Day 11: Thanks to the Bellevue Knights of Columbus, Guardians for Life and more…

Its not just the number of hours in a week that make you FULL TIME — what is up with 40 40 always 40 … ?


Mentioned 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or probation. Here are some of my favorite biblical 40’s:
– 40 days to build the Ark, and 40 days of the Flood Genesis 7:17
– Israelites Wandered in the wilderness for 40 years Exodus 16:35
– 40 years of Peace in Israel Judges 3:11; 5:31; 8:28
– Egypt was desolated for 40 years  Ezekiel 29:11
– 40 years for Israel to be restored Ezekiel 29:13
– 40 days of Fasting by Moses Exodus 24:18; 34:28;
– 40 days of Fasting by Elijah 1 Kings 19:8
– Nineveh overthrown after 40 days Jonah 3:4
Jesus Fasts 40 days in the Desert   Matthew 4:2
– Christ appeared 40 days after the Resurrection Acts 1:3
– 40 years later the Romans destroyed the temple Matt 24:1 – 2

Scholars suggest that the period of either 40 days or 40 years signifies a period of testing, trial and judgment. Each period of 40 years marks an epoch (generation). So if the bible in the Hebrew context talk of generations, it talks of one period of 40 years to another. For example: So Noah made the ark for a whole generation, meanwhile preaching repentance, in which God was patient for a whole generation to pass before he destroyed the earth. 


One of my favorite non-Biblical 40s The word Quarantine comes from the Italian ‘quaranta giorni’ meaning —– ‘forty days’ which was the period that ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death. I feel in a way we are QUARANTINED together as the Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life community right now to strengthen us for building the kingdom of God through the Gospel of Life.


In fact, I have always seen 40 Days for Life as an event in itself– … But last weekend at Catholic Mass, the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert was retold and I clearly heard that the 40 Days in the desert was a PREPARATION for Jesus as he accepted his public ministry. Finishing the 40 day period was the BEGINNING of His life’s work!! The devil’s temptation during that time served to strengthen Jesus for what he was about to do.

Jesus didn’t give a heavy sigh after his 40 days in the desert and think “Sheesh, I’m glad that’s over!” He strapped on his sandals, packed his gear, and headed to preach and serve and die for us. His 40 days was a beginning for sure.

CAN YOU join me in pledging that this 40 Days for Life does not signify the End of our work, but rather a NEW , refreshed BEGINNING for more Pro-Life work in Pittsburgh?   

HERE ARE TODAY’S SHIFT REPORTS FROM OUR COMMITTED, FRIGID, ST. PADDY’S DAY PARADE DAY PRAYER WARRIORS:

7-9 Shift Manager Ginny and 9-11 Shift Manager Sue

7-9 Shift Manager Ginny writes:

Tom had just about finished “setting up” when I arrived at 7AM, there was another person,
Pat who was there until 8 AM. David was also there for the shift. There was numerous escorts, about 11.  Early on one couple had tried
to get into PP, left, only to return later and entered the building (unfortunately).
Fr Tim and his “angels” came about 8 AM, a glorious sight for sure. There was light foot traffic into the clinic, only one other couple aside from the one mentioned above.
Lots of young and older folks colorfully dressed on their way to the parade.
About 8:45 the “owner” (several individuals say they own this place) of the “lounge” right next door
to PP, loudly announced his property rights and told people to get out of the doorways, etc.
He then entered the bar,  returning to set up a large crate-like item on the sidewalk, that was the last I saw him.
Sue came at 9.



9-11 Shift Manager Sue reports a hopeful story of a potential life saved: 

I arrived to a very large group from the Guardians for Life, along with Joe and AJ from the Bellevue K of C and another faithful pray-er on the opposite side who had been there from the earlier shift (I am sorry that I did not get her name). Sidewalk Advocate Terri reached out to a couple being escorted in, but they did not respond.We could see the woman in tears as the couple stood in the PP vestibule. We prayed for the couple as Terri stood within their sight line. We were very happy to see the couple come out within a much shorter time period than an abortion procedure would take. Please pray for this couple, that they will ultimately choose life for their child!!

Despite the hubbub of many people walking up Liberty toward the parade or Pens game, it seemed that overall, fewer people entered PP this morning than on a typical Saturday. The wind picked up, and poor Charlie got beaned on the head by a large piece of flying paper trash. Persecution comes in many forms! One pleasant young woman approaching PP accepted a yellow card from me, listened to my explanation of it, and told me she was “just going to her doctor’s office in the basement.” Jim L. came with two huge bundles of roses and handed them out to passersby. The companion of a woman who accepted one said to her, “You realize that rose is from a person on the other side,” and the woman replied, “I know but I don’t care!” Hopefully all of these folks discussed above will have a change of heart!

11-1 Shift Manager Dean Reports:
Thank you Knights of Columbus for standing with me on a cold, blustery day. It was a fairly quiet day, given the otherwise party atmosphere. This also meant a drop off for P.P.’s business, which was something for which we can be thankful.

KUDOS to Shift Manager Jeff who is presenting WATCH ME GROW ! on the sidewalk.
Guardians for Life IN ACTION

Shift manager Billy and Knights of Columbus

1-3 Shift Manager Billy Reports :

For my shift today I was accompanied by Charlie who has been such a good sport for being at the vigil all day. Shout out to Charlie, Kurt from Knights of Columbus, a Jim, from North Hills, and an Adam from Monroeville came down to witness with me today.  We had a crowd of people standing by us multiple times blocking the way for passerby traffic, and many entering in next door to Planned Parenthood during the shift, and the parade was going on. We had a lot of nay sayers, but we had a lot of supporters coming passed us, and one guy walking by me had his hand in the air saying He was pro-life, and he high-fived me. I had a couple of times of silent prayer. The parade though being very busy for us we were able to see that only a couple of people left the abortion clinic today, and I only saw one or two people go in. All in all a good day. Happy Saint Patrick’s day!  – Billy

3-5 (plus many earlier hours!) Shift Manager Charlie Reports:

All in all very good day. At 4pm we had a shouting match between a group of about 8 yelling at us and 2 guys defending us. Me along with the 3 other guys kept quiet . Things quieted down after a minute but noticing that things were not going to get better we decided to wrap up at 4:30.



Day 10…Thank you to St. Ferdinand Parish and Loving Individual Volunteers

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

― St. Therese of Lisieux

During this 40-day campaign, I’m blessed with many opportunities to make a small sacrifice for love by standing vigil outside Planned Parenthood.   

Coming to the vigil requires me to give up some of my time.  My responsibilities leave me with very few free moments, so it’s definitely a sacrifice to use them for driving downtown, parking, walking to the vigil, and staying there to pray.

Standing on that sidewalk also means I have to sacrifice some of my comfort.  I don’t know about you, but I prefer staying on the couch in my warm, dry house to purposely going out on a cold, wet, windy day.  And it’s not just physical comfort involved…I have to be willing to take on some mental and spiritual discomfort, too.  It’s not easy to put my faith into action where so many people without faith will see and judge me.  It’s not easy to listen to the negative remarks of some who disapprove of my being there.  And it’s definitely not easy to come to terms with what is actually going on inside that building and how I ever let myself ignore it. 

Looking at it from my own individual perspective, it doesn’t sound like such a SMALL sacrifice after all. 

Actually, it sounds kind of tough, and I don’t think I want to do it…until I place it next to Christ’s sacrifice for me. 

Now it looks truly small, and very do-able…with His grace.

Now it seems like the least I can do for love of the God who loves me so much.


Here are the reports from those who made the loving sacrifice to be at the vigil today!

