I wonder if I could have stood there. Would I have wondered, “what’s going to happen to me?” Would I have said “I’m just not comfortable being there”. And perhaps I ran and hid instead?
I often thought standing outside pp is similar to being at the crucifixion.
Deathscorts prodding distressed women along like the cruel centurions. People on the streets hurling insults. And then there are the violent deaths of the innocent.
Back then some of the believers were afraid or too confused to come forward. But some did come and stood at the foot of the cross. You too do the same when you come to pp. You are there standing up for our Lord. You are saying, “This is wrong killing an innocent child”. You are showing your love for our Lord and the innocent unborn.
This Lenten season you made the additional sacrifice and came to the vigil. The time of crucifixion has never been a time for restraint but a time of courage. You were bold. You were not afraid. You made a difference. You did something important.
Who knows you might hear with the ears of your heart “today you will be with Me in paradise”.
Thanks to the faithful from Weirton Catholic Churches and
St. James Catholic Church (Sewickley) for their witness today.
Below are stories and pics from today on the sidewalk. Stop back as this will be updated throughout the day.
From Sue D. 7-9 am:
“It was a relatively warm morning. It was great to see joyful Vicky stop and pray before she left for work. Rose and I enjoyed talking as well as praying the rosary and the divine mercy, particularly for the young workers we see entering PP. The regulars passed by and Rose handed out all of her 40 days brochures. She told me about a pro-life program at her church… they are wrapping up their program by throwing a baby shower for one of the women that was saved from abortion during our past fall campaign, how beautiful, Praise God!!” Sue
From Marshall 9-11:
“Greetings from Ohio to all, the Monday 9 to 11 shift was another good
experience and it draws our campaign closer to Palm Sunday and the end of this particular time. I was blessed with several prayer warriors and guests on Liberty Avenue today. Sheila and Mary joined in from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Weirton, WV and Paul joined us a little later. We also had a very special guest, Joe B., who stopped by in honor of St. Joseph, and that was a good blessing during the shift. Please pray for two men whom visited us a separate times, Israel and Paul. Both men were recently released from prison. Israel especially asked us to
pray with him. Another memorable occurrence was the PP guard who poked him head out to check on us. I think that must have been because Sheila was asking ladies who walked into the facility if she could provide them with alternate resources. I hope our efforts changed a heart or two, and I personally appreciate the new display in the glass of the children sizes in the womb. It really adds to the experience of all whom see it. God bless you all.” Marshall
From Ginny D. 11-1:
“We had well wishers and said many prayers Edith was also there passing out much literature We were grateful it was quite as cold as last week .” Ginny
From Beth S. 1-3 pm:
“Thanks to Beth Ann from St. Alexis, Sandy from St. James, and Edith also from St. James, for keeping my sister Rose and I in prayer today during one of the prettiest afternoons of the 40 Days. PP had very few visitors, just lots of people walking by, giving mostly positive comments. The new fetal models really bring the humanity of the baby to the focus of the debate. So many people just take a glimpse out of the corner of the eye to see what PP has lied about: it’s a child and therefore a family involved in an abortion. “An abortion chops down a family tree.” True. Angela from St. Louise and new Beth from John XXIII arrived at three just as Rosalinda was taking over the 3-5 shift. Blessings to everyone from the Monday 1-3 shift. Hope to see everyone on Sunday.” Beth
The Great St. Bernard Pass is a 49-mile route in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The pass is only snow free for a couple of months during the summer. It has been a treacherous route for travelers throughout history.
An Augustine monk founded Great St. Bernard Hospice and monastery. The monks acquired their first St. Bernard dog.
Workers were assigned to accompany travelers between the hospice and Bourg-Saint-Pierre, a municipality on the Swiss side.
Travelers were accompanied by the dogs, whose broad chests helped to clear paths. The dogs had a tremendous sense of smell and were able to discover people buried in the snow.
The canines made rescue excursions on the St. Bernard Pass for 150 years. Often the dogs would find buried travelers, dig through the snow and lie on top of the injured to provide warmth. The system became so organized that when Napoleon and his 250,000 soldiers crossed through the pass between 1790 and 1810, not one soldier lost his life.
About 2,000 people, from lost children to Napoleon’s soldiers, were rescued because of the heroic dogs’ uncanny sense of direction and resistance to cold. The last documented recovery was in 1897 when a 12-year-old boy was found nearly frozen in a crevice and awakened by a dog.
threaten treachery on snow covered passes in the Alps.
The treachery that threatens the pregnant mother and her baby
is neither natural nor an accident.
Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood staff puts to death
more than 40 children every week,
in downtown Pittsburgh.
The torn bodies of the killed babies are collected and
discarded as medical waste.
BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS BABIES.
BE A SIGN OF HOPE FOR THEIR MOTHERS.
Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life, Spring 2018, is underway. Volunteers are praying, fasting and witnessing downtown.
Since the first coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign took place in Texas in 2007, through the end of 2017, local campaign leaders have reported these blessings, God’s answers to their prayers:
5,251 total campaigns
750,000 individual participants
13,998 lives saved from abortion
170 abortion workers quit their jobs
90 abortion facilities closed.
BE A VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS BABIES.
BE A SIGN OF HOPE FOR THEIR MOTHERS.
Witness with us in Pittsburgh.
NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
Cold as it was this morning, I was happy to head for the sidewalk knowing that People of God Covenant Community would be there. The powerful prayers, inspiring hymns, and warm fellowship they bring make this day a highlight of each campaign. Thank you to Pat, Tom, Patty, and Todd for bringing light to that dark corridor.
Continued thanks to Diane and Tom for providing everything the vigil could need; and to Vince, Bill, and Patty who regularly answer God’s call to witness for life on Sunday mornings. You make such a difference by being there. God bless you all!
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
Wow — WHAT A CONTRAST today was with yesterday and its happenings and mood on the sidewalk! It was so nice to be joined by so many prayer warriors, and we prayed in intercessions and also via the Rosary. When I arrived, Patty was just getting out of her car simultaneously with me. Todd, Patti, and Tom of People of God Covenant Community were in prayer along with Vince and Shift Manager Jen. The Special Guest Star of the morning actually was a star — the sun!!! It felt SO good. Paul, Pattie, Joe, Mary, Jim, and Sandy arrived shortly afterwards, also from People of God. Later, Daniel and Pam arrived, also from People of God. Then toward the end of the shift came Rich and John from Holy Martyrs Parish, Joan from Holy Family, and Ken & Mary Ellen from Transfiguration, followed by two more couples from Transfiguration just as Rich and Roseanne arrived to take over for me. It was a way bigger crowd than usual for a Sunday morning!
The sidewalk itself in general was very quiet. We had several passersby but no negative comments. At one point a man who’d just gotten off a bus came by seeking help; we prayed for him and with him. A loudly laughing group of older teenage boys came by on their way to the nearby organization that helps to clean up the city. When I see those volunteering groups of young people, I can’t help but ponder, and pray, that despite their apparent clannish-ness within their peer group, they are taking significant notice of us and our message. This group today seemed to notice our signs and made some positive comments.
