Day 31: Thank you to St. Irenaeus/St. Januarius/St. John the Baptist/St. Joseph/Our Lady of Joy Parishes (OPV Catholic), St. Teresa of Avila Parish, St. Regis Knights of Columbus & Parish, and loving Individual Volunteers

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is so much darkness and hate afflicting the people who enter Planned Parenthood’s doors. 

That kind of darkness gives cover to the lies that are told:  “It’s only a blob of tissue.”  “You can’t handle a child right now.”  “It’s your body, you can do whatever you want with it.” 

That kind of hate gives rise to a host of evil:  Medical professionals ending lives rather than caring for them.  Counselors deceiving women about abortion being the solution to their problem.  The hearts of mothers turning against their own children.

As Christians, we are aware that the people involved are not evil themselves; rather, they have been duped by the evil one. 

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  —Ephesians 6:12

To end that darkness and hate…to free our brothers and sisters from it…we have to bring light and love to that awful place. 

God Himself is Light and Love, and bringing Him to the people trapped in darkness and hate is what 40 Days For Life is all about. 

God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. –1 John 1:5   

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.  —1 John 4:8

THANK YOU to all who have brought God to 933 Liberty Avenue during this Lenten campaign.

There is still time to join us in this incredibly important mission…come any time between 7 AM and 7 PM from now until Sunday, April 14th. 


SIDEWALK REPORTS

Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:

Richard, Fran and I arrived at the same time accompanied by a light drizzle.  
With the agility of experience Tom was already there arranging and sorting the bin and supplies. We prayed the Lord’s Prayer before Tom left.
I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet remembered to bring flowers!
Next Friday is my last chance. 
Richard covered the far side of the golden half circle in witness and prayer.
Fran and I caught each other up with Good News.
We shared greetings with passers by. We offered “God bless you” to everyone entering PP.  All offers of prolife help were refused.
One young woman asked about Al and Sally and we noted how they get better every day and plan to reclaim their place with us on the sidewalk. They will always have their place in our hearts!!
It is such a blessing to come to the sidewalk with Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life.

Barbara

Tom and Shift Buddy, Fran

Kathy and Marianne, 9-11 AM:

Thank you to Tim, Joyce, Fran, and Bob from St. Joseph’s Church from Verona.  Also thank you to Fri regulars Terry and Bill H. (not pictured) for coming. We started our time by reading the 40 days devotional and then I focused on reaching out to pp patrons while the others prayed.  We came together again around 10:30 reading some psalms together and praying the intentions on the back of the baby signs.

I passed out my first Spanish translation of the brochure “Watch Me Grow” to a young Spanish speaking couple who were passing by.  They were very appreciative of the literature.  Also gave resources to 3-4 pp patrons as they exited.  They too, were appreciative for the resources.

Several passersby by thanked us for being there and a mother and teenage daughter positively acknowledged the fetal model display.  Some negative comments.

Kathy

Tim, Joyce, Fran, and Bob from St. Joseph’s Church in Verona

Fran and Pastor Bryan, 11 AM-1 PM:

We had a very pleasant lunch-time crowd passing by today and I was happy that quite a few accepted the literature being offered.  I imagine they were thankful that the clouds were withholding their gifts from us.  Nancy from St. John the Baptist in Plum and Eileen from a Presbyterian Church in Penn Hills joined me today as well as our regular sidewalk advocates, Pastor Bryan and Walt.  We joined in prayer and shared some conversation together.  The movie, Unplanned, had been seen by everyone of us, and some more than once.  Unquestionably, it inspired each of us to a deeper commitment and also to hope because, on every occasion, the movie was well attended.  We are all praying that many will seek the truth that is so clearly revealed in this movie.  Late in the shift, a woman of the Muslim faith stopped to talk with Pastor Bryan and she offered a bag of supplies that would be helpful to an individual in need.  Pastor Bryan said he knew of someone who could use the items and that he would be happy to deliver them.  It is interesting to me that every day on the sidewalk is so different. 

Fran
Nancy and Eileen with Pastor Bryan

Elaine, 1-3 PM:

Pat and Joe, 3-5 PM:

Things seemed quieter on the sidewalks and the streets today.  I found it peaceful and conducive to prayer.  While I had signed up my parish, St. Regis, for this two-hour shift, no one came.  (I did have participants from my parish for a 2 hour shift on a Sunday morning earlier in the campaign, however.  So that’s at least some consolation to me.)  Therefore, I was VERY grateful that faithful Joe from St. Bernadette’s answered the call and came to stand with me.  It was also good to see Mark, a former SM (I believe) stop by to pray.  It was nice to be able to catch up with him.

I had no negative comments – plus I had a lot of people stop to read my sign, which was about how over 2,300 people are killed in this building each year.  The one interesting thing that happened was that a couple that seemed to be from another country – perhaps an eastern European country – tried to go into the building, but the door wouldn’t open for them despite the fact that I had seen others enter w/out problem.  I tried to give them a card, but they just walked away.

Pat

David and Bill, 5-7 PM:

It was only me and Bill on the sidewalk. The first hour and a half only produced two positives but lots of indifference. Then, a man stopped as his two sons were interested in the models. They were about 6 and 7. I told them, “You were that size at one time in your Mom’s belly.” They had many questions. I gave them some little babies and information. Their inquisitive minds were open and wanted to learn. Thank God! All the indifference disappeared!

David

Day 30: Thank you to the Manordale Valley Council of the Knights of Columbus (Murrysville), Christian Assembly of God Church, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. John Baptist de la Salle (Delmont) & St. Mary’s (Export) City Center parishes, St. Joseph (Lucinda) and our other volunteers!

Today’s First Reading tells us this familiar sobering tale:

The LORD said to Moses,
“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’

Exodus 32: 7-8

In the Responsorial Psalm of the day, we see a continuation of the same theme:

Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.

Psalm 106: 19-20

And from all those thousands of years ago, we have not changed. Why do we do this? Why are we children of such disobedience and rebellion? We see human examples of this all the time, often from children who don’t care about what their parents are telling them- especially if it’s something GOOD for them.

Why are we so ready to dismiss that which is GOOD, and exchange it for something FAR LESS GOOD…. or even BAD for us? Choosing our OWN way instead of GOD’S way is never going to end well.

Abortion-minded couples are like this too. Abortion workers as well. And yes, ALL of us can fall into this mindset. Lent is a perfect time to consider what our priorities are. Do we really want GOD? If so, how are we going to choose to live?

Let us step out in faith, and trust that by doing God’s will and living HIS way, we will ultimately live a life of JOY. We cannot have true joy apart from Him. But WITH Him, we can have it all.

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki (7-9am):

 It was a good start to Day 30 on the sidewalk today! As always, it was wonderful to see my sidewalk buddy Peggy and faithful Tom setting up the materials.  I brought roses and Peggy brought a beautiful colorful springtime bouquet, which we scattered on the sidewalk as a symbol of the beauty of every life that is tragically discarded behind those doors, in hopes that they will touch some hearts.

The Knights of Columbus, Manordale Council in Murrysville sent four wonderful prayer warriors. It was a blessing to stand with them for my entire shift. Also, Pastor Paul came with three ladies from his church, Bentleyville Assembly of God. He brought his guitar and sang and played,  which was awesome!

