Day 21: Thank you St. Margaret Mary (Moon), Holy Angels Parish (Hays) and Individual Volunteers!

There is a museum in the town of Ave Maria, Florida dedicated to St. Teresa of Calcutta. Ave Maria University is adjacent to the town and its President was Mother Teresa’s attorney for 12 years. He became her friend and was the benefactor of many of her artifacts which can be seen in the museum.

One of the exhibits is the video of Mother Teresa speaking to the guests at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994. At the podium, her small stature is barely visible…the white part of her habit circling her “invisible” head like a halo. Yet, her voice is strong, clear and easily heard by the assembled politicians, many whom are abortion advocates. Her speech begins without apology:

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. Jesus said; if you receive a little child, you receive me. Every abortion is the denial of and neglect of receiving Jesus.” She continues, “It is really a war against the child. The murder of a mother against her own child. If we accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell others not to kill one another? A country that accepts abortion is NOT teaching its people to love one another but to use violence to get what they want.” She then encourages those listening to fight abortion with adoption and offers to take any unwanted children.

The words of this humble Saint continue to teach us today! Most of us won’t be called to speak to a room full of politicians, but if you are standing at “the podium” (on the street) you ARE witnessing. In the spirit of Mother Teresa, let your voice be strong and clear, even if you are barely visible above the podium…except for your halo!

Charlene

When Steve and Tracy and I arrived in all of our layers on the cold street, I mentioned how I do not sleep well the night before my shift. I mean, it’s not like we are going to meet the lions in the coliseum! We are peacefully praying. And yet we all know it is more. This mornings devotional scripture hit the nail on the head:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand”.Peaceful prayer…God’s powerful weapon!!

We were joined by Greg, Dave, and Bill. Our Pittsburgh Pride friend, Julius, also stopped and was so sad to hear about Sally’s death. He was going to try to make the viewing and see Al. Their lives have touched so many. Prayers for them both.~Charlene

Beth

Warm hearts but frigid fingers today! Tracy from steubenville kept vigil for three hours.
Claudia and Beth Ann from St. Alexis came and lead prayers which were needed especially today, an abortion day. We saw about 4 to 5 couples go in after the abortionist arrived. A wonderful group from St. Margaret Mary came, including Maureen, Jackie, Chris, Don, Peg and Lou! Please pray for “s” who came to PP to get health insurance because she is pregnant. She had to get back to work but she said she would be back on Wednesday.
Stay warm and Thanks to our fellow witnesses for life! 

Fran

I felt blessed to be in the company of so many veteran prayer warriors today.  When I arrived I first noticed 2 very familiar faces among the many pray~ers, shift buddy Beth Ann and Claudia.   Their regular presence and ready smile always make me feel welcome.  I soon learned that the rather large group standing with them in reverent prayer were parishioners from St. Margaret Mary (Maureen, Jackie, Chris, Dom, Peg, Lou).  The gentle kindness and warmth of this group radiated blessings to the people passing by.  It was a wonderful surprise that only an hour later our numbers would double with the arrival of parishioners from Holy Angels whose hearts were filled with hope that all of our prayers will be heard (Rosemary, Joan, Mary Ellen, Jean, Patricia, Anna Marie, Dan).  In addition to these two beautiful groups of people (who spanned 3 shifts today) we were joined by Beverly, who is a long time, faithful witness on the sidewalk and also Cathy who came to pray with us on her lunch hour.  Cathy brought with her a multi-page document of prayers that she had put together herself and I regret that I did not get a chance to see inside.  I am hoping I will be afforded that opportunity again.  We were also joined briefly by Bill who blessed each of us with Holy Water and also a gentleman who, I believe, stops briefly every day to pray, and he has been doing so for some time.  This man does not sign-in and he does not address anyone from the group, but his faithfulness is very much noticed by many in our group.  I mention this because we often reflect that we can never be sure how many hearts are being touched, just by our faithful, loving presence.  May we always be willing to be a channel of God’s Love.   

Nikki

Sun shining on the dirty building

 It was a bright and sunny day on the sidewalk, and there were many prayer warriors there. A large group from St. Margaret Mary Parish on one side, and a big group from Holy Angels Parish on the other. It was a peaceful shift, not much to report. Everybody was just praying  either in groups or by themselves. As I was praying and looking up at the building, I noticed the sun shining on the bricks and the glass, showing the filthiness of the building.  It occurred to me that as the sunlight  reveals the filthiness of the building, so our presence  on  The sidewalk  reveals the ugliness of abortion.  And I was looking at the letter that is engraved in the stone above the door, the capital R, I was imagining that one day that will stand for Redeemed, when our Lord redeems this place for himself.    I am grateful for everyone who came out to pray today! 

Michael – Kim

It was a beautiful day and great to be able to enjoy sunshine and warmth in the middle of October. Even though we had no churches at this time, Michael and Kim were great prayer warriors as always. Many passerbys were supportive and defintely pro-life. Many people said thank you to us for being there and many gave us a thumbs up. These words and gestures of support are truly appreciated and help to restore our faith in people. It helps to make us realize we are not alone in this battle for life.

Johanna

Day 20: Thanks to St. Bonaventure, Glenshaw, Monroeville/Penn Hills Parishes and Catholic Group #216

Did you ever have the dreaded D’s?  Doubt, Disappointment and Discouragement.

Recently the Choices pregnancy services mobile unit came downtown and one of regular sidewalk advocates mentioned his disappointment that no one had allowed us to escort them to mobile unit nor gone in for some time vs going into pp.

Don’t we all wonder if we are making a difference?  Do people see us?  Does God hear our prayers?

Well the advocate’s disappointment didn’t last long as a couple stopped to talk and the went into the mobile unit. Then later a woman walking towards pp with the intention to go in stopped to talk with the same sidewalk advocate.  She wanted real help. After talking with her and telling her about all the help and support available she agreed to go into the mobile unit.  Along the way she told the advocate that God has sent them to be there for her when she was so in need.

Later we chuckled as we have had several experiences over the years when doubt, disappointment and discouragement had crept in.  And then God steps in to show us HE is there for us.  And while not being disrespectful, we joking look up and say “show off”.  And one of us is always quick to say “Oh ye of little faith”.

Have faith.  TRUST is greater than the 3 D’s. We get noticed.  We make a difference.  We with God’s help save lives and souls.  Peace and joy. Tim

Here are reports from today at the vigil starting with Sue 7-9 am:

“It was freeeeezing! I didn’t think I would need my parka, so I just wore a light jacket and brought a hat….but decided to leave the hat in the car cause I thought I was over-doing it a little. ‘couda used the hat!!! oh yeah, I cracked open a package of hand warmers too! The first picture is shift Buddy Rose and I with our hoods up because the wind tunnel was active! Second picture is Sandy, Thao and Dean with Rose in the distant background on the other side of the circle! It was a chilly morning for sure, but first shift that it has not rained! Diane and Tom met us with all the materials, can’t wait to see what Diane has thought up for the next time it rains…she said it inspired by an idea Rose mentioned last week!! Rose and I stood on one side of the circle and Thao on the other. We prayed and Rose handed out many 40 DFL brochures. Shout out to Dean and Sandy who responded to the request for additional help…it was fairly quiet with the usual foot traffic and workers entering planned parenthood. As Fr. Chris said at the kickoff mass, I remembered to offer my time and prayers for the soul that has been entrusted to me for these 40 days. Thank you, Sue ”

From Rose S. also 7-9:

I just came from the morning and read the quote that Sally had

said last year when she was pushed over, “I felt like a feather falling…”

During our prayer this morning I saw a small feather fall right into the

circle and thought of Sally…what a Sign !