May the sun continue to come out and the Son continue to come in!!
ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
Nearing the end of this 40 days campaign, I pray that we have changed some hearts and minds and abortion would be nothing more than a bad memory. Sunday’s are usually calm and quiet and this Sunday was no different. We were pleased to see some friends and acquaintances from previous 40 days.
JEFF 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
I arrived at 1pm to find a parking spot waiting for me right in front of PP. The sidewalk was in shadow and cold, but by 1:30 pm the sun was warming us and I thought of all the cold mornings and rain that greeted us at the beginning of this vigil. My friend Tim surprised me by stopping down and standing with me for two hours, as did Stacey from Saint John XXIII.
A second shift of folk from Transfiguration showed up as well, Joan, Judy, and Arlene. Near the end of my shift three cars pulled up and let off a dozen people from St Barbara’s and Holy Child from Bridgeville, including Jim M., a fellow shift manager. I asked if any of them wanted my primo parking spot and Jim asked if I could stick around till their pastor got there so he could take it. Lo and behold, who pulls up but Fr Joe Freedy. As I pulled a u-ie onto Liberty to give him my space, I shouted out to him to remember me in his prayers, as we ask all of you to pray for us down here on the sidewalk.
LINDSAY 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
Decades ago (yes, DECADES ago) I was a “victim” of public Witness. I was reminded of this today when a woman walked right past a priest and a large group of Christ’s witnesses and proudly and loudly proclaimed how “great” Planned Parenthood was. Always quick to judge (a terrible vice of mine) I thought, “the audacity!” to be so brazen about such a heartless thing as abortion, right in front of a priest!
Immediately, God humbled me and my face burned red with shame when I suddenly remembered walking off-campus one Sunday afternoon (likely hungover) past a Baptist church and right through the midst of a large group of well dressed women exiting Sunday worship. I was wearing a t-shirt that said “Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll” that I got from a fraternity party the night before. Talk about audacious! Those WONDERFUL women admonished me up one side and down the other, as I thoroughly deserved. Let’s just say that was the beginning of a long road of reversion back to the Catholic Church from which I’d become lost.
This memory made me realize how VERY IMPORTANT Public Witness in Jesus’ Name is. How important it is to admonish each other when we stray. How important it is to pray for the “lost sheep.” I am sure those Baptist women took me to fervent prayer, and while I’m certainly no Saint, I’ve come a very long way to become a pro-life Catholic in full alignment with the Church.
I was strongly reminded today of those heroic Baptist Christians through the humbling and strong Public Witness provided by Father Joe and his amazing combined flock from St. Barbara and Holy Child Parishes in Bridgeville.
Pro-life friends, let us never forget how important public witness is. I am living proof that conversion through the intercessory prayer of others is possible, because as we all know, “Nothing is Impossible with God!”
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
I was surrounded by such beautiful witnesses today.
Lindsay hung out for the beginning of my shift and offered up her
aching feet to let me settle in. (Thank you Lindsay)
Then Cathy and Jim came and prayed. They were followed by the amazing R. family.
Beth stopped by at the end of my shift and offered up such kind
insights and support. I was truly treated to soul nourishing authentic
Christian witnesses today. It was much needed.
Like more than a few of you, I am of Irish lineage. My father’s ancestors traveled to the “new country” to avoid starvation and make their way in the melting pot of American society, settling first in Boston, then here in Pittsburgh. Ireland has long been a source of pride for our family, most especially since the majority of Irish law has supported Biblical Law- up to and including a a ban on abortion except in very exceptional circumstances. GO IRISH!
to quote from a Friends of Ireland email :
‘The Catholic faith which Patrick imparted to the Irish people has defended, consistently for two millennia, the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life in all of its stages and conditions.’
It was the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution which has long protected our irish brothers and sisters before birth. Now, the people of Ireland are voting on a referendum that would strip protection from their tiniest citizens in the womb– those defenseless children —guilty of no crime, innocent, pure, and certainly loved from afar.
The 8th amendment, signed into law in 1983 was groundbreaking in its recognition of AN EQUAL RIGHT TO LIFE OF THE MOTHER AND THE UNBORN CHILD. What a beautiful message of peaceful co-existence
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TODAY TO PRAY that Ireland retains the beauty and simplicity of the 8th Amendment, drafted in the spirit of a people that knows suffering and prejudice; drafted with the love of the Irish people- even the tiny ones!
Hang a Shamrock, Have an Irish Draught, Eat a piece of Soda Bread, but above all else, PRAY for a continued PRO-LIFE IRELAND !
Today’s Shift Reports from the Irish Streets of Pittsburgh:
7am- 9am Tim Reports:
Kilts and prayers.
There was a lot of activity on sidewalk early this morning. The Bellevue Knights of Columbus arrived early and were planning to pray the entire day of the vigil. These knights were joined by the Guardians of Life and their KOC team as well. Prayers rang out and were heard by all the early people coming for the parade, some in kilts. What a powerful witness and presence we had today.
9am- 11am Sue & Sue Report:
The sidewalk was busy with a lot of people going to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade! We tried to use the opportunity to increase awareness about PP and offer alternatives to abortion and PP. When we were just about finished with the shift, the police came and asked us to clear the sidewalk for safety due to a threat that they received. We were so grateful to have the knights with us…and for Diane’s amazing engineering skills which enabled us to take all the the vigil materials with us!!
At about 11:00 today, we were informed by the Pittsburgh Police that the area was to be cleared of all persons due to a suspicious material placed in a nearby trash container. Someone called into the police worried that we might be in danger….. As of this publishing, no harm came to anyone on the sidewalk, as all were cooperative in leaving the area.
THE VIGIL RESUMES AT 7am TOMORROW– This is your very last week to be a part of this important, effective project— Please join us on the sidewalk!!
Please note: Our vigil will end at 3 PM on Saturday 3/17 and resume at 7 AM on Sunday 3/18.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
From “The Servant Song”
by Richard Gilliard & David Haas
We know that suffering is a part of this earthly life. We know that we are often powerless to prevent or relieve it. But I think we sometimes forget how much good we do simply by being there with the one who is suffering.
My family is going through a difficult time. No one can instantly solve our troubles except God; and I know that, in His divine wisdom, He may have reason to allow it to continue for a while. In the meantime, it gives me so much comfort and peace to know that we’re being held in prayer by so many people, especially those in our 40 Days for Life family.
When we stand on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, we hope to reach out and save everyone there from suffering. Sadly, we are not always able to. But we are truly doing so much good just by being there for those in their darkest hour—or in the case of the unborn children, at the hour of their death.
Thank you to all who have stood on that sidewalk offering your presence and prayers for those in trouble. You may not always see the results of your sacrifice, but they are real and they are precious. For those of you who have not been to the vigil yet, we prayerfully ask you to join us in this important ministry!
