Day 17: Thank you to St. Thomas More Church and Individual Volunteers!

king-kong-394442_1920

When I was little, I had a recurring nightmare that made me dread going to sleep at night.  I dreamed repeatedly that an enormous statue of King Kong stood in my backyard and that it came to life every night at sundown.  The only way to prevent King Kong from eating my family was to pull down each window blind in our house so he couldn’t see that we were inside.

In the dream, as soon as it started to get dark, I would run around the house screaming for my parents to close the blinds (since I was too short to reach them myself.)  But everyone in my family was in a trance-like state, moving in slow motion with smiles frozen on their faces, completely oblivious to the danger and my distress.  I think the worst part of the dream was not my impending doom but my powerlessness to make anyone see what was happening.

I know you can relate.

No, not the part about the King Kong statue in your backyard coming to life…but the frustration of knowing that something awful is about to happen and being powerless to convince others of the danger.  We experience it all the time at the vigil–whether it be in a conversation with a passer-by who just can’t acknowledge that abortion hurts women; or worse yet, when we are unable to stop a couple from passing through those dark doors on an abortion day.  It’s agonizing to be aware of the physical and spiritual harm that happens inside Planned Parenthood while so many pass us by in a trance-like state, oblivious to the danger and unable to hear our desperate cries.

Our Heavenly Father speaks to us about feeling powerless through His Scriptures:

“…but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’  I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Cor 12:9-10

 I have to admit that I don’t like this passage.  I don’t fully understand yet why God works in this manner.  But… I’ve seen it in action.   I bet you have, too.  So I know we can TRUST God to take our sidewalk offering of sorrow and frustration and use it for marvelous things despite the fact that we can’t always perceive it.  Please go to https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/ and sign up to join us–or just show up when you can!

 

Barbara and Richard, 7-9 AM

Richard, Al, and Sally
Richard, Al, and Sally 

 

Bob and Rose
Bob and Rose

 

Jenifer, Bill
Jenifer and Bill

 

Bob and Ryan
Bob and Ryan

Rose and Bob arrived even before Diane left early this morning.  Bob belongs to St. Thomas More Parish. He and his fellow parishioners are scheduled to sponsor our prayer vigil in front of PP all day today, 7 – 7.  This being Friday the 13th, Rose shared that she is the 13th of 13 children.  What an awesome gift she is as she brings the fragrance and beauty of her witness to early Friday mornings in downtown Pittsburgh in front of PP.

Al, Sally and Richard shared their happy glow and, in its light, we looked across Liberty Avenue and noticed Bill and Jenifer.  Jenifer prefers to witness over there to give her a chance to share the prolife riches more easily.  “People seem more ready to stop and talk,” she said.

Bob and Ryan shared a masculine vibe as they spoke with a young man who stopped to report that he has no children, but would welcome a steady place to call home.

The women going into PP went in pairs.  Two were accompanied, each by a young man.  Another was a duo that looked like a mother and daughter.  It is awful to be there when a woman opens the door and goes in for an abortion.  She will be hurting when she comes back out of those doors, her baby left behind in the trash.  Some of her hurt can probably be easily remedied – Tylenol and quiet time on the couch.  Her baby’s dying pain can be remedied – rest in the arms of God.  The pain she feels for having chosen abortion will haunt her.  Her heart will suffer at having loved ones choose the “easy way out”.

 

Sue, 11 AM-1 PM

Tony, Carolyn, Ginny, Roseanne and Karen
Tony, Carolyn, Ginny, Roseanne and Karen

I arrived to wonderful St. Thomas More prayers Carolyn, Karen and Chuck! St. Thomas More adopted the entire vigil today! Shortly after Chuck left, Roseanne and Tony came to say the rosary. A little into that, Ginny came from St. Bernard’s…the South Hills was well represented today! The picture shows Tony, Carolyn, Ginny, Roseanne and Karen! It was beautiful weather and we got a lot of positive support and some negative as well. Unfortunately PP was busy enough today…I saw two girls leave and one actually jumped up to click her heels and say how happy she was. Maybe she feels relief right now, but I wonder if she will ever reflect on this day. If so, hopefully she turns to Rachel’s Vineyard or a similar program! We also had a young man knock over the vigil sign and the baby models went flying. I called the police and they were able to track him down and issue a citation!!  Shift manager Lisa came early for her shift with her beautiful daughters. As I was leaving a first time vigil participant (Ken?) arrived. It is so nice to see the new faces as people come to understand the magnitude of this tragedy and take action!

Lisa C. 3-5 PM

day 17 6th shift

Quiet for us on our shift but with abundant prayers in conjunction with the request of Our Lady of the Rosary on the 100th Anniversary of her appearance in Fatima asking for prayers for the entire world!!!
Thank you, Ginny as well as Bill from St Phillip, Gerry from St Thomas, and the youngsters from St Monica. We love and thank you all for sacrificing your time for others and witnessing for our loving, merciful God!

Pat, 5-7 PM

Julie
Julie

 

Mary
Mary

This was one of the quietest and most prayerful evenings I’ve ever had on a Friday night.  Mary was with me for the first hour and we spent most of it in prayer.  She hadn’t even signed-up to come down, but just wanted to pray a rosary or two down here before going to the event at St. Paul’s Seminary this evening.  She was, she said, moved by the Spirit and by the fact that today was the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun which took place at Fatima.  Had she not been there I would have been alone for that first half hour.  