From Ginny 9-11: Fr. John and Saint Bonaventure parish was praying together today. It was very quiet and no problems. It was the best weather for this shift this campaign. We said a rosary and a Divine Mercy Chaplet

From Donna 11-1: It was a chilly day today. We thought it would be quiet because of Columbus Day but there were a lot of people out and about. Some prayer warriors prayed the rosary and others prayed quietly and handed out pamphlets and cards and greeted those who walked by. Some positive and negative comments. The usual head shaking and eye rolls, sad but a lot of people seem so angry. We had some thumbs up too and others share that they are pro life too. 
Lord we pray that you would bind the enemy and remove the stronghold he has on our city. We boldly pray that this modern day holocaust of abortion will end in our city our country and our world.  Empower and fill us with your Spirit and give us Your strength to persevere. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Blessings For Life,
Donna

Here is from Peter 3-5 pm: Steve from St Thomas More joined Marie and myself for our first hour on this beautiful day.  We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Jim, a regular, also stopped down.  Katie and her son Nick joined us for most of the 2nd hour as they created a colorful sidewalk statement.  It’s a true blessing each of us is gifted in different ways to communicate with others. Overall the shift was fairly peaceful with some positive comments and smiles, especially for the artwork. -Pete

DAY 19: Thank you, Transfiguration and Saint Victor Parishes; Saint Bernard Parish; Saint John/Saint Mary/Our Lady of Lourdes Parishes; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Melissa D., Jim and Cathy S.; Volunteers Thao N., Maia M.; FUEL, Carmelite Nuns in Latrobe, Pittsburgh witness’ nephew in Florida!

Al and Sally

Witnessing for life with us downtown a year or two ago, Sally hadn’t noticed the young man until he bumped her, on purpose.  Sally fell all the way down to the brick pavement.  Al rushed to her side as people quickly gathered around her.  “I felt like a feather floating down.  I am not hurt at all.  My Guardian Angel does a good job for me,” she said.

Sally kept her Guardian Angel busy.  She and Al witnessed for life in Pittsburgh on sidewalks and curbs, in all seasons, for decades.  We never called them Al or Sally. It was always Al and Sally.

Last evening Sally died in the hospital due to the stroke she suffered about a week ago. Our hearts are broken.  We look forward to seeing her again.

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. Amen.

The prolife witness of Al and Sally helped God open the hearts of pro abortion people. It is difficult to understand the heart of a doctor who does abortions. For some insight into one doctor, here are a few excerpts from the autobiography of abortion doctor and co-founder of the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), Dr. Bernard Nathanson. 

Ruth was a captivating, innocent, exceedingly intelligent young woman whom I met at a McGill dance in the autumn of 1945, in my first year in Montreal. She was seventeen and I was nineteen.
In my third year … we were spending more and more time together and talking seriously of marriage.  And then she became pregnant. I had no inclination to marry. I was still facing another year and a half of medical school.
The night before the abortion we slept together huddled in each other’s arms; we both wept, for the baby we were about to lose, and for the love we both knew would be irreparably damaged by what we were about to do. 
Although for a brief period in the immediate aftermath we huddled together as co-conspirators in an unnameable crime, eventually we drifted apart. 
 
Thus was the first of my seventy-five thousand encounters with abortion.
 
For every ten thousand Ruths there is one abortionist: icy; conscienceless; remorselessly perverting his medical skills; defiling his ethical charge; and helping, nay seducing, with his clinical calm, his oh-so-comforting professionalism, assisting women in the act that comes closest to self-slaughter.
 
I had been aware in the early and mid-eighties that a great many of the Catholics and Protestants in the ranks had prayed for me, were praying for me, and I was not unmoved as time wore on.  But it was not until I saw the spirit put to the test on those bitterly cold demonstration mornings, with pro-choicers hurling the most fulsome epithets at them, the police surrounding them, the media openly unsympathetic to their cause, the federal judiciary fining and jailing them, and municipal officials threatening them – all through it they sat smiling, quietly praying, singing, confident and righteous of their cause and ineradicably persuaded of their ultimate triumph – that I began seriously to question what indescribable Force generated them to this activity.
And for the first time in my entire adult life, I began to entertain seriously the notion of God….
I am no longer alone.  It has been my fate to wander the globe in search of the One without Whom I am doomed, but now I seize the hem of His robe in desperation, in terror, in celestial access to the purest need I have ever known.

Nathanson, Bernard N. The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind. Lewiston: Life Cycle Books LTD, 1996.
 

Sally, we know your Guardian Angel knew how to help you in the hour of death. With love.

DEE

FUEL 1

Carmelites in Latrobe

May Our Lady of Perpetual Help, help all who are fasting and praying for an end to abortion and especially at the Clinic at Planned Parenthood at 933 Liberty Avenue Downtown, Pittsburgh.  

Carmelites in Latrobe
May Our Lady of Perpetual Help, help all who are fasting and praying for an end to abortion and especially
at the Clinic at Planned Parenthood at 933 Liberty Avenue Downtown, Pittsburgh. 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help please close this clinic, soon!! Amen.
God bless and strengthen you and all who work with you and protect you. 
We are fasting and praying with you, the Rosary, Mercy Chaplet, etc to end abortion at this clinic.
Your most hopeful,
Carmelite Nuns

___________________________________

FUEL 2

We received this letter from a woman who has prayed at our Pittsburgh vigil. 
 
My nephew is in prison in Florida; he is involved in Prison Ministry and he has joined me in prayer for the last two 40 Days Vigils.  I think he shows a great deal of insight into the Respect Life problem, for someone who has been out of mainstream society for over 20 years.
This is what I received on 9/27/19.
I am praying with you and your church today, September 27, 2019, for the lives of the unborn.
Specifically, I am praying that:
God will move the hearts of the lawmakers and judges in this country to wake up and reverse Roe v. Wade;
Those performing abortions will come to their senses and protect rather than abort the unborn;
Those contemplating abortion will be moved to find a humane life-affirming alternative;
Those who have already had an abortion will come to repentance and find healing;
Those who name the name of Christ Jesus will never fail to stand in the gap for the helpless, and will never waiver from a strong biblically based pro-life position.

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

JENNIFER M. SHIFT MANAGER 7-9

Thank you to Tom and Diane for faithfully supplying all our vigil needs first thing this morning.  Thank you also to Vince, Bill, Thao, and Steve for heartfelt prayers and witness for our sisters and brothers in danger.  Thank you to Ken and Pat, who took the baton for the 9-11 shift.  And thanks be to God for the amazing life of Sally Brunn, who prayerfully, courageously, and tirelessly fought for the protection of the unborn for decades.  
She touched so many of us with her clear insights, positive attitude, and beautiful smile.  We will miss her terribly but entrust her to the care of our Lord, Whom she loved so well.  Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord; let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.  Dear Sally, please continue to intercede for the unborn and for your 40 Days for Life family!

Ken, Steve, Vince. Steve is the son-in-law of Bob N.,

who perpetually prayed and witnessed for the unborn for years

along Sally and Al!

___________________________________

KEN B. SHIFT MANAGER 9-11

A little chilly this morning on Liberty Avenue, but warmth and joy from our 40 Days participants. Today’s Gospel speaks of the thanks offered at the feet of Jesus by the Samaritan healed of leprosy. So at His feet I give thanks:

For Jen, Vince and Steve who held the previous shift of witness for life. Always a joyful moment of greetings and prayer when we change shifts.

For shift manager Sue who was a little under the weather and unable to attend this morning. God speed you a quick recovery, Sue.

For Pat who stayed with me for two hours with prayer and holy conversation, always a constant and faithful witness for life.

For Rich and Rosanne who prayed the Rosary with us and managed the next shift.

For Sally, the first person to greet me when I arrived at 40 Days for Life during Lent, early on a Saturday morning, in the cold, about eight years ago. I will always remember the smile and joy. She will forever be the face and the heart of this apostolate for me. May God grant her eternal rest.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Saint John Henry Neuman, pray for us.

Pat and Ken

___________________________________

RICH AND ROSEANN K. SHIFT MANAGERS 11-1

We arrived at Planned Parenthood and were greeted by Ken and Pat of the previous shift. As we prayed the Rosary other prayer warriors started arriving. One man cleaning the street stopped to talk to us about abortion and I pray that we planted some seeds for life. We had some angry passersby today and one young man knocked over the sandwich board.  Although some were angry, some thanked us for being there. Thanks to all who prayed with us today.

Prayer warriors from Transfiguration and Our Lady of Grace

R. Family and Shift Manager Rich

___________________________________

LINDSAY M. SHIFT MANAGER 1-3

It was an uneventful time at the 40 Days for Life vigil. I’m grateful for the participants from Saint Bernard Parish in Mount Lebanon. We also had two wonderful prayerful young ladies pedal all the way from Hazelwood on their bikes to join us in prayer!
We prayed a Rosary and a Divine Mercy with Sally in our hearts.
Please pray for a regular prayer warrior who seems to be going through a very hard time, living in a car. He’s a good man and I pray that God leads him to a comfortable and safe living situation.