Here are the pictures and reports from today’s vigil!
Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM:
As soon as the clock turned to 7am, Manordale Valley Council Knights of Columbus began to arrive. Joining us in prayer were Tim, Dennis, Vito, Bob, Anna Marie, David, Sally and Don.
The weather felt frigid, but the company warmed everything else. Beth arrived and took up her position of honor as sidewalk advocate. Together we did our best to let everyone crossing our path know that abortion is not the choice for a crisis pregnancy. We were ready to help in any circumstance they offered.
Regina, 9-11 AM:
What a happy surprise to be greeted by lovely Shift Manager, Beth who had traded shifts with Kathy, to stand in as our Sidewalk Advocate today! Her sincere and caring offer of help to each of the many women entering Planned Parenthood today warmed and inspired my heart on this bitter cold morning! Beth, you are SO good at this!
A lovely couple finished a rosary with Pam, Shalini and Kay, the beautiful, smiling woman of Saint Ferdinand’s in Cranberry, before hopping in their car to warm up. Shortly thereafter, we continued our 5 decades with Dan and Al from Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville. We noted the blessing participation in The 40 Days Vigil provides, uniting us with brothers and sisters from different parishes, dioceses, and denominations! Love always unifies!
Before leaving, Dan and Al led us in an appropriate Lenten Stations of The Cross reflection and Divine Mercy Chaplet, as we huddled together to pray and block the freezing wind.
The elements didn’t stop Terry from Saint Bonaventure, or David from Holy Sepulcher from showing up! They jumped right in to join us on our final Decade of the shift!
These folks were all such inspiring examples of Holy, selfless generosity and love today! Thank you! We are all truly one in the Lord, and Jesus, whose love is ALWAYS victorious!
Marie, 11 AM-1 PM:
The shift was cold but quiet. Even in the cold members of Holy Sepulcher and Girard Alliance churches faithfully prayed as witnesses to life.
Noreen, 1-3 PM:
It was a good day on the sidewalk. We had some parishioners for Holy Sepulcher in Butler, Bob, Rick, Gretchen and Michael. A couple from Erie prayed with us, Sue and Jeff. And Roseann from St. Thomas More came by on her lunch hour. We had some words of encouragement from a few people which is always uplifting.
Pat, 5-7 PM:
Tonight the streets were crowded. And I think that may have contributed to the slight increase in hostility I felt tonight. There were a few comments and eye rolls, and we had one of our signs knocked over into the street by two young women.
But then there was Aquinas Academy who brought down about half a dozen or more young women – along with three adult chaperones – to pray. [Hey Aquinas, why no guys???] This wonderful scene on the sidewalk more than made up for the increased negativity.
And once again I had my faithful sidekick, Bill from St. Philip’s in Crafton. What a great partner for prayer and good conversation. Although I joked with him that I could simply recycle a picture of him from past weeks for the blog, the picture you see is a fresh one.
This really seems to be a theme in my life this week… the fact that we can so easily FORGET what the Lord has done for us. Why do we do this?? I think it is mainly because we focus too much on OURSELVES. Any one of us can fall into this selfishness, putting ourselves before others and God.
During each 40 Days for Life campaign, we MUST remember what the Lord has done for us… and what He continues to do. He continues to change people’s minds and hearts about human life. Especially as we enter into the last ten days of this campaign, we must not forget the God who has done great deeds for us. Prayer can help us to remember, because it keeps us connected to Him:
Let us TRUST that He continues to work in us, through us, and with us. He is alongside the abortion-bound couple… alongside the abortion worker… alongside each of us as we pray. Let us trust that He will lead us in ways that are right.
Shift Manager Reports
It was a worthwhile time on the sidewalk this morning. I was very bundled up and stayed fairly warm. There was no wind, which made it nice. I feel so badly for those who had to suffer yesterday in that bitter cold wind.
When I first arrived, Diane was already loading up the materials. Please pray that she gets well soon as she is trying to get over strep throat. We have such dedicated and faithful people on our team, I am so grateful to God for sending so many wonderful people to this movement!
As usual, the first hour was relatively quiet and I was able to pray. Faithful Peggy was my partner and we stayed on opposite sides of the circle. Vickie came and prayed for a while before heading to work; it was good to have her there. A young man named Sean came and stayed for at least an hour before going to work. He belongs to Saint Paul Cathedral but was unable to come with them last night. It was a blessing to have his smiling face added to our little prayer presence. At about 10 minutes before eight customers begin entering. It was clearly an abortion day. I was able to hand out quite a few of the resource cards, and almost everyone who entered heard that there were other options available and that we were happy to help.
One young woman left planned Parenthood and came up to talk to me. I had given her the card when she entered, and she said she still had it, but she was curious to know why we were there. She did not know if we were promoting another abortion clinic or if we were against abortion. She already has four children, and she is 25. She is planning on having an abortion. She said she is 12 weeks pregnant, as she looked at the baby model display. She asked me if that was really the size of a 12 week baby, which I confirmed that it was. She seemed surprised, said she wasn’t sure if that was really correct. I told her to look it up online for herself, that those sizes are accurate.
When she said she had four children, I said, “So, this is your fifth?” She said yes. In my mind, I was encouraged that she was acknowledging that this new life within her was indeed her fifth child. She said that she did not want to keep this child because the child is from a different father, and he is not her boyfriend. I told her in a matter of fact way that none of that will matter in 20 years. When all her children are grown and she is a grandmother, she will simply be grateful for all of them, and will not care about the circumstances that she is worried about now. I told her how she would never regret having this child, but on the other hand, in 20 years she could very well regret having an abortion, always wondering what this child could have been. She seemed open; I think there is a chance she could choose life. She said she was leaving and needed to make another appointment. She said that by the time she has her next appointment she will be 16 weeks pregnant. So, please pray for this young woman, that the Holy Spirit waters the seeds that were planted and that this child will be brought to birth.
It was wonderful to see Judy and Chuck as they arrived to take over. Thank you to everyone for enduring this cold weather for this very important cause! Oh, one last thing, another blessing from this morning. We had many people stop to thank us for being there, and we also had many people scream words of condemnation. But, it was a blessing that I was able to affirm to a young woman who, as she walked by, shouted at me that I was a “f-ing worthless piece of s—-,” that she was loved by God and was very important in his eyes. It is a blessing to get to turn curses into words of love and affirmation. It is a gift to be able to participate in 40 Days for Life, and I am very grateful to God!
The shift from 11-1 was fine, other than the parking problems we had. What a headache for my fellow parishioners, whose day at the vigil was today! I thank all of them who were so faithful in the midst of that difficulty.