I was praying alone for about 10 minutes when I was surprised by former Shift Manager Julie – also a member of St. Thomas More.  We also prayed together for the bulk of our time as well.  The only strange incident was that, as we were praying, Julie noticed that the pink sandwich sign was on its side.  We hadn’t heard anything so we reasoned that someone decided to put it that way quietly.  Oh well.  

 

Please check back later for more from the sidewalk…

Day 16: Thank you to the K of C Manordale Valley, Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Richard Catholic Church (Gibsonia), SS. Simon and Jude, and Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church!

Our Heavenly Father…

has GREAT plans for YOU.

10-12-17 door opened

 

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

Luke 11:9-13

 

10-12-17 joy in the Holy Spirit 2

 

In the first photo above, we see an open door.  If we knock and the Lord opens up to us, I would really hope that what He opens to us is NEW and BEAUTIFUL.  That is what I see in this photo.  It may seem like a desert wasteland all around us, but just wait and see what happens once the Lord opens a door to us…. WOW.

May He continue to show us, through the power of His Holy Spirit, the GREAT and WONDERFUL plans He has for us as Our Father.  And His plans are for ALL of us…. the abortion-minded, the post-abortive, the abortion worker…. for ALL of us.  May we TRUST in His plans and be OPEN to them.  May we ask… seek… knock.

 

Shift Manager Reports

 

Nikki reports from the 7-9 shift:

It was a quiet and peaceful shift this morning. I was very blessed to share the sidewalk with a wonderful group of knights from the Manordale Council in Murrysville. Thank you to Don and Dennis and the others who came! Thursday morning regular, Peg, was also there, and of course Bill stopped for a while. I don’t recall any comments, either positive or negative. I think most people are still half asleep during the early morning hours, but it was a privilege to be there! I gratefully passed the torch to Judy and Chuck when they arrived for the 9 to 11 shift.  Thank you everyone, for your prayers and witnessing! We are making a difference!

day 16

day 16 manordale

Faithful Judy and Chuck come for the 9-11 shift
Faithful Judy and Chuck come for the 9-11 shift

 

Lisa K. reports from the 11-1 shift:

It was wonderful to have the St. Richard group with me to pray today… thank you, ladies!

One thing that struck me today was… how mean and angry people can be.  It’s sad, really.  We are there to help… to be a refuge, to be humble…. and I know that we don’t always act perfectly or say things perfectly… we might forget something important we wanted to say to someone…. there are all kinds of mistakes and imperfections, but that’s being human.  It certainly shouldn’t elicit meanness or anger.  But it does, continually.

I realize that much of the anger comes from people who are post-abortive, and still hurting.  But I wish they would know that healing and help is available…. even for them, who might think it’s “too late” for them, since they’ve already had abortions.  But God knows their situations perfectly.  He always shows up right on time.  His healing has no expiration date.

I pray for all of the hurting men and women out there who haven’t yet accepted God’s healing.  Perhaps they will have the inspiration to ask, seek, and knock… as we read about in the passage above.

 

Look at the holiness radiating from this crew! Thank you to Jill, Cheryl, Beth Ann, Margie, and Marilyn!!
Look at the holiness radiating from this crew! Thank you to Jill, Cheryl, Beth Ann, Margie, and Marilyn!!

 

 

Carolyn and Terry report from the 1-3 shift:

I told Carolyn today that I was so sorry that I FORGOT to post her report and photos from last Thursday!  So I’ll post them today:

First, Carolyn said about last week’s shift:

It was very rainy, we had a group of prayer warriors from Lutherans for Life.

Then, she added a few photos:

Two lovely prayer warriors with Shift Manager Carolyn (R)
Two lovely prayer warriors with Shift Manager Carolyn (R)

 

Thank you for your presence last week, ladies!!
Thank you for your presence last week, ladies!!

 

Two sweet ladies, Christina and Carolyn!
Two sweet ladies, Christina and Carolyn!

 

And now for THIS week’s photos from Carolyn… 🙂

 

Thank you to all who came to pray with us today!
Thank you to all who came to pray with us today!

 

God's blessings were abundant on the sidewalk today! Thank you all!
God’s blessings were abundant on the sidewalk today! Thank you all!

 

Rick reports from the 5-7 shift:

The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was prayerful and peaceful.  I would like to especially thank Johanna from St. Peters Church, Mike from the Greek Orthodox faith community, Tim from St. Maurice Church, and the faithful parishioners from the Reformed Church in Penn Hills, for their prayers and witness on behalf of unborn children and pregnant mothers in need.  May the peace and love of Christ be with all the vulnerable and defenseless, and may the hearts of all come to cherish God’s precious gift of Life!

God Bless!

Rick

 

 

10-12-17 dad and baby
“If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Day 15…St. Raymond of the Mountain (Donegal), Corpus Christi (McKeesport) & Individual Volunteers keep the prayer vigil going today!

fish

So, you may be wondering what is up with the picture of the big fish…

All week long, during the daily readings at Mass, we have been following the story of the prophet Jonah…how he tried to run away from God’s command to preach repentance to the wicked Ninevites…and we read today how it all turned out for him.