Sunday witnesses from Saint Bernard Parish in Mount Lebanon.

___________________________________

ANDY L. SHIFT MANAGER 3-5

A beautiful fall day serving God with prayers and community service. 

Sunday afternoon witnesses share the sidewalk with Bill in the middle!

___________________________________

JOE W. SHIFT MANAGER 5-7

Beautiful afternoon with my prayerful friends (40 days family) Jim and Cathy. Also Jim and Lloyd stopped by to pray and support us. 
May God’s will be done in all of us. Peace of the Lord be with you!!!

And God saw that it was good.

Day 18: Thank you to St. Maria Goretti Parish, Christ our Savior Parish, Oil City Catholic Community, Sidewalk Advocates, and Individual Volunteers!

Editor’s Note: Our regular Saturday blogger, Jeannie, is “off duty” for her son’s wedding day. We rejoice with them and hold them all in prayer!


Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM, Tim:

The day started when it was dark and dry with little street activity.  The normal Saturday pp escorts were not there, which we take to mean as a very good sign that no abortions were being performed. We were joined by Carolina and later Dan from St Maria Goretti. 
The wind and rain came making our witness even stronger especially Amy, along with Vince from Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, who knelt in prayer. Thao, Jimmy and Bill, the frequent prayer warriors prayed in the rain as well. Several people passed and thanked us for being there. Peace and joy. 

Tim
Saturday regulars Virginia, Joe, Chuck, Bill and Carolina
Amy in prayer

9-11 AM, Sue:

I arrived in the chilly rain to find no PP escorts on the sidewalk, and Joe, Tim, Bill, Charlie and Amy H., and Thao holding down the prayer/outreach efforts.  Shortly after I arrived for my shift, Sister Jolenta arrived with a beautiful dozen of red roses.  On her birthday, she wanted to bring them in honor of, and to come and pray for, the babies who will never see a birthday.  As she was telling me the story, a man stopped by to talk.  He expressed much concern for his sister, “A,” who is addicted to drugs and is about 6 months pregnant and was asking for resources for anywhere that could help her.  We gave him the yellow card and encouraged him to call Women’s Choice Network or Choices Pregnancy Care Center and that they would be able to guide him to medical and emotional help for both his sister and the baby.  We promised prayers for all of them.  He thanked us and went on his way.  Please pray for “A” and her baby.
Although very few folks entered PP for the first hour of the shift, business picked up considerably after 10:00.  We prayed for and reached out to each person entering and exiting.  Sidewalk Advocate Sue D. spoke several times to a young woman who had just exited PP and was waiting for a ride.  Sue was not sure of the reason she’d been in PP, but she accepted literature, including post-abortive healing literature.  Sidewalk Advocate Judy was also able to give healing literature to a woman whose daughter was inside having an abortion and had said it was too late to go back inside to try to convince her to change her mind.  Although I’d been told several times, this solidified for me the sad fact that no escorts does not mean no abortions are going on there.  Please pray for all of these folks.
At one point we were sharing life events that are large parts of the reasons we are on the sidewalk praying.  Amy, who was adopted as a very young girl, shared how happy and thankful she is that her birth mom chose life.  I shared that my great-aunt had told me my grandma had had an abortion back in the ’40’s — my aunt or uncle.  A significant deal to me, as I only ever had one living uncle and no aunts.
Toward the end of the shift, Barbara and Richard arrived, sweet Barbara bearing three more dozens of red roses!  40 Days folks, keep up the prayers and fasting …… God is working!

Sue
Sr. Jolenta with her roses
Charlie & Amy H., with Dan from St. Maria Goretti, and Sr. Jolenta
Barbara with 3 dozen roses!
Sad sign in the window of the bar next door to PP
And another…

11 AM-1 PM, Dean:

Mostly it was a quiet afternoon that went by fairly quickly. A larger than usual amount of people were going into P.P. and refusing information abourt various pregnancy support groups. Continue to pray for eyes and ears to be opened.

Dean
Four men from Girard Alliance in Erie, who came to pray this afternoon.
Old Glory flying high above us on​ Liberty Avenue today.
Fellow shift Mgr. Barb, Jeanine, and folks from Christ Our Savior, Northside, on hand to pray.

1-3 PM, Barbara & Richard:

Our chilly rainy sidewalk blossomed into warm sunshine for our shift.
Actually, I was there from 11-3, witnessing with parishioners from Christ our Savior Parish, newly beginning on the North Side.  Our Pastor, Father Tony, joined us and the sidewalk blossomed again as he lead us in prayer with the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
This was the first time with 40 Days for fellow parishioner Jeannine and the second for Patrick whose parish is downtown. Tom passed out literature and his family accompanied him. Bill stopped by.
We brought roses and tossed them to adorn the sidewalk in honor of the children whose lives were taken by abortion today.
Many passers by gave us high signs of encouragement, warm smiles and “thank you.”
It is a blessing to belong to the Body of Christ.

Barbara
Patrick, Tom with his wife, Jenny, and two of their children
Richard, Shift Manager Dean, Jeanine, Sidewalk Advocate Sue

3-5 PM, Katie:

The 3-5 shift was not without its share of negative comments, but it was a wonderful day with Rick, his wife Shari, Shari’s sister and a handful of other individuals whose names I’m sorry I did not get. There were some people who told us that they were “praying with us” and others who gave us a “thumbs up” from their car, which was nice. There were negative comments from a woman walking by further down the sidewalk saying that she donates to Planned Parenthood very loudly so that we could hear her, another woman shouting “my body, my choice” (isn’t that phrase getting tiresome?), but the most notable comments came from a worker of the bar next door who shared many angry, expletive opinions with us, one of which included that he “hopes there is a hell so that we can burn there.” These are comments intended to get to us, of course, but we know that God and our cause are much bigger than the anger that causes these individuals to lash out at those of us that stand up for innocent life, and I pray that they find the strength to deal with whatever underlying issues are causing this anger before they keep continuing to destroy their souls. 

Katie

5-7 PM, Jeff and Billy:

Check back soon!

Day 17: Thank you to Pittsburgh Area Byzantine Churches, Round Hill Presbyterian Church, West Hills Baptist Church, and Individual Volunteers!

…But although her mind may say one thing, her emotional life and her body cells say another. If she has the abortion, the very cells of her body remember the pregnancy and know that the process of change that had been going on was stopped in an unnatural manner. Her body and her emotions tell her that she is a mother who has lost a child. And so it is not surprising that after the abortion, a pain begins to emerge from the depths of her heart. She has a loss to mourn, but cannot allow herself to grieve. Grieving would require admitting to herself that a child was killed in the abortion and that she shares responsibility for her child’s death. This is a very heavy burden to bear, and so, she resorts to denial in order to cope: denial of the baby’s humanity—”it wasn’t a baby so I have nothing to grieve or feel guilty about”—and denial of her emotional pain. “I should feel okay about this,” she reasons. “Everyone else does. I must not feel this way or think about the abortion.”

Abortion is an extremely unnatural experience for a woman’s body and her maternal instinct. Negative reactions are to be expected… 

…In a study done by Anne Speckhard, Ph.D, 85% of the women reported that they were surprised at the intensity of their emotional reaction to the abortion. These reactions included discomfort with children, feelings of low self-worth, guilt, feelings of anger, depression, grief, increased alcohol use, crying, inability to communicate and feeling suicidal…

Taken from “After the Abortion” by Sr. Paula Vandegaer. Sr. Paula is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Executive Director of International Life Services, and editor of Living World magazine. The entire article can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/after-the-abortion.cfm

Abortion hurts women and kills children. Our presence on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood may spare some of our sisters and brothers from this brutality. Even when we are unable to stop someone from going through those doors, we can still be the first sign of mercy for them when they come back through without their child. We pray that God will grant repose to the souls of the innocent, along with healing and forgiveness to all who were involved.