There were several good and bad reactions that we received… just like normal. But one group of three young men passed by, and I assumed that they were going to goof off and joke about us or our signs/display, etc. But it was the baby model display that caught their eye. One of them looked at me and said that he was expecting a baby. Another said that he had three kids, and he does NOT believe in abortion. And then the first man said, “I felt my baby kick the other day.” and the second man introduced himself to me, and offered a “God bless you.” It was a BEAUTIFUL moment. So unexpected. It reminded me that we CANNOT presume to know what people are thinking, and who is in agreement with us or not as they simply pass by.
I also really wanted to share about TWO amazing things that happened Tuesday and yesterday because of my little pro-life witness. Tuesday afternoon, I stopped by a grocery store, catching a glimpse of myself in the glass doors as I went in, and realizing that I was wearing my 40 Days for Life button on my coat that says, “Pray for an End to Abortion.” There was a TINY part of me that was mildly bugged by that. I was thinking that other shoppers who saw it would think things like, “Who does she think she is?” or “What makes her think she can tell everyone what to do?” etc.
I went to the checkout line, and the cashier looked at my button and said very solemnly, “Pray to End Abortion….. oh, YES.” I couldn’t believe it. I smiled and thanked her, and she told me about a prayer group at her church she was a part of… and then, after she bagged my items, she came around the counter and HUGGED me. Whaaaat? That was amazing, and DEFINITELY not in my usual realm of experience.
Then yesterday, I was sending several emails to some moms whose kids go to my daughter’s school. These were emails about the school musical. These women and I don’t know each other. Well, I have a “signature line” that appears automatically at the bottom of each of my emails- and it is overtly pro-life and Catholic. One part of it says, “Pray for an end to abortion.” Once again, there was a TINY part of me… maybe even a little bigger than the day before… that made me think, “Maybe I should delete my signature line. After all, do I need to “put it out there” right off the bat that I am pro-life?” and “These women don’t need to feel like I’m this ‘controversial’ person in these otherwise innocuous emails.”
To my surprise, after corresponding with one of the moms several times, I saw this sentence at the end of her final email: “Praying for your request.” I was so touched- and amazed again.
All of this makes me think of the above Scripture passage from the psalm above. How EASY it is to (almost instantly) forget what the Lord has done for us!! I didn’t even last 24 hours without forgetting!! I was having that uncomfortableness get in the way of my pro-life convictions so SOON after my witness had just been beautifully affirmed.
We must NOT be afraid or ashamed. Our pro-life witness will anger some; we all know that. But it will INSPIRE and UNITE others in ways we never imagined. Let us not forget.
I was determined to be early today. I knew Carol would be chilled to the bone. Little did I know that I’d be turned away from four garages and three parking lots, all with signs that read, “Full. No Parking. Leases Only.” When I finally got to PP, Carol and Jack were immediately understanding and sympathetic. They had to park far down on Liberty Avenue, and Jack (from St. John the Baptist) found a space only on 31st Street. The NCAA is in town, and there are only so many places to park. There is also an art exhibit at the gallery just down the street, so there was a lot of sidewalk traffic, too.
A young woman came along and snapped, “Don’t you have anything else to do?” Jack was quick on the draw when he said, “We are doing the most important work in the world.”
I was grateful for the hand warmers, and Nicolas, who is a fourth grader, found room for them in his shoes. I’m sure he was glad his dad told him to wear gloves and a hat that looked like a penguin and had a black scarf attached. Nicholas had good questions for his dad. He won’t soon forget the women who went into Planned Parenthood. The fetal models were a good visual for this wise young man.
Almost out of nowhere, four uniformed Pittsburgh Police officers stopped at the doors of Planned Parenthood and rang the bell. They went inside, and very shortly six or seven individuals whom we presumed are employees, came out and scattered in several directions. About five minutes later, the police officers emerged and gave each other some “questioning” looks. One of them asked those of us standing there, “Did anyone come around here and give you a hard time?” We answered, “No.” They smiled, shrugged and disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
About 4:40, the next shift manager arrived. He was a pleasant fellow from Our Lady of Fatima Church. He was soon joined by three faithful regulars who undertook their shift with smiles and high spirits. I overheard a man (who is a deacon) tell Chris, who just finished his vigil, that he should be a deacon.
Judging from the brief, special time I spent on the sidewalk with Chris and Nicolas, I happily agreed.
In today’s Gospel, our Lord called John the Baptist a burning and shining lamp. My prayer today was for our people to be that visible light of truth. I was blessed to stand in that light tonight with some faithful members of the parish, in Plum, named after that great saint. The first hour I was joined by Lisa and Tim, and the second hour with Peg. St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
The Lord is at work in the midst of this campaign.
He is at work at every moment!
Let us consider these beautiful forget-me-nots as a REMINDER of all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
May WE work alongside Him to contribute toward bringing an END to abortion.
I have to be honest…this is the time when I begin to feel weary and uninspired. Usually I have an idea of what the Lord wants me to write about in my Wednesday blog post, but today…nothing. There seems to be a heaviness…a grayness and a dryness that is hanging all around. Maybe it is because it is day 29, and this is when I realize just how very long 40 days can be. We have been at this prayer/fasting/vigil thing for a long time already. February 14th seems so long ago. And we still have 10 days to go…the finish line is not quite in our sight yet. This is when I get weary. I feel kind of like this guy…
I got an email from a dear friend this morning who was honest about expressing her sense of depression about the election results yesterday. She is very faithful and has a strong love for God in her heart…so she sought out the sacrament of reconciliation this morning to help her to deal with the discouragement of seeing so many “Christians” who have no problem in their consciences with voting for pro-abortion candidates. She actually had an encounter with an older man that goes to her Church every day…who “got in her face” when she questioned why he was voting a certain way, defending his vote because of his fear of losing his medicare coverage if the pro life candidate won.
It is depressing.
It is discouraging.
After reading her heartfelt plea this morning, I knew what God wants me to write about.
Last Tuesday’s blog contained a shift report from Lisa, the 5-7 shift manager. She had a very discouraging shift, with many passersby giving her a hard time. One, in particular, she humorously dubbed “Professor Blueberry”, because he was incensed that we would defend the right to life for something as small as a blueberry. Although he seemed professional, carrying a briefcase…and at first seemed to be trying to sound articulate and intelligent in his arguments…he soon degenerated into hateful, filthy, vile spewing of words. Rather than try to argue with the good professor, Lisa decided to pray. He left soon after that. I read her shift report from last night and was so encouraged to hear her saying that she remembered to pray for this man all week…and last night she had a peaceful shift on the sidewalk.
Yesterday morning it was bitter cold, and I saw the photos of Fr. Brennan and Helen from St. Robert Bellarmine as they braved the freezing weather in order to pray and witness. I had the pleasure of standing on the cold sidewalk later that afternoon with at least 11 individuals who had sacrificed their time and comfort to come out to make sure I wouldn’t be alone.
I spoke to my dear friend Mary Lou after Mass this morning, and witnessed the weariness in her face, and the discouragement about the election results. I also saw the loving way in which she faithfully and obediently cares for her family each day, and serves the Lord in the pro life cause.