This past spring, I was blessed to travel to Lancaster with a friend, to see the Sight & Sound musical production, JONAH.  You wouldn’t think that a musical production of this story would bring tears…and maybe I am more sensitive than most…but I cried my eyes out during the entire second half of the show!  What brought me to tears?  It was seeing the people of Ninevah REPENT!  I found myself wishing that I would see that same scene FOR REAL right here in Pittsburgh and in our nation!  These formerly proud, corrupt, selfish and immoral people were able to SEE their mistakes, when faced with impending disaster!  Instead of getting angry at Jonah…they HUMBLED themselves…dropping to their knees and pouring dirt over their heads…begging God to forgive them!  What a beautiful sight!  Oh, how I wish it would happen here and now!!!

repentance

I had a strange memory pop into my head when I woke up this morning. It was a recollection of a certain sin that I ALMOST committed when I was young.  I had no idea of right or wrong back then…and it was only God’s grace that kept me from it.  It occurred to me how LOST I was then, without God’s light, I was completely in the dark…just being pushed around by whatever wind happened to be blowing at the time.  This random memory made me think of the young people of today…how lost many of them are.  We need to pray for them…that they will open themselves to God’s truth so that his light can shine into their darkness.

The responsorial psalm today was, “Lord, you are merciful and gracious.”  Just as God forgave the people of Ninevah…and just as he forgave me…I believe he will forgive our nation…WHEN we humble ourselves and repent.  But before we can repent, we need to SEE the error of our ways.  That is what our presence in front of Planned Parenthood is doing. It is showing our neighbors the error of abortion.

From a meditation that I read yesterday by Sr. Wendy Beckett, my prayer is that we will, “Ask God to transform us, holding our helplessness up to him constantly”…and that “We will see, open-eyed, our weakness, and turn with constant TRUST to him…”

Here are the reports from the sidewalk today:

PLEASE NOTE: We need prayer volunteers from 5-7pm tomorrow, so that shift manager Rick doesn’t have to stand alone!  Please let me know if you can help!!!

Kathy managed the vigil from 7-9am and writes:

Tom and Diane faithfully deliver the vigil materials each day, pictured with regular participants, Peg and Terri
Tom and Diane faithfully deliver the vigil materials each day, pictured with regular participants, Peg and Terri

Rain didn’t disrupt Dianne’ s faithful delivery of 40 days materials.  Husband Tom accompanied Dianne today.  Thank you both.

Also thank you to Peggy, Terri, and Bill H for coming and praying today.  During the morning rush, we passed out some “precious feet” pins to some young men on their way to school.  Some “hellos” and “good mornings” were given and received.  

Peg, Bill and Terri
Peg, Bill and Terri

Time was spent in silent prayer and group prayer-a litany of the Precious Blood and other scripted prayers.  Terri helped lead us in singing hymns.  S M Cathy arrived to take the next two hours

Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11am and writes:

It was a quiet morning spent with Julie.  There were a few clients going in, as well as staff and others (meeting?).  We had quite a few pleasant greetings, smiles, and “thank you”s, no negatives.  A man stopped to get another “feet” pin and mentioned that his girlfriend had had an abortion, gave him the flyer for men.  While praying I looked up at the semi-circle above the door- from the left side it looks white.  I imagined the “Pieta” picture there.

Sheila was on-duty from 11-1 and was blessed to pray with the faithful group from St. Raymond in Donegal!  Thanks to them for driving such a distance to witness and pray!  Sheila writes:

Great group from St. Raymond of the Mountain in Donegal
Great group from St. Raymond of the Mountain in Donegal

I was joined by four prayerful parishioners from St. Raymond’s, along with Helen and Jeff.  Also, a young lady who was passing by prayed with us briefly as we said the rosary.  Thankfully, the rain stayed away during this very busy Wednesday afternoon.  The PP security guard was very friendly and a police cruiser was parked next to us for a good 15 minutes.  We were blessed by numerous passers by who thanked us for being there.  One man in particular was grateful for what we do, as his daughter was born at 30 weeks.

Chris reports from the 1-3 pm shift:

 

Chris wasn't alone!
Chris wasn’t alone!

Earlier in the week, Nikki posted a request for people to join me on the sidewalk during my second hour, as it looked like  I was going to be alone. As you can see from the picture, seven prayer warriors joined me.  God bless them!  We prayed the Rosary, a Divine Chaplet, and sang hymns.  There was little foot traffic in and out of PP, but two things are stuck in my mind from today’s shift- a nurse came outside in her scrubs with her surgical gloves still on… and while we were praying aloud, a man in his 20’s walked by and said, “Hail Satan!”.  Rachel immediately responded with, “We’ll pray for you.”.  He retorted, “Don’t bother.”  Well, we did bother, saying several prayers that God would touch his soul and come into his life. 

Barbara reports from the 3-5 shift:

As we arrived for our shift, Chris, 1-3 Shift Manager, greeted us. Father Steven, Pastor of Corpus Christie Parish, McKeesport, was already deep in conversation with a man who had stopped by.  Later, he generously led us in the Rosary; Glorious, then Sorrowful Mysteries.

