Day 31:  Thank you to ECC Students for Life, St. John the Baptist Parish, Living Hope Church, Shift Buddies, and Individual Volunteers!

Lately, we’ve been acknowledging some weariness in praying for the closure of PP and wondering when God will answer.  It seems to hit us at this point in the campaign.

Shawn Carney spoke to this issue on Monday, reminding us to put all our trust in God and His plan even though we don’t know its details.  Many of the good things that have come from 40 Days for Life campaigns have taken the participants by surprise, at least in terms of timing.

By the grace of God, the Gospel readings for daily Mass this week have been very appropriate to the situation.  Taken from Chapter 12 of the book of Luke,  they contain many important lessons, including the importance of staying ready since we cannot know when things will happen.

  • Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who built enormous new barns to hold his bountiful harvest so that he could take it easy for the rest of his life, not knowing that his life would end that very night. (Lk 12: 16-21)
  • Jesus exhorts His followers to be like vigilant servants awaiting their master’s return from a wedding even though they didn’t know when he would arrive. (Lk 12: 35-38)
  • Jesus points out that a man was unable to prevent a break-in because he was unaware of the hour when a thief was coming. (Lk 12: 39-40)
  • Jesus explains what happens to a prudent steward who faithfully continues in his task even when his master is delayed, and what happens to a foolish servant who turns away from the job at hand and is then caught off guard when his master returns at an unexpected time. (Lk 12:42-48)
  • Jesus chides His listeners for figuring out when the weather will change but not realizing that their lives would soon change, too. (Lk 12: 54-56)

God knows what He is about.  He knows when PP will close.  I need humility to accept that I am not in charge of the details.  I just have to stay vigilant and keep praying until He takes me by surprise—because He will.

Come and join us on the sidewalk at 933 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh as we pray for an end to the violence of abortion and reach out to our hurting brothers and sisters.  Use this link https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/to choose a time or simply show up between 7 AM and 7 PM from now until November 4th.  (Please note that we will end the vigil at 5 PM tomorrow, Saturday 10/27.)

~Jen


Here are the reports from today’s vigil!

7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:

Crossing the Veterans Bridge on our way into town, again we noticed the Church on Mt. Washington and the moon…both brightly beaming.  God is in His heavens.  All is right with the world.  Diane supervised and we helped arrange supplies.  Pat came to pick up the mobile supply unit.  I think that’s what he and Diane call it!  Sally and Al, our shift buddies, give us street cred.  These guys have been showing up, outside, all seasons, all over the county, for pro-life events for decades.  “I love to stand outside wearing cold wet shoes,” Al declares as his reason for their fortitude and perseverance.  Sally has reasons, but her smile says it best.  About 4 sets of young women went in looking dressed for a really bad decision.  It always feels bad.  When they repent, God will be ready.  A young woman stopped and asked me to pray with her.  Today she will quit her job.  She was not interested in advice.  Prayer is what she wanted.  People passed, nodded, thumbs up, smiles and accepted “God bless you,” with a return blessing.  Kathy came and accepted the lanyard.  Being part of 40 Days for Life challenges me to be my best self.  What a blessing.

Al, Sally, Richard praying on the not-yet daylit avenue.
Fetal models, 40 Days for Life info, Just the Facts: Pro-life praying points
Yesterday’s rose petals. On the pavement they mix with cigarette butts and tiny bits of refuse. The aborted babies’ bodies are treated as carelessly.

 

9-11 AM, Kathy:

Spent time in prayer.  Passed out “Your Biography” and yellow cards.  Many passersby accepted lit.  One man stopped and asked what I was doing.  I explained while he looked through the handout “My Biography.” He replied that he doesn’t agree with my viewpoint but will read the material.  A few negative comments but nothing unusual.  A large student life group from St Mary’s, PA arrived and filled and lit up the sidewalk.  Thank you for traveling such a distance to witness for life!

St Mary’s student life group
No water spilled on this sign 😉

 

11 AM-1 PM, Marie:

Had a great group from St. Mary’s, PA and Elk County Catholic High School.  One of the mothers told me that today is 17 years to the day that Magee Women’s Hospital tried to convince her to abort her baby.  She resisted – even though they were very persistent.  During the story she was looking at her beautiful 17-year-old daughter who is alive today because of her parents’ courage.

1-3 PM, Dave and Noreen:

Dave and I were at PP from 1 – 3 today and St. John the Baptist had people there.  It was nice because that’s our parish so we had some familiar folks with us.  In the picture is Dave with Frank.  Our friend Mary was there earlier but I completely forgot to take her picture!!  AAAHHH!

Dave and Frank

 

3-5 PM, Pat:

A few weeks ago I talked about how it was frustrating it is – but also a lesson in humility – that one can’t really pray and pass out literature at the same time.  We need to choose.  But this time, as I was trying to spend as much time on my knees praying as I reasonably could, a new thought occurred to me.  When you pray on your knees people who pass by look at you in a different way than they do when you are standing and praying.  So as I watched the people passing by look at me I realized that a powerful message was getting across to them while I was engaged in prayer.  And I think that message is as simple as this:  “Wow, those people really are serious about stopping abortion.”  And that vision won’t soon leave them either.  It becomes a seed in their mind which God can work with.  Perhaps the next time they are confronted in some way with the topic of abortion, their reaction to it will be a little different than it would have been.  Perhaps it will be a little less abstract to them.

As for my shift, I was glad to be with the good people of Living Hope Church in Whitney.  They’ve been here before and come a long way (about a 1.5 hour drive).  So thank you.  Thank you also to Walt, from St. John’s in Plum who was with me for the first hour.

And finally, a note to self and to my fellow shift managers.  While I’m betting all of us regulars have become a lot better over the years at being disciplined about not reacting to those who hurl negative remarks at us, I think it would be good for me/us to get into the habit of mentally preparing those who come to pray with us – right after we introduce ourselves – for these situations and instruct them that we do not want to engage in any way with these passersby, but simply ignore them.

 

5-6 PM, Kathy:

Thanks to mother and son, Marlane and John, from St. John the Baptist Church in Plum.
Faithful Benson also stopped by briefly to join us in a prayer.  A few folks accepted lit.  A light rain started and soon Nikki came to SM the last hour.

Marlane and John

 

6-7 PM, Nikki:

I filled in for the last hour of the vigil and was blessed to pray with Peggy from St. John the Baptist Church in Plum. It was sad to see so many women  leaving the clinic, most likely post-abortive. I couldn’t help thinking about their poor little babies being left behind. I hope that my witness  on my knees and my prayers helped show that each one of those little ones was worthy of someone’s prayers and sufferings.

Nikki and Peggy from Saint John the Baptist Parish

 

 

 

Day 30: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Richard (Gibsonia), and all of our Shift Buddies and prayer volunteers!!

 

40 Days for Life

 

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis added)

 

The part of this passage that stands out to me today is the part with added emphasis in verse 20.  God is able to do…. anything.  What a tremendous concept.

When I look at 933 Liberty Avenue these days, I BELIEVE that God can and will close it down.

He can.  And He will.  Do we trust Him?

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki:

 My shift buddy Peggy and I had a very prayerful time on the sidewalk this morning! I like the early morning shift best because it is much calmer than the afternoon hours. Passersby are still half asleep, and since there is little opportunity for outreach or interaction, it lends itself perfectly to prayer. And it works out well, since I miss my normal morning prayer when I have to be on the sidewalk so early.
Peggy and I prayed on our knees facing the doors for the rosary. Then we also prayed the Saint Michael chaplet and I had the idea, which someone from Elk County had suggested to me, to live stream from a perpetual adoration chapel. So, Peggy and I prayed on our knees the Divine Mercy chaplet and the St. Michael Chaplet while looking at Jesus exposed in the monstrance. It was just like being in an adoration chapel! Looking at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was so comforting and calming, I could sense his presence there on the sidewalk with us. I am going to have to remember to do this more often when I am there!
It was wonderful to see the saints from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrive for the 9 to 11 shift. I am so grateful for all of them! God bless everyone who is praying and fasting and being a witness to life!
Shift Buddy Peggy and Shift Manager Nikki– THANK YOU!!

 

Nikki and Peggy’s makeshift “adoration chapel.”

 

The “prayer posse” from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, along with Sidewalk Advocate Katie (left)

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene was represented by Pastor Joe and Judy, Meredith, Jessie and Chuck. Katie joined us…and provided colorful chalk messages on the sidewalks.

Before we arrived for our shift, a number of the staff from PP came out carrying things for some sort of event. There were still some more staff leaving the building and heading in the same direction as we arrived. There were no abortions…or any other services at PP today. So there was much praying going on.

One staff member came out to cross the street and had to wait beside Katie and me before crossing. Katie approached her and offered material, and I told her that I was praying for God to find her a job that doesn’t kill babies…but she just ignored us.