After praying silently on my knees for the first 45 minutes, when couples begin entering for their abortions, I got up and began offering help and alternatives. Sadly, nobody that we know of took us up on our offers of help. But, we prayed for those couples and for the babies. They did not die alone and forgotten. 

Beautiful flowers in memory of the beautiful lives lost at Planned Parenthood.
Tom and Shift Buddy, Peggy! Thank you!
Two of the faithful Manordale Knights of Columbus! Thank you!
Thank you, Pastor Paul and lovely ladies from Bentleyville Assembly of God!

More prayer and song from the Bentleyville group and Dave from the Knights of Columbus! Thank you all!

Meredith (9-11am):

I arrived, pleasantly surprised, to a full sidewalk this morning and someone playing a guitar and singing worship songs! Very different from the shift I did earlier in the 40 Days with one other person!!!

My good friends Pastor Debbie from Christ’s Church Ministries and Jessi from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene came with me today. Just leaving was the group from Manordale Valley Council of the Knights of Columbus. The guitar player was Pastor Paul of Christian Assembly from Bentleyville, PA, who brought three ladies from his church, staying from 7:30 – 11am. Their worship was so beautiful and encouraging on the streets of the city. Before long Bill H. stopped by and Chuck and Katie arrived. A newcomer joined us who had seen Unplanned and felt a need to respond. Thank you Al for heeding the call!

Katie and I are accustomed to working together and we took up positions on either side of the door. There was what seemed like an equal amount of traffic both in and out of PP this morning. I tried unsuccessfully to engage couples leaving in conversation, to see if I could determine why they were there. One couple left unwilling to speak to me, but were back in short order. They unfortunately went back inside.

The saddest part of our morning came when a couple went in who I felt were hesitating. The man kept looking at us, and eventually came out and spoke to us. He didn’t want his wife to abort their fourth child, but he couldn’t talk her out of it. He’s a Christian and knows it’s wrong, even though doctors were recommending it to her because of medications she takes. Multiple people contributed to the conversation with him and we prayed for him and encouraged him to go in and try again. We prayed fervently, but he came back out unsuccessful in his efforts. Jess pointed out how good it was that we were there for him. Imagine how much harder it would have been for this young man without our support and encouragement. He said it was so spiritually uncomfortable in the waiting room that he couldn’t stay in there. Pray for M and his wife M and for their family. If she has the chemical abortion, she will struggle with the decision she made for the rest of her life, as she too considers herself to be a Christian. It was time for us to go, so we took turns hugging M and telling him we loved him and were praying for him.

We left the scene in the caring hands of Lisa and a nice sized group of prayers from the eastern suburbs!

Thank you to Pastor Debbie from Christ’s Church Ministries, and
Jessi and Shift Manager Meredith from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene!

Lisa K. (11am-1pm):

To finish the story that Meredith started above, it was very sad for us to learn that M did indeed begin the chemical abortion process, but we were able to tell her husband about the possibility of abortion pill reversal, and that there was still hope.

There were a several angry people…. with ridiculous comments as they passed by, including one woman who Katie awesomely took under her wing. Thank you to all those who had to endure the rough situation with that one woman- especially Tracy and her sweet little ones!

I am so thankful for all of you prayer warriors that came out today. God bless you all.

Part of the large group from Export and Delmont. Thank you!
Another part of the Export/Delmont group. Thank you so much for coming!
Thank you to Tracy and her beautiful children, who were such a delight on the sidewalk!
Thank you to Mike from St. Bernard!

Helen (3-5 pm):

So sad to hear the incident during the earlier shift. Prayers for the man and his lady.

The sign-in sheet was so full, we had to use the margins of the pages. Let’s hope that happy inconvenience will last for the rest of the vigil. 

As Carolyn was leaving, five ladies from Lucinda in Clarion County arrived, along with our Shift Buddy Anita, and Philene, a veteran pro-lifer from the South Hills, stopped on her way home from the office and stayed to pray. 

The ladies from Clarion were Karen, Linda, Ann, Patti and Desiree’. They had a lot of questions about what goes on at PP. Unplanned has not reached their local theater, but it was the big topic between prayers. We prayed the rosary at least five times as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. 

The man with a half-full glass and an unsteady gait gave his attention to one of the Clarion ladies. She ignored him and he went away.

Another man stopped and told us he was embarrassed to ask but he needed $10 for his child. After he repeated it twice, we told him Catholic Charities was just down the street. He said he had been there and they were closed. Anita and I assured him they should still be there. He said they closed in March. We walked with him about halfway to Catholic Charities when he stopped and said, “I don’t want to go there,” and he left to go in the opposite direction. I did tell him that we were not supposed to carry money when we were at the vigil. That IS a good idea. 

The action from PP seemed to be employees leaving at the end of their day. It was good to see Joe K., who traded shifts with Charlie. 

Thank you to Joe, Joe, and Anita!

Anita and Barb in the sunshine! Thank you, ladies, for your prayers!


Joe K. (5-7 pm):

It truly seemed like a “5 O’clock World” today as everyone seemed to hustle home -not much attention paid to the vigil…  Except one young woman who stopped by, wanted to “pray” with us and quickly “prayed” that we wouldn’t be so judgmental – but didn’t stay long enough to become “enlightened” about 40-DFL and particularly our current theme:  L-O-V-E…  Also, humorously absent was the failure to recognize the irony in such a claim…
Joe, my shift buddy from St. Bernadette’s, and I prayed from the “Rolodex of Prayers” and shared…
Another gentleman, Rocky, stopped by a couple of times – he’s in a tough situation and can use prayers.  Rocky shared with us that he had crossed paths previously with Kermit Gosnell…
The shift / vigil ended for the night as faithful Tom, Diane, and Penney packed us up for tomorrow…

Check back later for more reports as they come in.

God bless you all!

Day 29…Thanks to St. Bernard of Clairvaux Knights of Columbus (Indiana, PA), Catholic Men’s Fellowship (Mother of Sorrows, Murrysville) and St. Paul Cathedral!

My creation…I shall call him “Rock-head”

So you may be wondering…”What’s up with the head full of rocks? Don’t worry…I will explain. But first, I want to tell you about my prayer time from this morning. I read a beautiful quote in my daily devotional magazine, “Magnificat” by a man named Jacques Fesch (now named a “servant of God”). He was a murderer who experienced a profound conversion before his execution in 1957. The quote is rather long, but worth reprinting here. he wrote:

…”It will soon be one year since the Lord called me in his mercy. As for the exact date of my conversion, I can’t put my finger on it. It happened progressively, as I moved from atheism to a very marked, sincere faith, but when I look back I can no longer discern the landmarks along the way. I had been completely indifferent, but one day I realized that I had new eyes, and a view of reality which I had never anticipated was given to me.

Before that, the true God was an indifferent tradition as far as I was concerned. Now, he is all that matters. he is at the center of the world, he rises above my being. he invades me totally, and my spirit cannot escape from him. A powerful hand has seized me. Where is it? What has it done to me? I do not know, for his action is not like the action of men, it is unknowable and effective, it constrains me, and I am free. It transforms my being, yet I do not cease to be what I am.