Claire, sister of our recovering beloved Jeannie, had already arrived and planned to stay as we were leaving.

A large Greyhound sized bus was parked in the street in front of us, on the bookstore side of PP, with the motor running for our first hour and a half.

Who would have thought that Liberty Avenue could get even louder!

It was a challenge to keep together as we prayed. We endured.

Life is good.

Peace.

Richard and Barbara

Joe, Mike and Fr. Steve from Corpus Christi, with faithful prayer warrior Ginny
Joe, Mike and Fr. Steve from Corpus Christi, with faithful prayer warrior Ginny
Claire and Linda answer the call for empty hours!
Claire and Linda answer the call for empty hours!

Joe K. wrote about the 5-7 shift:

Started the shift with my brothers and sisters in life from Corpus Christi along with Claire who carried-over from the 3-5 shift.  Jim stopped by (as usual) on his way home from work.

The shift was very calm and positive, though the streets were busy with foot traffic and the Acro Cats (circus cats) Tour Bus parked and continued to run directly in front of us.  It made it difficult to pray together / talk, but not impossible.  In fact, during the end of the prior shift as Fr. Steve began to lead us in prayer the Tour Bus pulled out and left us to finish in quiet – divine intervention 🙂 ?

It’s also worth noting the synergy between Acro Cats and our movement as they encourage and support fostering, rescue, and adoption as we do, though they do it for felines.  I just couldn’t but help thinking of all of the excitement and interest of folks seeing the splashy tour bus and awaiting their show in the nearby theater if some of that could just be shared with our littlest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters???

The fetal models got a bit more looks today and I was able to hand out a few of the “Watch Me Grow” pamphlets to the interested.

The night ended quietly and dry – a beautiful evening vigil – and we had even been spared the rain that we all had been braced for…

?????????????
?????????????

Day 14: First Evangelical Free Church(McKeesport), Geiger Church of the Brethren (Johnstown), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church (Carnegie)

Surrender = TRUST

I recently started a new job…..and it has been a lot more challenging than I expected. I know from the circumstances of how I came to be hired, that it is one of those things that was meant to be!! But it has been really hard (can you hear the whine in my voice?). I start a lot earlier in the day than I am used to so my normal routine has been all out of whack, I am completely out of my comfort zone in so many ways…and I don’t like it!

But TODAY was different! As I was getting ready, it popped into my head to say a little prayer, nothing fancy. Just something like God, I know this job is part of your plan for my life, clear my head and help me learn. I figured I would just surrender all my frustrations and struggle with training and TRUST God that it will work out! And yes, I had my best day so far!!…OK, I still needed the cup of Sumatra Blend at 1pm, but really, I can say it was a good day!

pray-2408038_960_720

I know this is a small area of my life, but wouldn’t it be great if we could tell the women seeking abortions a similar thing…Surrender to GOD and Trust these circumstances in your life to Him. The fact is…God’s will for us is always for our happiness. When we Surrender and Trust him, it is to our own happiness that we are abandoning ourselves!!

Charlene (7-9)

It was a beautiful 7-9 shift…the warmest shift Dick and I have ever had! And it was warmed also by our warriors on the sidewalk with us. Today was the day for First Evangelical Free Church of McKeesport. I have been so privileged to be shift manager the last 3 years when they came. Pastor Kirk brought 12 pray-ers during my shift!!

IMG_3296IMG_3295

Jason,Roy,Alex, Dan,5 members of the Thompson family…including children who did such a good job handing out literature (who can resist those smiling faces), our Dean who is having surgery on Monday (prayers!) and Kathryn. Also Dick, Bill and I and Suzanne who is part of our regular Tuesday team now. Sally and Al usually join us but Sally told me since FEFC was coming, she and Al would be on the sidewalk with someone who had “less numbers”…everyone was concerned she wasn’t there but she is fine and being as gracious as ever.

“Walk with each other. Do not be afraid to embrace God’s gift of life. Whatever storms or trials we face, we are not alone. He is with us” St. Mary (Aleppo) Bulletin.  Charlene

 Beth (9-11)

Don’t know why, but cupcakes were delivered to Planned Parenthood today along with numerous staff members. How anyone could celebrate anything in an abortion facility defies any sense.  We keep praying that sense returns to Planned Parenthood, abortions stop and women are given real healthcare when needed.

Today the wonderful people from the First Evangelical Free Church of McKeesport , Patty and Dick, joined Elsie and I for our shift as clients entered.  Otherwise, it was a quiet day and the weather was wonderful for a Tuesday in October.
Cecilia (11-1)
I was so thankful that my friend from church, Pam, could join me at the vigil today and drive us down!  I’m having issues with my transmission so we were able to get back and forth with no issues today.  And she kept me company so I wouldn’t be alone for my first hour.  Pam was so good at reaching out to passersby encouraging them to join with us!

PamSA Elsie stayed for some time into my shift and had an encounter with a young man who now has custody of his two girls and lives with his Mom.  The second girl is not his but he told his wife not to abort the child or he would leave her.  So she did give life to the girl.  He adores both girls.  But his wife ended up leaving him (she has issues).  They all need prayers.