The common thread in all of these instances is the BEAUTY that I see coming out of sacrifice and suffering. None of us wants to have to endure suffering. God knows that we are weak. If we were left to choose our own circumstances, we would choose comfort and ease. I know from experience that the more comfortable I am, the weaker and lazier I become. The more I have to struggle, the more progress I make…spiritually and physically. So, I guess what I want to say is that we just need to PERSEVERE. (Duh…why didn’t I think of that before…after all, I am the one who chose that as the theme for this campaign!)
Spring is coming….Easter is coming! A time of new birth and beauty will follow this time of ugliness and struggle. God is in control! He is absolutely perfect and has everything accounted for! Not a single prayer or sacrifice from us goes unnoticed by him! He takes note of it all, and holds it in his heart. He even has all the hairs on our head numbered…and he knows when a sparrow falls from the sky…so what do we have to worry about?
Did you see the encouraging shift report from Jeannie on Monday? During her 5-7 shift, a woman came up to her and told her that she had decided to get an abortion 2 years ago…but when she walked past our vigil, someone handed her information about fetal development, and she changed her mind. There is a little 2-year old boy running around out there because folks were willing to sacrifice their time and come to the vigil. We never knew about it, and would have never known about it…if the woman didn’t come back to tell us. These are the encouragements that God gives us to keep us going.
Beauty in the ashes. Darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up!
Also, mark your calendar to attend our closing event on Sunday, March 25th! At 6:30pm, we will gather for a closing prayer service in front of Planned Parenthood (933 Liberty), led by Pastor Joe Stump of the Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. At 7pm, we will officially close the vigil, and walk to Catholic Charities Welcome Center (corner of (9th and Liberty) for a fun time of pot-luck food and fellowship. Hope to see you there!
Here are the shift reports from today:
Charlene reports from the 7-9 shift:
“The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for You are at my side
With Your rod and Your staff that give me courage”
We all have heard Psalm 23 and this part of it certainly rings true in front PP…the “dark valley”. I’m sure we all remember our first time on the sidewalk…a little (or a lot) fearful, not knowing what to expect….but knowing we are called to do this, knowing God is at our side with his “rod and staff to give us courage”.
Today we had a first timer from St. Louise de Marillac, Matt, and he quickly found his rhythm praying on the sidewalk. Also from St. Louise de Marillac were Denny, Chris, Janet, and our regular, Peggy. A cold but prayerful day. Charlene
Cathy did the 9-11 shift and writes:
Three men from St. Louise, Denny, Seamus, and Tom, spent all, or part of the shift with me today. It was a quiet time, a few people went into the clinic, but no one wanted any lit. I’ve been offering the resource card tucked into the “Everyone’s Bio” leaflet. A man waiting in his car for his girlfriend did gladly take the flyers I offered him.
We heard, though did not see, the chanting from the CAPA students walkout for gun control. While I agree that something needs to be done about this kind of violence, and not to minimize the value of each student who has been killed, but each abortion day more children are killed at this PP than were killed at any of the schools. Where is the outrage? Each child’s life is sacred!
Hank managed the vigil from 11-1 and writes:
It was a cold and windy day, but it didn’t dampen the turn out or the spirits of the St. Louise de Marillac prolife group. St.Louise de Marillac was signed up to cover from 7 AM to 3 PM and I was with a enthusiastic, joyful, prayerful group from 11-1. Mary, Diane, Seamus, Joe, and Tom were there when I arrived and Randy joined us shortly afterwards and we prayed the rosary. Maryjane from Our Lady of Grace had business in town and joined us around noon as did Bob (works in town) from SLD and we prayed another rosary. Debbie and Rick from SLD arrived early for their 1:00 PM shift so we had good numbers from 11-1. There was not much PP traffic or street traffic, but we received a good number of thumbs up and only a few cold looks. We did engage a young woman who was pro abortion and hopefully gave her some things to think about. Mary gave me her hand warmers when she left which made the last hour more comfortable. Praise be to God who grants man the wisdom to make hand warmers, may He also open minds closed to the sacredness of all life.
Chris was the 1-3 shift manager and writes:
To say it was cold on the street today would be an understatement. The wind blowing down the street was constant. But my heart was warmed by 10 prayer warriors braving the cold to stand witness and pray in front of PP. I was joined, as I have been during most of my Wednesday shifts, by street preacher Bill, along with Mary Jane, Liz, Marie from St. John Neumann, Debbie, Rich, Dianne, Denise, Sister Faith, and Dan. We prayed the Rosary and a Divine Chaplet, saying prayers for the abortion clinic workers and the parents of the unborn children entering PP. We had several “God Bless Yous” from passersby and one man praising abortion. We said we’d pray for him. Thank you again to the half-frozen pray-ers who stood with me today on the street.
Barbara & Richard kept the sidewalk warm from 3-5…even though Barbara is recovering from the flu! She writes:
Chris, surrounded by praying witnesses, greeted us. Everyone was in a good mood.
Saint Paul Cathedral parishioners Regis and Bridget joined us in praying a Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary. Joe arrived and we felt blessed to return to a warm place.
Joe K. is recovering from being sick, but still kept his shift from 5-7. Here is his report:
Blustery – that best seem to describe this evening…
I was greeted by Regis of St. Paul’s who had been there already for about 2 1/2 hrs. After Regis left the beginning of the shift was extremely quiet / prayerful and contemplative – not sure anyone was coming, but just kept saying “God Provides”… and also reflected on some words that I’ve heard actor Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) say multiple times:
“You weren’t made to ‘fit in,’ my brothers and sisters. You were born to stand out”
St. Paul’s came strong for the last half of the shift – we had four prayerful warriors stationed around the “Arc de Death” – One of the biggest, if not the biggest groups that I have had on the late shift…And they were “standout” at standing out!!!
Lots of foot traffic, and folks passing by with musical instrument cases, but zero (0) comments this evening other than one gentleman that asked me to contemplate on “Pro-Life” vs. “Pro-Birth” with a quiz to follow – though he did not return by the end of the shift…
The night ended with Tom flying solo (Diane get better!!!) and the St. Paul’s pit-crew sprung into action to get the 40 DFL mobile packed and ready for tomorrow’s vigil…
I recently heard about an amazing teenager, Rachel Scott…she was the first victim in the Columbine tragedy. Her life and story are beautiful as you can tell from a theory that she wrote down for a school assignment:
She says“I have this theory, that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, that it will start a chain reaction of the same”
People will never know how far a little kindness can go…You may start your own chain reaction of compassion.
That’s what the many facets of the Pro-Life movement all come down to…COMPASSION. Everyone who is participating in 40 Days for Life is certainly going out of their way to show compassion. Maybe your little kindness of witnessing on the sidewalk has unknowingly directed a woman on to the next link in the chain reaction of compassion…to a Pregnancy Resource Center and into their system of Compassionate Care. The resources on our yellow cards for material needs and housing….these are all links in the chain reaction of compassion. There is compassion for abortion workers. The Pro-Life movement is a really, really long chain reaction of compassion!!