-Jen


Today’s Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM, Nikki & Amy:

 I was very grateful that sidewalk advocate Amy was there with me for the entire 7 to 9 shift. It was just the two of us, it was very quiet and peaceful, much time for prayer. It did seem busy with a few couples going in who looked abortion bound, sadly. One young woman really let me have it. I had tried to offer her information three times, she never told me to leave her alone, so I wasn’t sure if  she heard me or not, she started screaming in a very loud, high-pitched voice. I am sure she got everyone on liberty Avenue’s attention! She screamed that she is pregnant and is keeping the baby but that she had one abortion and it was her right and her choice, and that she was just here to support her friend, who I am assuming is having an abortion. Anyway, I couldn’t really get a word in, but I told her that I wasn’t judging her, just that we wanted to help, and all she had to do was tell me to leave her alone.  I pray that she will be healed from the hurt that is obviously under the surface. I was very happy to see the 9 to 11 shift arrive, with Kathy and Mary. 

Nikki
Amy and Nikki

9-11 AM, Kathy & Mary:

During my shift, prayers were offered individually and in group.  Deacon Dan led a beautiful prayer service asking for God’s mercy upon all.  A few passersby commented that they were glad we were there.  Only one young man accepted resources out of the several couples who entered pp. 
A pp employee changed the pledge-a-picketer amount to $52,000.

Kathy
Kathy and Mary
Gerry, Pat, shift buddy Mary, and Deacon Dan from the Nativity Church of the Mother of God in Dubois.  Friday regular Priscilla was present but didn’t want to be photographed.

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila & Lori:

So, for the 11-1 shift, it was the normal business as usual. There was a woman who was in and out of the clinic a few times to smoke. I asked if her daughter was having an abortion. She said it was a friend who is homeless, a drug addict and was raped, and that abortion was the only choice possible and that “my friend is the only one who can make this decision….there’s nothing I can say or do.” The woman did take a post-abortion healing sheet to share with her friend.

Sheila
Matt from Round Hill Presbyterian church,  Lori, and Mary
Walt and Dan

1-3 PM, Elaine & Bernie:

Check back soon!

3-5 PM, Pat:

A very pleasant and peaceful evening was a real blessing after a tough shift last Friday.  I was blessed also to once again have the company of Pastor Larry, his wife Karen, David, and his wife Sarah Jane – all from West Hills Baptist Church.  It seems that as long as I’ve been a SM, they’ve been coming down to the vigil on a Friday.  Thank you so much guys – and especially to David who does a great job passing out literature.  Thanks also to Bill H. who was there for the first part of my shift, and for SB Anthony who was there for nearly all of my shift.

Pat
Anthony, Bill, David, and Sarah Jane
Karen and Pastor Larry

5-7 PM, Missy & Bill:

It was relatively quiet for Friday night 5-7. Many thanks to Bill E., Bill D., Anthony, Mary and Thao for their prayers.  With God’s help we can be there for Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 God Bless!

Missy

Day 16: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Lower Allegheny Valley Churches, City Center Parishes, and all of our other volunteers!

40 Days for Life

Father Knows Best

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”

Luke 11:9-13

The Lord God is our Heavenly Father, who not only WANTS what is best for us, but GIVES it to us. Even when we don’t realize it or understand it.

Jesus tells us in the above passage that human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. MOST of the time, this is true. Just look at these examples in the images below. We can imagine little ones asking their loving dads to help them, to teach them, to love them.

What is so beautiful about human fathers is that they are meant to be images of God our Heavenly Father. Even when they fail to do so, they are still called to that in their very being. And if all of these human fathers shown above can do so many loving things for their children, Jesus reminds us how much MORE Our Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

We can ASK for the Holy Spirit to come into our lives and hearts!!

During 40 Days for Life, we too can ASK and PRAY that the Holy Spirit come into our lives anew. When we do this, we not only have the power of God working mighty deeds in OUR LIVES as pro-life advocates, but He can work mighty deeds in the lives of all passersby on the sidewalk, all of the abortion workers for whom we pray, and all of the abortion-vulnerable men and women who enter Planned Parenthood. God CAN and DOES do mighty works! Let us continue to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK. May we TRUST that God in His goodness will work powerfully to do what is BEST for ALL of His children, and bring them to FREEDOM, JOY, and LIFE.

Shift Manager Reports

Barbara:

Diane, Peg, Cathy, Mar, and Richard expertly set up the sidewalk for our Thursday vigil. Cathy and Mary belong to the newly organizing Catholic parish, Lower Allegheny Valley Catholic Churches. The sun came out, the sky was blue and a gentle breeze refreshed us all.  Bill came.  It was great to see him.  This is the first time we have seen him this fall.  

Very soon after, Suzanne joined us.  Her preschool granddaughter lives with her and she took her to preschool this morning.  Today is her first witness day with us.  She felt the Holy Spirit suggest that she join us.  Talking with her we learned that she is not new to prolife.  “I learn things from the internet,” she said. Reporting that she does not belong to an organized religion, Suzanne and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer.

Today is an abortion day at Planned Parenthood.  It is hard to realize that people schedule a visit here and leave their legally killed baby behind.  All of the workers appear normal before they go into the building. All of the parents appear normal before they go into the building. When the people come out of Planned Parenthood, they appear unchanged. Loving each and every person, God searches each heart, hoping for a whisper of an opening.  He longs to return them to the path of LIFE. “More tortuous than all else is the human heart.”  Jeremiah 17:9

Thank you to Diane, Mary, Cathy, and Peg!!
Thank you to Cathy and first-timer Suzanne!!

Judy:

Thursday 9-11 shift – Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, joined by other friends and a couple of God’s creatures.

I didn’t get last week’s blog report done, so I’m including it in this week’s (I will keep it short). So, just so you don’t lose interest before you start, I thought these pics might hold your interest. Last week Meredith, Chuck and I held down the vigil. We had a lot of positive, affirming people pass by, which was encouraging. We were later joined by Priscilla from St. John the Baptist Ukrainian, who stopped by to pray the rosary before continuing on her errands. We were also joined by Daniel from St. Joseph to pray the rosary as well. In the beginning of the shift, there was a young man who was extremely agitated and was hurling verbal abuse at us. In the midst of his rantings, he disclosed that he had aborted 3 babies of his own. That explained his angry and abusive spirit. Join us in praying for God’s mercy on his life.

We were able to engage two couples that day who seemed to be on the fence and were willing to listen to information about other options and reasons for not having the abortion. But sadly, we did not see them change their minds before the end of our shift. We still see their faces and each time they come to our minds we will pray for them. Side Note: towards the end of the shift the mounted police came down the street. It was a blessing to see them; they were so beautiful. The officer on the last horse is Shannon, a friend of mine.

Today, we had Meredith, Pastor Joe, Kathy, Lynn, and myself. We engaged a couple who got out of the car in front of us. A very tragic situation. They were seeking an abortion. Long story short we were able to talk with them at length and pray with them a couple of times. We saw them head through the doors. We don’t know the outcome, but she did not come back out during our shift.

Shortly after we arrived, a large butterfly flew up to me, landed on my leg and proceeded to crawl upward along the zipper of my coat. I’m assuming it was the color of the coat that attracted it??? I love nature because it’s so close to God’s heart. The butterfly is the symbol of life…new life. And we are speaking LIFE in the Name of Jesus over the culture of death at PP and in the City of Pittsburgh!!!! And I believe the butterfly was God’s message to us…the culture is shifting to LIFE!!!! Hallelujah!!!

Thank you to Suzanne, Meredith, and Shift Manager Judy!!
Thank you to Kathy, Lynn, and Pastor Joe!!
Thank you to Shannon and all of the other mounted police who help to protect our city!!
Thank you to Chuck and his friend!!
The butterfly begins its ascent!
The butterfly is a sign to Judy of new LIFE!

Lisa K.:

It was a sad day at Planned Parenthood, as many days are. For me, it was mostly sad because I met and spoke with (and hopefully consoled) a father whose child was killed there today (it was the man Judy spoke about in the report above). It’s a terrible thing, that reality. And there are no perfect words to say to make things better. But he seemed to genuinely appreciate the kindness and concern he received. But his life will never be the same. And of course, neither will it be the same for the mother or their family. I pray that he allows himself to grieve.

Some other people walked past with their “one-liners” they like to cast out toward us. My husband mentioned some ideas for responding to one person in particular who passes every week and says the same disgusting line. But in response to that line, I simply replied, “Have a nice day.” I told my husband that it does not seem prudent to engage someone in a discussion who is so angry. But I also told him, “There are SO many hurting people out there.” And this person is one. I pray that that hurt can be healed.