It was a “circus” in the city today!  Many stopped to take pictures.  See the pictures of the large bus that pulled up when we were there.  The man said they will be showing off the talents of their cats at the theatre next door to PP as a way to promote foster and adopting.  How ironic!  I told him we were there too to promote foster and adopting instead of killing!

catct

 

 

 

Thank you so much to “non-organized” Peter who is not affiliated with any particular church.  He took the time to come down to the vigil to stand for life and shared his thoughts with us.  It was nice to meet him and to get input from him regarding how we deal with those who pass by.

40Thanks to John and Linda who came from Geiger Church of the Brethren to stand vigil at the end of my shift and into the next.  What a lovely couple!  They kept vigil on “the other side” and engaged in conversation with those who passed by.  They came all the way from Somerset!  God bless them!  Here they are with Peter:

We had one promising encounter with a mother who stopped to look at the models and asked us about fetal development.  We gave her the feet pin, flyer and resource sheet that we had.  She said that she thought her daughter just might change her mind if she can share those with her.  So she quickly went in to PP to try and convince her.  Sadly, we didn’t see them before I left.  But let’s pray that “F” changed her mind!

SM

“Regulars” Bill and Bob stop by during my shift.  And Shift Manger Lisa came down to train SM Billy around the time that SM Nancy showed up!  Here they are:

Nancy wrote from the 1-1 shift:

The Acro Cat bus being there was definitely a negative. The one sustaining thing throughout all this is how super wonderful the 40 days vigil  SMs and prayer warriors are.  Pat and Mary Elizabeth came to pray and did not let the bus fumes deter them.  SM Michael arrived early.   He is a super PR person.  The couple from Somerset are gems, and were able to see humor in all that was going on.  He was able to explain how buses are not allowed to idle with their motors running for more than a few minutes, but they can run their power generators as long as they want to.   We are definitely making progress in the battle.  Nancy

Lisa wrote from her 5-7 shift:

Today’s Responsorial Psalm:  If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?  These words started my day and I reflected upon them throughout this day.  They were helpful this evening.  We had a woman stop by twice confronting us with what we know is the truth.  “Karen” tried to refute the facts we know to be true.  I sensed deep sadness and denial from her.  Not one of us are not marked with iniquities, with the love of God may we continue to stand for the most vulnerable.day 13, 6th shift, debate

 

I have been shift manager for the 5 to 7 Tuesday time slot for a few years.  It is a privilege to do it.  I cannot say it is a joy, as we reflect on what and why.  I can say it is a joy to stand beside the prayer warriors God sends to me.  This second Tuesday of the campaigns always finds St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in Carnegie, always well represented, in prayer with me. Walt, Tess, Vince, David and the beautiful “R” family.  It’s great seeing those children growing up in such a loving family.  Their young daughter lead us in the Divine Mercy at the end of the evening. Thank you so much.  I always know I can count on you to stand in prayer with me.  day 13, 6th shift rocco family

day 13, 6th shift vince

Thanks you also, Johanna.  My dear friend.  I thank God for you and your commitment to this cause.

day 13, 6th shift, johanna

Here is a cool picture taken by Lisa tonight:day 13, 6th shift cool pic

Day 13: St. John United Evangelical Protestant Church ; Madonna del Castello & Word of God parish (Braddock/Swissvale) and EMPTY SHIFT 5-7 PM

“Yet the baby felt our love before…”

I was praying recently on a Saturday morning at planned parenthood. There was a priest praying as well (Fr. G). We were approached by a twenty-something year old woman who was inquisitive as to what we were doing and why. While we were talking with her, a couple entered pp (after rejecting information from the sidewalk advocates). The young woman upon seeing what appeared to be our lack of success asked “what’s the point of you being here? You don’t stop them from going in. Why not do some other type of social work to help those in need?”

love your babyAnd the priest said the most profound thing, and I’m paraphrasing here, “While we didn’t stop them from going in, the baby felt our love. And soon it will be in presence of God and will feel unimaginable love.”

Wow. That floored me. “The baby felt our love”. That gave a whole new meaning and purpose to why I should pray and witness outside pp. For that short remaining period of the baby’s life it felt love. Our love.

That revitalized my commitment and has me eager to go down to the vigil to pray and give my love. I’m now more confident than ever that my efforts “will not be in vain” despite an apparent lack of success.

If you have love to spare and haven’t yet signed up to pray at the vigil, sign or just show up. Stay as long as you want. Let the babies feel your love before…

Just click “Schedule” above to sign up.

Today at the vigil we have prayer warriors from St. John United Evangelical Protestant Church 7-11am ; Madonna del Castello & Word of God parish (Braddock/Swissvale) 11a – 3p ; Individual volunteer/s 3-5pm; EMPTY SHIFT 5-7 PM (if you can stop down between 5-7 it would be greatly appreciated by Sue.)

Stop back throughout the day as pictures and stories from today’s vigil will be posted.

This week we need people to share their love for the two empty hours on Tuesday… from 11-12, and from 2-3. And also Wednesday 2-3.

From Shift Manager David  7-9 am:Day 13 7-9 1

“Ron, Pastor Win, and David from
St John Evangelical Protestant Church.
On the sidewalk, in the rain, at 7am, these three men, never stopped smiling, praying, and witnessing, for God!”