The FALSE compassion of abortion is destructive and a BREAK in the chain reaction of compassion. But the Pro-Life movement also has links of compassion for Post-abortive women and men.
Help can be found at 1-800-5WE-CARE
Today, I was lucky to be on the sidewalk with Fr. Brennan and Helen from St. Robert Bellamine…and of course, my other half Dick. Fr. Brennan and I have been on the sidewalk together many times and it always lifts my spirits, his warm conversation and gentle way. Today, some of my witnessing took the form of spiritual conversation with Helen and Fr. Brennan and I began to think, as a shift manager, the different ways people witness on the sidewalk…quiet prayer alone, group prayers together, signs-yes and no, walking, talking together, handing out literature…but each one is a presence. Does God have a preference? I don’t think so. God made us each different. “His love for us is impartial, but His pursuit of us is personal” (Proverbs 31 Ministries) He knows we will each approach the sidewalk differently…but He is glad we are there. Charlene
A loving group from St. Robert Bellarmine parish endured the cold as they joined me on the sidewalk, along with Ed, sidewalk counselor, who comes every Tuesday. Much of our time was spent praying and offering resources to pp patrons and passersby. Some accepted. The St. Robert B group wore the provided signs. Also, passerby Robert, who stops by occassionally did so today.
It was probably my coldest shift this campaign. One layer of socks was not enough. I needed toe warmers and we did break out hand warmers. Some of us took a quick break to thaw out at Catholic Charities.
I was concerned that I would be traveling alone with Jodi, a first timer from our church, St Joes. But then Patti and Denny said they could come and drive us down. And Sandi’s family was healthy enough so she could join with us too. On the way down, we stopped at the Catholic Charities Welcome Center to drop off food donations collected from St. Joes as an almsgiving opportunity.
Kathy filled in today for Beth who is fighting for Life in Harrisburg. We were blessed that she took time to pray a Psalm with us before leaving. Sandi led us in praying the litany on the back of the beautiful baby sign. Many other prayers including Rosaries and the Divine Mercy were prayed today. Beth came again today to pray before and after attending Mass. It was good to see her and Suzanne on my shift again! Lovely ladies and great prayer warriors!
Regulars Bill and Bob stopped by. Ken from OL of Guadelupe came by as well and got to work praying the Rosary. He is from our neck of the woods. Several others heard the call and came to stand with Nikki so that she would not be alone from 1-2.
Before my shift was over, a man stopped asking for assistance. Sandi took him to Tony’s for food. Soon afterwards a couple came out of PP. They didn’t have money for anything apparently. She is pregnant. They took resources that we offered but said they “had it all”. They took my offer to pay for their lunch at Tony’s. Please pray for them to find jobs, good housing, to stay off of drugs,….so that they can have a stable life and raise this baby. Their other children have been taken from them. Please pray that they do not abort this child.
Here are some of the ways we made a difference today:
Prayed at least 4 Rosaries
Prayed 1 Divine Mercy
Offered up Scripture Prayers
Offered up other Prayers
Conversation with someone leaving PP
Provided pregnancy resources to someone in need
Listened to those who stopped by to share their story
Directed someone to other places to go besides PP
Directed the poor/needy to a location for help
Endured the Cold and Snow
Seven people responded to Tim’s email saying that I needed company for the first hour of my shift today from 1 to 2! I feel loved! Thanks to everyone who came out to pray with me!
Faithful Joe, lovely Gwen and Colleen from Saint Winifred, Vince from Saint Sebastian, Beth from the Latin mass at Saint Boniface, And Margorie from Saint Richard’s. There was a lot of prayer happening on the sidewalk today, and as many prayers were prayed we had as many varieties of weather to go along with them! I think it was the strangest weather that I have ever stood in. It went from almost a blizzard and strong wind one minute to blue skies and sunshine and total calm the next! It was beautiful actually seeing the snow falling. At the end of my first hour, just as the sun was coming out, Kim and her lovely crew from Saint Ann in Waynesburg arrived. They prayed with me For the last hour of my shift.
It was such a joy to be surrounded by so many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ! 40 days for life is truly God’s gift to us during these dark times! It is like a hug from him! We had quite a few positive comments and no negative ones that I can remember. Shift manager Mike arrived right on time for his 3 to 5 shift and I handed the torch over to him. Thank you everyone who came out today!
The weather was very interesting today. The sun would come out and the wind would die down for awhile
and then the sun would disappear and it would snow and the wind would blow like crazy. It would keep fluctuating
like that every half hour or so. I truly appreciated the fine ladies from Waynesburg, I think they from St. Ann’s parish.
They were there from 1:00 to 5:00pm and prayed continuously. What an inspiration to me and anyone who witnessed their love and devotion to the one true Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! I went in the bookstore where Governor Wolfe reportedly ventured into on Monday and the owner told me he did not recognize the Governor as being in his store that day. Perhaps the Governor entered the store when the owner was in the back room and left before the owner came out of the back room. Or perhaps the owner just does not have a good idea of what Wolfe looks like. Who knows!?!
Manning the 5-7 shift this evening was quiet and peaceful and Johanna and I took advantage of this and prayed a lot. There were several “suits” going in after 5. It must have been a meeting night.
Tonight was quite different than last week when I did experience several confrontations and I have prayed a lot this past week for those people who are confrontational with us.
Why didn’t I say this……do this…
Confrontation – I do not like it and often I do not handle it well. Sure, after the fact I think “Why didn’t I say this…do this. When I am on the sidewalk I smile and say hello and the majority of people do smile back, say hello.
So I spent a lot of time this past week praying for them knowing that God does not love them any more or any less than me. I prayed that they come to the realization of why they are so angry. Is it their own participation in an abortion? I prayed that they realize as in Isiah 65:17 “The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind” by our Lord. I prayed that if their memories are filled with past hurts and they are struggling to forgive themselves God will heal the memories of the wrongs we have done when we have a humble and contrite heart.
God does not hold our failures in his mind. He sees everything through the lens of mercy.
Do you remember the line from the Three Musketeers “Heaven never fails to hear me”? Well, I’ve used this line countless times with my family in so many different situations. When I text them, I just type “H” and they know what it means. I do it because I believe God always hears my prayers.
I know this is true of our prayers on the sidewalk downtown outside the abortion center as well. He may not answer them exactly the way we want or when we want it but I am certain HE hears them… and in this one instance recently he answered them exactly as we asked.
It was a bitter subzero Saturday morning. Joe K., sidewalk advocate, and I were praying together outside pp. Two women approached the abortion center and refused our literature and our offers to help. We told them about the Choices mobile sonogram across the street and that help was available there. One glanced toward it and then they entered the clinic.