Then comes the struggle-silent, tragic-between what I was and what I have become. For the new creature who has been planted within me calls for a response which I am free to refuse. I have received the principle; I must go on to the consequences…

I am amazed and surprised at the change which grace has effected in me. Claudel once described the ‘state of a man who has been pulled out of his own skin with one yank to be thrust into a strange body in the middle of an unknown world.’ This is the only comparison I can find to describe my state of complete disarray. I have found peace, but at the same time war. It is a perpetual struggle in which I do gain ground, yet the further I advance the more I perceive my misery and the infinite distance ahead which I must cover. To stand still would be to fall back.

Servant of God Jacques Fesch

As I read this beautiful account of a soul transformed by God’s grace, I thought about Abby Johnson’s conversion, and wondered how it is possible for someone to have such a radical conversion. How did she go from being a Planned Parenthood clinic director to someone who helps abortion workers to get out?

This is where “Rock-Head” comes in. You will notice that He is jam-packed full of sinful vices. There is no room in Him for grace or truth. Even if he WANTED to….he would be unable to care about anyone other than himself. He is blinded by his own selfishness. God just needs a tiny little foothold for his grace to take root. Maybe if old Rock-Head here got rid of just one of those rocks…God could plant a seed. Once grace begins to grow in his soul, he will become aware of the other rocks and he will begin to desire their removal as well. And the hard work of conversion begins. I am speaking from experience, as I used to be a rock-head myself…and am still fighting the battle to root out rocks in my own soul. One great tool that helped me in the beginning is the Litany of Humility. You can find it HERE.

The season of Lent is such a wonderful opportunity for us to become more open to God’s grace in our soul…and to make us more fit to be used by him in this important battle to end abortion! We root out the rocks of selfishness when we overcome our fear and desire for comfort, to stand publicly in witness to the sanctity of all human life in front of Planned Parenthood. We are all at different stages of conversion. And we praise God for the work that he is doing in so many souls…especially in Abby’s and the other 185 abortion workers that have left the industry following 40 Days for Life campaigns!

I will close by saying that my husband and I went to see Unplanned for the second time tonight. We first saw it last Thursday at a private showing that I hosted. Since I was in charge of the event and was so overly-busy that day, I really didn’t get to absorb the movie as I wanted to…so I decided to go back and see it again. I was AMAZED to see that the theater was PACKED tonight! Imagine, a TUESDAY night…and a PRO-LIFE film…was FILLED! I really thought we would be sitting in the theater with about 5 other people. After the show, the audience applauded! I am so moved and encouraged to see that our culture is WAKING UP to the reality of abortion! We have spent so many years, praying, fasting and working. The rocks of sin are being removed and the grace of God is beginning to take root! God is on the move and it is wonderful to see! He is answering our prayers! I praise and thank him!

Read on for today’s sidewalk stories…

Charlene and Peg had the 7-9am shift:

Pansies in the daffodils!

“What can I do for You today, Lord?” “Pray, witness, and be counted” And so we were…Beth,Peg, and I. Praying together and individually . Thanking God it was not an abortion day. Thanking God for the sun, warmth, and pansies in with the daffodils! “ Today is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad.”
Amen!! Charlene

Charlene
Thanks to Beth from St. John XXIII for answering the call to stand with Peg and Charlene!

Cathy and Elsie managed the 9-11am shift:

Cathy and Elsie had lots of prayer partners this morning! Thanks to Roberto, Irene, Bill and Kevin from St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Thomas More in Indiana, and Marie and Diane from St. John Neumann in Franklin Park

Fairly quiet morning – a few ladies went in.  One, L,  pushing a stroller, came out a little while later and talked to Elsie and Beth.  Turns out she had been here a few years ago when two months pregnant with the little girl in the stroller, who looked about 3.  She had talked to Nikki who got her connected to Fr. Jason in Carnegie.  She said that that church family is “now her family” – they really helped her out.  The child’s father had left early on.  She has since met a good man who loves this little girl and they are getting married in a few weeks.  She had come to PP to get birth control, but for whatever reason did not get it.  Elsie told her about the abortifacient properties of BC  and gave her some info on natural family planning.

Cathy

Hank & Judy were the 11-1 managers:

Once again there were good numbers of prayer warriors for the 11-1 shift, 24 in all.  The group included the ever faithful Guardians of Life,  Indiana Knights of Columbus, St.Bernard of Clairvaux, MaryAnne and her daughter from St.Catherine of Sweden, and a regular Dan from Steubenville. Among the Guardians were Jerome and his son Mark and Sr.James Anne.  As the weather has warmed the traffic appears to have picked up and with that the good and the bad.  The bad….more hecklers/angry people than I’ve experienced.  (I wonder if the movie Unplanned has satan worked up).  The good….lots of prayers and song lifted up to Our Lord and Savior who will ultimately give us victory in this struggle.  More good….lots of thumbs-up, thank you, God bless you comments from passers-by and Terri had a banner day distributing literature and engaging many young people in conversation over the issue.  As the weeks of Spring have passed the sun has progressed closer and closer to PP.  We pray that soon the SON will shine fully on PP and the hearts of the nation will repent for the evil perpetrated on God’s children!

Guardians for Life
Shift buddy Judy, with Sister James Ann OFM with Guardians for Life
Mary Anne and daughter Monica, from St. Catherine of Siena
Dan from Steubenville, with Terri with Guardians for Life
Fr. Tim, a faithful pro-life leader!
Guardians for Life
Jerome with son, Mark

Rosalina & Mary were there for the 1-3 shift:

Mary reported that they had to call an ambulance for a passerby who fell in the street and was not getting up. Mary did what she could to help the man until the paramedics got there. It may have been drug related. Other than that, it was a good shift, with Rosalina, Mary, Dan and John as the prayer warriors on the sidewalk.

Jeannie & Missy were the 3-5 shift managers:

Joe and Janet from Saint Pauls with Missy from the north side. The Holy Spirit was really active today —in the wind. All our beautiful rose petals found their way upward and we can only hope that they take with them the sentiments of our prolife Hearts.
 

Jeannie
Veteran prayer warrior Vince brought  down first timer Judy both from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. How amazing that members of this 40 days for LIFE community respond and show up. I was blessed.  Jeannie
 

Charlie & Amy closed out the day with the 5-7pm shift:

It was a quiet night on the sidewalk and we also got quiet a few positive responses over the negative. Just want to thank all the people that came from St John’s tonight.

Charlie & Amy

Day 28: Thank you Riverside Community Church, St. Alexis, St. Ann (Waynesburg) and individual volunteers!

So we went to see Unplanned on Saturday night. It was sobering but hope-filled! My husband asked the question….do you think that can happen in Pittsburgh? Do you think the Planned Parenthood can close?

I hate to admit that I hesitated, but than I responded YES, yes that can happen! Because I believe God has a plan….

40 Days for Life was started in response to an increasing number of abortions at the Bryan TX Planned Parenthood. I don’t think that when they set out, they expected to eventually be running a Pro-Life center in the very building that housed Planned Parenthood. We have to trust that God is in charge and remain faithful. God initiated this work and He will bring it to completion.
God’s ways are not our ways!

So let’s stick with the plan and be ready for surprises, cause God has a way of doing that!

7am-9am Charlene and Dick

As Dick and I got out of the car and headed to the sidewalk, we said it felt warmer. We say that every Tuesday…but when we get to PP, it never is. It is probably the place as much as the temperature.