Day 13 9-11 2From Shift Manager Ginny 9-11 am:

“A group from St John’s Church was at the vigil todayThere were many “Thank You’s for what we were doing “ from passer by’s .
But there were a few derogatory and hateful remarks from others
Day 13 9-11 3We just continued to pray for all.”

From Nikki 11-1 pm:

“When I arrived on the sidewalk I was blessed to see Pastor Win with two members of his (Burry’s) church. They had been there since 7am! It is so inspiring to see men of prayer AND action! We prayed together for a few minutes before they left. Already arriving for the 11-3 shift were Deacon Ron and two men from Madonna del Castello and Word of God parish in Braddock/Swissvale. Three MORE men of prayer AND action! AWESOME!!! Soon after they arrived, we were joined by two faithful ladies,Day 13 11-1 4 MaryAnne and Georgette! Ken (a new shift-manager sub) also came to pray during his lunch break. Deacon Ron had prepared prayer booklets, which he passed around and everyone prayed together for the entire time I was there! They were a beautiful, prayerful and peaceful witness!”

“A young woman named Bethany (it is her real name…she asked me to post it) stopped with her beautiful little girl in a stroller. They baby is Annaikah Grace. She told us that she was on the table to get an abortion when she discovered she was much further along than she thought…so she courageously chose life for this little beauty! She has also bravely given up two of her children for adoption and showed us photos of the “forever families” to which her babies were given. She receives regular updates about her children and is happy that she was Day 13 11-1 strollerable to bless these families who were praying for a child. She asked me to post her story so that if anyone is in a crisis pregnancy is afraid of the adoption process…she would like to reach out to them to help them. I have her contact information if anyone needs it.”

“During my shift I received equal amounts of positive and negative responses. I saw thumbs-up from cars, and many passersby expressed their thanks for us being there. On the other hand, there was an older woman (in her 60’s) who was walking with a group of people, who (with forced bravado and a forced smile) yelled out (with her fists in the air), “Yeah! Choose abortion!!!” My cheerful response was out of my mouth before I even though of it…I said, “I am glad your mom didn’t choose abortion!” She was so caught off guard by my loving reply that she didn’t know what to say, except a weak “I wish she had!” Her group all laughed rather nervously as I think they realized the silliness of her reply.”

“Later a young girl was walking with a group, and she was also trying to impress them with her bravado as she shouted “Thank God for abortion and women’s rights!” I thought about the IRONY of actually thinking you could THANK GOD for the “right” to KILL!!! But I didn’t respond to her, except for a gentle smile and an interior prayer for her.Day 13 Beth and Rose

At 1pm, the next shift manager (sister dynamic duo, Beth and Rose) arrived and I handed off the torch to them.

Thank you everyone for your beautiful prayers and witness today!”

Nikki

From Beth S. 1-3 pm:

“When Rose and I arrived, we were met by the wonderful group from Madonna del Castello with Deacon Ron leading the prayers and songs. Patricia from Ingelsia Sion Church mentioned that the traffic was very light today and it only made sense after I realized that it was Columbus Day and lots of businesses were closed. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood was opened and I heard one of the workers say that something was being planned for tomorrow. Maybe they’re planning to close the place!

Anyway, Win, David, Jim and Ron were joined by Maryanne and Peggy from Madonna del Castello, Joan from St. Patrick’s in Canonsburg, and from North American Martyrs, Manny, (sorry if I missed one woman whose name I forgot) so we had a great group of people handing out the yellow cards and witnessing for life.

One woman and her son stopped to thank us for 40 Days. They were from Washington State, just visiting. She gave Pittsburgh high marks for just about everything especially the friendly people, friendly to the cause of life!”

Beth S.

From  Shift Manager Hank 3-5 pm:Day 13 Hank pic of Billy 3-5

“It was a relatively quiet afternoon, not the usual traffic given that it is Columbus Day and many people were off. Billy was with me for the entire shift so we had both sides of the circle covered. We received a number of thumbs-up, a high-five and several thanks for being here. Most by-passers returned our greeting warmly. We did distribute many of the little feet and other materials. We did of course have time to pray for an end to this abomination.”

From Shift Manager Sue 5-7 pm:

“I was proud to take over shift manager duties from my Dad…Him and my Mom are the root of my pro-life beliefs! She was home continuing her day of fasting and praying for the all the intentions of our vigil! I was joined shortly by Anna Marie who graciously answered the call to stand with me and travelled an Day 13 Sue and Hankhour to be there, what a sacrifice! I felt so peaceful just praying together and was so happy to hear how she became such a committed pro-life witness…her heart was moved to action when partial birth abortion was explained to her by a friend in her church! The sidewalk was fairly busy and we did hand out some 10 week precious feet pins and yellow cards! We got some supportive comments and one young lady turned around, smiled and said “I choose life too”! “

~ Sue

 

DAY 12: THANK YOU, St. Monica Catholic Church, Beaver Falls; Transfiguration Catholic Church, Russelton; Individual Prayer Volunteers

MUSIC is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life.  There’s not some trick involved with it.  It’s pure and it’s real.  It moves, it heals, it communicates, and does all those incredible things.