7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:

Friday 7-9 shift always included Al and Sally. We are saving their place.
Today, Mary from St. Sylvester signed up and came to witness and pray with Richard and me. Her warm heart made all the difference.
We had to photograph the bus as it stopped for the light. “Here’s the plan for the road ahead.” So true! How wonderful when a man and woman and their children are together and sacred in God. You see the joy of the Holy Spirit in their faces, right?
“God bless you today,” we said as people passed including those entering PP.
One PP woman scolded us. “Get something useful to do. Stop coming here to shame women.” Mary talked with her while she could. The woman kept walking away.
A lovely teenager, wearing the tats and piercings appropriate for her age, noticed the fetal models and graciously discussed babies, science, God, mothers, dads, friends, and being pretty much on her own.  If I had a magic wand…but God gives us other things.
Shalani and Kay and Kathy (9-11 shift manager) arrived. 
God is so good to share the sidewalk with us.

Perfect!

Kay from St. Ferdinand and Mary from St. Sylvester (shift prayer buddy)

9-11 AM, Kathy:

Thank you to Kay and Shalani from St Ferdinand’s church and regular participant Terry for coming to pray this morning.  Bill H also stopped by offering holy water to participants.

Passed out almost all of my lit to passersby and some to pp patrons.  Two women, who were going into the clinic, accepted yellow cards and stopped to briefly talk with me, but still entered pp. Not for abortion though.

A mother came by with her daughter who was about the age of 6, and stopped to take a picture of the fetal models.  

Kay, Terry, and Shalani

11 AM-1 PM, Elsie and Pastor Bryan:

The 11-1 shift had many negatives, chiefly that a lot of victims went into PP.  My personal negative was a selfish cowardice that made me hang back from approaching one couple & one woman who came outside on more than one occasion.  What was I afraid of?  If a gentle offer of help & a persuasive plea for their child’s life makes someone mad, we still haven’t made things any WORSE for them or their baby, have we?  What other approach can we use?

Now for the POSITIVES!!  When I arrived, the ever-gentle, ever-faithful-to-the-babies Kathy was there, offering help to everyone entering, exiting, or passing by.  Two angelic-looking ladies were there as prayer warriors, just finishing their shift.  Then Pastor Bryan arrived, & the new shift started, with Pastor on one side of the Bubble & me on the other, both of us handing out lit.  Pastor is always VERY good at engaging folks in conversation!!

We were soon joined by a lovely couple from Mother of Sorrows Parish in Murrysville.  This was their first time out on the sidewalk in many years, but they hit the pavement running — & praying!  The sweet wife didn’t have any of my selfish cowardice; she went over to the couple & the woman who came outside (separately) & gently, sincerely offered them help. Surely good seeds were sown thereby, even if lives weren’t saved today.  Her husband offered lit packets to everyone he saw exiting PP, & some of them accepted it!  
Pastor Bryan & I knew we were leaving the sidewalk in good hands, as a brave lady from Holy Spirit in Millvale began offering lit even before we left.  Elaine & a lovely lady from the Legion of Mary also arrived before I left.

1-3 PM, Elaine and Marianne:


Prayers are needed for a 25 year old woman who had an abortion today who felt she had no choice because she was raped.

I talked to a passerby who knows of a woman who is pregnant but she is also a drug addict as well.  Prayers are needed for her and her unborn child.

A young man thanked us as he told us that his girlfriend had an abortion some time ago.  He broke up with her because of it.  He started to cry and said “That was my child.”

3-5 PM, Pat:

Today I experienced a very peaceful shift – save for the woman who told me I had no business being there since I was a man.  I spent much of the time praying on my knees on the materials side of the circle while Missy, my SB, spent her time reading and praying over Sacred Scripture from the other side.  (Forgive me, Missy, for forgetting to ask about the name of your church and where you were from!)  

I did see many people coming out, one of whom I was certain had had an abortion.  It’s funny that it’s not something I dwell on much while I’m there.  However, in this instance, the reality of watching a woman walk down the sidewalk who had just killed her own child really hit me.  

Missy in prayer with the Scriptures

5-7 PM, David and Bill:

It was only me and Bill but the sidewalk was crowded with people out for a Friday night. A few accepted info. Two young men with skateboards stopped and debated for a while. They were very civil, and that surprised me. Bill said, “we are planting seeds.”
A young couple exited PP, she was walking very gingerly. I offered info but the man declined.
A lady named Rose stopped by and thanked us and said that she had joined 40 Days for Life in Indianapolis, Indiana. She said it was very rewarding.
A young lady and her daughter walked by the models and the daughter said, “Mommy, I like that little baby!”

Day 9: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, City Center Churches, and all of our other volunteers!

Queen Esther of Persia

“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

~Esther C: 12, 14-16, 25

This passage from today’s First Reading is a beautiful prayer of dependence that Queen Esther prayed to God. I love that twice she says to God, “I am alone and have no help/no one but you.”

This Lent, the Lord has been calling me to deeper trust in Him. What is Queen Esther’s prayer but a prayer of trust? The fact is, in this spiritual battle against the evils of abortion, we are “alone” in a sense, and have “no one but God.” In other words, no one is going to be able to deliver us from evil except HIM.

May the Lord God deliver us from evil…. from the evils of abortion and all that goes with it…. now and forever.

Shift Manager Reports

Nikki:


It was a beautiful and peaceful shift. I love the early morning shift; people are sleepy and on their way to work, and nobody is angry! It was so nice to have warmer weather and bright skies also.  Peg and I started out by praying on our knees. Bob came to join us. He has been coming often, and we were very grateful for his presence there! We prayed as a group for a while and chatted about encouraging pro-life news.

Toward the end of our shift, couples began to go in for abortions. Some took the pro-life information, but went in anyway.  For each baby, I knelt and laid a tiny wooden cross with the flowers. There were five wooden crosses on the sidewalk by the time I left and Meredith took over.  All of these babies had somebody to pray for them today.  All of their parents were told there were alternatives. 

Shift Buddy Peg, 7-9 Shift Manager Nikki, and volunteer Bob
Busy day ay PP

Meredith (9-11am):

Just after a couple went into PP this morning, while I was on the far side of the circle from the display, a large group of female students came by on their way to the August Wilson Center for an event. While they were backed up on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street, several were able to take a good look at the fetal models. I think they felt more comfortable looking without someone being in close attendance, so I gave them some space. I tried giving models with the explanatory card to another group, but they steered clear.

Planned Parenthood was busy again this week. It didn’t seem as busy, but again, my six roses ended up on the ground. (And again, people picked them up!) I tried to speak to one couple who came out with brown bag in hand while they waited for their Uber. I asked if they were ok or if they needed any help and he assured me, not unkindly, that no, they weren’t having any f-ing baby; she just got a prescription, but thanks for asking. I admit, I kind of zoned out on the attitude toward pregnancy, and didn’t know what else to say so I walked away. They were having trouble connecting with their ride, and I wondered if the script was for the abortion pill, so I tried approaching her more directly, but she tried to avoid me, finally assuring me that it was for an infection. Maybe. Maybe not. People lie, a lot. So I prayed for them. We pray for all of them. Thank you, Father God, for hearing our prayers. One day, this madness will cease! Thank you to Bob, who, fortunately, came again this week, as my prayer buddy was running late!

Volunteer Bob and 9-11 Shift Manager, Meredith

Lisa K. (11am-1pm):

Once again, I am so grateful. My shift was powerful and amazing, because GOD is powerful and amazing. Sadly, there were women coming out after their abortions…. and our feelings of sadness and helplessness were definitely there. But I must have told Jesus “I trust in You” about a million times during that shift. We trust Him that HE’S got it under control, and we don’t!!!!

My prayer partners were wonderful. Fran, Carolina and I prayed a rosary together, during which a young man named Robbie stopped by to pray with us. He even asked for a rosary to keep. He was a bit unusual, but seemed genuine at the same time. We were glad he stopped by.