Here’s my funny story. About the middle of my shift, I was kneeling in front of PP praying for a while. As I finished praying and looked up a young man was coming out of PP, I got his attention and he came over to me and I was offering him the resource card (which he took) and explaining the abortion business going on at PP. He seemed very interested in everything I was saying, and then he said, “I’m just reading the meters.” He was the meter reader!!!!! (haha, that’s what happens when your eyes are shut…I didn’t see him reading all the meters before he went in to PP). But then he told me the story of his cousin who had had two devastating miscarriages and she just found out that she is pregnant again. He was clearly very excited about it. So I was able to rejoice with him and pray a blessing over his cousin. He definitely valued life and it turned out to be a positive experience.

Toward the end of our shift, two staff came out of the building with glasses of water and put it on Katie’s chalk words in front of the building and erased as much of the words as they could with their feet. I told them “God bless you and God loves you.” Katie and Jessie quickly grabbed the chalk and put the words right back!

I praise God that no babies lost their lives here today!!!

Thank you, Meredith and Pastor Joe!!

 

Thank you, Katie, for your sidewalk chalk creations! They are meaningful and helpful.

 

 

Thank you to Katie and Jessie for re-writing this message of truth and inspiration!!

 

Lisa K:

I am so thankful for the lovely group of people who prayed with me today.  A former Shift Manager, Marilyn, came with a group from St. Richard’s, and it was wonderful to see her again!  And thank you to Cheryl and Margie who joined her.  Thank you also to Bob, who comes so regularly, as well as Mike and his wife, who happened to be downtown for another reason, but wanted to stop by and join us for a time of prayer.

I am especially thankful for the blessings of these dear people, and those who came for the shift following mine, because today there seemed to be a lot of negativity from passersby.  I would never respond with negativity in return, but it does make me sincerely wonder WHY people have to be so mean.  Why can’t they simply disagree with us, and move on with their lives?  I suppose too many of them have been hurt by abortion themselves.  God help them.

 

One of the negative things that occurred before I arrived: PP workers grinding the memorial roses into the ground with their feet. These rose petals made me think of drops of blood that are shed by the millions in that building.

 

Bonnie and Mike, thank you so much for stopping by!!! It was beautiful to pray the rosary with you!!

 

Helen:

Shift Buddy Anita came with Barbara and Connie from St. Paul in Butler and Cathy from St. Mary. Our ever-faithful Benson took his place near the fetal models for a sunny but chilly afternoon. This group never stopped praying for the two hours of the downtown “going home” shift.

A group of about six young women went into PP. We don’t know why. We can hope they were curious enough about our presence to ask a lot of questions.

Dear M. braved the traffic at this crossing, and she made a cushion of the kneeling pads while she prayed.

As we got close to the end of our final rosary, a young couple stopped to look at the fetal models. I walked over and said, “You’re looking at a version of your former self.” The lady smiled. The young man smiled, too, and said, “It’s good these are here. I survived an abortion.” As I gasped and told him how wonderful it was to hear that news, he said, “Yes. That’s why it’s good that you are here to pray.”

As we blessed ourselves, everyone wanted to know what the young man said to me.

And that beautiful news from him is what makes every person, every prayer, every moment of 40 Days for Life the most precious time we can spend in downtown Pittsburgh.

A few minutes before 5:00, Bill arrived in response to the call for a Shift Buddy. Charlie and his bride came at that time, too. Thanks be to God.

 

Thank you to this wonderful group of prayer warriors, including Shift Buddy Anita (in the 40 Days for Life shirt)!!

 

The 3-5pm group praying the rosary. Thank you all!!

Charlie:

 

Quiet night.  My wife, Any, was with me, along with Bill.  A few people were a bit negative but all and all good night.  Just stood and witnessed.  Thanks to all from St. Bernadette’s.
Any and Bill

 

 

I look forward to seeing how God will work. 

And I can’t wait to see this sign on that door:

 

 

 

Day 29…Thanks to Guardians for Life, St. Paul Cathedral and many dedicated individuals!

Tomorrow is day 30.  We are now three-fourths through our 40 Days for Life vigil.  Ten days ago, when we hit the half-way mark, I said to my husband, “Wow, I can’t believe it is already half over…it has gone so fast!”  Now, on day 29, I have changed my mind.  September 26th seems like an eternity ago, and another 10 days seems like it may as well be a year.

This is when the exhaustion sets in.

I shouldn’t feel discouraged.  God has blessed our efforts during these 29 days. There has been good participation at the vigil, and our team has been united and joyful!  We have seen three women choose life at the last minute, after seeing our prayerful witness at Planned Parenthood, and we have found out about another two babies that are alive today because their mothers saw our witness during past campaigns!  So, why am I struggling?  I think it is a spiritual struggle that is going on.  Discouragement is Satan’s most effective weapon and he uses it well against us.

If you are feeling tired as well, if you are wanting to retreat from the battle to end abortion…I would simply like to use this blog post to exhort you to pray more.  We really need to increase our reliance on the supernatural power of God if we are going to be able to persevere.  God knew what He was doing when He came up with 40 Days for Life. By putting prayer first…by relying TOTALLY on GOD to end abortion…and by limiting the campaigns to a 40 day time frame, (thereby giving us periods to rest in between)…we are able to continue this fight without burning out or giving up.

Getting into the disciplined routine of daily prayer is VITAL to our spiritual strength.  We simply MUST have a daily prayer life if we are going to be able to endure and continue to be effective in this battle. 

Good intentions only go so far.  Loving God and hating abortion is not enough.  If we try to rush into the battle unprepared…

We will be crushed.

God wants to use us to save lives and draw lost souls back to Himself.  But we need to be strong in HIM in order for him to use us!  We need to be GOD STRONG!  Daily prayer, fasting and offering our sufferings for his purpose will make us fit instruments in his hands.  

When we are spiritually strong, God will use us to save the weak.

I intended to write this blog to exhort those of you who are feeling tired…but I think I wrote it mainly to encourage myself.

If you have not already committed to a regular prayer time each day, please begin now.  If you are not fasting on a regular basis, please try to incorporate some sort of sacrifice into your eating habits if possible.  If you have avoided coming to the vigil at Planned Parenthood to pray, please ask God to give you the courage and the selflessness to come.  

We need you.  The babies need you, and their families need you.

Now for today’s sidewalk stories…


Charlene wrote from the 7-9 am shift:

Today was such a peaceful, prayerful day. Oh, we had some negatives and it was chilly, but that did not break our mood. Peg and I started with today’s devotional, blessing PP (that everyone who enters leaves), rosaries (Peg on her knees). We were joined by Bill who does a great job greeting people and handing out literature. I noticed that Katie’s chalk message gets more attention than the sign in PP’s window. I brought chalk to freshen up the message and left some in the trunk and some in the traveling case if you are so inclined to do the same! Prayers that your shift is as peaceful and prayerful as today.

Knees on the ground…Peg in prayer this morning

Cathy had the 9-11 am shift and wrote:

It was a quiet shift.  It was a privilege to pray with Barbara, Molly and Colleen from Sts. Anne, Bernard and Winifred parishes.  I was able to share a few “Everyone’s Biography” with a resource card inside.  (These are good for leaving on the bus and in public bathrooms, etc.)

Barbara and Richard filled in for the 11-1 shift and wrote:

The sidewalk was already full as Cathy handed over the shift manager lanyard. Three women from Mount Lebanon Rosary Group were just about to leave.  Guardians for Life arrived one by one, and then more from their group, and then Father Tim.

For almost two hours, they filled the sidewalk with prayer and hymns.  We had a dozen red roses. People were invited to take one and lay it on the sidewalk in front of PP.   The roses represent the babies whose lives are taken by abortion at Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood.  

The chilly air warmed and I think the sun came out.   A Clean Water Group marched down our sidewalk, about 150 people. 

“This was organized by native Americans who came from many states,” said Carol.”I am against abortion, capital punishment and for all life issues.”  Drums accompanied the marchers.  Most of them smiled as they passed. “Clean water is a prolife issue,” they said.

Bob from St. Mary in Kittanning arrived just as we were about to leave.  “I come down when I can,” he said.  “My friends and I are scheduled for the last day of the Fall 40 Days.”

Chris came and Richard and I bade him farewell.

Changing of the guard, shift managers Barbara and Richard, with shift manager Chris and prayer volunteers Bob and Eileen

Chris wrote from the 1-3 pm shift:

When I arrived to relieve Barbara and Richard, I joined two prayer warriors, Eileen and Bob.   Eileen told me she ran a San Diego pregnancy center in the 1980s.  Toward the end of my shift, Geri, a born-again Christian, stopped by and said she’d like to volunteer at a pregnancy center.  Eileen wrote down the address for the Women’s Choice Network location on the Northside.  A man stopped by to thank us for being there, saying he had been adopted in 1961and my friend, Alex, stopped to say a prayer with us.  There was very little traffic in and out of PP, maybe six people over the two hours.  On this cold and blustery day I didn’t hear any negative comments. 