Lastly, there was another woman who talked to me who is post-abortive. She first was confused about why we were there– whether we were promoting abortion or not. When we told her that we are there to pray for an end to abortion, her tough demeanor seemed to soften. She said that she had had an abortion a long time ago, and that she had been forced into it. She said she had been far enough along in her pregnancy to find out that the baby was a boy. She said her son would have been twelve this year. I was able to give her some post-abortive information, and she seemed really thankful.

So much sadness. So many people living with this pain. But we can help. We can talk to them and give them resources. We can pray. We can love.

Thank you to Lindsay, her beautiful little girl Carys, and To Ken!!
Thank you to Sidewalk Advocate Joan!!
Thank you to Sidewalk Advocate Walt!!

Cecilia (sending on behalf of Carolyn):

The weather was just beautiful today. It was nice to see Shift Manager, Carolyn, and her smiling face. We thought that we might be alone a few days ago, but several heard the call and joined us. Praise God!

Thank you to Beth from Precious Blood Church for signing up to let us know that she would be there. A young man, Marcus, who spoke with us was impressed to see her reading her Bible. I was blessed to have members from my Parish family, St Joseph in Cabot, with me. Thanks again to our priest, Father Jim, for coming down a second time to the vigil. And thanks to my good friends, Joyce and Patti for making the trip with me too! Mike was there with us from the beginning and joined right in with my parish in praying the rosary. He even stayed into the next shift. Cletus, from St Anne, stopped by since she was in the area, and spoke with us for a while. She talked about the garbage being taught to our kids in school in Health class, etc., and the other immoral stuff that is pushed on us in the world today. She planned to return to catch Helen. Donna from St. Kilian and Marianne from St. Alphonsus stopped by for a short while, then decided to go to
St. Stanislaus to continue to pray.


PP had too much traffic today. One young couple came out and stopped by the bookstore. I was able to speak with the man at first. He said that the time was just not right for them. But you could see the sadness in his eyes. I gave him a Rachel’s Vineyard pamphlet and he asked if they helped men too. The girlfriend came over and seemed to appreciate the resource. I told her that she would probably have a lot of emotions going through her after this and RV may be able to help her. Prayers for repentance and healing for this couple.


Another lady that exited PP was waiting for her husband. She went in for an ultrasound because she was told she was pregnant, but PP informed her that she wasn’t pregnant, so she was confused. So I gave her our yellow card and said she could go to one of the CPC nearby for free help. She said she was on the pill, so I gave her info about that and suggested NFP.


Many other encounters today. I should write them down but then this report would be too long. I am thankful for all the pray-ers that come to the vigil. The support is there as we reach out to those passing by. God hears, and we pray hearts will be changed and lives saved because of the faithfulness of so many.

Thank you to this beautiful group: Beth, Cletus, Mike, Joyce, Fr. Jim, Cil, and Patti!!

Helen:

A beautiful day in the city! Mike from the 1:00-3:00 shift stayed an extra hour to pray. Paula, Vicky, Mary Catherine and Ann came from Aspinwall. Mary Catherine and Ann are truly an “extra effort” mother-daughter team. Mary Catherine has to park the van so that Ann can scoot out and onto the sidewalk in her wheelchair. Then Mary Catherine has to leave and park the van. At the end of the shift it’s the same pattern in reverse. 

Nothing is sweeter than the prayers of the rosary as we see PP employees leaving for the the day. I wonder how many of the people in those long lines waiting for the buses to eastern and western suburbs pray with us, even if we don’t see them.

As we got close to the end of our shift, a poor lady spat her dislike for us on the sidewalk where it barely missed Mary Catherine. We’ll pray for her, too. 

Thank you to Helen and her friend!!

Mary M.:

The evening shift began with Mary Catherine and her daughter Ann of St. Scholastica, and Sharon of Epiphany.  After Mary Catherine and Ann left, we were joined by Jim from Holy Child in Bridgeville. 

The evening was busy with passersby but quiet for us; some people walked by with a smile and some with a frown or shake of the head.  I’ve noticed how so many people walk by with earbuds or headphones, oblivious to us and to what’s happening on this street, in this place that we stand vigil before, day after day. 

I recall also being oblivious, for too long, to what was going on in abortion mills all over the country.  I was always prolife but didn’t feel there was much I could do about stopping abortion.  But one day several years ago while I was downtown, waiting for an event at the library, I went for a walk and discovered people standing, holding signs, and a prolife display.  I realized that this was Planned Parenthood and these people were there to protect the rights of the unborn.  I had always shied away from this kind of conflict, but in talking with these people, I realized they were peaceful and loving, open to answering questions and dispensing information to anyone who needed help.  They asked me to join them but I still didn’t think I could be “out there,” in full view of the world, aligning myself with a very unpopular cause. However, the thought stayed with me and it seemed unfair to let other people do all the work, so before long I got the courage to join them, sign and all, in public prayer and peaceful protest-and it seemed right.  We may not be able to stop abortion today, or next week, but knowing the lives of some children will be saved, and maybe the truth will get through to just some people, is worth being there. 

Thank you to Mary Catherine, Ann, and Sharon!!
Thank you to Sharon, Shift Manager Mary, and Jim!!

May we remember to trust in the care of our Heavenly Father,

and to see His love reflected in our human fathers.

God bless all fathers, all mothers, and all families.

Day 15…Thanks to St. Louise de Marillac (Upper St. Clair), Elk County Right to Life (St. Mary’s PA) and our dedicated volunteers and shift managers/buddies!

The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. Go. Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Luke 10:2-4

I remember the first time I met Sally Brunn. It was 2009. I was a fairly new Christian, having been baptized and given my life to the Lord in 2005. God had recently broken my heart after hearing a sermon about abortion. My eyes were opened to the horror, but I didn’t know what to do about it. When I finally got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood for the first time, I only was able to do so because someone had told me that I wouldn’t be alone. I was told that there were three people who went every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 till 11 am. They did this every week, 52 weeks a year!!! So, knowing that someone else would be there, I nervously drove to Pittsburgh. Bob Newman was there with his big signs, along with Sally & Al. I was in my 40’s at that time and they were probably close to 80. I thought they were very old, and was amazed at their dedication to stand in front of Planned Parenthood for so many hours!

When Sally told me that she had 11 kids, I couldn’t believe it! I think I said something dumb like, “I didn’t know it was possible to have 11 kids and still be able to walk!” But there she was…spry, agile and full of energy! Later, talking to Bob Newman, he told me that he also had 11 kids!!! WHAT??? I soon met another saintly pro-lifer named Mary Catherine who ALSO had 11 kids!!! What kind of world was I entering into? In my entire life, I had never met anyone who had more than 4 or 5 kids!

As I began to witness in front of Planned Parenthood weekly, I learned many things from Sally. For instance, I had never heard anything as strange as when she and Al explained that birth control is the cause of abortion! How could that be? Birth control PREVENTED abortion…right? Oh, what an education I was in for…it was to change my life. They never preached to me, but the example of their lives and their commitment to God and to ending abortion spoke louder than any words ever could have.

Growing up in the 1970’s, during the hey-day of “women’s lib“…I was taught by the culture that if a woman didn’t stand up for her rights in a marriage, that she would be like a doormat and that her husband would walk all over her. I believed that if a marriage didn’t make you happy, that you could just leave. A child was better off in a single parent house, then in a house with parents who fought. Of course, that sort of thinking led me to enter very lightly into two marriages, both of which ended quickly. By the time I was 30, I already had two kids with two different last names. Oh, I was liberated all right! It was working out very well for me…NOT!!!

So, when I met Sally and began to see the way in which she quietly and lovingly stood by Al…always supportive of him…my eyes began to be opened. I also saw the way he looked at her, with such love and tenderness. He would always introduce her as “my lovely bride“…and she would smile her huge Sally-Smile. I remember her telling me that on their wedding night, they both knelt down beside their bed in prayer, and gave their marriage to God. God honored that prayer and blessed their marriage with 11 healthy and wonderful children! I remember feeling slightly jealous that I had been robbed of an example like that…and so had virtually NO chance at a marriage and family like theirs. When I grew up, if you were a virgin at 16, it was something to be ashamed of. The thought of actually WAITING till marriage was unheard of!