After the rosary, I really wanted to focus myself on silent prayer and the clients. Chuck was on one side of the circle, Carolina was on the other, and Fran and I were angled in the center. At one point, regular volunteer Bob stopped by to pray a rosary, and he stood in the center as well. I felt like we were sentinels, standing guard and keeping watch with our silent prayer. It was moving and powerful. I think those who passed by could sense the solemnity as they passed.

So THANK YOU to all those who came to pray with me today. God bless you all.

Volunteer Carolina and Shift Buddy Fran
Chuck from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene
11-1 Shift Manager Lisa K.

Carolyn (1-3pm):

From City Center Churches: Dolores, Rhodora, Nathan, and Fr. Chris,
along with 1-3 Shift Manager Carolyn

Helen (3-5pm):

Our shift went prayerfully. Joe & I prayed a rosary. No traffic at PP. Mimi came. We found her a seat on the top of the boxes. Another rosary. Then she had to head home. We then used the Scripture verses for a longer rosary. Lots of people out walking…more than usual. Katie came and went straight to the sidewalk with her graceful chalk art.  Charlie and Amy came a little early, so we got to compare notes before we had to leave. No complaints about the cold. 

Shift Buddy Joe and 3-5 Shift Manager Helen
Mimi graced the vigil with her presence once again

Charlie (5-7pm):

Amy and Sidewalk Advocate Katie were here with me tonight. We had one couple tell us their story about having two unplanned boys when the mom was 18 and 20. They were so happy that they didn’t choose abortion. There was also an incident where one of our signs was pushed over by an angry man, but that was over really quick.

Sidewalk Advocate Katie, Shift Buddy Joe, Shift Buddy Amy, and Shift Manager Helen
Always uplifting chalk art from our Katie!

Day 8…Thanks to Dedicated Individuals from Steubenville, St. Bernadette Church (Monroeville) & St. Scholastica/St. Joes (Aspinwall & Ohara)

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, for I am gracious and merciful.

What sort of emotion do you feel when you look at this photo? Does it make you smile or feel fearful? If we are looking at it in a practical way…of course, we should be afraid. A vulnerable baby, playing innocently right in front of a lion, who if he wanted to, could kill him with one swipe of his ferocious paw. But if we look at it through eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of the protectiveness of God for those who are weak and vulnerable and who put their trust in Him.

This photo reminds me of one of my favorite works of fiction; C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. In “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”, one of the children, (Edmund), is seduced by the White Witch to betray his siblings, all for promises of power and prestige. He realizes too late that he has been used as a pawn, and she has no intentions of honoring her promises to him. By this time however, he is trapped and there is no way to escape. Although Edmund gives up in despair, there is One who has not given up on him. Aslan, the majestic lion, (who represents Christ)…saves Edmund from death, just as the witch’s blade is poised to slice his throat. After this dramatic scene, Edmund and Aslan went for a walk, alone. When they came back, Edmund was a totally different sort of boy. He was humbled, contrite and grateful. Where before he had been afraid of Aslan, now he loved Him and pledged his undying loyalty to serving Him.

It’s funny how our perspective changes after we see the evil we have done and feel sorry for it.

Until that happens, instead of trusting in the goodness of God, we fear Him. That is probably why preachers such as Joel Osteen are so popular, (sorry to pick on Joel)…because they portray God as a nice guy who really doesn’t care too much about sin. (Especially if you are willing to send money!) The fact that the god they preach bears little resemblance to the God of the Bible doesn’t seem to matter much. The important thing is that their god is comfortable…not intimidating…and doesn’t ask much from us.

But when, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, we are given the gift of true repentance…we understand how BIG and POWERFUL this God of ours is…and how SMALL and PUNY we are in comparison. We understand just WHO we have offended by our sin! We…a tiny little gnat…have offended the creator of all the universe…from the largest galaxy, to the most tiniest, most fragile flower! When, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, this happens…unless we understand his GOODNESS…we would totally despair and flee in fright. But, since he has come to our rescue, and has fought off the evil one on our behalf…even to the point of laying down his own life…we can trust him. We can become like the vulnerable little child in the photo above…and snuggle right up to His Strength.

This is the state that we must be in, in order to fight this battle to end abortion. It is such an over-whelming foe. If we look at it in a practical way, we should be afraid. But, if we look at it with the eyes of faith, we can see the beauty of God’s protectiveness for those who trust in Him.

If God is with us, who can be against us?

Scroll down to read the accounts from the sidewalk today, written by our fearless and trusting shift managers, and to see photos of those who came to the vigil today.

Peg and Mary were the shift managers from 7-9 this morning:

Shift Manager Mary with the wonderful group from Steubenville
Shift Manager Peg with Tracy and Beth from Steubenville

Rose wrote from the 9-11 shift:

Thanks to Rose who subbed for Cathy during the 9-11am shift. Feel better soon Cathy!!!


Filling in for Cathy again this Wed. and so grateful for the warmer weather!  We had many affirmations today and just a few criticisms.  A young girl, “K”, was very impressed with the fetal models and had many questions.  I gave her some info and she talked extensively with Tracy and Beth.  They said she was appalled that she wasn’t taught this info in schools. She left very grateful for all the info we gave her!  It was a delight to see her face light up – what a blessing for all of us.Theresa and I prayed the pro-life intentions and it seemed that whevever we prayed one someone came by to talk to us.  Fr. Tim’s group came early, and they are always to enthusiastic to be there.  I was very blessed to pray for Life today!!!
 

Vigil participant Tracy wrote:


To add to Rose’s report about Beth and my interaction with a young lady, “K”, at PP this morning: What I failed to add was how shocked she was that in all her 27 years of life the truth had evaded her. 27 years! It is pretty amazing! But, we know full well there are many others who have bought the “Blob of Tissue” lie who are even older than she is!
Keep on Marchin’!
Tracy 🙂

Hank and Judy had the 11-1 shift:



The weather was much better today than a week ago, but there was the usual storm of prayer  when the Guardians of Life are present to petition our good Lord to bring an end to the scourge of abortion.  There were 15 people with the Guardians including Fr. Tim.  We were joined also for part of the shift by Therese from St. Barbara Bridgeville and Lisa and Ed from St.Bernadette. There was a good amount of foot traffic especially during the lunch hour, but not many individuals going into PP.  Several of those passing by gave us a thumbs up, a fist bump, a warm smile, a thank you or a God bless you.  We had the occasional glaring look and one man on a bicycle screamed that we were going to hell for our efforts.  We prayed two rosaries, the Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross and made a joyful noise (we sang) throughout the shift.  Terri distributed a good bit of literature an engaged several individuals in conversation that hopefully will have planted the seed that causes them see abortion for its harmful effects, morally and emotionally, over and above the death of an innocent child.  Praised be Jesus Christ, God-hero, Wonder-counselor, Prince of Peace.

Ed from St. Bernadette
Fr. Tim leading the rosary
Lisa from St. Bernadette with shift manager Judy
Theresa from St. Barbara, Judy and Terri with Guardians for Life
Knights of Columbus

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:


The warmer weather was very much appreciated on the sidewalk.  As always, I was joyfully greeted by Hank, the previous Shift Manager, and Father Tim’s Guardians for Life.  As I greeted Hank, we were told by a young woman walking by, “I wish your Moms had aborted you!”.  Not five minutes later, another young woman yelled, “It’s my *$* $ # body!”  Unperturbed, we prayed Rosary after Rosary and prayed for the two women.  I was joined by non-stop Rosary pray-ers Jerri, Winnie, and Dee, all from St. Bernadette’s, and Marilyn from St. Bernard’s.  Several passersby thanked us for being there.  I also wore what I call “The Sign of Truth” (pictured) that states the number of children, on average, killed each week at PP.  It was good to see people reading the words as they walked by.  There wasn’t much client traffic, but a noticeable number of PP workers going in and out.