Eileen

Jeannie was the birthday-girl shift manager from 3-5 pm:

It’s my birthday and I’m here praying for others to have their birthdays too
Rose petals on the sidewalk…

It was not an uneventful day down at Planned Parenthood this afternoon. I would definitely say that our presence , including the flowers and the chalking on the street, is definitely “getting to “ those who oppose us. We had three incidents of  Pro PP people lashing out at us. Many many more were supportive of what we were doing, and when one guy acted out a couple of others said “you’re doing the right thing”.  One young woman personified every mistaken pro abortion argument: “don’t you want women to be safe ?” she asked us. We explained that women weren’t safe in abortion. “What if the baby is not going to live? “ We explain that babies who are dying do not have to be killed. “ it’s just a clump of cells” she said, But when we pointed out the 12 week  model as typical for a surgical abortion she said “no abortions are done at that time”. Her final argument was that some unborn children are actually killing their mothers and need to be aborted.  !!!!  I explained that we do not need to help a dying child die.  An employee of Planned Parenthood came out after her shift and actually poured water on to Katie’s  chalked sidewalk and message and took paper towels and tried to rub it off.  I took the opportunity while she was cleaning to talk about how I knew she was doing what she thought was right but there were other ways to help women…. Another young man purposefully stepped on one of our roses  And Wal-la when the rose became a collection of petals they filled the bumper zone. The Planned Parenthood workers had to come out walking over a bed of rose petals. How ironic as it is the symbol of the pro-life movement!  I was joined by Regis and Mary and Sarah from Saint Paul’s Cathedral and my lovely sister Claire from Saint Bernards. We were a hearty prayerful group, and it was good to be there witnessing for the unborn.

Claire, Mary, Regis and Sara

 

 

 

 

Regis and Claire, beautiful witness to life!

Joe K. wrote from the 5-7…

Wooo,…, Sooie!!!  What a ride for today’s shift – should’ve known that it was a full-moon tonight (the Hunter’s Moon)…

Started the shift greeting / serenading the birthday girl – Jeannie and was informed that it was an “interesting” afternoon.  But, little did I know that I would see it first hand…

Jeannie tried to educate a young woman with the truth who had been past the vigil a couple of times, but this time finally stopped to “talk”…  but the Kung-Fu in this young woman lept out as she sprang into action to show off her “skills”… … …

It was beautiful how Jeannie tried to reason with this person, but ugliness within in this young woman tried to rule the day – though we know the light always wins!!! 

Interesting how the roses that Jeannie had spread around that got kicked and stomped on through the day ended-up beautifully showering the entire area with rose petals – remember, the light always triumphs…

Also spread out through the area were the signs that had the baby pictures on them – Claire, Jeannie’s sister, explained that a lot of people walk past the vigil and just look down – brilliant!!!

Blessed and honored to have a full-shift of vigil attendee’s – Trusty Benson and Audrey joined Mary Jane, Regis, and Lynda for all / portions of the shift – Thanks all of “yinz”!!!

Saw a former co-worker, Bill, that stopped by to say hello / offer support.

A weekend escort of 933 Liberty walked into the building with her significant other and child…but not before tramping on a rose and looking back at me in delight – I just smiled…  The Bert Sommer (Woodstock) song Smile comes to mind:…

Smile and the world smiles with you
Smile all the love is in your hand…

Yes, my brothers and sisters it is in all in our hands how we handle the good, the bad, and even unfortunately, the ugly…The significant other, came through later and stepped on one of the baby pictures.

Please pray EXTRA for this family…

Faithful Tom packed us up for the night, but we shall persevere / return!!!

Day 28: Thank you: Clarks Mills United Methodist Church; St. Joseph (Cabot); St. Ann Catholic Church (Waynesburg)

Thank you Shawn Carney, founder, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life for visiting our vigil last night!

Pastor Joe led us in prayer during the last hour of Mondays vigil, from 6pm-7pm and said that Grace will end abortion.

We had a reception at Catholic Charities where Shawn inspired us with excerpts from his book which included stories of babies saved, abortion facilities closed and conversion of abortionists! The stories show the Power of Prayer and that we must trust in the love, truth and mercy of Christ. Our true enemy is evil and sin…and we get to go out there and offer Hope!

Shawn talked about how the location being downtown  gives our time more power because people are walking by and accessible. Abortion survives on busyness and distractions, but we are a reminder of what is going on and they will remember that impact. Although it is harder to see results from a downtown vigil, we are standing for our Lord and we are not alone. One guarantee is we have solidarity with the babies who are losing their lives.

Nikki mentioned how this is the 17th campaign that has occured at Planned Parenthood and is requesting for all of us to fast however you can on the last day, beginning at 7pm on Saturday, 11/3 and ending at our closing rally at 7pm on 11/4!

Let’s finish strong!!!

Pastor Joe and team members prayed over Shawn and then Nikki and Jeanne presented him with a Pittsburgh gift! It was a blessed night, God is good!

 

7-9: Charlene and Dick

Dick and I were met on the sidewalk by Pat and two distinct signs…the signs seemed to me to represent the clash we witness everyday on the sidewalk…light and darkness…thank you Katie for providing the light!
A Tale of Two Cultures
We were joined by Pastor Adam, Sally and Al…3 other bright lights. We were speaking about the closing of Planned Parenthood and Pastor Adam said that he believes the devil has a tight hold on PP and he works on us thru the “3Ds”…”Doubt, Deception,Discouragement”…that sounded pretty true for me. Pastor Adam also reminded us that God is more powerful and when the Lord is ready, the Holy Spirit will prevail and down will fall PP. When in doubt…think of that!    Thank you, Pastor Adam.        Charlene

9-11: Beth

Today it was “Good Morning” to most, “good mourning.” to some. Ed, Adam, Mary Ann, Beth Ann, Teresa and I followed Shawn Carney’s advice, we stood in solidarity with the babies that lost their lives today at Planned Parenthood. Busy day, but we were there praying for miracles to happen. Please pray for a family, whose father brought his daughter to PP. He argued his case for the abortion, but Adam said he noticed the woman before and she looked like she was not running to somewhere but running from somewhere. Would abortion un-rape her or would an abortion seem like a second rape? Horrible situation, beautiful baby lost. We’ll keep praying; it’s our first resort.

11-1: Nancy

Cecelia and her group from St. Joe’s in Cabot

Patti and Joyce with Nancy in the background

1-3: Nikki

When I arrived on the sidewalk at 1 o’clock, I found Cecilia, Joyce and and a third faithful member from Saint Joe’s in Cabot who I am sorry I do not remember her name, all three were fervently praying on their knees facing the doors of Planned Parenthood. There was a fierce a spiritual battle going on today at Planned Parenthood. A young man was trying to talk his sister out of having the abortion. He said she was distressed and was crying and was not sure of what to do. He took all of the information they gave him and gave it to her. We all prayed that she would come out, but sadly she never did. As I was praying on my knees in the crosswalk, I was holding some of the roses that Barbara brought to our event for Shawn Carney last night. A young man was headed in the doors and I offered him a rose to give to his girlfriend, who was in there already. He took the rose and must have given it to her because when he left later on he did not have it. A third battle was being fought as a grandfather stood outside for a long time, as his daughter was inside for an abortion. She had received the information from Cecilia, but chose to go ahead with the abortion anyway. We do not know if any lives were saved today, but we do know that those who lost their lives, did not lose them alone. We were there as a witness to the amazing value of their lives, and we were praying for them and for their families.

Much prayer on the sidewalk during the one to 3 shift
Kim and her faithful group from St. Ann’s in Waynesburg

I was joined with the very faithful and dedicated group of prayer warriors from St. Ann in Waynesburg, led by the very dedicated Kim. She prayed on her knees for much of their shift, and their prayers were unceasing. At one point while Cecilia and her group were still there, a man stopped to pray for us. I really felt the Holy Spirit with us as he prayed for our protection and for help for us and for abortion to end. When he finished praying, we asked if we could also pray for him, which we did. One young woman stopped because of the baby model set and debated in a reasonable tone with me. It was a hard shift, but that is what it is to be God‘s instrument in this difficult and discouraging battle. Thank you to everyone who came and prayed today!

3-5: Michael

Sunny and cool today. I appreciated being with an outstanding group of folks from St. Ann’s in Waynesburg. See their picture on Nikki’s 1-3 shift. They travel to Pittsburgh every 40 DFL Campaign to give their time to pray and witness for the Lord and His babies. We were all once His babies and now we are His children and servants. It was very peaceful today and I could feel and sense onlookers’ support and wonder at our presence. People don’t have to say a word, but their body language speaks volumes. This is my last day at PP for this campaign as we are leaving to visit our son and grandchildren in
Florida. I will keep 40 DFL in my thoughts and prayers.