One story I remember clearly, is Al telling me that he never really appreciated how much Sally did all day, taking care of the kids…until one day when he came home from work to find her on her hands and knees, underneath the kitchen table. He asked her incredulously, “Sally, what are you doing under there?” She answered matter-of-factly that the kids would get food from their sticky hands all over the bottom of the table, so she had to clean it. He got a glimpse of how hard she worked to keep their home, and of all the little things that went into raising a family, that he never even knew about. As he told me this story, he was radiating with love and respect for her!

I never saw one without the other. In fact, instead of calling them “Al and Sally”..it would often come out as “Sal and Ally”! They were a team. They were ONE! They worked side by side…for 30 years raising their family, and for another 30 years on the front lines of the battle to end abortion. They were truly the biggest inspiration and best example of Christian marriage that I have ever seen…and I am forever grateful for the impact that knowing them made in my life. Without them, I don’t think we would have the vibrant pro-life family that we have here in Pittsburgh. Without them, I don’t think I would have the strong faith that I have now. It was Sally who gave me my first rosary, and it was she who was my sponsor as I entered the Catholic Church in 2013.

For many years, they felt the weight and the burden of being there on the sidewalk…knowing that if they didn’t go, the sidewalk would be empty. In fact, until about a year ago, they were still taking the bus to Planned Parenthood, two days a week. Sally would slowly cross Liberty Avenue, using her walker, with Al on her elbow. However, when Al had his stroke a year ago, they were no longer able to come to the sidewalk regularly.

All those years they prayed for God to send more workers for the abundant harvest…and He has done just that, through 40 Days for Life!

I imagine that they are relieved to know that there are now many of us who are picking up where they left off. They can now rest easy…knowing that the sidewalk is covered with prayer. Those babies are not dying alone and forgotten.

Please pray for Sally and Al, as Sally had a major stroke last Wednesday. She seems to be at peace…is sometimes responsive and is surrounded by her loving family. One benefit of having 11 kids…you never have to worry about being alone at the end of life!!! She is anointed and blessed…her bags are packed…and she is waiting for Heaven! Or should I say, Heaven is waiting for her!

Thank you Lord, for Sally, and for her life’s example. I will spend however many more years you grant me, trying to be half the woman that she was.

We love you Sally, and we devote these 40 days in honor of you!

Today’s reports from the vigil…

Peggy was the manager from 7-9 am:

There was a nice turnout from St. Louise. It was very quiet. Only one person went in while we were there. There was a sign in the window of the gay bar advertising their opposition sing-along.

Peg
Faithful men from St. Louise de Marillac parish
So…they want to raise money to pay for other’s abortions…can anyone say BLOOD MONEY?

Cathy and Elsie were in charge from 9-11 am:

We had a very quiet morning, but with lots of prayer-ers!  St Louise de Marillac- Sherri, Cindy, Debbie, Diane, plus a couple for awhile from the early shift, Elk Co. RTL – Laura, Janet, Kelly, Gretchen and Mary Beth, plus some individuals – Bill L., Priscilla, and Debbie.  I hope I got everyone.  So thankful for all of you!
 

Cathy

Hank and Judy managed the sidewalk from 11 am – 1 pm:

Another beautiful Oct day in the Burg….Lord how we look forward to the day when we can be outdoors enjoying the sunshine with abortion and PP done away with.  But our colors are true and we’ll stay the course and persevere in prayer until this scourge is ended.  Many prayer warriors as has been the case the past two 11-1 Wed shifts.  When I arrived I was greeted by the Rocco family form Elizabeth Anne Seton, there was also a strong contingent throughout the morning from St.Louise deMarillac.  Those from SLD joining the 11-1 shift were Mary, Patti and Denise.  Elk County Right to Life had a group scheduled for 10-2 that included Kelly, Lori, Janet, Gretchen and Mary Bea.  Mary from St.Monica was there when I arrived and when I left, and Jerry and Barb form Our Lady of Fatima arrived around noon.  Debbie from Epiphany has been there all 3 Weds for part of the shift.  Wed is not an abortion day and traffic in and out of PP was light, although, probably more than usual.  We prayed multiple rosaries, and the the Divine Mercy.  We did distributed a good bit of literature and had 10 or 12 individuals who gave us positive comments, but I’m still amazed at the number who simply ignore us or seem totally indifferent.  We are warned “If you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”  In this month of Our Lady, we ask Our Lady of Victory to intercede for us for the victory over a culture of death.

Mary, Denise and Patti from St. Louise de Marillac parish
St. Louise ladies for life!
Debbie from Epiphany
Kelly, Lori and Janet, dedicated prayer warriors from Elk County
Mary from St. Monica
Jerry and Barb from Our Lady of Fatima, and Denise from St. Louise
Gretchen and Mary from Elk County Right to Life

Rege and John were there from 1-3 pm:

Quiet afternoon. Peaceful and prayerful witness given. Love of our Lord evident and shared.

Rege
John, Barb and Barb

Jeannie and Virginia from 3-5 pm:

What a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk! I was joined by my shift buddy Virginia and my dear friend Marilyn. Mimi made an appearance and took over the sidewalk for her rendition of the rosary. David joined us halfway through the shift as well. We had lots of supportive. conversations today.  A gentleman stopped who was giving support to a homeless person and learned she was pregnant. He came to us knowing we would know where to direct her. Another man came and stopped by because he recognized Mimi from church. He said a few hail Mary’s with us!  The woman who stopped and applauded us in the wheelchair last week came over with her granddaughter on her lap in the wheelchair she asked if we could use some additional volunteers. She takes care of her granddaughter and drops her off and picks her up a couple days a week. she said she will stop and pray with us. How good is God? That good. We had a ton of daisies from my garden so we gave a lot out to little ones and a particular young girl was really fascinated by that precious one baby we gave her. All in all a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk. 

Jeannie
David, Marilyn and Virginia praying the pro life intentions

Joe K and David from 5-7 pm:

What a stunning Indigenous Peoples Summer Evening…
 
I was blessed to be joined by my volunteer shift buddies – David and Thao. We soaked up the sun, shared, and prayed what a peaceful, easy feeling!
 
Pretty quiet on the sidewalk – a few positive comments and appreciation for us being out there. In particular, one gentleman struggling physically to get up with street with assistance thanked us and said we could use more folks out there.  In comparison, another gentleman in a wheelchair stopped by to talk to us about the vigil, but he seemed a little hardened…  What was beautiful was how it was a total team effort by David, Thao, and I to respond to witness to this young man’s questions / issues…  Hopefully he will hear and see the truth that was laid out for him…
 
The evening seemed like it ended quickly as faithful Tom came by to pack-up the vigil for Thursday…

Joe K.

Day 14: Thank you St. Peter (Steubenville) and St. Agnes, (North Huntingdon) and Individual Volunteers

COURAGE: The attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, painful or uncomfortable instead of withdrawing from it; the quality of being fearless or brave.

Pope Saint John Paul II often said “Be Not Afraid” and he knew well what that meant! He lost his entire family before the age of 21. His mother when he was 8; his brother when he was 11 and his father at age 20. He was ordained to the priesthood in a persecuted church in Poland, ruled by communism. He suffered debilitating Parkinson’s disease with great courage until his death. His entire life spoke to the words “Be Not Afraid

Let those words resonate with us now…in this 2019 Fall 40 Days for Life campaign…YOU ARE ON THE SIDE OF TRUTH!

Let us, as Pope John Paul II did, wield our weapons of prayer, peaceful witness and unconditional love, He did so and lived to see Poland as a free country. As we follow the Pope’s example, let us stand in solidarity and proclaim that we are not afraid and we have the COURAGE of our convictions. May God bless us and may we live to see our country free from the scourge of abortion!

Charlene

I love coming to the sidewalk on an early morning like today. Crisp, but not cold, people hustling but peaceful…sooo peaceful. Prayer warriors arrive: Dick, Tracey ( my buddy), Beth and Shawn from St. Peter’s in Steubenville, and our SA, Steve.