Tom Petty 1950-2017

Tom Petty is one of many people who feel called to muse about the mystery we call music.

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

fall blog 2 earth music

There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Pythagoras 582BC-497 BC

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.

Plato 427BC – 347BC

I call architecture frozen music.

Goethe 1749-1832

Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.

Beethoven 1770-1827

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo 1802-1882

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Anderson 1805-1875

Music is the universal language of mankind.

Longfellow 1807-1882

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Berthold Auerbach 1812-1882

Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence.

Bach 1865-1750

I try to apply color like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

Miro 1893-1983

A nation that has no music and no fairy tales is a tragedy.

Ai Weiwei 1950

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_music.html

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

And suddenly there was with the angel

a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.’

Luke 2:12-14

According to the evangelist, the angels “said” this. But Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song….

And so, from that moment, the angels’ song of praise has never gone silent.  It continues down the centuries in constantly new forms and it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI JESUS of NAZARETH, The Infancy Narratives

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

The most beautiful “Ave Maria” I have ever heard is actually called, “The Most Beautiful ‘Ave Maria’ I’ve ever heard”.  Google the title or click on  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66zUY8UZn4M .

Here is the text.  Use it as you sing along.

AVE MARIA

Ave Maria,

gratia plena,

Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu

in mulieribus,
et benedictus

fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria.

Ave Maria,

Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis

peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora

mortis nostrae.

Amen.

This music video features the Visitation scene from Franco Zeffirelli’s, JESUS OF NAZARETH, 1977.

The music is the “Ave Maria” by Michael Lorenc.  Russian soprano Olga Szyrowa is singing, oh, so very beautifully.

Mary, newly pregnant with Jesus, is assisted by neighbors and sent off by her mother Ann, to visit her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist.

Each mother greets the other and joy fills the scene.

I watched and learned to sing along… slowly, laboriously…loving it.

But then with a shocked wrenched heart, I remembered the rest of the story.

According to one world view, these joyfully anticipated babies came to a bad end.  Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were captured and killed.

Beauty and ferocious evil  are real.

“Therefore we must not in our own day conceal our faith in creation.  We may not conceal it, for only if it is true that the universe comes from freedom, love, and reason, and that these are the real underlying powers, can we trust one another, go forward into the future, and live as human beings.”

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI ‘In the Beginning…’

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

Music can evoke terrible scorching longing.  This longing hurts so much that some people lock the door to their heart.  But longing can be a gift of God.  C. S. Lewis said that we must learn to eat the food of heaven or starve to death eternally.

Feeling captured by a crisis pregnancy, parents fear that letting their baby live will kill their hopes and dreams.

Trusting Goodness Incarnate, these parents must learn to open their heart to the beautiful music this new baby is created to bring to their life.

If they are unable to learn this lesson before choosing abortion, God promises to meet them in their repentance, if they choose that while they still have time.

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK

….. From the 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh Bench:

This accident and the ongoing recovery has reminded me just how fragile and vulnerable a human body is— When I read the daily accounts of my 40 Days for Life  brothers and sisters in Christ during the first weeks of this vigil I feel I am transported to the sidewalk where you all stand in  faith.

Human bodies are weak and broken and needy.  Tiny ones need our voices, hurt and scared ones need our strength, the cold need warmth and many are hungry for sustenance of all types. In our Lord’s name you reach out your human hands and voices to provide comfort and hope.  Please know you do not stand alone!   Just as prayer has lifted me up during this healing time, know that I am honored and humbled to be a part of this body of Christ on the sidewalk seeking to wrap our arms around each life created in the image of God.

In Life and with Prayer, Jeannie

SM-Injured Reserve

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDEWALK

JEN 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER

Tom and Diane got the vigil rolling this morning with their daily delivery of resources and inspiration.  Talk about TRUST–giving up the time for this task twice a day for forty straight days, campaign after campaign, knowing that God will use their sacrifice for great good!

I was blessed to share the sidewalk with peaceful, prayerful Patty for the full shift.  Thank you for being there this morning and for all you do in defense of Life!

Shortly after we began, a young man stopped to talk to us.  He said that he knows abortion is wrong but that it has to be available in case of rape.  We pointed out that the abortion would further traumatize the woman and that the child conceived is an innocent victim as well.  While he wouldn’t concede either point, he was very respectful throughout and hopefully walked away with greater awareness that might one day change his mind.

Faithful Bill stopped by with an urgent prayer request for a troubling situation.  Please pray for a young woman, possibly still a teenager, who is in her second trimester of pregnancy and in the throes of addiction.  Pray for the baby, who will be born addicted, as well–if lucky enough to make it to birth at all.  And pray for Bill, who is experiencing such anguish that he is unable to help them.

One of the last people who stopped to talk was a man who said that he has six girls and is now awaiting the birth of his seventh child.  He happily accepted a yellow resource card.

Mary from St. Monica joined us at the end, planning to stay until 11 AM with shift manager Sue.  Thank you both for allowing us to pass the baton to keep the vigil going!

MARY AND PATTY
Mary and Patty

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

SUE 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER

So prayerful this morning!  I was blessed again today with a peaceful shift, along with fellow prayers Mary and Pat.  We prayed, a lot.