We were joined by Ed and Jackie (SA) and later by Julie, Marcia, and Jeannine from Riverside Community Church. They were very interested in what to do…so eager to help. I gave them the yellow cards  with free services to hand out. Meanwhile, Jackie was trying to speak with those going into PP…it seemed like a lot today. One new comment, “Abortion is about economics and women’s healthcare”…hmmm.

Jackie (Sidewalk Advocate) and Charlene…still bundled up on the sidewalk

My “Little Black Lenten Book” last week reminded me that, “I am created by God and put here on earth for a purpose. I may not know, this side of the grave, what my purpose is. But if I do my best, in the circumstances of my own life, to live as Jesus taught me to live, I will accomplish my purpose. In the eyes of the world, what I do may not seem all that important. It probably won’t make me famous. But there is no greater, more important accomplishment than simply doing what God put me here to do”  

This morning God wanted Dick, Ed, Jackie, Julie, Marcia, Jeanine, and I on the sidewalk, praying for the babies. We accomplished God’s purpose for us today.
Charlene

9-11: Elsie and Beth Ann

Upon arriving, I heard from Jackie & Ed that traffic into PP was, sadly, enormous this morning. Jackie thought that a meeting might be in progress and might account for some of the folks going in. During my shift, I failed miserably at engaging PP’s victims in meaningful conversation. However, we did have one ray of hope: one couple exited PP very soon after entering and left, although unfortunately they did not accept lit.
It WAS encouraging to see so many members of the Body of Christ actually show up at Calvary this morning! Riverside Community Church sent three brave, lovely, and kind-hearted ladies: Marcia, Julie, & Jeannine. St. Alexis sent the very prayerful Claudia, Beth Ann, Fred, Diane, & Rachel. Before my shift ended, an impressive group from St. Anne’s in Waynesburg arrived. They included a mom who had brought a darling baby girl & toddler boy, all bundled up against the cold. Talk about “visuals” even more powerful than photos or prenatal models. One  notable sad event during the shift was the arrival of the Cyntox disposal truck. The driver denied that he was picking up babies’ bodies, insisting it was just discarded hypodermic needles. This was hard to believe, given that there were four LARGE boxes. Claudia led us in the Rosary as the boxes were being loaded and discarded. 

11-1: Fran

The ladies from St. Alexis remained until 11:30 and welcomed an amazing group of prayer warriors from St. Ann’s in Waynesburg.  The prayers soared heavenward on each side of the circle.  Kim & Mike, Carol, Kathy, Nicole, Denise, and Athilia came ready to pray and offer literature.  We also enjoyed having with us two beautiful children who accompanied their mom and grandma.  They are living proof of how truly precious are God’s children. 

We were also happy to have with us Phelene and Christopher who each stopped to pray during their lunch time before returning to work.  It was a busy sidewalk today, as were the doors to PP.  We had a moment of hope when a woman backed out the door (I believe it was) to respond to our invitation, but the man who was with her stopped her and redirected her back through the door.  Our eyes closed in sorrow and silent prayer.  Athilia was in a conversation for about 45 minutes with another couple who were just passing by.  Hopefully the seeds that she planted will take root.  The time passed quickly by and I saw Nikki coming down the sidewalk with two beautiful roses.

1-3: Nikki

It was a peaceful shift, and the weather was beautiful! I was blessed to have the wonderful group from Saint Anne’s in Waynesburg with me the entire time. Their leader, Kim, was on her knees the whole time praying, and they all prayed as a group. We passed out information, there were some couples still going in and many couples coming out.  We are planting seeds and will never know how God is using us to make a difference! I left the vigil in the capable hands of shift manager Michael, who had prayer volunteer Regis signed up to be with him for his entire shift. 


Shift manager Michael with prayer volunteer Regis

3-5: Michael and Regis

It was sunny, breezy, quiet and peaceful today. Nothing out of the ordinary to report. Passersby were a mixed bag, mostly positive. I can’t help but feel a little pumped up after seeing Unplanned. It is so obvious how the Lord has been working with and through Abby Johnson and now with Unplanned. I guess we could say Unplanned was and is His Plan all along. Let’s all pray very hard that tons of people that are sitting on the fence regarding abortion or who are pro-choice, see this movie, and are moved to the pro-life side. Our culture of death needs to be shaken to its core and move towards a culture of life. 

Is it MeMe or MiMi?

5-7: Lisa and Johanna

The 5 – 7 shift was peaceful and prayerful.  When we thought we may have prayed enough – along comes Mimi with the command, “Pray a Rosary!” and, of course we did. Thank you to those who came to pray this evening; Johanna, Marc, Audrey and Jim and our pal, city dweller, “Gym Shorts Jim”. Blessings, Lisa

Day 27: Thanks to North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church, St. Patrick, Canonsburg, St. Thomas Anglican Church, Eastbrook and Volant United Methodist Churches

Standing at the foot of the cross

Did you ever Wonder if you would have had the courage to stand at the foot of the cross? I’m guessing the answer is yes. If you have the courage to stand at the vigil downtown in that sometimes hostile environment you would have stood at the foot of the cross.

Hum… Did it ever seem to you that when we are are praying outside pp IT IS as if we are praying at the crucifixion? When I think about the actual crucification I can barely comprehend the love and mercy the HE showed for us. As St. Paul said “he did it for me”. That’s the love and mercy I hope I show and offer to all those we encounter on the street at the vigil and for the unborn, the defenseless.

So I keep telling myself, be like Saint John. Simply show up. Stay a while. Pray, offer love and understanding.

Want to be at the crucifixion? Come back to the vigil. Get your group or a few friends to come back to witness, pray outside pp and perhaps save a live and a few souls. Sign up or just show up. Show your LOVE.

Here’s are the stories and pics from today at the vigil starting with Sue 7-9 am. Stop back throughout the day as the blog will updated.

7-9 am: Rose and some members of NH Reformed Presbyterian Church

From Sue 7-9 am: It was a great shift! Shift buddy Rose and I were so happy to have the men from North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church with us! They always pick a Monday morning shift and so we got to reconnect! We were reminiscing how in the fall Charles re-directed a woman to WCN for free pregnancy services and that she is most likely due to have her baby very soon!! A little later Sam’s wife came with their youngest child to witness and we also had Sean from St. Paul’s cathedral come to pray for about an hour before he went to work. There were many people passing by, a lot of regulars that we recognize and some workers entered PP. The sun started shining as we finished our shift and it seemed to get about 10 degrees warmer! Thanks, Sue

Sean and Rose, and Bill and Charles 7-9 am

From Beth 9-11 am: In the theater on Saturday night, 40 Days for Life seemed wonderful and effective, which it is. On this Monday morning, the rest of the reality showed up in the form of a wind chill factor that had us all moving to stay warm and one woman dropping obscenities like snowflakes. Well, Unplanned must be making some people very angry; it shows the truth and for some, that’s not good especially when we know the truth always wins in the end.
How about the little children who spot the fetal models. One little boy walked across Liberty smiling and shouting, “I love those babies.” A mom with her beautiful daughter stopped and showed her that she was once just that small. Now if three year olds can recognize a human baby, don’t you think adults should be able to do the same?
Congratulations to all the wonderful people standing in the cold from the North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church. Bill W.
Kevin K., Sam, Meg and especially brave, Greta S. brought the sunshine with prayers and witnessing. Charles H, pastor stayed for almost four hours and even surprised us later with special guest stars, our best marketing tool: his three beautiful children, Miriam, Michal (sp?) and Esther.
As Ginny assumed the shift manager duties, Rosemary and Letitia from Canonsburg were already taking up the task of praying for all the Unplanned babies that come our way.