Chris wore “the sign of truth”
Three angels from St. Bernadette!
Marilyn

Jeannie was the shift manager from 3-5:


We had a lovely day on the sidewalk today. Lots of positive encouragement and very little negative. We had a couple interesting experiences too. Krista told me that one of the kid on a skateboard had taken one of the roses so I was on the lookout when a young man holding a skateboard came up to me and said he wanted to pray with me. He was a typical teen. He had shaved his head on both sides and had a ponytail in the middle. I was ready for him to begin a verbal assault on us instead of praying with us. Boy was I wrong! The young man whose name is Isaac lead us in a beautiful prayer invoking Jesus mercy and love to end abortion in our country. He even prayed for the workers in the clinic and for each of us standing on the sidewalk!!! Don’t judge a book by its cover! And another beautiful event, the crazy guy came down the sidewalk and was banging Into things and came over to try to push our display over. Out of the bookstore ran a young man who scared off the crazy fellow. The young man said to us “that guy was in my shop yesterday I had to throw him out”. How kind of this young man to come out to try to help us when he saw trouble. Hope is in the air!!
 

Another great afternoon for my women’s movement. Love it Marilyn  from Saint Bernard’s and Mary Catherine and Ann from Saint Scholastica

A beautiful rose, laying forgotten on the pavement. Just like the beautiful children being forgotten inside this terrible place.

Joe stood vigil for the final shift of the day from 5-7 PM:

Overall a very quiet, actually eerily quiet, shift.

I was blessed once again to be be joined by my shift buddy Lori.
We shared with Jim who stopped by and prayed – thanks Jim & Lori!

Not much car / bus traffic and limited foot traffic today.

933 had a lot of folks entering / exiting this evening – must’ve been
some kind-o-meeting???

Another highlight – a little girl stopped by to look at the fetal models and
eagerly took 2 of the take-home ones with her, but not before picking up
one of the flowers and picking off all the petals before catching back up
with her group…

Day 7: Thank you St. Alexis and St. Paul Seminary!

What drives a woman who deems herself strongly pro-life to consider having an abortion? According to an article in Celebrate LIFE magazine by a strongly pro-life woman, who found herself pregnant….FEAR.

Fear of Judgement, Fear of Responsibility, Fear of losing friends and a fun, carefree Life. Fear’s grip is exceptionally strong. It made her question everything that she inherently knew was wrong.

We all have fears. There is a great song that you may have heard that is about “breaking up” with fear. It has over 9 million downloads, so I’m guessing fear is a pretty common emotion. We can all relate!

But there is hope, because there is a perfect antidote to fear….LOVE

1 John 4:18: Perfect LOVE drives out FEAR

So when she told her boyfriend that she was pregnant, he responded with such LOVE and tenderness, that she became brave enough to choose what is right over what seemed easy. She was still afraid about the journey ahead, but her LOVE for her preborn child replaced her fears.

She says “don’t allow fear to drive your decisions, Trust in the Lord to help you choose the path that is right! Be brave and step out in faith!

The theme chosen for this spring campaign is LOVE. May we always show the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the sidewalk and everywhere!

7-9: Charlene and Dick
Dick and I expected to be the only prayer warriors on the sidewalk this morning but were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Ed. Ed has been coming very regularly early Tuesdays…handing out brochures and warm greetings on a cold morning.

We talked about how we love to come to the sidewalk and we know God has everything under control. Ed said he sometime wished God would “let us in on His time line”. My Mom’s favorite prayer was the Serenity Prayer, it hung in our living room. 

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…courage to change those things I can and wisdom to know the difference”. On the sidewalk we need to add a lot of Faith…God knows we can change the world…and he is with us to prove it!!!
Charlene

Dick and I and the babies!

9-11: Beth, Mary Jane and Beth Ann
Cold feet, cold hands, brisk wind but warm hearts.  Shift managers Charlene and Dick were on duty along with Ed who handed out quite a bit of pro-life literature.  Mary Jane came to pray along with two wonderful gentleman, John Paul and Thong.  God’s blessings can take many disguises; today His blessing came as handwarmers which Diane included in the equipment box: much appreciated. 

 Unfortunately, business was also brisk at PP, lots of clients.  One woman tried to enter PP through the gallery next door.  But she would not change her mind; it’s heart-breaking.  Her friend just kept saying as she laughed that we couldn’t help her and hustled her inside PP.

From St. Alexis, Beth Ann, Diane and Marilyn came as John Paul and Thong finished their time and went to get warmed up. People passing by mostly hurried to get out of the cold.  At 933 Liberty Avenue, the greatest coldness  is inside not on the sidewalk.
Thanks to new shift manager Fran for coming right on time and taking over like a pro.


11-1: Fran

When I arrived for the shift I was greeted by the ladies from St. Alexis who had been with Beth through most of her shift.  I saw Beth on the opposite side of the circle talking with a gentleman.  I soon found out that he was not a part of our group but that he had brought his own sign that indicated he is against abortion but he wished to stand alone.  He remained at the vigil on the opposite side of the circle almost to the end of my shift and he was very kind to pick up our signage after a man walking by deliberately knocked it over.  After Beth left, Diane, Beth Ann and I prayed the Rosary.  When Donna arrived she and I prayed the Prayers of Petition that are typed on the reverses side of some of our signs.  The doors to PP were somewhat active but mostly to admit individuals, not many couples (of course, that would not be the time we would see the couples).  On the sidewalk most people hurried by not accepting literature; some smiled and blessed us while others expressed some form of disagreement.  Then Nikki arrived with three beautiful sunflowers and, not far behind her were 3 seminarians who were prepared to offer prayers for the well being of all those who are in need of hope and guidance and also for the judicial decision that would result in the permanent closure of the doors that lead to so much pain and suffering. Grace & Peace, Fran

Donna
Nikki with the Seminarians

1-3: Nikki
I  was very blessed to share the sidewalk with a large group of seminarians from St. Paul’s Seminary today. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue, but in contrast to the sunny weather there was a darkness on the sidewalk, I thought. Many of the seminarians remained on their knees  which made a powerful statement of the seriousness of the reason that we do this. Although we got very few positive comments today and some negative, I believe that seeing people pray on their knees does go a long way to defuse anger. 

 It was obviously a very busy abortion day, sadly. Many couples went in while I was there, and also many couples came out. It seemed to me that when we do this, although it is very sad and we see no good results,  that it is necessary. God is putting up with so many people who don’t love him and don’t know good from evil. We are like little lights bouncing around in much darkness. It is hard, but  it is necessary. 
In addition, Frank showed up to pray,  along with John and towards the end of my shift Kim and Mike came. They are the shift buddies for the 3 to 5 shift manager, Mike.  I am very grateful to everyone who sacrificed and prayed today!

Michael and Kim

3-5: Michael
I was accompanied by shift buddies Kim and Michael who prayed and kneeled for most of the shift.
What tremendous prayer warriors for Life!!!  Nothing eventful to report. Many passerbys gave positive
body language to indicate approval and agreement with what we are doing. One person spit on the
baby display and a young woman said we should get out of here with our stuff.  The sun shined brightly
and Spring is in the air. Every time I am at PP, I am reassured that we need to be there, especially on days when they
are doing abortions. LORD HAVE MERCY!!! 3

5-7pm Lisa and Johanna

A Quiet Evening
For as much as I am sorry for the WHY we go and pray and witness at 933 Liberty Avenue I found myself very much looking forward to praying today.  I tend to be anxious about the thought of Johanna and I being alone but she reassures me that God and his angels are with us.  I had no need for any anxiety today as we were joined by two wonderful couples to bolster our ranks.  We are very appreciative of Connie and Marc and Audrey and Jim being with us tonight and with promises of coming back on future Tuesday evenings! Blessings, Lisa

Audrey, Jim, Marc, Connie, Johanna, Lisa

Day 6: Finley United Methodist, St. Mary of the Assumption, St. Ursula and CMF Mother of Sorrows

It’s now time to sow seeds of truth and love.