5-7: Lisa

Very grateful to Mike for staying a little longer tonight as the traffic getting into downtown delayed my arrival.  Thanks also to Mike for having his phone to take our photo for the evening.  Benson stayed on a little longer than usual this evening.  I know that young man is really making God happy with his conviction to this campaign and so many are in awe of his very rare dedication for a young person.  Benson you are an inspiration!
We had a couple walk by slowly and then walk back to us inquiring about what we were doing.
Ron and Marie were in town visiting Pittsburgh before going to a wedding in central PA.  They are celebrating their own wedding anniversary and we helped them with directions to some points of interest.   They live in Detroit, Michigan.  Marie took pleasure in and pictures of the fetal models.  They were happy to join us as we completed our recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  A Blessed Evening with my prayer partners, Johanna and Denise.
Lisa

 

Day 27: North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church and Holy Apostles Parish

Predicting Success

We will succeed for two reasons…

I recently heard a psychologist speak on “Predicting Success”. She studied West Point Cadets and spelling bee contestants among other groups. She ruled out education, test scores and family income as predictors of success. Rather she said the single biggest factor for success is having the quality of “GRIT”.

Yep, she said GRIT and defined it as having a passion for something and the perseverance to overcome setbacks and failures to achieve that passion.

Hum I thought, We have GRIT. We have the passion and perseverance to end abortion with our prayers, fasting and witness in good weather and bad. I have seen it in the faces of prayers warriors and the actions of those humble enough to kneel in prayer outside the abortion center.

Plus we God on our side. So sooner or later, we will win the battle to change hearts and minds and end abortion. Not by our efforts but by the power of God. Our prayers, fasting and peaceful vigil will access God’s power to change hearts and minds and change this culture of death to a culture of life thus bringing and end to abortion.  Our GRIT + God’s power = We Succeed!

God bless you and fill you with GRIT. Tim B.

Thanks today for the faithful from North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church and Holy Apostles Parish. Below are stories from today at the vigil including the visit by Shawn Carney, Worldwide President and CEO of 40 Days For Life.  Check back throughout the day as stories and pictures come in.

7-9 am:

I was greeted again this morning by Diane and my shift buddy Rose…we took a selfie since I won’t be here next Monday and this is our last shift together. Pictured are some members of North Hills Reformed Presbyterian Church: Bill, Sam, Charles, Jerry and Kevin who showed up promptly. They put on their signs and stood in front of the door and on the opposite side of the circle to witness. Rose and I prayed on the other side, so it was nice to have the place surrounded with prayers this morning! There was the usual traffic and regulars passing by. We kind of have a routine down with praying and Rose handing out literature! She is super joyful and talked about St John Paul the II feast day today and how he always said “Be not afraid” and that we are called to be hopeful! A handful of workers went into the building. NH Reformed Presbyterian Church pastor Derrick came towards the end of my shift as some other members had to go. It was a good morning! Thanks, Sue

9-11 am:

Thank you to Charles, Derryck, Matthew & Katrina from Reformed Presbyterian Church of the North Hills that came and prayed today. We prayed quietly and handed out quite a few cards. Derryck and Charles sang one of the Psalms and it was beautiful!

God was clearly working today when he sent “K”. “K” came up and started talking to Charles and Derrick and was asking if PP was closed today which she said she saw on their website but she came by anyway. She is pregnant and wanted to get an ultrasound to see how far along she was. She is having a lot of pressure from her mom and boyfriend to abort. Charles and Derryck ministered to her and then we all prayed for her before Charles drove her to Women’s Choice Network in Oakland. Please continue to pray for “K”.

After Charles left we had an interesting situation, a woman walked up to us and asked if we wanted to see her mark of the beast??? We were caught off guard by it but prayed for her afterwards. Thank you to Karen from St. Phillips who joined us and prayed the rosary quietly and Rosemary from Holy Apostles with her beautiful sign. Thank you Lord for your faithful servants who pray to save the most vulnerable among us! Donna G.

From Ginny 11-1 pm:

Rose was with me all morning praying. 

Jeff stopped by on his lunch hour to pray
One man stopped at the light kept yelling out the window for us to get a job. He also gave us a nasty gesture. We just remained quiet and prayed for him. But there were many others who thank us for being there.

From Beth S. 1-3 pm:

Please pray for the woman who has a friend that had an abortion. When the woman was told, she was so deeply saddened that she stopped on her lunch hour to talk with us at 40 Days. Abortion affects so many people. The woman now knows about Project Rachel and she’ll pass the information on to her friend.
Rose, Donna, and Mary Ann from Holy Apostles kept the prayer going. And after speaking with such a heart-broken woman, one can see why prayer is so necessary for what we do.

DAY 26: THANK YOU; CMU Newman Club, Pittsburgh Oratory; Assumption Church, Bellevue; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Jim and Cathy S.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him,

upon those who count on his mercy,

to deliver their soul from death,

and to keep them alive through famine.

Psalm 33

___________________________________

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God

who is sending a love letter to the world.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.

What we need is to love without getting tired.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

ADOPTION

THE CHOICE THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN LIVE WITH

They were orphaned, lost, and alone.

Yet a generation of World War II Polish child refugees

found a new life and happiness in distant New Zealand.

Three septuagenarians smiled and told me of the tragedy they had lived through as children.  All three were born in eastern Poland, and were arrested and deported, along with hundreds of thousands of other Poles, after the Soviet invasion in 1939. Soviet soldiers and police packed their families into boxcars and exiled them to Siberia or central Asia, where many died of illness or starvation. Only in 1942, after Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, were survivors released.  But some of their children were already orphans, having lost their parents to hunger or disease. An international appeal went out.

A number of countries offered shelter. Thanks to the efforts of Countess Maria Wodzicka, the wife of the Polish Consul in Wellington, and the New Zealand Prime Minister and his wife, New Zealand invited 800 Poles for the duration of the war. Because of the political situation in Poland after 1945, they were accepted for permanent settlement in New Zealand.

The refugee orphans made a harrowing journey from Poland through Russia and Iran, to reach New Zealand on October 31, 1944. Of this group, 734 were orphaned children. The remainder were their caregivers.

Mrs. Krystyna Skwarko was a schoolteacher in Poland. First her husband, and then she and their two children were arrested and deported to Siberia when the Russians overran Poland.   Later, Mrs. Skwarko helped to care for the children on the voyage in an American troopship. She was one of the people who nurtured the refugees and guided their education at the Polish Children’s Camp at Pahiatua.  After her death, Mrs. Skwarko was buried in Canberra, next to her husband.

Like all the other Polish refugee children, I was very excited. 

Prime Minister Peter Fraser, who had invited us to New Zealand,

came aboard the ship.

There were speeches and we were given sweets by kind ladies,

and then we were taken in the train to our camp at Pahīatua.

Hundreds of New Zealanders met them at the port.  More people lined the roads and waved as the train carried the orphans through the countryside to a refugee camp created for them in Pahiatua.

In Pahīatua we got into a routine where we knew

we were going to get three square meals a day

and anything we wanted.

Then we then started really recuperating.

 In my opinion the most interesting chapters are the final ones, where we learn that the social work in the Polish community was gradually taken over by the capable young hands of the former children of the Pahiatua Camp. Many of them achieved high educational qualifications and are now holding responsible positions. But whether they’re in professions, working as tradesmen, office workers or mothers dedicated to the task of bringing up the new generation, all of them are contributing to the development of New Zealand’s economy and culture.

Marian Szczepanowski
Chairman of the Polish Historical Society in Australia

___________________________________

Watch the children.  They tell you their story in this 18 minute film. “New Zealand National Film Unit presents Story of 700 Polish Children,” (1966).      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NO3FC2NB0o

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_hive/2013/05/pahiatua_s_polish_world_war_ii_refugees_a_group_of_young_poles_made_a_new.html

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/video/pahiatuas-little-poland-roadside-stories

http://www.polishheritage.co.nz/theinvited/publishersnote.html

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

 JEN M. 7-9

A very quiet and cold morning on the sidewalk gave my “shift buddy” Vince, and I the opportunity to pray and reflect on Scripture.  So grateful to him for being there and for his spiritual leadership!

We were blessed to see Bill when he stopped to pray, and left the vigil in good hands when Sue and Ken came to take over.  I’m sorry that I forgot to take any pictures.

I’d also like to thank all who encouraged me to try kneeling in prayer…we did so as we meditated on the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary.  It’s amazing how powerful the experience becomes when body and mind are united.  Being down on the sidewalk added a sense of urgency, a stronger awareness of how desperately the horror that happens inside that building needs to stop.