From Ginny 11-1 pm: We had only positive comments and good job’s
With the home opener of the Pirates, it was hard to find a place to park.
It was extremely cold. There was a little bit of sunshine towards the end of the shift that we were very grateful to God for.
Fr. Tom did not dress warm enough, but was very brave offering it up for the babies. There was a young man who had just moved to Pittsburgh who stopped by on his lunch hour to pray, with us.

Carol from St Mary’s and ladies from St. Patrick’s, Cannonsberg, with Fr. Tom

From Donna 1-3: It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in Pittsburgh. Thank you to my faithful shift buddy, Diane and my friends from St. Thomas; Kathy, Karen and Diana who joined in prayer today. We handed a few things out today. We heard a few God Bless you’s and keep up the good work ladies and one gentleman said “God Bless you and what you’re doing is working”. There was one particular gentlemen who was not very nice. He told us to find something better to do and to get a life.

A couple by the name of Sam and Sherrie stopped by and placed the beautiful roses that you see.

From Marie 3-5: Very positive day. Several positive comments from individuals. One woman and her daughter had seen “Unplanned” which moved them and they ask about joining with us during 40 days. Sara, Loren and their 2 daughters from Eastbrook and Volant United Methodist church spent time in prayer and witness

Did you hear about Closing Candlelight Prayer Vigil at Planned Parenthood?

Join your fellow pro-lifers on Sunday April 14, 6-7 pm at PP downtown to end our vigil and pray together for an end to abortion. Did you know PP is the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing 36% of all abortions in our nation—over 330,000 each year. In 2018 they performed 3,019 downtown Pgh at our vigil site.

This vigil will be one of more than 100 taking place across the country during the Nationwide Pro-Life Candlelight Vigil. It will also serve as the closing ceremony for our local 40 DFL campaign. Given the time we may not have candles but instead lighted balloons.

This vigil will be followed by our 40 DFL Closing Celebration at Catholic Charities at 9th and Liberty.  It’s pot luck so bring a treat to share. All are welcome.

DAY 26: THANK YOU: St. Maria Goretti Parish, Bloomfield; St. Mary of the Assumption, Butler; Holy Child/St. Barbara/ St. Mary; Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church; Shift Buddies Vince, Ken, Anna Marie, Kristy, Marie, George with his wife, and Kathy ; Volunteers who came to witness today!

Tell me,

what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

THE SUMMER DAY

Mary Oliver

Thank you, Mary Oliver, for your elegant reminder that life is uniquely designed, ONE – WILD – PRECIOUS.  Francis of Assisi lived the message his way.

Each life lived in Providence, then linked to another life, and then to another, is designed to change the face of the earth.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ludwig Güttler, Matthias Grünert, and Jochen Bohl lived their way. Through them Providence brought life back to Germany. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 –1945) was a German, Lutheran pastor. His THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP is a classic. Bonhoeffer staunchly resisted the Nazi dictatorship. He vigorously opposed Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested in April, 1943, and executed April, 1945, as the Nazi regime was collapsing.

Dresden Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) with the “stone bell” at the top, lent the Dresden, Germany, skyline its distinctive silhouette.

Ilse Walter remembers when this Lutheran church was bombed. “Spring was almost in the air on February 13, 1945,” she said.  In what followed, the bombing of Dresden, tens of thousands lost their lives.

After Dresden was destroyed, the baroque church stood for decades as a decapitated, empty shell.  The ruling communists ignored the church as they rebuilt the city.

The events that demolished the Iron Curtain began in discontent in Poland, and continued in the German Democratic Republic.

Ludwig Güttler was the chairman of the Society to Promote the Reconstruction of the Frauenkirche. Reconstruction began in 1994. Britain, which led the Dresden bombing raids, contributed more than one million euros.  The son of an English pilot who dropped bombs on Dresden created the golden cross atop the church’s dome. Coventry, the English city which was flattened by German bombing during World War II, donated a golden cross and orb. Many nations contributed. The total cost of the project came to $218 million.

Completely reconstructed, Dresden Frauenkirche hosted Bach’s CHRISTMAS ORATORIO in January, 2011.  In this video you see Frauenkirche!
Matthias Grünert directs “Herr wenn die stolzen Feinde, ” one of the most beautiful moments in the Oratorio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojAjYfafyjk  

Lord, if proud enemies rage,

let us then in steadfast faith

look to Thy might and help.

We will put our trust in Thee alone,

so may we withstand unharmed

the talons of the fiend.

Lyrics

During the Frauenkirche Consecration Service, October, 2005, Dresden Bishop Jochen Bohl said, “A deep wound that has bled for so long can be healed.  From hate and evil a community of reconciliation can grow, which makes peace possible.”

Corporate PP, a “proud enemy,” sees itself as Goliath.  We are David.  That Biblical contest lasted for one afternoon (1 Samuel 17:50).  Our contest is lasting longer.  Add your precious life to ours. Together in prayer we will ask God to give each mother the strength to CHOOSE LIFE for her baby and for herself.

We have room for you on the sidewalk.

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NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

__________________________________

JEN 7-9

So much for March going “out like a lamb”…it was the coldest Sunday morning yet.  But that didn’t stop a wonderful group from St. Maria Goretti, Our Lady of the Angels, and Immaculate Heart of Mary parishes from praying with Vince and me.  We offered up 20 decades of the Scriptural Rosary, a Divine Mercy Chaplet, and our frozen fingers and toes.  May God use it all for His glory as he ends abortion forever!  

Vince, Shift Buddy, and parishioners from 3 outstanding parishes, St. Maria Goretti, Our Lady of the Angels and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

__________________________________

SUE M 9-11

Well, so much for “March going out like a lamb”!  Yet the more important Lamb was definitely with us on the sidewalk this morning, and we had a very prayerful shift. 
My shift buddy Ken and I were joined by Sherry from South Hills Assembly, Nick from St. Maria Goretti, Philene from St. Bernard, Anna Marie from Holy Apostles, Patty (I’m sorry Patty, I can’t remember your church!),  and Rena & Gary in town from Ancaster, Canada!!  We did a lot of praying. 
At one point at the beginning of the shift, as the four of us who were there at the time were praying the Rosary, a man walked by and loudly counted us, saying, “One, two, three, four!  I’m donating one dollar to Planned Parenthood for each one of you!  Thank you!” 
We did not respond but just continued in our prayer, each one of us adding him to our intentions (and, as we discovered after the Rosary, each one rejoicing at the extreme meagerness of the purported donation amount!). 
There was a passerby at my shift yesterday also who was counting vigil participants. 

What a blessing it is indeed to STAND UP AND BE COUNTED for the Lord and for Life!

Rena, left. Gary from Anacaster; Anna Marie, Holy Apostles; Philene, St. Bernard; and Nick, St. Maria Goretti on the close right.