Farmers know when it is time to sow the seeds and so do we.

As our campaign gets underway our job is simple: sow the seeds of truth and love. Sometimes we don’t have to do a lot to have a big impact. The reason is we are not alone. We have God on our side. We just need to show up and sow the seeds. God will do the rest. He will make them grown despite the harsh conditions.

We must do our small part so God can do His . As He does with the plants in the field, He will make our seeds grow abundantly. Chances are we won’t see how the seeds grow, we won’t see the babies saved. We won’t know of the cars that passed by and kept going, nor those women who just kept on walking nor those who come out before their abortion. Sometimes we do find out that we saved a life. Maybe it’s when they leave and tell us or when someone stops and thanks us for saving their child years ago.

What seeds do we sow and how do we do it? It starts with our peaceful and prayerful presence. It’s our smiles and kind words. Our witness to those passing by on the sidewalk or driving down the streets states “every life is sacred, we care and we can help” and contrary to what many in the world say, we are saying by our presence “abortion is evil and wrong”. And of course there are the seeds of our prayers which I know are heard.

Well it’s time for us to do our small part and sow some seeds. We sow them and He’ll make them grown. Like the farmer we just need to trust.

Get your group or a few friends to come to witness and pray outside pp. So sign up or just show up. You and God will make a big difference. Tim B.

Here are the recaps from today at the vigil. Stop back as this will be updated throughout the day.

From Sue 7-9am:

I read Sunday’s blog before heading to the sidewalk this morning and I have to say, I felt the same way as Pat. But it was good to connect again with my shift buddy Rose. We said the Joyful mysteries and than Rose just started looking around and thanking God for every little thing that came into her line of sight. ie… public transportation (the noisy buses!!). Being grateful definitely pulls you out of the slump! Fran, whose birthday is today, showed up to stand with us in honor of her mother who at a young age,  chose life for Fran! Now I was definitely out of my slump!! Than I passed the badge to Donna and her sister who came early to stand for the next shift!

From Donna 9-11 am

It was a beautiful sunny cool Monday for our shift. My shift buddy and sister, Diane and I were joined by Fran and Findlay United Methodist Church members; Renate, Marsha, Paula & Pam and Evangeline Grace (3 mos) who made her first appearance at 40 Days For Life with her mother, Rachel and Grandmother, Suzanne. Mark also stopped by to pray the rosary and to welcome Evangeline Grace. It was pretty uneventful. We had a few nasty looks but several “thank you’s”. My sister was a little apprehensive since this was her first time but was thrilled to meet so many wonderful people and is excited to come back next week. God loves to take us out of our comfort zone. Thank you to all who came out to pray today and stand for life. While praying today all I could think of is “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”. I relate things to music and that is a MercyMe song “Greater”. After that I thought of Chris Tomlin’s song “Resurrection Power”. Hearing those words from those songs turned into prayers today. May the Holy Spirit empower us, fill us and equip us to combat the enemy of our day and end this modern day holocaust of abortion. To God Be The Glory

Donna

From 1-3 pm From Beth:

We weren’t doing anything unlawful so we wondered why the fire department official was headed our way.  He said, “Thanks, keep up the good work.” What a nice surprise on a cold day.  Charlie stopped on his lunch break, as did Pat.  Chris and Dan came and prayed with us as PP had a slow day from the amount of clients that entered.  Let’s hope tomorrow morning is twice as slow.  Rose and I turned everything over to Marie and Peter.  Only one negative from a man who said that if it wasn’t for PP there would be more abortions and all we had to do is check the “stats.”  Too bad he didn’t stop, just to get the true stats that even one abortion is one too many.

From Marie 3-5pm: PP was quiet. Had some positive comments and jestures  from passers by. Marie

Day 5: THANK YOU to Saint Regis Parish and Knights of Columbus; Park Baptist Church; Holy Child Parish, St. Barbara Parish, St. Mary Parish; School Sisters of St. Francis; The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Loretto, PA; Sisters of Charity, Seton Hill; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, North Hills; Carmelite Monastery, Erie, PA; Sisters of Saint Joseph, Baden; SS. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary

JESUS BLESSING

Five children under 7 in the front room, Mother and Dad in the middle room, and Grandmother and disabled Papa in the back bedroom; three generations shared the two story house in Morningside.  JESUS BLESSING adorned the wall where the stairs led from the first floor to the second.

As a first grader, I walked with my Dad to St. Raphael Church for Lent Mass, a cold foggy lovely walk.

We pray and fast. THANK YOU, all you who cherished the integrity of the Old Testament since the beginning!

Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim.
Of her the most sure beginning is the desire for discipline,
care for discipline means loving her,
loving her means keeping her laws,
obeying her laws guarantees incorruptibility,
incorruptibility brings near to God….
In each generation she passes into holy souls,
she makes them friends of God and prophets….
She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other,
ordering all things for good.
WISDOM

…friends of God and prophets.  God visits with Job, listens to him and  invites him to share ideas.  Eventually Job realizes that God creates. Job is created.  It happens to be true. It is what it is. The Bible tells the story powerfully, succinctly, lovingly.

Then Yahweh turned to Job, and he said:
Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer?
This was the answer Job gave to Yahweh:
I know that you are all-powerful:
what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your designs
with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,
on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
…I repent.
Job

THANK YOU, all who protected the integrity of the New Testament since the beginning!

Jesus asked Simon to put out a short distance from the shore.
Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.
Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets. When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.
Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.
They left everything and followed him.
LUKE

We avoid discipline. It hurts.  With effort, pleasing God becomes our goal. Things fall into place. We dare to leave everything else and follow him.

John the Baptist is not a reed trembling in the wind
but a palm stronger than every storm….
He has fixed his root in heaven, where not a breath of any gale blows, from where, free from fear, he can laugh at the threats …
and all the world’s adversities.
Blessed Guerric of Igny (1157)
MAGNIFICAT February 2019

We witness at Planned Parenthood, a huge government and culturally endorsed industry; a face of organized evil in America.  People who support abortion are not the evil.  They are its prey, its captives. 

We ask desperate parents to trust us.  We ask desperate people to change their mind.  We bring God.  He knows their heart.  He loves them.  In Him, we can help.

I saw this video recently. Talking Heads – Life During Wartime – Stop Making Sense 1984. It reminded me of the joy of camaraderie I feel as a witness for life with our 40 Days Team. Enjoy the video.  Enjoy the vibe.  Ignore the lyrics.

 

Fuel is a substance that is used to provide power. Religious women and men are powerful prayer warriors.  Thanks be to God. 

DEE

FUEL 1
School Sisters of St. Francis
S. Frances Marie 
The School Sisters of St. Francis will offer prayers and sacrifices during the 40 days of Lent to end abortion and to support those working to put an end to abortion.
Thanks for all you do to promote life!

FUEL 2
The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Loretto, PA
Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Thank you for contacting us and requesting that with our prayers, sacrifices and fasting, we join your mission to close the Pittsburgh abortuary.  We are so happy to do this and will include this special intention in our daily prayers during the Holy Season of Lent!
Wishing you all every Angelic protection in this worthy effort and every grace from the Holy Mother of God.

FUEL 3
Sisters of Charity, Seton Hill
Sister Barbara Einloth gathered commitments from individual Sisters in the Community to work and pray for our Team and to end abortion (and close 933).
Daily prayer for this intention sometime between 7am and 7pm
19 Sisters committed to doing this.
Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for a specific day of the week
11 Sisters made the commitment to do this.
Fasting for this intention at a meal, or on a specific day of the week, or from a favorite food this Lent, or fast of their choice.
11 Sisters made the commitment for this.