May God have mercy on us all, and may He use us to end abortion NOW.

___________________________________

SUE Mc 9-11

For the second year in a row I’ve been honored to have one of my 40 Days shifts fall on my birthday.  What better way to spend a birthday than praying for LIFE?!  Yesterday morning on my shift I met a lovely sister, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who said her own birthday had been a few days before and that was one of the reasons she was there praying.  She inspired me to make this become my own new tradition.

With all the Pittsburgh sports teams on bye this week, it was a very quiet morning on the sidewalk.  Ken, my shift buddy, was with me and we prayed a lot.  With his deep faith and devotion, he has been such an inspiring shift buddy to me during this campaign.  He pointed out that the markings that the bar next door to PP has on their door for Halloween look like something satanic.  I agreed, but whether their intent is just seasonal or something deeper, we both agreed that they have no power over any of us.

The lovely “R” family showed up for a bit to pray.  “R” stands for Real and Refreshing, and indeed, they are!

The passersby this morning were mostly quiet, but as I was leaving, to be succeeded by Roseann & Rich, a woman walked by and said “I am a [insert certain Christian denomination], and you are all #*%! insane!”  We held our tongues, and we prayed for the woman after she passed, that her heart would be softened and that she would realize and accept her own church’s true teachings and the beauty of human life.

Lovely “R” Family
Real and Refreshing !!

 

___________________________________

ROSEANN AND RICH 11-1

Today was the day to get out those winter coats, hats and gloves and if you did not, you would soon regret it.

It was nice to have Pat (a faithful participant at 40 days), Victoria and Nora from CMU Newman Club to witness and pray with us.

We had a young man, Jim, who lives in the neighborhood stop by and offer some prayers to end abortion. He stops by occasionally but today was the first time we had the pleasure of meeting him.

A young woman, obviously disturbed we were there, kicked our flowers and little stuffed animal because she said they were not to be over the yellow line.

Another woman professed her Christianity and then had a few choice words for us and told us we were crazy.

There is always someone who does not like our message. Hopefully someday it will not be so.
Jesus and Mary, I love you.  Save souls.

Pat, faithful participant and
Victoria and Nora from CMU Newman Club

___________________________________

RICK 1-3

The 1-3 PM Shift on Sunday, Oct. 21st was prayerful and peaceful.  Special thanks to Dan, Luisa, Anna and Mary from Assumption Church in Bellevue for their prayers and witness for Life during the entire 2 hour shift.

 A man passing by requested and was given information to give to his niece, “A”, who was considering having an abortion.  Please pray for “A” that she chooses life for her unborn child.

Thanks and God Bless!

___________________________________

JOE W. 5-7

Big thanks to Marge, Cathy, Jim and especially Nadine for keeping me company during my shift.

We are blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this grace filled movement.

God is so good!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And God saw that it was good.

___________________________________

Day 25: Thanks to Guardians for Life, Holy Child (Bridgeville), St. John & Good Samaritan in Ambridge, and others

“KIDS TODAY!” — SHEESH

It is true that  pro-life activism and in particular, 40 Days for Life does not lend itself easily into the lives of young adults.  They are busy with school and  school activities, sports, arts, jobs and job pursuits.  BUT just because we do not see scores of young people at the 40 Days for Life Vigil, make NO MISTAKE about their ability to carry the pro-life message forward.  They are the FUTURE of this critical movement.  And… “KIDS TODAY” are actually doing some really great things:

For those of you who don’t know it yet, Pittsburgh is home to the very vibrant and effective  REHUMANIZE INTERNATIONAL organization, founded by our very own CMU-educated Aimee B. Murphy, who has long joined us on the sidewalk.   From their mission statement:    …. We work to ensure that each and every human being’s life is respected, valued, and protected.  As such, we oppose all forms of aggressive violence, including but not limited to:   abortion, unjust war, capital

… from the ReHumanize International Website. Lots more edgy graphics are available for download

punishment, euthanasia, torture, embryonic stem cell research, assis

PRO -LIFE Duquesne University Students

ted suicide, abuse, human trafficking, police brutality, etc…  

I recently attended the annual REHUMANIZE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE held at Duquesne University and hosted by  the Duquesne University CEL- Consistent Ethic of Life  Club.

I heard there that EVERYONE matters – every human being– yes, the guy with mental issues, the senior with Alzheimer’s , the baby conceived in date rape, the prisoner being mistreated by guards or cellmates, the wheelchair bound young woman who relies on intermittent oxygen for life….EVERYBODY matters!

 

One of the most moving parts of the conference was the ARTS component– several young people entered visual art entries on the theme of respeoct for human life.. it was

So whenever you worry that the next generation is not “getting it” over abortion, YOU are getting it WRONG!!!

 

Shift Reports from today:

Irene and Terri– Guardians for Life!

Shift notes from Tim 7-9 am:

Guardians for Life takes it to the street!

Thanks to the Guardians for Life, including long time prayer warrior Irene, who made a strong presence with a witness, prayers and songs. Several couples went into pp but thankfully, a few of them accepted literature .   Thank you so much Pat M. and Kathy L. for giving up part of your Saturday to stand and pray with me today.

When I arrived there were lot of young women going in and out of P.P. I couldn’t tell if they were conducting some sort of training session…One young woman waited until she was ready to cross the street and hurriedly kicked at our 40DFL sign, knocking it on it’s side. (down,  but not out)  —-dedicated Sidewalk Advocates Virginia, Joe, David and Terri. Let’s hope we planted a few seeds. 

 

 

Shift Notes from Susan, 9-11:

 

Knights of Columbus continues an AWESOME commitment to the unborn!

This morning presented yet more evidence that the 40 Days folks are truly family.  This morning, I slept in for the first time in I cannot remember how long.  Something went wrong with my alarm, and for some reason my body didn’t wake itself up like it usually does despite the alarm working or not working.  I woke up less than 10 minutes before the start time of my shift!  Appalled at myself and embarrassed, I called Tim, and he just chuckled and said not to worry.  I arrived to find Joe K. covering for me.  God bless these men!!!  

When I finally arrived, the Guardians for Life were just packing it in for the morning, and I was joined by Tina and Brigitte, two lovely prayer warriors who had made the trip all the way from St. Clairsville, Ohio.  There were a lot of people entering PP today, both for services and for what we could tell was some kind of training session, making for a heart-rending morning.  We reached out to all of them, with very little response.  One passerby, a pretty, statuesque young woman, made it a point to pose right next to the window bearing the Planned Parenthood logo to have her companion take her photo while saying what a good organization PP is.  Most of the folks we were able to hand literature to were passersby, not even going to PP.  Judy, my SA partner, was able to get several brochures, including one for Rachel’s Vineyard, into the hands of a grandmother who had come out to the sidewalk to have a smoke while her daughter was inside having an abortion.  She said she herself has six children.  We prayed for her.  We got a lot of prayer in this morning, thanks to Tina and Brigitte, who knelt to pray for a good portion of the time.  There was a lot to pray about.

Notes from Dean, 11-1 shift :

Thank you so much Pat M. and Kathy L. for giving up part of your Saturday to stand and pray with me today.
When I arrived there were a lot of young women going in and out of P.P.    I couldn’t tell if they were conducting some sort of training session, or what was going on. One young woman waited until she was ready to cross the street and hurriedly kicked at our 40DFL sign, knocking it on it’s side.   (down,  but not out   😉 )  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes from Kathy, 3-5 shift :

Prayer Warriors Christine, Beverly, Mindy and Joe

Beverly and Minda from Good Samaritan in Ambridge prayed on one side of circle as I prayed on other side. We prayed together as we were joined by first timer Christine from Zion Christian in Carrick. 
Christine brought a poem she had written:”When you were born!”
We were grateful that she shared it and prayed with us. Gave her 40 Days brochure to share at her church. 
Shared diaper info with 2 moms-to-be:  First one greeted us by pulling up her coat and rubbing her belly. “I am having my baby ,” she beamed.  She is due in February. 
Second one.:   “I am due any day,”she glowed. Penelope will be her name.
Both were glad we were there. Many positive comments. 

 

 

Notes from Billy:

Good afternoon I was with Holy Child – St. Barbara Parrish in Bridgeville today. 
We had a huge turn out today of pro-lifers which was incredible, I got to meet some lovely people.
There was a Terese, there was a Nancy and Bill, Audrey, Vince, and Shelly just to name a few, and we prayed, we discussed  about the Gosnell movie —– if you haven’t seen it you have to!  It  will be playing until Tuesday now to my knowledge. It was humbling, and reinforced to me why I am down here with you all ——  we are here to fight for babies and their right to be born!  We are fighting for babies not blobs, but  actual babies.  We had a passerby watch us as we were reading from stations of the cross, and two pro-life girls walking by us that encouraged us as well.  A couple people went in and out of Planned Parenthood, and this week the door was open but we didn’t have a lot of issues today! It was a good day!