__________________________________

ROSEANNE AND RICH 11-1

From “no coat” yesterday to “4 layers under your coat” today and with good fellowship you hardly noticed the change in temperature.
Margie from St. Mary of the Assumption witnessed and prayed with us. Sundays are usually quiet and today was no exception. We had no negativity during our shift today which is always a good thing. Hopefully that will continue. St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us. 

Margie from St. Mary of the Assumption with Roseann, Shift Manager

__________________________________

LINDSAY 1-3

Amazing prayer warriors arrived from Holy Child Parish in Bridgeville.
Constant prayer in brutal cold conditions and snow!
We were led by a true Knight from Knights of Columbus.
 

Prayer warriors from Holy Child Parish including Audrey and Jim wearing red!

_________________________________

ANDY 3-5

Joseph, George, Michael Joseph and Michael are brothers, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church George, Holy Trinity

_________________________________

JOE 5-7

My apologies to Sophia and Katiya from Holy Trinity and sisters Mary and Rose from St. Boniface for dropping the ball and not getting your pictures, but you are all amazing.

What a glorious day shared with such faith filled, committed, jubilant Christians standing, kneeling and praying for life.

I don’t possess the vocabulary to express how blown away by the witness, the humanity on display at that death mill today, so I’ll just say, “Thank you, Jesus, for being so generous to me.

All glory and praise be to God!!!”

Deacon Myron with wife Bobbi,

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church

Witnesses including Maria and Ainsley from Salvador Holy Trinity

Joseph, Father Jason and Michael. Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church

Faithful Bridget

Jim, Cathy, Joseph, St. Gregory and Francis from St. Killian Parish

__________________________________

And God saw that it was good.

  

Day 25 : Thanks to Good Samaritan, Our Lady of the Lake, St. Sebastian & St. Ferdinand Parishes, Starkdale Presbyterian Church, Aquinas Academy, St. Kilian’s That Man is You group, and individual volunteersi

As a 40 Days for Life Shift Manager I have determined that I contribute exactly, or precisely ….. (drum roll) 1/42 of the sidewalk effort! No kidding. Every Week there are 42 SIDEWALK SHIFTS. 42 slots to fill, 42 Resource Needs, 42 opportunities to witness, 42 shifts of exposure. I am responsible for JUST ONE of them — That is a whopping 2% of the Shift Staffing Effort, which is combined with our other necessary tasks :Communication, Resource Stocking, Delivery and Retrieval of Resources, Publicity, Special Event Planning , and Documentation. We even have a Fasting component and folks who cannot make it to the Sidewalk are organized into Home (and convent) Prayer warriors. … And more! This united effort creates 40 Days for LIFE Pittsburgh.

The truth is, there are TONS of us each doing a small separate part of 40 Days work in our own unique way.

I like to think of the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh Team as a Zipper on a much needed warm jacket.

Did you every really look at a ZIPPER? EVERY SINGLE PART is NEEDED! UNZIPPED, the jacket does some good, but when the zipper closes, we achieve SO MUCH MORE. And if you look at a zipper, every tiny piece matters! There are even supporting parts — Our families, spouses, children, relatives and friends who encourage our participation. They steady us and allow us to extend out to join with the efforts of others.

Zippers are AMAZING. And so are the tremendous members of the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh family, so Zip up and stay warm!Zippers are awesomeJeannie

Praise Report: The movie Unplanned is # 4 this weekend despite the media blackout!!!.  

7-9: Shift Manager Tim Reports: What a blessed morning it was starting with the church group from Ambridge area already praying with signs before the vigil officially began thanks to Tom who brought the materials early. The blessings continued when Jill and Betsy arrived in the Choices Pregnancy Services mobile sonogram. And then two young men came to view the fetal model and signs then made a donation. AND the local florist stopped by giving us a dozen beautiful roses and bag of red and white rose petals. Even Joggers passing by thanked us.  And then a young couple arrived with the woman in sweat pants. We talked and they accepted material. We walked with them to the mobile unit but they wouldn’t go in. Instead they went into PP. We stormed heaven with prayers, we knelt and cried. A short time later they came out circled the block and got back in their car. They accepted more information and closed the the door. I clasped my hands in prayer and mouthed I’ll pray for you. She clasped her hands and smiled. 
Please pray for them and their child whom I called Hope. Tim 

Prayer starts Early on the streets of Pittsburgh

Betsy and Jill ready to show moms their babies!!!!


9-11: Shift Manager Sue Reports:

What a huge group of prayer warriors greeted Sue D. (my co-shift-manager) and I this morning!  The weather sure was nice, too, which always comes as a blessing when we spend time at such a dark place.  Thank you so much to prayer volunteers from St. Sebastian, St. Michael, Our Lady of the Lake in Edinboro, PA, and Aquinas Academy.  For a long time, there were two ladies kneeling in prayer, one on each side of the circle up against the building.  The prayer, vocal and silent, was constant and continuous, interspersed with beautiful singing.  The Choices ultrasound van was on the scene this morning; sadly, no potential PP clients during my shift took advantage of their services.  Jim L. had arrived earlier to bring roses, and they were placed on the ground and on our signage.  Many scattered rose petals “littered” the sidewalk.  It seemed to me that the negative reactions from passersby were more pervasive today than usual — we had heads shaken at us, were called hypocrites, and were given the one-finger salute by one guy — but we also had positive reactions to counter the negatives.  The Lord is at work.  We trust Him!! For Life, Sue M.

Sue and Sue on a bright Saturday

St. Sebastian Church is REPRESENTED! 

Prayer support from Girard Missionary Alliance

Dennis, Patty, Cathy & Ronnie

11-1: Shift Manager Dean Reports:

Thanks to all the young folks from Aquinas Academy, Girard Missionary Alliance, and the family of shift buddy Patti, who were all willing to pray against abortion with me today.
Some folks said, “Absolutely
not”, to our little yellow cards; which reminds me that I used to hate broccoli but, I have since changed my mind

Aquinas Academy students and parents.

St. Ferdinand parishioners came to Pray too

1-3: Shift Manager Billy Reports:

Today at one o’clock I was two ladies today one from my church Monroeville Assembly of God,  see the picture below on the left her name was Kathy (Cathy?) and she was with her friend Ronnie (the woman on the right) from Faith Community Church today, we were also accompanied with Tom A, his wife and two of his children, and then St. Ferdinand’s church and Bill S. were with me today. I prayed a couple silent prayers, and we had a couple discussions about the unplanned movie, and we had a nice big group prayer at two o’clock led by me. When Kathy (Cathy), Ronnie, and Tom who had left at two, Bill’s group came on the right hand side with us and I took the group picture with all the remaining volunteers. We then had a group prayer and Kathy K came to join us early. She helped out a big time with all the women walking by, she was a phenomenal help. We got a couple people to take our information, one girl who took it followed her friend into Planned Parenthood and we had a couple people taking information cards. 
3-5: Shift Managers Kathy and Katie Report:

So happy to stand with Starksdale Presbyterian!!Busy Saturday sidewalk! We prayed and shared fellowship, they enriched my world . Many thank yous, one cursing outburst.  An angry man maintained that people should not have 4,5,6 babies if they cant afford them. Not happy with our answers, he walked away. He was treated with respect, Christ’s love.

A few more pix from Day 25…


9-11 SM, Sue, with Prayer warriors from St. Sebastian
(ADVICE:  please don’t block the 937 doorway, as we are guilty of doing here!)