FUEL 4
Sister Anne Kull, SCN
Coordinator, St. Louise Convent
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, North Hills
Our local Community here at St. Louise will offer up our daily Rosary for the success of your Team of 40 Day for Life to close the abortion mill on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh.  Some of the Sisters who can will also fast for this intention.
We can only hope and pray that one day this scourge of abortion will be obliterated from our world and that every child conceived will be welcomed into a loving family.
God bless you, your Team and your efforts.
8200 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237, 412-364-3000 x235

FUEL 5
Carmelite Monastery, Erie, PA
Your devoted Carmelite Nuns
Praised be Jesus Christ!!
Saints Francisco and Jacinta of Fatima                 
In today’s Mass readings we heard that Noah send out a raven after 40 days of the flood…but it wasn’t until three weeks later that a dove came bearing an olive branch signifying peace.
Your 40 Days of Prayer come after the horrendous standing ovation in NYC for infanticide. But is not abortion the greatest child abuse, infanticide in the womb? What life will be sacred if we fail to protect the most vulnerable?  How apt then that this 40 Days coincides with Church’s season of Lent!  It is a time of extra prayer and penance which we willingly embrace for the cause of life and respect for the human person that is in the womb. 
We “have your back” in this holy of battles, begging Our Lady in
particular, for Her intercession for all involved:  for the grace of strength and perseverance for those on the sidewalk; and conversion of heart for the mothers; and conversion for all of those within the building who seek the death of the child.  In honor of her “yes” at the Incarnation (March 25th), may many say “yes” to life, thus sparing the unborn child.
The word “Lent” translates as “springtime,” and as Noah was assured of new springtime for the earth, may our poor world through your efforts experience a new springtime of new life expected and protected after the flood of death. 
Proclaim in season and out of season: “Every conception is an invitation to eternal life – please accept it!” 
Thank you for accepting on our behalf, Our Lord’s invitation to pray, to suffer and to speak out for life.  We are your praying heart and you are our feet, hands and mouth.  God bless, and Mary keep and protect you all.
Sincerely, in Jesus, Mary and Joseph

FUEL 6
Sisters of Saint Joseph, Baden
Sister Sharon Costello, CSJ, Congregational Moderator
The Sisters of Saint Joseph we will keep you and 40 Days for Life in our prayers.

 

FUEL #7
Deacon, Nathan Adams (Student Representative)
Father Robert, Rector of SS. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary, passed on your invitation to participate in the 40 Days for Life to us seminarians.
While we have often been with you in person these last years, unfortunately we are unable to join you this year.
Please know that we are with you in prayer and in full support of this most essential ministry.
Please continue to invite us to the future opportunities, so that in years to come we might produce a more positive turnout.
In Christ

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

PAT M. 7-9

“We get to do this!”  Nikki’s words from the email she sent to rally us just before we started this campaign kept going through my mind.  I think she prefaced those words – which echoed the sentiments of Sean Carney – by reminding us that this not a task to be dreaded, but embraced.  When I first read those words last week, I was really struck by them…as in, kind of struck down.  I didn’t have Nikki’s attitude about this campaign.  I was, while not fully dreading it, certainly not looking forward to it.  My mind was focused on the sacrifices I was going to have to make and not much else.  But when I read what she wrote, I had to acknowledge, at least in an intellectual sense, that what she said was absolutely true.  The problem was, even with this intellectual assent, my heart wasn’t where my head was.  That is, until this morning.

First of all, the good God gave this weak soul unseasonably high temperatures, no wind, and none of the rain that was being predicted.  That was no small boost to my spirits.  But still, I was there this morning because had scheduled my parish for this shift — and I wasn’t so sure anyone from St. Regis would be joining me, especially after realizing that I had scheduled us for a 7 AM start when we had all just lost an hour of sleep.  Yet there was my faithful brother Knight of Columbus Albert and his wife Yolanda once again to join me from the beginning.  Then, I had the very pleasant surprise of having Lud, another brother Knight, come and pray at PP for the very first time.  And perhaps best of all, I once again had SB Vince there to lead us all in prayer, which he does so well.  We prayed all four mysteries of the rosary together and then the Divine Mercy chaplet at the end.  There were times I honestly had to restrain my joy from leaking out and doing a little dance (which would have been an embarrassing sight for all involved). 


 

St. Regis parishioners begin the Rosary

with shift buddy, Vince, St. Sebastian

Lud, Vince, Yolanda, Albert

___________________________________

SUE 9-11

Ken, my faithful shift buddy, and I were joined by a lovely family from Bridgeville, James and Kathy and their children.   We prayed and had good conversation.  We had several positive comments from passersby, and I don’t remember any negative ones.  Ken shared a beautiful photo of his new twin grandbabies.  It was as good a morning as could be had while being on the sidewalk at a dark place.  All praise and thanks to our Lord Jesus, Whose will be the Victory (already is, as we know!)!

___________________________________

ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1

For the first hour of our shift, Rich and I were there alone.
Bill H. stopped by to sprinkle holy water on Planned Parenthood.
Halfway through our shift the R. family came to say a few prayers with us. It is always nice to have their presence on the sidewalk. What a wonderful witness to see these children praying.
A fellow whose name is Jim stopped to witness with us. He lives in town and I believe many shift managers would recognize him because he seems to pop in and out of 40 days.
It was a pleasant day with no negativity during our shift.



Regular 40 Days Prayer Warrior Family

___________________________________

LINDSAY 1-3

Lindsay was joined by volunteers from Park Baptist Church. She said it was a really great group of people. We thank you for your time spent in prayer for the unborn and their families!

_____________________________________

ANDY 3-5

So nice to pray in the sun on a windy Sunday afternoon.
Holy Child, St. Bernards’s, St. Valentine’s, and St. Louise de Marillac were represented and we prayed the USCCB Sorrowful Pro Life Rosary and the pro life Stations of the Cross as the Penguin’s fans made their way to the stadium for tonight’s game against the Flyers. 


Holy Child, St. Bernard’s, St. Valentine’s, St. Louise de Marillac

Sunday Witnesses for Life going the extra mile!

___________________________________

JOE 5-7

What a glorious day!!!Andy hung out after his shift to keep me company. He engaged 2 young ladies in a back and forth,  deep and lengthy  conversation on life issues. Was impressive to watch him offer himself up to them, and lay another block in the foundation. Well done Andy.


All glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

  And God saw that it was good.

Day 4: Thanks to St. Maria Goretti, Bloomfield and many wonderful Individual Volunteers

Like many of you, I have been involved in the pro-life movement for more than a few years. My sainted mom, God rest her soul involved the whole family in prayer and witness for the cause of life even before 1973. Several of us remain actively involved today…. 46 years later.

I always thought once the country realized the humanity of the unborn child, and therefore the injustice of Roe v Wade, laws would immediately change to respect life ….. but I was wrong. — It is 2019 and we are seeing both the most liberal and most conservative abortion laws introduced by states throughout our country…

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Why ? Because Abortion is a Civil Rights issue and like any historic struggle of this nature, when the Rights of one group of Americans need to be expanded, other groups push back in fear of losing their rights… Changing civil rights laws requires Changing Hearts, which takes time.

Consider these Civil Rights timelines:

1619 : A Dutch ship brings the first permanent African settlers to Jamestown, VA.
1651 : Rhode Island declares that an enslaved person must be freed after 10 years of service. — the first legal protection for people of color in the United States.
But, it was not until 1868: — A full 217 (two hundred and seventeen) years and a horrible war later that the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified granting human rights to Black Americans.

And :
1848: the first Women’s Rights Convention is held at Seneca Falls, NY with Pro –Life feminist heroes Elizabeth Cady Stanton  & Susan B. Anthony leading the way.

1920: ( 72 years later)  the Nineteenth Amendment giving American Women full voting rights is ratified.

And even more recently with the advantage of mass media, although 43 million Americans have physical or mental disabilities, it was only 1990 that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications!!