Day 24: Thank you to St. Joseph Parish, St. Thomas More Parish, Round Hill Presbyterian, and Individual Volunteers!

Humility: the state of being humble

40 Days for Life is based on a Scripture passage about humility:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

We need to humble ourselves in order to recognize that we don’t have the power to defeat this problem on our own.  We have to turn to God, Who alone can end abortion forever.


Humility: From the Latin root humus, meaning ground.

The international headquarters of 40 Days for Life is emphasizing this need for humility with a new slogan:  “Knees on the Ground to End the Local Violence of Abortion”  Kneeling in prayer puts us in an outward posture of our inward state.  Kneeling reminds us–and everyone who sees us–that we are weak and in need of God’s help.


Humility: the theme of the Fall 2018 campaign of 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh…straight from the Holy Spirit to Nikki’s heart.

An inward state of humility and an outward posture of kneeling are so important for what we want to accomplish on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.  I love this theme and I’m grateful to Nikki for listening to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Despite all that, I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t kneeled on the street yet.  I guess I’ve been embarrassed by what people might think.  Not even the people passing by so much as the people with whom I’m praying…like I’m trying to show off or something.  I know it’s ridiculous…just proves that the devil will use any little angle he can to keep us from moving closer to God.

With God’s help, I plan to get over myself this week and kneel before Him on the sidewalk to ask for the immediate and permanent closure of Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh as well as an end to abortion everywhere.  Won’t you please come with me?

Here is a link to the schedule…  https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/  You can use it to find a good time to join us, or you can just show up when the Holy Spirit moves you to.  We’ll be at 933 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh from 7 AM to 7 PM now through November 4th.  When discerning whether or not to bring children with you, please be aware that there are passers-by who engage in varying degrees of aggressive behavior.

~Jen


Scenes from the Sidewalk, Friday 10/19

7-9 AM, Nikki:

We had an awesome presence on the sidewalk for the 7 to 9 shift this morning! There were four of us from Saint Joe’s in Verona: Bob, Joyce, Tim and myself. Faithful Sally and Al were there also for our entire shift. Before my shift was over, a large group of Pittsburgh homeschoolers arrived, there must have been at least 15 of them! And also parishioners from St. Thomas Moore church in Bethel Park arrived for the beginning  of their church’s time slot which goes until three today! It was so inspiring to see the dedication of many people who are willing to come out in the cold morning to witness to the sanctity of every human life! There were couples beginning to enter the abortion clinic around 8 o’clock, some did take the information, others did not. The most inspiring thing that happened, I think, was that a young man named Mark stopped to talk to me to share his personal conversion with me. He was miraculously delivered from drugs, alcohol and homosexuality through direct help from Jesus and Mary! He is going to St. Mary of Mercy Church in town right now and carries a picture of Jesus with him everywhere he goes, which he took out of his bag and  showed to me. I am praising God for His miraculous works! Mark wants to get involved in 40 Days for Life and is planning to come to the sidewalk tomorrow when we have a need in the afternoon.  He told me to look up the testimony of a woman named Mary Catherine Baxter, which I will do. Supposedly she has books published all around the world. She supposedly received visions of heaven which showed her what happens to aborted babies. According to Mark, and according to this book which I will look up, every time a baby is aborted there are two angels on either side of the woman. They take the soul of the baby and put it in a white box. The soul is supposedly something like a gray mist. They carry it to Jesus, he holds the soul in his hand and breathes on it, and it becomes a full-grown nine-month-old baby. The baby is then named “precious”, unless the parents on earth have given the baby a name, and in that case, the baby receives the name given to her by his parents. I thought that was just beautiful, and it rings true to me. It was a blessed time on the sidewalk this morning! Thank you to everyone who came! 

St. Joe’s group
Faithful Sally & Al, celebrating 62 years of marriage tomorrow!
A touching Memorial left by someone on the sidewalk today
Catholic Homeschoolers of Pittsburgh along with Saint Thomas More parishioners

 

9-11 AM, Kathy:

When I arrived, Nikki and the group from St. Thomas Moore and a family of homeschoolers were receiving the rant from a woman stating her opinion as to why they shouldn’t be there on the sidewalk. As she left, she yelled, “…and Kavanaugh is going to overturn Roe vs Wade!”  We hope he and the other justices do soon, but remember this woman, and others like her, in your prayers.

Another homeschooling family came and prayed together on the other side of the circle.  Thank you, family.  The others and I read today’s devotional and sang the hymn, “All Hail The Power of Jesus’ Name”.  It was the first time they heard this hymn.
Many folks passing by accepted literature.  One woman entering PP took a picture of both sandwich boards.  When she exited the building, I asked if she would like a pamphlet on fetal development which she declined.  She said that PP does other things than abortion that are good but appreciated my concern.
Dan and Bob from St Thomas More Church
Many roses brought today

11 AM-1 PM, Marie:

St. Thomas More stood witness for the entire day.  Several of their parishioners were present during my shift.  They took pictures they planned to send to Nikki.  The shift was uneventful except for some disgusting and perverted art work being taken into Planned Parenthood.  They must have been planning to have a function because they were also taking in service ware.

1-3 PM, Dave and Noreen:

We had a pretty quiet day today during the 1 – 3 shift.  We had some great people from St. Thomas More parish, as well as a couple other prayer warriors.

David, Mary Jane, Rose Ann and Leslie

David, Toni and Adriana
Carolyn and her daughter Karen

3-5 PM, Sue:

When I got there for the shift, Mary Jane was still there and Julius and Bob from Round Hill Church were already set up! It was busy on the sidewalk. Lots of people passing by. We handed out as much information as we could. We got some negative looks as well as positive comments. It always strikes me as odd when people glance at the baby models and than give you a negative look…they are biologically correct fetal models…! A woman who I recognized and recognized me, passed by and showed her displeasure that we were there. She was quite a ways down the sidewalk when she returned to have a discussion with us. We came to no agreement on our views, but Bob was really attentive and a good listener. She thanked us for that as she left, which I thought was a big step forward! I also want to relay a story from Cathy, who came to bring a flower after work. On her way down the sidewalk, she stopped to say a kind word to a woman with a disability. As they were chatting, the woman asked Cathy where she was going. When Cathy told her, the woman said that she knows ayoung lady who is in PP recovering from an abortion today. Cathy laid her flower on the sidewalk for that baby and will pray for the Mom. She took some post-abortion information in case she could pass it on to the woman on her way back. Lori, her daughter and daughter’s friend from Round Hill Church came to stand with us just as next SM David showed up as well Claire to pray the psalms and Jim on his way home from work.

Julius and Bob from Round Hill Church
Lori, her daughter and daughter’s friend from Round Hill Church
Cathy who dropped by after work to bring a flower to the vigil

5-7 PM, David:

We had a nice evening to pray and witness. An artist, Chiaka Howze, came by and wowed us with his gift of artistry evident in the picture he drew of Matt and Mayim. I wish I would have taken his picture. He was quite a character. It was the typical passersby. We had a few negatives and a few positives but it was good that we were there!  God Bless!

Round Hill Presbyterian minister Matt and his daughter Mayim
Chiaka Howze’s impressive sketch!
Memorial for precious lives lost at Planned Parenthood
Kaylee, Rayli, Benson, and Lori. The ladies are from Round Hill Presbyterian.
Rayli, James and Claire from St. Bernard’s, Lori, and Kaylee

Day 23: Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Pittsburgh Area Byzantines, St. Bernadette Catholic Church (Monroeville), and all of our Shift Buddies and other prayer volunteers!!

40 Days for Life

I chose you from the world

to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

cf. John 15:16

 

I was thinking about this verse a lot last evening…. and I’d like to share some reflections which hopefully relate to our vigil.

First, the Lord says, “I chose you.”  Do we realize how amazing it is to have been CHOSEN?  To choose someone is not random.  It is quite purposeful.  When I am chosen for anything- even if it is something I’d rather not do!- or something I don’t think I’d be good at- I still feel honored at having been CHOSEN to do it.  How much MORE should we feel honored at having been CHOSEN by Our Lord to be HIS?

The Lord also says, “I chose you from the world.”  Remember the old “duck pond” game at church festivals?  I used to love that game when I was little.  Out of all the little plastic ducks in that plastic swimming pool, I had to choose ONE.  And I’d excitedly turn it over to see what my prize was going to be, as it was written on the bottom of the duck.  It was a moment of suspense for a little child, to search the “pond” with shrewd eyes and decide “Yes, this is the one!!”

A rough and crude analogy, to be sure… because God doesn’t work that way…. exactly.  But He DOES look shrewdly upon His people, and CHOOSES some to do His work.  We see that clearly with people who are universally acknowledged as being chosen to do God’s work: St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), Pope St. John Paul II, Reverend Billy Graham, etc.