Tom and John from Our Lady of Lake

Denise, Donna, mighty men from Starksdale with 3-5 SM, Kathy
Go see the movie, Unplanned, as soon as you can–
it’s so important to understand what really goes on
inside Planned Parenthood!

Day 24: Thank you to Oakmont/Plum/Verona Catholic Community, Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Holy Sepulcher Parish, West Hills Baptist Church, and Courageous Individuals!

Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.  A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.  Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.  But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.  He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’  Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”  He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 

Luke 10:30-37

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has a wonderful and well-known reflection on this Scripture passage.  He points out that the priest and the Levite refused to help because they asked the very natural question, “What will happen to me if I stop?”  The Samaritan came to the man’s aid because he asked a different question: “What will happen to him if I don’t stop?” 

In Shawn Carney’s recent book, The Beginning of the End of Abortion, he relates an incident from a 40 Days for Life vigil held in front of a busy Planned Parenthood clinic in California.  A dedicated volunteer was praying there when an angry woman confronted her.  The volunteer listened attentively and spoke to the woman gently, in truth and love.  At that point, the woman broke down, acknowledging that her own abortion at that clinic years before had destroyed her life. 

The woman then lamented that no one had been there to offer her an alternative on the day of her abortion.  She asked the volunteer, over and over, “Where were you?  Where were you when I needed you?”  The volunteer took a hard look inward and had to answer honestly that she had been too timid back then.  She sincerely apologized to the woman for lacking the courage to be there in her time of need.

Way too often, I am like the priest and Levite, asking about my own needs when considering whether or not to stand on that sidewalk.  This woman’s story hits me hard and reminds me of what I should be asking instead: “What will happen to her if I don’t stop to pray at the vigil?”


REPORTS FROM THE SIDEWALK:

7-9 AM, Nikki:

I was blessed to be accompanied by my old friend Bob, from St. Joe’s in Verona for my 7-9 shift this morning.  It was just the two of us for the first hour or so, and we spent it in peaceful prayer, under our umbrellas.  I distributed many beautiful rose petals on the sidewalk, in memory of the little ones whose bodies are torn apart inside those doors.  We received all positive comments, many people thanked us for being there.  Many smiles from pre-schoolers being led by their moms to the nearby daycare.  They love seeing the baby models and I wonder what kind of impression seeing people praying in the rain makes upon their little impressionable minds?  Many seeds are planted!
 
No one else was scheduled to come, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see Marilyn coming towards us at a little after 8 am.  She had seen the movie, “Unplanned”, last night, and was so moved by it that she woke up this morning and decided to join us!  Praise God for that and I hope the movie moves many more to join us!  Couples began going in for abortions around 8.  I put away my rosary and put on my sidewalk advocate “hat”, and began to reach out to the abortion-bound couples.  Sadly, no one took me up on my offers of help…that I know of.  But, as Abby said in the movie last night…when we are out there…their no-show rate climbs.  She calls it “Planned Parenthood’s dirty little secret”.  It is hard to believe….but I have to believe it.  We do make a difference.

Nikki

Bob and Nikki, St. Joes 7 to 9

Flower petals in the rain

Marilyn was a welcomed sight!

9-11 AM, Kathy and Marianne:

Thank you to Pastor Matt, from Reformed Presbyterian Church of Oakland and Dan B. From Mother of Sorrows Church, Murrysville.  Also to Marilyn, not pictured, for coming to pray today.

Very rainy today.  I passed out yellow cards to some passersby and pp patrons.  A distraught woman passed, perhaps homeless, stating to me that she “didn’t want to live like this anymore.” I googled bigburgh.com, but the woman didn’t like the services and walked away.  I called the contact number and left message.

Kathy
Pastor Matt and Dan

11 AM-1 PM, Barbara and Pastor Bryan:

Kathy stayed for a moment to talk about UNPLANNED. Abby Johnson’s movie memoir was riveting.
Holy Sepulcher parishioners arrived and more just kept coming.
Sandi, Michael, Debbie and George came.  Walt came alone. “I come year round.  I pray the Rosary for this every day!”  
Pastor Bryan had a powerful conversation with a  woman who passionately supported her “right to choose.”
John, from the Latin Mass Community, came and started right into prayer.  
Connie and George joined in the Sorrowful Mysteries.
We read the prayers from the back of Jeannie’s pictures.We prayed the daily Devotional.
These parishioners came to pray and never stopped.
Traffic was noisy and persistent over the lunch hour.  It had a friendly feel.
It was sad to see young people going into PP.  Most had a friend with them.

Barbara

Walt, Sandi, Debbie,George, Michael (Holy Sepulcher)


Holy Sepulcher and Pastor Bryan, shift buddy

Connie and George, Holy Wisdom parishioners

1-3 PM, Elaine:

During my shift today I had parishioners from Holy Sepulcher Church with me.  One of the parishioners had a connection with a prison in Florida.  Some of the prisoners from that prison are praying for our pro-life efforts.

Elaine

3-5 PM, Pat:

I didn’t lack for company this afternoon.  When I arrived, the four faithful members of West Hills Baptist Church were there.  It was good to see those familiar faces from so many campaigns.  [And they’re always so good at passing out our literature and engaging people who pass by.]  Also there were Val and Mike from St. Mark’s in the McKeesport area, who I met last week for their very first trip to the sidewalk.  It was so encouraging that first experience brought them back.  And they promised to keep coming back as well.  Finally, we had Greg from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon.  He came because he’s a friend of Dave’s from WHBC.  It was his first time and he felt like God was calling him to be here.  He certainly was able to engage just about every passerby.  Keep him in prayer as he discerns further.

I encouraged him (as well as some of the others) to go see Unplanned this weekend if it was at all possible.  I also promised to put Greg in touch with our Sidewalk Advocates leaders as he seemed interested in possibly taking the training. 

Pat

Val and Mike from Liberty Boro – St. Mark’s

David, Pastor Larry, Karen, and Rose from West Hills Baptist Church

Greg from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon

5-7 PM, Fran and Bill:

It was a very quiet Friday evening, very little interaction on the sidewalk.  Bill and I were joined by a faith-filled family from St. Kilian: Gabe, Mike, Lianne and John.  Lianne was at the vigil earlier in the week.  She had searched the schedule to see where there were openings and filled in where we needed – very much appreciated!  We began the evening with the Prayers of Petition to end abortion and we prayed the Rosary at 6:00.  One gentleman stopped to look at our display.  He is not from Pittsburgh and so he was seeing 40 Days for Life for the first time and he was very thankful to see people standing for the babies.  Diane and Tom came to pickup the materials.  Gabe and John jumped right in wanting to help – their kindness and thoughtfulness were truly appreciated.

Fran
Bill


Gabe, Mike, Lianne and John

Day 23: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. James (Sewickley), St. Bernadette (Monroeville), and all of our other volunteers!!

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.

Jeremiah 7:23-24

Oh my. This passage from Jeremiah tells us a lot about the pridefulness of the human heart, doesn’t it?

Imagine it: God Himself stands before you, and tells you to listen to His voice, and walk in the way of His commands….

And you say…. “Mmm, nah. I’m good.”

Or even worse…. “Get the @&%$ away from me!”