So here we are 46 years after Roe v. Wade and the Abortion issue continues to divide us. THANK HEAVENS!!! Abortion is still an issue because someone is being denied human rights, and it tears at the conscience of Americans. Praise be to God that the issue is NOT SETTLED.

The time for reasonable debate and dialogue about this civil rights issue is…. NOW. The abolitionists (who labored for 217 years to end slavery) and suffragists (who worked for 72 years for voting rights) would be PROUD.

-Jeannie (proud pro-life feminist)

SHIFT MANAGER REPORTS :

7- 9 am Shift Manager Virginia says:

This shift was quiet. Tom dropped off the materials, and Joe, David and myself were present.
Joe had the “baby display”  (designed by Jeff) so David was in from of the Condo/offices with that.
There were 3 couples [male-female] that went in but took no literature, and ignored any verbal greeting.
About 8:30 a fellow came (Dan) and was shortly joined by a friend, Lawrenceville parishioners.
There were many PP escorts, about 11. A fellow passing by and taking a yellow card, suggested we try and hand these cards out at AA meetings.

9-11 am Shift Manager Sue reports:

The weather was so nice this morning, I almost didn’t need hand and feet warmers inside my gloves and shoes. When I arrived, there were sidewalk advocates, a group from Erie as well as Dan and friends from St. Maria Goretti’s! Quite a few people went into PP but we did our best to offer our yellow resource card. The group from Erie spent the entire shift praying on the other side of the circle. On our side, Dan lead us in the Divine Mercy then Jared and Mary came around 10am and lead the rosary. Sue

Married couple Jared and Mary joined the prayer team advocating for Adoption!

1-3 pm Shift Manger Billy says:

I was shift manager from 1 to 3 today and I stayed with Joe and Katie until 4 in case they needed any extra help. We had a gentleman (I didn’t get his name) and Mary Jane there until 2:30, I was with Bridgette and Nadine until 3 o’clock, and Joe came a little earlier than his shift today. We prayed. I saw about 8 people total come out of planned parenthood, got a bunch of compliments and a few negative comments. Lisa K was there praying for an hour. We had also a gentleman asking about War today. It was a very eventful start and from 3 to 4 I helped Katie out for a bit.

Thanks for coming today!

3-5pm New Shift Manager Report from Katy:

My first shift as a shift manager started with being greeted by Billy, Joe, Nadine, and Bridget. Billy stayed an extra hour to pray with us, which was wonderful. Joe was a great example of Christ, saying Hi to everyone that passed us on the street. The greeting was often unreciprocated, and there was the occasional individual telling us to “get a life,” but periodically there was someone that would ask how we were, or offer encouragement. We were greeted by a Messianic Jew witness who shared with us his hopes of Roe V. Wade being overturned. There was a man who turned after already being down the road to speak to us about how “we will be living on the moon soon because the world is overpopulated,” and then continued to hop around on viewpoints, stating views such as more people should adopt, so we were ultimately unclear on his position. Despite that, I was thankful that he felt compelled to turn back around and engage with us. Lastly, there was a cute moment where a mother walked by our display model with her son and said “you were that small once,” to which the son excitedly responded “really?!”

I am so grateful to God for this opportunity to witness for life!

Shift Managers Billy and Katy and Personable Joe
Shift Managers Billy & Katy & faithful Joe


From 5-7 Shift Manager Nikki:

We arrived for our 5 to 7 shift tonight to find two very chilly prayer warriors, Katy and Joe. They had faithfully prayed and witnessed during the 3 to 5 shift. Shortly after they left, a young man from Saint Sylvester‘s parish was  walking past and he saw our signs. He stopped and told me that he had heard about 40 days for life from his men’s group at his parish. He kindly offered to get us something warm to drink. I told him I did not need anything, but invited him to stay and pray, which he did. We prayed a rosary, then he left to go to the festival of praise at Holy Apostles parish tonight. After that it was just Joe and I praying by ourselves. One  older couple stopped to talk. The husband was an obstetrician, although he is now retired. He said he has delivered 7000 babies. He is so angry about the governor of Virginia’s comments and about the terrible laws which now permit infanticide. He was so visibly angry, he said he will be speaking about it on the Christian radio station this coming week. He thanked us for being there. We got Many, Many, Many  thank you’s and positive comments. I did not hear a single negative one. In fact, at one point, somebody from the bar threw another person out, yelling and swearing at him, telling him never to come back again. Then he looked at us and saw us praying, and he apologized to us for his bad language! Isn’t that something?  Finally, a prayer volunteer named Mary, coincidentally also from Saint Sylvester Parish, came for her assigned 6 PM hour. We prayed together until faithful Diane and Tom arrived to pick up the materials. Thank you everyone for praying today! 
 – Nikki

So there was this young man Jack just passing by …… Welcome to the Prayer Team Jack
from St. Sylvester in Brentwood.

Lovely Mary joined for our last hour of prayer on the sidewalk. Blessings, Mary!

Day 3: Thank you to Jefferson County Christian School and Individual Volunteers!

“It’s true love.”  Pop culture paints us a picture of overwhelming emotion sweeping people off their feet, carrying them off to happily-ever-after.  But pop culture doesn’t really believe in “true love,” relegating the concept to princess cartoons and romance novels. Good thing, because that’s not what it actually looks like anyway.

True love can be beautiful, but it can also be messy and difficult and tiring.  True love is holding someone’s hand as the doctor tells them bad news. True love is asking for forgiveness after you’ve hurt someone.  True love is driving a beat-up old car so you can share the money you save with someone in need.

True love wants the highest and best good for the loved one, even when it means putting that person’s needs before your own.  The best example of true love that humankind has ever seen? Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, giving up everything that was rightfully His…taking on everything that we suffer…offering His very life for our salvation.

He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

John 13:1

This is the kind of love we need in our lives, and the kind that we need to give to everyone around us.  It’s the kind of love that leads a young woman in a difficult situation to choose life for her unborn child, and the kind that moves others to surround her with support.  May God use our presence on the sidewalk to open all hearts to that kind of love–His kind of love–TRUE love. Thank you for being a part of this campaign!

-Jen

Here are the pictures and reports from today’s vigil!

7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:

Richard and Tom
Marianne, Kathy, and Libby

Rosy red skies glowed on our left as we crossed the Veteran’s Bridge into Downtown.
22 Degrees and we were bundled so completely that we would not have recognized each other except that we traveled in the same car.
Tom had already set up the bins. Passers by and vehicles already competed for space.
One by one, beginning around 7:30, people went into PP and then a young couple lingered to finish a cigarette each. We offered free available confidential help, but they resolutely entered. Three more couples and a young woman alone went in. One young tall healthy looking man rode his bike to the door, swiftly opened it and skillfully maneuvered his bike inside. I prayed that someday soon he will offer his youthful vitality in the cause for life.
One man gave me a dollar. I gave it away soon after asking the person to, “Pass it on!” A good vibe to share for life. One young woman waiting in her car at the light across the street, opened her window, and called, “Thank you!” to me.
Kathy, Marianne and Libby showed up and our first Shift was complete.
God is so good!

9-11 AM, Kathy and Marianne:

Friends from Jefferson County Christian School
Bringing the love of Christ to all who pass by
Young people are the future and the hope of the Pro-Life movement!

Thank you to individual volunteers and Jefferson County Christian School group.
My shift started by quietly praying together with Marianne and Libby. After we finished, I turned my attention to passing out literature while the ladies continued praying. Some patrons accepted the lit, others didn’t.  Most passersby accepted lit. 
 One young couple who accepted the lit and entered pp, exited about 30 minutes later with the young lady holding a white paper in her hand.  She pulled the lit out of her pocket and put both together.  Let’s hope and pray she looks at the resources and uses them.
A large group from Jefferson County Christian School arrived (20 total) eager to pray and reach out to those needing help.  These young people and chaperones showed the joy of the Lord through their prayers, songs, and willingness to be there.  God bless them and all who came today.