But what about us?  Has God CHOSEN us to do His work?  Let me tell you, if we are involved in any kind of pro-life ministry, then I say a resounding YES.  This is not a ministry for the faint of heart.

And finally, the Lord says, “I chose you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last.”  What is this “fruit”?  When the Lord says that He wants us to bear fruit, of course, this could mean lots of things.  And sometimes, the fruit we bear at any given moment depends upon the work in which we are currently involved.  In our pro-life work, then, the fruit we bear might look like some of the following:

 

HELPING WOMEN

 

BRINGING FLOWERS TO THE SIDEWALK TO MEMORIALIZE THE UNBORN WHO WERE KILLED AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD

 

OFFERING POSITIVE MESSAGES TO THE WOMEN, ENCOURAGING THEM TO CHOOSE LIFE

 

SAVING LIVES LIKE THIS LITTLE GIRL’S…. SO SHE CAN BE HELD AND LOVED

 

THROWING OUT A VIRTUAL LIFE PRESERVER WITH OUR WORDS AND PRAYERS, SO LIVES AND FAMILIES CAN BE SAVED

 

BEING PASSIONATE, SHOWING UP, AND PRAYING

 

PRAYING FOR MEN

 

PRAYING FOR WOMEN

 

PULLING SOMEONE OUT OF A DIFFICULT SITUATION

 

SEEKING OUT THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED OF HELP

 

SAVING SOMEONE’S LIFE FROM A PATH OF DESTRUCTION AND REGRET

 

SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE FEEL TIRED

 

ALL of these are ways we can bear fruit in this ministry.  So let us not grow weary in doing good!!

 

 

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki:

It was a quiet and peaceful shift. We had a nice group From Manordale Knights of Columbus with us for our whole shift. They brought a large bouquet of pink roses, which Peggy distributed around the circle. Peggy and I knelt in the crosswalk facing the doors and prayed. Thank you to everyone who came!

Thank you to the Manordale Knights of Columbus!!

 

Beautiful roses from the Knights, to commemorate those who have been aborted.

 

Thank you to the next group for the next shift– Pastor Joe, Jessie, and Judy!! Tell Chuck we missed him!!

 

Judy:

Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene arrived on the scene for the changing of the guard at 9 AM – so nice to see Nikki and Peggy on this crisp sunny morning. Meredith, Jessie, Judy and Pastor Joe represented LPNaz and we were soon joined by Katie…a very bright spot in our day. A big thanks to Katie for bringing so many resources and “good” things to hand out to people…and her zeal and determination to connect with people.

I started my shift out on my knees in front of the doors, and immediately the Lord impressed upon me to pray for the babies being murdered inside the building … In my mind there was one particular baby and the Lord led me to pray for Jesus to shield her (I think) from the pain of the brutal slaughter and for Jesus to receive her precious life into His everlasting arms. I was so overwhelmed by the prayer and my mind’s picture that I began to cry. After I finished praying, a young man (“B”) came out (he actually came out a couple times to smoke). I tried to approach him a couple of times, and finally he let me talk to him. I found out that his friend “S” was in there having an abortion. I gave him our resource card and told him she might need some support after the abortion. He allowed me to pray with him and he went back in and waited. I realized then that this was that baby I was praying for. He came out again before I left my shift and even though he was talking on his phone he stopped so I could talk to him. He asked me to pray for S. I told him about my experience of praying for the baby and that the baby was safe in the arms of Jesus and assured him that I would be praying for S. So, let’s all be lifting S up in prayer, that God will bring healing to her life.

         Another lady went in and didn’t totally ignore me but didn’t stop. When she came out, I had an opportunity to talk to her because she had to wait to cross the street. She said she brought someone else in who couldn’t get services anywhere else (not sure what she meant by that), but she was very interested in our resource card and took two. She said she didn’t believe in abortion…so I told her the statistics of our PP and urged her to not support them. Even though she was in a hurry, she took the time to hear the information. She went back into PP a little later and then she came back out with her friend and her little baby. Pastor Joe asked the mom if he could bless the baby and she was happy to receive that. We all joined in that joyful prayer.

         There were three very young ladies who went in. Two of them were in the waiting room and the blinds were open. I had offered them the resource card on their way in but they were not interested. As the two were sitting in the waiting room I stood in front of the window and offered them the card again. They were able to see the picture of the pregnant mom on the sign around my neck. One of the girls looked distressed and seemed to be wiping tears. Meredith mouthed that she would drive them somewhere else for services. When the two girls came out and crossed the street Katie was able to engage them and offer them resources. They at least looked at the material but did not accept them.

         A young man came by who needed prayer. His young girlfriend had died of an overdose in September. It was very tragic. He showed me her picture and she was so beautiful. I acknowledged the tragedy and his loss and was able to pray for him. I can’t remember his name, but perhaps all of you can lift him in prayer that God will continue to mend his grieving heart and be a help in his time of need.

         There were a couple of passersby who could also use prayer…one individual said we were wasting our time. One passerby had a choice name for me and told us to stop talking but he didn’t linger or do any other confrontation. So let’s pray that God turns their stony hearts into fleshy hearts and reveals Himself to them.

         There was a young man riding his bicycle past PP and stopped at the models and was talking to our group on that side of the walk. He explained his past life of addiction and hard circumstances. He said that he was now a Christian. Pastor Joe had an opportunity to pray with him.

         Meredith had an encouraging word for today…she has the sense that this PP is crumbling from the inside…the entire inside is crumbling. As she explained it I envisioned that picture in my mind, and I am claiming that as answered prayers and fasting. Perhaps we can all envision that in our minds and claim it to the glory of God. …The end of abortion at 933 Liberty Avenue in the Mighty Name of Jesus!!!

 

Faithful ladies, Meredith and Jessie

 

Thank you to Meredith, Jessie, and Katie!!

 

Lisa K.:

Today was a sad day, as it was an abortion day, and many people who passed by didn’t seem to want our information.  But at the same time, those who refused were generally polite, not mean.  At least that was good.

Judy mentioned “B” in her report, and he did come out again during the 11-1 shift, this time with “S,” and Katie had seen that S was crying.  Deacon Paul went over to talk to them, and suddenly a woman– a stranger– came out of nowhere and gave Deacon Paul a hard time for coming over to them!!  It didn’t seem like B had a problem with the deacon, but he just told him that S needed a little space.  So Deacon Paul gave her that.  As Judy said, please pray for them.

I am very thankful for all of those who came to pray with us today, including the Pittsburgh Byzantines, as well as Dan, Bob, John, and Lisa.  The Byzantine prayer service we had was beautiful!  Thank you all!

 

Fr. James led us in prayer.

 

Thank you, Dan, for your faithfulness!

 

Byzantine prayer service

 

Pittsburgh Byzantines: George, Patricia, Fr. James, Deacon Paul, and Gerri. Thank you all!!

 

Helen:

Dee and Mary Frances came from St. Bernadette, Monroeville, to pray. After we prayed the rosary, Dee gave away several rosaries to people who saw the red, white and blue ones in her hands, and liked them. Benson took his usual place beside the pole near the new fetal models. I did not know until today that he comes to PP after school every day.

At Mass this morning, I prayed that NO ONE would go into PP while I was there. The only person who went in while we were there was a UPS man delivering what looked like a load of paper.

The crispy cool in the shade was alleviated somewhat when the sun came over the top of the local skyscrapers.

 

Thank you to Benson, Dee, and Mary Frances!!

 

May the Lord help us

to continue to do His work,

and bear much fruit that will last. 

God have mercy on us all.

 

Day 22…Thanks to St. Paul Seminary, Knights of Columbus (McKeesport Council #955) and many dedicated individuals!

I’ve been thinking a lot about saints lately…

What exactly is a saint?

Technically, a saint is simply someone who is in Heaven.  Hopefully we will all be saints someday, right?  However, when we talk about people being “Saints“…usually we are talking about people who have lived with such extraordinary faith that their lives inspire others to strive to imitate them.  In other words…a Saint is someone who not only gets themselves to Heaven…they help many others to get there as well.  Saints are like luminaries, lining a dark path, which leads to everlasting life with Christ.  Our journey through this life is difficult.  There are those who would prefer to drag us down, rather than lift us up.  I thank God for placing certain people in my life that have been saints to me.  These people help to lift me towards Heaven, and I am very grateful for them.

I would like to talk about Al and Sally Brunn.