God deserves to hear an answer to this question: WHY? Why would we– or why DO we– say such things to Him?

The reason I bring all this up is not ONLY because this is a very common human response…. but because this is what we see on the sidewalk all the time.

So often, abortion-minded women do NOT want to hear the voice of reason, the voice of help…. ultimately, the voice of GOD. Many have hardened their hearts. Let us pray that God will SOFTEN those hearts so that they will be more open and receptive to hearing the voice of…. LOVE.



Shift Manager Reports

Nikki (7-9):

This morning was chilly but  peaceful. It was great to see Diane as she was setting up, and always my faithful sidewalk buddy Peggy! I was pleasantly surprised to see Beth from my new parish, Saint John the 23rd. She wasn’t signed up but saw Donna’s email saying that we needed people from 7 to 9, so she came. There were three of us for our shift.  

I immediately pulled the roses apart that I had brought, and scattered the petals on the sidewalk. They actually look very beautiful and colorful that way, and I think it is more appropriate, since they represent the beautiful bodies of babies which are torn apart.

As I was kneeling in prayer at the beginning of my shift, I saw a little boy, probably about three years old, holding  his mother’s hand, and he was gingerly tiptoeing around the rose petals, trying not to step on them. It was so sweet!  

One man walking through growled about us throwing trash on the sidewalk, and I made a comment that it was appropriate that he thinks roses are trash.  That just as some people think beautiful unborn babies are trash, some people think beautiful roses are trash.

We prayed for the first hour, and the second hour offered resources to those going in to Planned Parenthood. I had some interaction with a young woman who stopped to smoke inside the circle before going in. She was making small talk with me, but I could sense that she was angry, but she was trying not to let it show. She was pretending to be very casual about it. After some time of making small talk with each other, I asked her if she was there for an abortion, to which she replied, “Yes.” She had already refused the resources and help that I had offered her, so I told her of the harm that would come to her, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, if she were to get an abortion. She replied that she wished somebody had aborted her. I told her how much God loves her and how when we get away from him and do not live according to the way he tells us, that we get ourselves into painful situations, but I told her that she is young and that he could make beauty out of her life. She said to me, “I may decide to have a kid someday.“ Without thinking, the words just came out of my mouth, “You already have one, and he already has a beating heart and little perfectly formed fingers and toes.” I think those words went directly through her hard exterior shell; I think they pierced her heart. That was the end of our conversation and she went inside. I prayed for her and her baby and will continue. 

Beautiful women of prayer: Diane, Beth, Shift Manager Nikki, and Shift Buddy Peg!

Rose petals scattered on the sidewalk

Thank you to faithful prayer warriors, Shift Manager Judy, and Chuck from Lincoln Place!

Judy (9-11):

When we arrived, Katie was already there, and Chuck and I were joined by Meredith. I think the only minor negative things were one insult and one individual using the worst profanity they could think of.

I have struck up a casual acquaintance with the Coca Cola Driver who delivers to PP. Last week, as he finished his unloading, he asked me if he could show me a pic, and it happened to be a pic of his little 4 week old daughter. She was unplanned, but has become such a blessing to them. Today I saw him again, but he was delivering to someone else…not PP. I asked him if the next time he went inside the PP building if he would offer up a prayer from the inside of the building for God to speak to all the staff about stopping abortions. He was flabbergasted! He could not believe they were killing babies in there…he thought abortions were illegal in PA.

WOW … is the general public not aware??? He assured me he would be praying from the inside of the building for the abortions to stop.

A young lady came out who had taken her friend in for an abortion. The abortion was being performed as she was talking to me. She said she had 2 children of her own and did not believe in abortion. She joined me in prayer for her friend and the baby. It was so sad. I gave her our resources for after abortion and told her to make sure she gave them to her friend.

Nikki had met a woman during her shift prior to our shift, who was going in for an abortion. She had an opportunity to talk with her for a while before she went in. The lady came out during my shift and leaned up against the window in front of the building where I was standing…and I recognized her from Nikki’s description. She had an ultrasound pic in her hand, and I asked her if that was her baby. She said it was and she didn’t know why they gave her the pic. I asked if I could see it and she handed it to me. I told her how precious it was and the baby was a gift from God and a miracle of life. She said she was an addict and couldn’t bring a baby into the world as an addict. I told her of a similar story of a friend of mine in a similar situation, who had her baby and how God had healed the baby. She was willing to talk to me and to listen to everything I had to say. I begged her to keep the baby, offered her resources to help her during her pregnancy and after the birth, talked about adoption. She said she understood everything I was saying but she was going to have the abortion. I asked her if I could pray with her and she said yes. I prayed for God’s blessing over her life and for God to convince her to keep the baby and to protect the baby as he went into the arms of Jesus. I didn’t realize it, but I still had the ultrasound pic in my hand. She asked me if she could have the baby’s pic back. As she left to go back into the building, I just kept praying that she would look at the pic and not go through with it.

A young man came out and walked past me, and I asked him if his friend was having an abortion. He said no and kept walking … but she was. When he came back up the street to go back in the building I offered him the resources for after abortion help. I told him that she will need help that he can’t provide to her and that those resources would give her information and resources that will help her during the difficult times.

We are thanking God for the opportunity to pray and witness. We can’t look at the losses, because we just have to be obedient to what the Lord tells us, because the battle belongs to the Lord, not to us!

Lisa K. (11-1):

It was a sad, busy, and prayerful shift. I am forever thankful for the dear people who join us in prayer every day. Sandy (from St. James in Sewickley) and I prayed together for much of the time, while Katie and Elsie handed out materials and reached out to many people entering PP.

Just like last week, one thing that struck me today was the ANGER of some of these women. One woman in particular got so angry with Elsie, as Elsie simply talked to her and offered her resources where she could get help. It so saddens me that these women are so hurt, and don’t know what to do with that. If only they knew that we truly want to help them, and even more importantly, that they are LOVED by God and are NOT ALONE in their struggles.

On the positive side, there were several men who passed by, independently of each other, who thanked us or said, “God bless you” as they passed. One priest stopped by as well, to thank us for what we were doing. And one of my favorite things I heard today was, as two young men passed by, one of them said to the other, “I just don’t understand why people want to kill their kids.” It gave me hope that some people DO see, and they DO know, and they DO care.

Meredith, Shift Manager Judy, and Chuck- thank you for your pro-life work for the Lord!
Thank you to Maggie from St. Philip in Crafton!
Thank you to Tony, Ibie, and Sandy from St. James in Sewickley!

Helen (3-5):

Quiet afternoon. Rain stayed away.  How lovely it is when a passer-by says “Thank you” or “God bless you.”  A young man stopped to look at the fetal models. I asked him if he’d like a little one of them for himself. He smiled broadly and thanked me. 

Thank you to Shift Manager Helen’s son, Frank, for joining us in prayer today!
Thank you to the faithful members of St. Bernadette!

We apologize to Helen for not being able to post all of her photos, due to some technical difficulties.

Charlie (5-7pm):

Nothing exciting tonight, just some good quiet time for prayer and quiet witnessing for life with St. Benedict’s.

Thank you to the members of St. Benedict,
and thank you to Shift Buddy Amy and Shift Manager Charlie!

May we trust in the power and love of our God

as we continue to pray and sacrifice for families in need!!