!
We had several words of blessing and thanks from passersby today. Maybe it was the sunshine? But my favorite line came from a black man who, as he passed us, said casually, “God’s got y’alls back.” I loved it.
What a wonderful day! We enjoyed the beauty of two families from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie. Both families brought five children, all of them prayerful, pleasant, polite and patient. An added bonus is that we also had one more baby in utero and lovely Isabel was celebrating her 12th Birthday.
With the families was a fine blond lady who would make a super Shift Manager.
(I’m sorry I’ve forgotten many names, so I won’t try to guess.)
We all sang “Happy Birthday” to Isabel, and then we prayed the rosary. No fidgeting, fussing, or fighting, and the children took turns leading the decades. We also prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet before the families walked into the sunlight.
After they left, we still had two Knights from the parish, and another young lady who came from her office at the other end of the Golden Triangle.
The sidewalk was busy with not just the students and bus lines; we also had the company of many members of the American Society of Black Engineers, who are having gatherings in Pittsburgh.
And let us recall the outward focus of our love.
May our humility allow us to hear the call of the Lord for our lives and our families.
“To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.”
-Pope St. John Paul II
I made a mess of my life in my younger years, and did a lot of damage to my children’s lives as well. I did not know the Lord as a young person. I bought the culture’s lie of easy love…hook, line and sinker. I have been trying my best to follow Jesus for about 13 years now. I didn’t create my “mess” overnight…so how can I expect healing and restoration to happen instantly? I have been forgiven for my sins. I know this and am very grateful. But there are consequences that still have to be lived with, and many family members that I battle in prayer for on my knees each day.
God has changed me (especially through my work in this pro-life ministry and through the influence of so many wonderful pro-life friends), and I see His blessings beginning to flower in my family as well. But, still I get impatient when dealing with some of the difficult situations with many of our children. How long, O Lord? Patience is difficult for me.
This past Sunday, the Gospel was from John 12. In it, Jesus says that, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” Jesus continues with one of my favorite verses of the Bible, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
In his homily, my pastor spoke about the need for the seeds of selfishness to die within us. When I thought about those words afterwards, an image began to form in my mind. It was a image of a place…very dark, damp and cold. I imagined a seed, buried in the ground. I thought about the TIME and ENVIRONMENT necessary for that hard shell to soften and break down before it can grow and multiply. It doesn’t happen instantly, and from our perspective, looking at the bare, empty dirt, it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. We see no life, just barrenness, bleakness and abandonment. Neither can the seed see the changes that is happening within it, as it suffers in the damp darkness. But as it feels the slight warmth of the sun above, without it even knowing what is happening… it begins to break down, the hard shell dissolving and dying…as a tender green shoot sprouts forth from its center.
TIME and ENVIRONMENT are necessary for growth and change.
TIME… That is all up to God…we can’t rush him. God works in his time, which is perfect. That is where we need patience. (Continue these 40 day prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood!)
As for the ENVIRONMENT…now that is where we can help. Just as a seed will not break down and dissolve if it is left sitting in a nice dry, comfortable environment…neither will the selfish seeds of our individual souls (or the collective soul of our culture) break down and die if we stay in our nice warm houses, sitting on our nice comfortable couches. We need to have patience, yes…but we also need to provide the necessary environment for change. That environment includes a life of love and obedience to God, regular practice of prayer, faith and good works. If we PERSEVERE in these things, God will…IN HIS TIME…bring forth a bountiful harvest! In my life, in yours…and in our culture!
I believe that our prayers, fasting and presence on the sidewalk has planted more seeds than we know. Lives are saved, hearts are changed, and souls turn back to the Lord…but we…in our darkness…cannot see what is happening.
I watched a beautiful documentary today, that my friend (and Tuesday blog writer), Sue, forwarded to me. I encourage you to watch it too! It is a true documentary of a young man meeting his birth mother and father for the first time. He was raised in a loving adoptive home, but decided when he was 19 that he would like to meet his biological parents. In 1993, they were teenagers who thought abortion was the only answer. As they were being escorted into the clinic, surrounded by abortion clinic escorts, and covered with a blanket…they heard the voice of one woman shout out, “Your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes…and you’re going to kill it?” The young woman went into the clinic, and was actually on the table when she changed her mind! She said as she left the abortion clinic, those who were outside protesting thought she had done it. They never knew she changed her mind. To watch this inspiring and worthwhile short film (30 minutes), go to:
Even without seeing all the lives saved and hearts converted that probably happen without our knowledge, we have already seen many beautiful buds beginning to open. Here are some that I see:
- The buds of seeing timid individuals struggle, but finally get up their courage to come to the vigil.
- The blossoms of those who gave up selfishness in order to fast, and to suffer in the cold weather.
- The future flowers of families and children who walked by and saw our witness.
- Seeing the discouraged faithful being bolstered and strengthened by the unity among believers in our 40 Days for Life family!
So, thank you to all of you who have participated during these 36 days! We still have 4 days to go! Please keep praying for more lives saved! And join us as we officially close the vigil at Planned Parenthood at 6:30 pm this Sunday, followed with a social gathering (pot-luck food) inside Catholic Charities Welcome Center (corner of 9th and Liberty) from 7-8:30.
There are not the usual shift reports today, since the vigil was closed because of the snow…however, one shift manager husband/wife duo DID go for an hour today! Here is what Hank wrote:
We spent about an hour at PP today and although it was snowy it was not too cold. As we expected there was very little street traffic, but we greeted all those passing by and a few people responded with a “thank you” and /or “God bless you.” It was interesting to see the reaction on the faces of those who read the sign that we carried which read “Inside this building, more than 40 children are put to death every week.” People read the sign, look at the building and look back to you in surprise. I think this sign is effective in getting the message out as to exactly what takes place at this location. A young man named David read the sign and stopped to talk. He was unaware of 40 Days For Life and it’s mission and did not know that abortions were being done here. He said that he was a Christian and was against abortion and before he left he asked to pray with me, which we did. Praise be to God for the snow, each flake uniquely made by his hand, just as each one of us is from our conception.
If anyone else happened to go to pray today, feel free to send in your reports and I will post them.
God bless you!