Without embarrassing them….I just want to express my appreciation for the impact their lives have had on my life. This past Sunday was their Magee Picket.  Six times a year, (always on a Sunday from 1-3 pm), they stand in front of Magee Hospital with large signs.  Their signs are meant to educate passersby that Magee does abortions, and what abortion actually does to a baby.  Usually Sally texts me a couple days before the day of the picket and I try to make it if I can.  I am sorry to admit that my heart wasn’t in it as I began the drive to Oakland this past Sunday.  I was thinking of all the other things I would rather do on my Sunday afternoon.  But as I stood on the corner of  Craft and Forbes, holding a large sign that showed a 12 week baby who had been ripped to shreds during a suction abortion, I began to watch the expressions on people’s faces as they drove by.  I especially noticed that many young girls and women, who were passengers in the cars, would strain their necks as their cars passed…so they could continue to look at my sign even after they were past me.  I saw many wide eyes and mouths.  It reminded me of a powerful scene from the Gosnell movie, which I had just seen the previous evening.  In that scene, the prosecutor was making his closing statement to the jury.  He had large photos of “Baby Boy B“, (one of Gosnell’s victims), which he was showing the jury.  One by one, he showed each member of the jury the photo.  The expressions on the jurors faces actually made ME cry!  Seeing the shock, sadness and grief of those jurors…gave me hope in the overall goodness of mankind.  People can philosophize abortion and say they are pro-choice.  They can try to make it a political issue.  But when they see it for what it really is…naked and uncovered…most people are horrified.  I cried during this scene and I was glad that I was crying.  It was good to know that my heart isn’t dried up and that I can still cry over abortion.  I have seen the pictures so much, and for so many years, that they don’t make me cry anymore.  But seeing OTHERS see them for the first time, and crying over them…THAT made me cry.

Standing on that corner on Sunday afternoon, I realized….there wasn’t anything more important that I could have been doing on my Sunday afternoon.

If it weren’t for the faith and perseverance of Sally and Al, I would not have been there.  In fact, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be leading a 40 Days for Life campaign and probably wouldn’t even be involved in pro life activity at all!  Why?  Because when God first broke my heart over abortion in 2009, and I didn’t know another soul who cared about abortion, when I got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood all alone…who did I see standing there?  Al, Sally and Bob Newman.  If they weren’t there every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, all year round…I would have never had the courage to continue to go and stand all alone after that.  In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we wouldn’t even have 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh if it weren’t for them.  So, Al and Sally, you have been saints to me.  You have helped pull me up.  And I thank you for that.  Happy 62nd anniversary (this Saturday) to you both!  May God continue to bless and protect you!

What this world needs now is more saints!  People who are willing to give up their own lives for others!

Many of us are willing to give to a certain extent.  But we hold back.  We don’t give radically! I am in this camp, I must admit.  But knowing Al and Sally has made me want to be better.  I want to be like them.  I want to give my WHOLE life, even to the point of foolishness…for Christ.  I hope I never feel that I have done enough.  At the end of my life, I want to be like Saint Paul, and be able to say;

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

If you haven’t yet seen the Gosnell film, it’s not too late!  I think this is a movie all pro-life people should support.  The cast does a superb job and the movie is not disgustingly graphic.  It is playing at the Pittsburgh Mills on Wed., Fri., Sat., and Sunday.  It is also playing at three other theaters through Monday…. Loews at the Waterfront, Mt. Lebanon, and AMC Westmoreland 15.    You can find the times and directions online.


Read on for reports from the vigil today…

Charlene reports from the 7-9 am shift:

It was very peaceful and prayerful today. The temps said it was warmer but the winds made it feel colder. Diane and Peggy were setting up when I arrived…it’s nice to start the day with cheerful people. Peggy and I did the devotional together…and she did her first rosary “knees to the ground”. Peace seems to come to people’s faces when someone is praying on their knees. We were joined for an hour by Bill who prayed and handed out literature.  I want to end this peaceful shift with another quote from Matthew Kelly ,”The world will change. It always has. Will it change for the better? You and I, one moment at a time, get to answer that question together”. Prayer warriors on the sidewalk. Charlene

Peggy had her knees on the ground in prayer this morning!
sidewalk memorial

Cathy wrote from the 9-11 am shift:

No pictures today.  Hopefully someone in a later shift is sending one of the seminarians.  I was hoping to get Barb and Rich to take one, but by the time Rich came all but one of the guys had left to go to DU for class, planning to come back later.  I told them they better get good notes for the one who stayed, skipping class!

The ones who came were Nick, Eli, Alec, Dan, Brian and Dan, plus Clare and James.

I was joined this morning by six wonderful Pittsburgh seminarians and the parents of one of them.  Several women/couples went into the clinic, including one who thanked us enthusiastically for being there so she knew where to go.   Two girls, one carrying a bag, accepted the resource card when leaving.  One woman stopped to talk on her way out.

(Nick, the seminarian from St. Paul’s Seminary who coordinated the group), took these photos and sent them in:

Dan in prayer
Seminarians Eli and Brian in praye

Richard was the shift manager from 11-1

Shift manager Richard with John Paul, a seminarian

Barbara was under the weather today, so hubby Richard held down the fort…but no shift report.  I (Nikki) stopped to pray during his shift, and took this photo.  I didn’t get a picture of Nick, who was the seminarian before him.  While I was there, I knelt in front of the door to pray.  My eyes were open, so I watched as people walked in.  One couple went in and I watched as the man pulled his card out of his wallet and handed it through the receptionist window.  Payment for an abortion, I guess.  He turned and looked at me.  Our eyes made contact for a brief moment.  No expression that I could tell, but I wonder if it made him think that his child must have value…if someone was willing to pray on their knees in the street for him.

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 pm and wrote:

What a joy it was to pray with five men who have chosen the priesthood and are studying at St. Paul’s Seminary.  I was joined by John from Butler, Adam, Sean, John, and Dan.  A man stopped to tell us the story of his daughter, Mackensie, who suffers from Crohn’s disease and is in danger of losing her health coverage.  As he left, we told him we’d pray our next Rosary for her, and we did.  Mary Jane, my faithful Wednesday prayer partner, lovingly offered pregnancy resource cards to every passerby.  Mimi joined us toward the end of my shift and joined us in the Rosary.  There was very little traffic in and out of PP and I didn’t hear one negative comment.  More than a few people said positive things as they passed by and we heard several “God Bless yous”. Thank God, especially in this culture, for young men who hear God calling them and answer His call.

Seminarians Adam and Sean
John, Mimi and Dan
John and Mary Jane

Jeannie had the 3-5 pm shift.  She wrote:

Just another beautiful day with pro lifers in Pittsburgh! I was lucky enough to cross paths with two seminarians Dan and John —who happens to be my nephew. What joy! Mimi rounded out the crowd at three and we engaged in the rosary with the Knights of Columbus men from Corpus Christi in McKeesport. Mary Jane stayed over from Saint Bernards & Pius 10. The sun came in and out but our mood stayed up the entire time. Many positive comments and a few negative ones. The great part is we are available to talk to anyone in a peaceful prayerful way, and that is wonderful.  Debbie from north of Butler was in the city taking her dad shopping and she stayed with us to pray. I told her the best people in the world are on the sidewalk praying at Planned Parenthood. I believe it.

Mike, Mimi, Joe and Debbie
Faithful Mary Jane
Mimi praying to end abortion

Joe K. manned the final vigil shift of the day and sent in this report:

Extremely blessed to start a blustery shift with my fellow parishioner and fellow Knight of Columbus, Mike. along with a perfect trifecta of Faithful Shift Buddies – Benson, Audrey, and Jim.  Just can’t say enough about my appreciation for my Shift Buddies – “yinz” are the best!
The evening was overly calm – a few positive comments and only a single head-shake
Jim from St. Maurice stopped by on his way home from work.
A woman, who stopped by a few weeks ago to discuss her views and prior abortion, stopped
again and after looking at the fetal models further discussed her situation – I offered her info,
though she declined – she’s obviously still hurting after all these years – please pray for this woman…
Got a pleasant surprise visit from an ole Sidewalk Advocate, Jim – who stopped by to pray.
During one of our group prayers just as someone was reading (Matthew 17:5) about the Transfiguration
“While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from
the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am will pleased;
listen to him.”
Blinding sunshine broke through the clouds down Liberty Ave. (The Point end) on us…
Audrey’s students from Duquesne U.. Katie and Joe, who had been there a few weeks
ago, joined us towards the end of the shift – awesome to have the next generation present…
Tom arrived to pack it in, but there was one lasting memory from the evening – as Mike and
I started to walk back to the car, I noticed a young woman had picked up some of the flowers
left on the sidewalk around 933 and was getting her picture with them – thought it was cool
she was getting some enjoyment out of them, but I also hoped she realized why they were
there to begin with (“Both Sides Now”, eh?)…
Shift Buddies Benson and Audrey, Mike (Knights of Columbus), and Shift Buddy Jim
The whole crew…
Lower – Joe & Mike (Knights of Columbus)
Upper – Shift Buddies Jim and Audrey flanking Audrey’s Duquesne U. students Katie and Joe