Then two young men arrived on the other side of the abortion center, took off their hats and began to pray. Did I say it was subzero? If I wasn’t so impressed with their willingness to endure the discomfort or down right pain to their ears from the extreme cold I would have begged them as a father to put their hats back on. But instead we joined in their prayers from the other side of the arc.
And guess what happened? Heaven heard our prayers. The two women came out of the clinic and walked across the street into the Choices mobile sonogram unit to meet with Betsy and Jill.
Heaven will hear your prayers as well. You might not see the same almost immediate results but Heaven will hear you. So come back and join the vigil. Pray downtown for those you see going into the clinic. And please pray everyday for those who are standing witness at the 40 DFL vigils. If you can’t come during the vigil, know there are year-round sidewalk advocates and prayer warriors on the sidewalk most Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Pray for them or join when you can.
If you can come tomorrow (Tuesday) between 1 – 2 that would be great as our Shift Manager Nikki will be all alone.
Remember there is also the special election for the open congressional seat on Tuesday (tomorrow). Please make the effort to vote. And pray as “Heaven never fails to hear me”. “H”, Tim B.
Here are the pics and stories from today on the sidewalk (stop back throughout the day as more updates are posted):
From Sue D. 7-9 am:
“I arrived 5 minutes late this morning. Rose, Tom and Diane were already there, super gracious and had everything set up! Rose and I prayed the rosary while the foot traffic in front of PP was still kinda slow. Pastor Paul and Dana from Christian Assembly showed up for their 4 hour shift and we split into both sides of the circle. 2 men with ladders were waiting for about 15 minutes to go into PP, so there must be some work going on in there. A lot of employees went into PP today. We saw a lot of the regular people who pass by and got a lot of positive comments along with a handful of negatives. One lady shielded her child’s eyes when passing the baby models, not really sure what she thinks she is protecting her child from…they are beautiful and children love to look at the baby models?? Anyway, we handed out a lot of information and were very grateful to have Pastor Paul and Dana with us today!” ~Sue
From David 9-11:
Pastor Paul and Dana from Bentleyville, PA were here ALL morning. He had his guitar but, it was too cold out to play.
There were many positive comments today! A lady named Joanne stopped and talked for a while. Dana shared pamphlets and prayers with her and asked her to join us. She did not know what occurs here. She will spread the word. I started to talk to Paul from Holy Apostles and a lady walked into PP. Quickly, we prayed that God would change her heart. The door opened, she came back out, and took our little yellow card. Thank God!
From Ginny 11-1:
I forgot my phone so I did not get any pictures One interesting thing happened today Governor Wolf was across the street with his security and another man eyeing PP. When the light changed they came across on the diagonal and went into the the bookstore. When we saw them coming we started praying for Governor Wolf and held our hands up towards him in a blessing. We do believe his intention was to go into PP but changed his when saw all the 40 Days for life signs and prayer warriors
From Michael S. 1-3:
“It was a bit cold, but beautifully sunny which warmed us up. Received mostly positive body language and encouraging gestures and comments.
One young man walking by decided to spit on the baby display. This was Paul from Holy Apostles first time at 40 DFL and he was quite spirited and eager to be with us. He wants to return on some Saturdays.
Way to go Paul and Holy Apostles people. What a blessing to have time and fellowship and worship with so many loving, Christian angels. We are certainly all blessed!”
From Jeannie F. 5-7:
“Woo hoo. Terrific news from the 5 to 7 shift tonight. I was on the sidewalk with Jim when a woman came over — double amputee who told us she just had to thank us! She said two years ago she was pregnant and she and her husband had decided to have an abortion and she was walking in downtown when we were there and somebody from our group handed her some literature about pregnancy resources, and she looked at the models, and she decided to have her baby! How fantastic is this? His name is William and he is two. Her name is Elizabeth. I thanked her for being strong, and she said I had to be my son deserves a chance to live! God is so good. I don’t know if she was in our account of saves two years ago but we’ve got a little two-year-old boy running around thanks to somebody in our group who handed out literature. Woo hoo”
When a member of the herd is close to death, the whole herd will stop moving and stay resting in one small area for a time. Once the elderly or sick elephant passes, they will stay on for a few more days – gathering semi-frequently around the corpse, and seeming to keen and grieve for their deceased companion.
In Pittsburgh’s Spring Garden, my Holy Wisdom Parish neighborhood, Linda Wallen covered the concrete base of the city steps at Itin and Concord streets with a 120-square-foot mosaic design. The tiles, from Italy, are made to withstand freeze and thaw and hard use, she said.
The elephant story and Spring Garden city stairs are beautiful.
SOME THINGS ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL.
Consider the artistic beauty and the beauty of the people portrayed in the Jesse Tree. It is the subject of many stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts. It is also found in wall paintings, architectural carvings, funerary monuments, floor tiles and embroidery.
Based upon the prophecy of Isaiah, the family tree of Christ begins with Jesse, the father of David, and bears as its fruit the various ancestors of Christ.
We 40 Days for Life friends of yours on the sidewalk know about beauty. We recognize that some choices are not beautiful in any way. Each of us is a member of a beautiful multinational effort that has seen mind boggling success. We feel the privilege.
To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.
Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.
Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus. Nn. 5-6: 130-200 A.D.
Thank you, Dee.
Dee hit the pavement and gathered the notes from the sisters in consecrated life whose entries were posted here last week.
JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
It was pretty quiet on Liberty Avenue this cold but beautiful morning. Diane and Tom delivered all the supplies as they do every day for each campaign. Rose, Vince, and Bill shared the sidewalk with me. We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for all those affected by abortion.
SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
It was quite the toe-freezing morning downtown today! And a very quiet one.
Mother/daughter team Karen and Kristy from St. Benedict joined already-present Vince shortly after I arrived. As it does every time Vince is there, our prayer this morning featured his uniquely comprehensive version of the Rosary. He leaves no Life intention uncovered. Smiling Bill H. stopped by as he always does. Despite the lower-than-usual number of passersby, we received several expressions of affirmation.
May the Most Holy Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified!
ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
It was a get out the hand warmers kind of day. The sunshine was deceiving.
Pro-lifers Larry, Margie and Cathy from St. Mary of the Assumption came to witness and pray today. Also regulars, Pat, Sue and family from St. Bernard’s witnessed with us. It was a quiet day and all comments were positive. God is Good.
MAGGIE 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER
Another quiet shift.
Prayed with these wonderful people and we were blessed when the sun came out. Please pray for a man who stopped by (I didn’t get his name) who is currently homeless but showed us a beautiful rosary and a pouch with Mary and Jesus that held it. He was very proud of his Catholic faith. I think all prayers from us would be welcome!
LINDSAY 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
Today I had the great honor of praying with Carnegie Holy Trinity, St. John, McKeesport, and the Pittsburgh Byzantines represented by Deacon Paul and his wife Patricia all the way from DuBois PA!