Our peace was shattered when a lady threw a glass of pop at the baby models. I screamed (it just came out). The women said, “That’s how I feel when I see the model and know you are working to save babies that are just going to be abused.” Beth jumped right in with several “God Bless you”. Sadly, this woman had a child, about 6, with her. He did not look or turn around…just kept walking. We need to pray for the woman and little boy. They both seem to be hurting. And we pray for the babies in PP…and we put our trust in Gods plan that he will intervene according to His own wisdom and timing. Charlene

Beth

From Father Solanus, “God, who loves tiny beginnings, will know, as He always does know, how and when to provide developments” (p. 211).  Tuesday from 9 to 11 will be my time to follow pro-life giants like Al and Sally, and Lillian R. among others who “hung out” at Planned Parenthood for so many years, praying for an end to abortion. From their tiny beginnings, just a few stalwart believers, we now have over one million 40 Days for Life participants this fall campaign. And 40 Days started with only 4 people praying around a wooden table.  God does love tiny beginnings. 

The St. Alexis Crew

 Today, my shift began with just St. Peter’s from finest, Tracy, Beth and Shawn making a valiant effort to pray and change hearts with smiles and literature and prayers, of course.  Ed from St. James joined us as did Beth Ann and Claudia from St. Alexis.  When Priscilla dropped by, as did Bill, we formed a praying presence on Liberty Avenue.

Ed guarding our work

A young woman approached the ladies and said that her friend was raped and wanted to abort.  She listened quietly as we gave her what she needed:  the truth and lots of help.  Pray for this young woman to be able to change her friend’s heart.  Only God can make incredible goodness come from incredible evil, and He will. We just have to be there to make those “tiny beginnings.”

Tracy, Beth, Steve, Shawn

Fran

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday it was cloudy and raining and cold today we had blue skies and sunshine and comfortable temperatures.  What will tomorrow bring?What a difference a minute makes.  A woman decides that abortion is her only option and she travels to Planned Parenthood.  She is met by the prayerful, loving presence of the 40 Days for Life volunteers and she learns that she has other options.  What will tomorrow bring?  Although we can never be certain of what tomorrow (or the next minute) will bring, we do know that God is with us through it all, including the women who walk into PP.  I felt God’s loving presence in the women whose mission it was to make sure that no one should be alone today ~ not the shift manager nor any of the women who were heading for the doors of PP.  

Claudia, Beth Ann, Michele, Mary Ann and Lisa brought warmth and light to the sidewalk today.  Their prayerful presence made this day even more beautiful.  A gentleman stopped and asked for information because he would like to become involved in our mission.   He wants to be involved because he believes that from the moment that the seed is planted, there is life – he knows this for certain because it is God’s Word.  Amen. 

Nikki

 I actually was feeling guilty as I was driving into Pittsburgh today with the magnificent blue sky and warm temperatures! I felt so badly about everybody who suffered in the cold rain all day yesterday, but I have to say that it was a pleasure to be able to pray in such nice weather, and especially with so many faithful members of Saint Agnes Parish in North Huntington   They had a large group of prayer warriors, about 10 of them, including their pastor, Monsignor Paul. They were all extremely prayerful and made a powerful witness of Christ’s love. It was a sad time to be there, as many couples left, who were obviously post abortion. Some of them looked so sad, I prayed for them that they will be healed and set free    And not held in bondage, which is what Satan  often does. He uses a past abortion to take a soul captive and make them feel like they are not worthy of forgiveness, when in fact, God wants more than anything for that soul to humble themselves and turn to him and ask for forgiveness. He is so merciful and eager to forgive the sin of abortion! I saw one woman who did not seem sad, she practically bounced out of that clinic, still munching on the cookie that they must have given her  recovery. I had the thought that, although she did not seem to be bothered about the fact that she left her child behind, that there were all of us there because we cared about that child, if for no other reason than the fact that that little boy or girl was part of our human family, and was made in the image and likeness of God, who is all good.  There was much to pray for today, and pray we did! It was wonderful, as always, to see the next shift arrive, Mike, Kim, and Michael. I hope they have as peaceful of a shift as I did. 

Michael – Kim

A beautiful day in the PP neighborhood, in terms of weather, prayer vigil, positive passerbys and the Lord’s presence. The Lord is everywhere, especially inside of all the PP’s. And of course, Satan is there too. The battle continues, but our Heavenly Father is on our side. “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  It was a peaceful shift with one exception. A gentleman, and I use the term generously, in a red coat, pushed Bill hard and tried to take his sign. Bill resisted and pushed back. The man ripped Michael C’s sign off of him, breaking the cord, but Michael retained possession of the sign. Then he ran off on his merry way. There are cameras which most likely captured all of this. I am not certain if we should report this to the authorities? Other than that, it was a good shift. Thank God for our devout and prayerful shift buddies, Kim and Michael. 

Michael, Kevin, Michael, Bill, and Kim

Lisa – Johanna

It was a quiet and uneventful evening.  Just a few abortion mill workers leaving for the evening during our shift. Pictured is Johanna and Denise in deep prayer.  Praying for the day that No Parking sign reads No Abortions! Bernadette and Elizabeth both stopped and prayed with us for a time.
Appealing for prayers to stand with Johanna next Tuesday 5 – 7 PM as I cannot be there.  Please do not let her be alone! 🙂 Blessings, Lisa

Johanna and Denise in deep prayer

Day 13: Thanks to St. Raymond of the Mountain and St. Teresa of Avila and lots of others

Who knew…

… that one could find true joy by witnessing outside the abortion center? Did you ever recognize that deep feeling in your heart as you were leaving and probably driving over one of our bridges? Knowing you did God’s will by praying and witnessing to those going by and those going in?

We are like the disciples when they returned to Jesus from their mission with great joy. Sure it requires dealing with the inconvenience of going downtown and being uncomfortable holding a sign and praying in public. However, if we do our part to end abortion through our prayer, fasting and witnessing, God will hear our prayers and through His power will end abortion in HIS time and way.

Don’t be stingy with the joy. Feel free to share it and ask your family and friends to join you. Peace and joy to you. Tim
Here are today’s stories from the vigil starting with Sue 7-9 am:

Rose and I were joined by regular pray-er Thao and a new guy, John …this was John’s second time standing at the vigil. We chatted a little and John told us his beautiful story of conversion. You do meet the most wonderful people during 40 days for Life! It was a steady downpour during our time, but we had many positive comments, a high five and a woman who stopped to tell us about her daughter who chose life and adoption about 12 years ago for her grandchild! Many employees entered PP and we offered our time and prayers to God for the end to abortion at PP. Thank you! Sue

From Ginny 9-11 am: It was very quiet on the sidewalk.
One lady came by and asked us how late in a pregnancy Planned Parenthood does abortions. When she heard 22 weeks, she was surprised
She said she had trouble in one of her pregnancy at 24 weeks and needed a lot medical attention. She was blessed to carry her baby to term.
She asked us for a set of rosary beads, to pray for the babies and mothers. Which we gladly gave her.

Beverly prayed with Maryannne, my shift buddy, and me today.

Here’s from Rachel 11-1:

Prayer Warriors from St. Raymond of the Mountain

We had 5 of us. Ed, Joe, and me were St Raymonds. Andrea and Janie Our Lady of Grace. Almost all positive, thumbs up, God Bless you, and only two people rolled their eyes. 

From Beth S. 1-3 pm:

Needless to say, this was not a day to work on keeping your tan at 933 Liberty Avenue.  All the forecasters that said the rain would clear out by noon should sharpen their pencils and try again.  Someone asked me how many times I would use the word “wet” in my report.  Yes, it rained and rained which is a whole lot better than “it snowed and snowed.”  And I was honored to be with the 40 Days for Life version of “pro-pro-lifers.”First, everyone came prepared with umbrellas, some boots, some rain hats and ponchos.  Congrats to Diane and Co. for having the umbrellas already there in the set-up, an insurance policy.  Second, the choir of angels from St. Teresa of Avila Church, Diane, Mary Lou, Marge, Ken, Ruth, Sandy, Ed, Bobby, Libby, and Maggie, kept beautiful prayers floating upward while angel Margie from Christian Bible Fellowship and I manned the other side of the infamous circle. Everyone knew the rules, keeping the sidewalk open and maintaining a prayerful demeanor. And as one of the gentlemen remarked, it was just a wonderful group of wonderful, wet people.Perfect timing, as they were leaving, Vicky and Kevin came to meet Marie as the next shift began.  PP didn’t have many clients, mostly staff going in and out.  We pray for each staff member and those that pass us whether they are with us or against us.  There is no place where God’s grace cannot go, in every heart and  storefront on Liberty Avenue.