11 AM-1 PM, Sheila and Pastor Bryan:

Witnesses for life and love from Jefferson County Christian School

I had the great pleasure of spending my shift with this wonderful group from Jefferson County Christian School (Wintersville, Ohio) which included Pastor Martin and Pastor Foster.  Pastor Brian is pictured as well.  It was inspiring to see these youth in action, as they reached out to passersby and those entering the clinic with smiles, encouraging words and prayers. One story of note – Pastor Foster prayed over a young woman who had an abortion on Valentine’s Day and was returning to PP for a checkup.  She teared up and told us that she regrets the abortion. “I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.” She said she wishes we were there the day she had her abortion. She also noted that her mom is the most pro-life person you’d ever want to meet. She was provided with post-abortion healing resources. 

1-3 PM, Elaine and Missy:

On my first day of being a shift manager I was excited to see so many youth  from the previous shift as I arrived at Planned Parenthood.  As I talked to a few of them before my shift started, I was filled with joy in seeing their commitment to the pro-life movement.  They were students from Jefferson County Christian School in Ohio.  During my shift, the encouragement that I felt in the midst of the darkness in the evil of abortion was when some people who passed us by gave us a smile and said “Thank you for doing this.” I am sure that God is telling us that same message with a smile on his face!!

3-5 PM, Pat:

Shift buddy Beth from St. John XXIII parish
Mary Jane from Mt. Lebanon

I only encountered one negative comment my whole shift.  And, thanks to the grace of God (and a slow wit), I didn’t respond.  
It was great to be able to have so much time to pray.  I took one side and Beth took the other and we both prayed by ourselves.  And then Mary Jane from Mt. Lebanon came and did a fantastic job of passing out the resource cards to many, many people.
 

5-7 PM, Kathy and Bill:

Blessed to stand with Bill and Mary Jane. Many interesting encounters. Man stopped to share his story: when he was 15 , he got a 17-year-old pregnant. He excelled at school and was awarded a $50 gift. He gave it to her to get an abortion. She bought $50 worth of baby clothes!  Now he is thrilled with 2 grandchildren. I invited him to come pray with us. 

Day 2: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Holy Angels Parish (Hayes), City Center Churches, Catholic Men’s Fellowship, and all of our other volunteers!!

In today’s liturgical First Reading, we hear from Deuteronomy 30:15-20. This passage tells us that Moses admonished the people of Israel to follow God, and they would have life. By NOT following God, they would die.

Sometimes, we can physically die from not choosing God. And sometimes, the death is spiritual. We can find ourselves lost, and far away from where we had perhaps even intended to go, initially.

But God is a God of mercy…. a God of second (and third, and fifth, and 80,327th) chances.

Do you know anyone who has had an abortion? I do. Some people talk about the abortion experience as though it were liberating. Even Abby Johnson, the well-known FORMER abortion worker, felt that way at first. But we know that having an abortion not only causes physical death to the child in the womb, but it can cause spiritual, emotional, and psychological death to the mother. Oftentimes, these are effects that she may not even be cognizant of. But that doesn’t make it any less sad.

Point is….. this is LENT, folks. The PERFECT time for change….. for turning our hearts around….. for following the Lord more perfectly. He tells us in today’s Gospel, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23b) He also says, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9:25)

So if we think that abortion is an easy way out, and a way to “gain the whole world,” as Jesus says, we are fooling ourselves. We will, instead, lose our souls in the process…. a result that is not desired by anyone, including Our Lord.

Let us continue to pray for an END to abortion, and a new BEGINNING in post-abortive healing for those who need it.

Shift Manager Reports:

Peggy (Shift Buddy with Shift Manager sub, Jeff):

Busy morning – lots of prayers.  No takers for our info. Katie was also there late in the shift.   Pictured is Saturday night Shift Manager Jeff, who filled in for Nikki because she was sick, and faithful volunteer Mary Ann. 

Jeff and Mary Ann

Meredith:

I won’t lie! It was cold from 9-11 this morning. Cold enough that it didn’t even occur to me to take a photo! Sorry!

I arrived to find substitute Shift Manager Jeff in excellent company with Mary Ann, Peggy and Katie! Jeff was a tall pillar of ice by the time I arrived and was glad to be relieved. He was subbing for Nikki, who was under the weather this morning. Praying for you, dear sister!

Mary Ann is such an inspiration. If you know her, you know why! 9 am brought Jessie and Chuck, dear friends from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. 

The sad news was that it was a busy morning at PP. After the first abortion-bound couple went in, I decided to lay down a flower for each mother going in who would not take a flower from me. By 11, I had laid down all 7 stems and counted the bunch of mini roses already there for the couple that had gone in just before I arrived. There were numerous single women going in as well. Most came dressed in classic abortion-day garb, loose fitting bottoms, but one young woman came in pj’s, wrapped in a large fleece blanket. She was accompanied by an agitated mother who didn’t appreciate us speaking to them, and a tall befuddled boyfriend. Mom and boyfriend came back out to smoke and mom told us she didn’t like abortion, but her daughter had to do it. Trying to speak to her just brought abuse and “don’t talk to me.”

Bob came by not knowing about 40 Days for Life, but decided to join us in prayer and presence. He spent time in the past at the East Liberty abortuaries and currently attends Faith Bible Baptist, a long time pro-life church. Herb came by as well, a friend of Katie’s, and attempted to reach out to clients going in or coming out of PP. No abuse from passersby this morning, and even some thank you’s for being there, and head shaking over Congress not protecting children born alive after an abortion. Glad to see Lisa’s beautiful face at the end of my shift.

❤

God is good!

Lisa K.:

Meredith is right….. it was cold! Thankfully, I didn’t mind until about an hour and 20 minutes into the shift!

It was a shift which was, for me, a mixture of beauty and sadness, as many of us know and understand. I am deeply grateful for so many prayer companions this afternoon, and particularly for Katie and Herb, who served as Sidewalk Advocates today.

Stan, Shift Buddy Fran, and Bob
Herb and Katie
The dear group from Guardian Angels and Holy Apostles:
L-R: Jack, Rose, Mary Ellen, Pat, Deacon Dan, and Stan
Beauty and sadness. As the temps slightly rose, the whole side of the PP building
started to drip. I imagined that these drops were Mother Mary’s tears….

Helen:

Sarah was waiting for the Chippewa bus but she was early, so she prayed a rosary. Suzanne read Scripture. She’s from Bellefield Church in Oakland.  Dan came all the way from Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville. Fr. Thomas More will send a report.

Dan from Mother of Sorrows and Fr. Thomas More
Suzanne and Sarah
Shift Manager Helen’s selfie
Mary Jane and Fr. Thomas More

Fr. Thomas More (He wrote some additional thoughts on his time at the vigil today, and was a “blog report sub” for Helen! Thank you, Father!):

After a few minutes of quiet prayer on this cold afternoon there on the sidewalk outside of Planned Parenthood, as people were entering and exiting, it quickly became clear of the bold confrontation again between life and death, good and evil. 

And though the temptation to feel helpless may come at times, the deeper awareness of the power of our prayer today cut right through it all.  That simple Hail Mary is the boldest prayer to offer.  Indeed, Our Lady weeps, yet she sees far more than we can imagine, and she honors our request for her to intercede.  That short stop there to pray this afternoon made, or will make, a difference for someone, though I may not realize it today. 

My gratitude for the faithful there during these hours with me, for their presence, encouraged me to never stop praying for an end to abortion, so that it be replaced by a love and respect for human life.

The theme chosen for this spring campaign is LOVE.

May we always show the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ

on the sidewalk, and everywhere.

God bless you all.