The group took a little heat from the neighboring bar manager who accused us of not doing anything constructive with our time.
Later a woman who was unstable on her feet was drawn to George Honchar and his wife Svitlana as they prayed the Ninth Hour prayers (the ninth hour of Jesus’ Passion is 3:00). This woman was drawn to George and the prayers in Greek and Ukraine like a parched lamb to water! She stood with her face inches from George as he continued undistractedly to pray, positioned in a subtle way that separated this woman from his wife.
I wasn’t quite sure what might come next. She seemed harmless. I prayed a Saint Michael prayer and she stepped away for a few minutes, then came back even closer to George.
George and his wife wrapped up their prayers, and what happened next astounded me: George very warmly greeted this woman and invited her to sing, then burst into Silent Night with a gorgeous operatic voice! She joined us all in hearty song and when we finished Silent Night, she stumbled away even though George kindly and genuinely invited her to continue singing with us. As it turns out, George is the Cantor for St John in McKeesport!
Nothing really eventful happened after that, and I was humbled by the devotion of the gallant parents and children (especially the fearless young men) of the Levy and McCauley families, and by the gentle spirit of Adrienne of the Oakland Prayer Group, who was one hour early for her group’s prayer time!
JOE 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER
Prayers showed up in abundance today.
Deacon Paul and wife Pat (pictured) all the way from Nativity of the Mother of God Byzantine Church in Dubois came and prayed and treated passersby so politely.
Adrienne, Mary, Alicia, and Julie from the Oakland prayer group prayed fervently and sang beautifully.
Lou (pictured) and Deacon Myron from Holy Trinity came and prayed.
We’re all very blessed to be able to serve this life giving ministry.
Have you met our 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh Babies yet?
I come from a beautiful big family (7 girls, 4 boys) and one of my lovely sisters had the idea that if we could just remind folks what (actually who) we LOSE in abortion, we could really make a statement for life. “Let’s remind everyone of the joy and beauty of children” she said. and VOILA: We have 4 beautiful little ones who will be representing our work here.
These are images purchased for use in communication; pictures representing little ones we know we are losing to abortion. We know that abortion takes away our children from our lives, our families, even our city — Children whose faces we will never see, but those hearts belong to God!
You will see pictures of some of our babies today and most days on the sidewalk. On the BACK of each picture that same wonderful sister developed a beautiful pro-life prayer litany that can be shared as a group or prayed individually.
If you have not already found it, you will appreciate that this set of intentions really covers so many of the needs of our society– for the Disabled, Lonely, Young, Poor, and Suffering…. For Medical professionals and Students, new Doctors…. For those who work in Abortion clinics and those who pray outside of them…For Judges and Legislators and Policmen and Security Guards….. and more.
And the great part?
Every single person we pray for was once a beautiful little baby — like the 4 who are our witnesses on the sidewalk each day — and like those we pray to rescue from abortion.
DAY 25 Reports from the SIDEWALK:
Shift Manager Report from Virginia, 7am-9am
Shout out to St. Maria Goretti Parish in Lawrenceville
FOR THE SECOND SATURDAY IN A ROW, there were no “death”scorts outside of PP during this time. Praise be to God. Perhaps our presence is making a difference with these folks who surely must have hearts open to hearing the truth!!! There were couples that entered the building (about 3) that did not take about literature or engage in any conversation. But we were strong– There were prayer warriors from St. Maria Gorietta parish in Lawrenceville keeping watch and praying in HIS NAME.
Shift Manager Report from Sue 9-11
Shout out to St. Sebastian Parish in Ross Township
It was the second Saturday in a row with no PP escorts– Dan and Steve from St. Maria Goretti kept us company in prayer along with Patrick from St. Vincent, Dorothy from Our Lady of the Angels & Tom and Rosemary of St. George in Bridgeville came to pray and blessed the sidewalk with their beautiful sung prayer.I spent about a half hour trying to help a man and a 16-year-old international high school student from Ecuador with their Megabus situation via my phone. There are many needy folks on the sidewalk– please pray for this family !
Sue, Sandy, Mary Lou, Maria, Libby, Mary, and Guy – Awesome St. Sebastian Prayer Warriors!
Many women and a few couples entered PP during our shift. A man walked by and said “You Christians should be praying at home.” If he only knew how much we would love to be praying at home. More notably, if he only knew how important it really is for Christians to be at the foot of the modern-day cross at Calvary: abortion clinics. He walked by too quickly for us to engage him in conversation. We prayed for him. On a brighter note, we received many words of support. At one point, a teenage girl holding a PP printout with who appeared to be her mother exited PP — they passed Sidewalk Advocate Judy, who reached out to them verbally, walked a bit …….. and then the girl turned around and came back to talk to Judy. Although we didn’t know exactly why she’d been at PP, Judy said she told her she is pro-life and will not be going back to PP again. Praise God!
Shift Manager Dean Reports from 11-1
Shout out to: St. Sebastian in Ross Township
Thanks also to the folks from St. Sebastian who prayed with us today. P.P. was very busy . One woman exiting there and turning down our yellow card was heard to say, “Satan loves me, I don’t need Jesus”. I know that a number of people try to say whatever they think will upset us the most. If only she knew how big of an enemy Satan is for HER, and how much she truly needs Jesus, she would realize that OUR battle is won already; and that Jesus died on the cross for HER, and that He loves her more than anyone on Earth ever could!
Shift Manager Report: 1-3 pm Billy
Shout outs to St. Sebastian in Ross Township & Bishop William Waltersheid, Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
This afternoon was a busy afternoon for Planned Parenthood, I saw about 5 different groups of people go in today. We were all trying to talk to the women who came out and they were not really interested in our help. I saw a couple people covering their children’s eyes while we were out, and one holding onto her daughter as they walked into the clinic.
That’s the bad news. However we were accompanied in prayer by a Bishop — Auxiliary Bishop William Waltersheid of the Diocese of Pittsburgh! I was accompanied by Mary Lou, Libby, a gentleman by the name of Vince, a woman named Maryanne, Nadine and another couple I believe the gentleman’s name was Guy!
Despite the expected negatives, it was still such a great blessing to share fellowship with the Body of Christ on the sidewalk!!
Shift Manager Report from Kathy 3-5pm
Shout out to Starkdale Presbyterian Church in Steubenville, Ohio
Having an adventure with a delightful bunch of people (Starkdale Presbyterian) warmed by sunshine was a Blessing today.
After Pastor Carl led us in prayer, we offered help through yellow resource cards to passersby. Two women came out of pp but did not take info… but we were there to offer!
While I was praying on the opposite side of circle: Sandy, Arleen,and Pastor Carl conversed with a tour bus driver. The Tour bus was parked right beside us. AND– the Busdriver took cards to give to young people on his bus. You never know How our God will work!
We were joined the second hour by Kimberly, who prayed, offered more help to patrons coming out of PP and even and invited some to come pray with us. Blessings to ALL.