From Marie 3-5: It was a cool rainy shift with Pete.  No activity at Planned Parenthood.  Rev. Van Hayger from Buffalo joined us for a rosary and Thao from Catholic Charities came for the last part of the shift.

DAY 12, Thank You, Saint Barbara/Saint Mary/ Holy Child Parishes; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Melissa D., Jim and Cathy S.; Volunteers Thao N., Susan B., Amy M., David P., Maia M.; and all the people who witnessed with us today!


Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (c. 1659-1660)
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.
© BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN-GP / Jorg P. Anders.
https://us.magnificat.net

But contemplation of this masterpiece, particularly the placid beauty of the angel, unveils an even greater mystery: in his purple tunic, Jacob appears as the figure of the One who, conceived and begotten in the bosom of God as his eternal Wisdom, wholly deigned to be born and ever remain the son of man.  Yet here, at the break of dawn, this true God, rendered handicapped – and what a handicap for a God to be mortal! – prevails over the almighty God, wresting from him, in hand-to-hand Eucharistic battle, the perpetual blessing that revokes the original curse weighing upon humanity.

Dumont, Pierre-Marie.  “A Strange Adventure.” Magnificat 17, no. 5 (June 2015): 448.

Pierre-Marie Dumont reviews … the goodness of Richard’s and my children … the perseverance of Bishop Zubik … the exuberance of Father Tony… the fortitude my parents lived … the ardent steadfastness of my sisters and brothers in Pittsburgh 40 Days … God strengthens me with beauty. One day early in my middle years, I decided that being visible as a Catholic always got me in trouble. I decided to lie low. This decision lasted for longer than I want to admit.

During those days, a friend and I went to a nearby university to hear the president of Planned Parenthood speak. We planned to be a prolife voice during the question and answer session. I sat in the audience like a stone. I was unable to speak. I was so surprised! I had never seen myself as weak.

“A dead thing can go with the stream,
but only a living thing can go against it.”
G. K. Chesterton, “The Five Deaths of the Faith.”

In the readings from Mass today, Paul writes,

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7

How bereft our life would be if either of these women had been a coward.

Ave Maria composed by Michat Lorenc.

This Friday morning a volunteer told me that she felt a powerful reluctance about coming to pray in front of PP.  She actually stopped coming for a while.  Then, she realized this was a bad decision.  She still feels powerfully reluctant.  Nonetheless, she comes any way, in all weather, all year.

Wow! How beautiful! 

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Corinthians 12:9

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

Al and Sally

JEN M. SHIFT MANAGER 7-9

The vigil started off right with Tom delivering supplies and Bill H. assisting.  My shift buddy, Vince, brought his nephew, Tyler, to pray with us today.  Faithful Thao joined us, too.  Young people on the sidewalk really make a statement, and I was grateful to them for joining us.  
We were able to pray through all the mysteries of the Rosary, meditating on Scripture passages throughout, before reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Not long after, we greeted Sue and Ken, coming to cover the 9-11 AM shift.  Sue is still radiating with joy from yesterday’s save.  What a blessing to have God work through her to save a mother and child!  

Tyler, Vince, Thao

Early morning Witnesses for Life!!

__________________________________

SUE M. SHIFT MANAGER 9-11

Sunday mornings on the sidewalk are always peaceful, and today was no exception.  Many Steeler fans came by throughout the shift, and we received more positive comments from this crowd than usual today.  Ken, my loyal shift buddy, was inspiring as always to pray and talk with.  Patty M. arrived after a while, and then Sue B.  Sue and I graduated from high school together almost 40 years ago,and it’s a blessing to reconnect!
So the Gospel this weekend at Catholic Mass is Luke 17:5-10, which begins with the apostles asking Jesus to increase their faith.  The priest who celebrated my Mass had interesting things to say about this passage.  Father said he sees the mustard seed passage as one of the most misunderstood in the Gospels.  That people tend to read that and think their faith must be tiny since they haven’t actually been able to make the “big things” (trees uprooting themselves and planting themselves in the ocean, or more likely other seemingly impossible events) happen and that therefore there’s no hope for their personal faith and that it will always be pathetically and inadequately small.  He explained that God is the One Who makes those big things happen but that what He needs from us for these things to happen is for us to keep doing our part, the things that we are obliged to do for Him as His servants (as discussed at the end of the passage).  Which are mostly little things day in and day out.  And that He will work through our devotion to doing those things for Him not only to increase our faith but also to take care of the big stuff that only He can.  He added that we do need to ask God on a regular basis to increase our faith.  This all brought to my mind the vigil:  all we have to do are the things He expects of us and that we are obliged to do as His servants (praying on the sidewalk at PP and fasting), and KEEP doing them regularly and faithfully, and He will take care of the big things (i.e., hearts softening and abortion clinics closing).  Very encouraging!
A happy and blessed Sunday to one and all!
Sue M.

___________________________________

RICH AND ROSEANN, SHIFT MANAGERS 11-1

We came prepared for rain but were fortunate to avoid it. Amy and Vince came to witness and pray with us. It was nice to see them again as they witnessed with us last week. We had a young father and his 4 year old son that was passing by and stopped to talk with us. He wanted to know why we were there and we gave him a brochure and explained our 40 days campaign. He told us that he was from West Africa and we would be seeing him again, so maybe we have a new recruit. Other than that, it was very calm today even though there was a lot of foot traffic.
Roseann

Amy and Rich, Sunday witnesses !!

___________________________________

LINDSAY M. SHIFT MANAGER 1-3

“There are children present!”
Today was a balmy, breezy, and thankfully not too damp day at the 40 Days for Life vigil. I had a wonderful group of parishioners from Holy Child and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. We filled the sidewalk with spirit, grace, prayer and friendly good fellowship! I always love it when the R.  family and their beautiful children show up, there’s no better sidewalk witness than children!   
Also, sometimes God will put people from your past back into your present, and this blessing happened today with the beautiful, sweet daughter of a dear friend of mine. It was so wonderful! 
As we were praying the Rosary, we got a  colorful “walk by” verbal lambasting  from a pretty young woman who I suspect is a regular harasser. Normally, insults and foul language don’t upset me. In fact, I just feel the grace of God that much stronger! But today I got upset by it (internally), to tears. My first thought was to yell to her quickly retreating back “mind your mouth, there are children present!” I was mortified that somebody would speak like this in front of young and teen children. But the second thought that popped into my head (after a self-admonishment about keeping peace) was that my words would bear no weight. Why would this young woman care about her crude words harming children, when she supports the physical destruction of innocent pre-born children?!

I also remembered that these particular children are regular prayer warriors like their parents, and I stopped worrying about their ears hearing things that were inappropriate. So instead of getting angry, I wiped away my tears and I started to pray extra hard for that spiritually blind, sadly lost, and foolish young woman. May God lead her to his glorious, healing light of truth, repentance and conversion to His Love.

Saint Barbara/ Saint Mary/ Holy Child Parishioners

Beauty on the Downtown Sidewalk

Pro life Sunday Witnesses

___________________________________

ANDY L, SHIFT MANAGER 3-5

Rosaries… Litany of the Sacred Heart… Scripture readings… Chaplets of Divine Mercy… and prayer from the heart were on the menu. And the meal was wonderful.
The rain held off. We had a visitor, Lisa, whom we spoke to for a good while.  She shared her experience of aborting her baby and crying through the entire experience.  We prayed together.
God’s Will be done. 

Shift Manager Andy with Sunday Prayer Warriors

___________________________________

JOE W. SHIFT MANAGER 5-7

Rough day at the ballfield translated into a number of drunk, angry and abusive Steeler fans.
Fortunately, two young, cheerful, magnificent, faithfilled authentic Christians (Chris and Suki pictured) accompanied me for my entire shift.
Also the humble fatherly influence of Tom D. probably spared me from attempted violence. 
Oooh weeeee God is so good.
All glory and praise be to God!!!

Chris and Suki

Evening Prayer Witnesses

And God saw that it was good.