There was quite a bit of foot traffic — Steeler game attendees.  I always try not to get distracted (as a shift manager, this can be tricky), but sometimes I wonder what the passersby are thinking as they see our signs and hear us pray.  I noticed that one man appeared to close his eyes for the entire time he was walking past PP.  I wondered what that was all about  — and if his eyes really were closed, as they appeared to be!

A few positive responses, but mostly people were just “neutral.”  Many thanks to Pat and Mary for their faithfulness in prayer this morning.  Our Lord hears, and He is getting ready to answer us in a big way or ways!!!

Pat, Mary and Sue
Pat, Mary and Sue

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

ROSEANN AND RICH  11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS

All was quiet from 11 to 1 p.m. today. We did not have one negative comment and had several people who were happy we were standing for life.

I could call it a good day but as long as abortions are performed at 933 Liberty Avenue, I’ll reserve calling it a good day until they close their doors for good.

Thanks to all who came to pray and witness today.

Transfiguration Parish Prayer Warriors
Transfiguration Parish
Prayer Warriors

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

JEFF 1-3 SHIFT MANAGER

Cole, Bernadette, Amy, Joan, Judy Transfiguration Parish
Cole, Bernadette, Amy, Joan, Judy
Transfiguration Parish

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

DAVE 3-5 SHIFT MANAGER
Prayer Warriors Cathy, Jim, and Philline united their prayers to change hearts on the front line.
Gods’ Grace is abundant !

Cathy, Jim and Philline
Cathy, Jim and Phillene

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

JOE W. 5-7 SHIFT MANAGER

Dave hung out for half my shift evangelizing.  So good to see him and catch up. Joe prayed humbly and relentlessly for the whole shift.  Thank you Joe and well done.

I had the reward of some inspiring encounters with a fellow fighter for life, and a 16 yr old young man who was interested in the truth. God is so good.

For a losing home Steelers game my shift was fairly tame (the normal,“you don’t have a vag…” rants). Though, one man (20s) shoved his middle finger so close to my face he tickled my nose hairs. I can’t believe how fast those pesky hairs grow as I age.

It’s such a blessing to be a tiny part of this movement.

May God’s will be done in us.

Peace.

Dave and Joe Fierce Warriors
Dave and Joe
Fierce Warriors

fall BLOG 2 red line FullSizeRender (89)

 

And God saw that it was good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 11: Thanks to St. Ann Catholic Church (Castle Shannon), St. Sebastian Catholic Church (North Hills), Church of the Assumption (Bellvue)

Castle, Entrance, Architecture, Old

 THE GATES OF HELL

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.  And the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  Mathew 16: 18

 

Bishop Robert Barron, in a reflection in the August issue of MAGNIFICAT, opened my eyes to what the second part of this passage likely means.  He writes:

“I always took it to imply that the powers of hell would come after the Church and that the Church would always be able to withstand the attack.  But in point of fact, the figure of speech employed by Jesus is meant to suggest something in the opposite direction.  In the ancient world (and really up until practically modern times), an invading army would attack a walled city at its most vulnerable point, namely, the gates.  Therefore, to state that the gates of the underworld will not prevail against the Church is to imply that the community of Jesus is the aggressor.  Jesus is not saying that we will always prevail against their attack; he is saying that they will never prevail against our attack.

“Mind you, we never fight with the weapons of the world, but by God, we fight – and we will win.  We aren’t tremblingly waiting for our enemies to come after us; we’re going after them!  Love will conquer hate; compassion will conquer cruelty; non-violence will conquer violence.  So go forth, disciples of Jesus.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel a little bit more inspired.  It’s not defense we’re playing out there, it’s OFFENSE!  

Pat M.

AND NOW, ON TO OUR REPORTS:

St. Anne's parish, Castle Shannon
St. Anne’s parish, Castle Shannon

 

Guardians for Life of Westmoreland and Indiana Counties
Guardians for Life of Westmoreland and Indiana Counties

Tim B. was on from 7-9:

What a blessed day at the vigil this morning.  We had two priests along with the prayer warriors from St Anne’s and the Guardians For Life.  We participated at 8 am in the Worldwide Rosary and Fr. Tim lead all in Divine Mercy and the Stations of the Cross. While the harvest was abundant today, we had lots of laborers.  We actually ran out of the black “Pray To End Abortion” signs.  What a blessing. The greatest blessing of all was that not many went into the abortion center today.  No doubt God hears our prayers and changes hearts and minds.

Peace and joy, Tim.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STORMING THE GATES!
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STORMING THE GATES!

Sue D. had the 9-11:  

It was a beautiful shift. I arrived and the sidewalk was so crowded with praying people, I almost had nowhere to stand! Good problem to have! Fr. Tim and the Guardians for Life were there, as well as St. Anne’s church. It was wonderful to have constant prayer going. Eloisa and Maria from Iglesia Sion Church also showed up. I have seen Eloisa in many pictures and she has become a regular on this first campaign she has participated in! Rose and Stacey from St John the 23rd also came. Shortly after Stacey arrived, a passerby engaged Stacey in a respectful philosophical discussion. I think it was still going when I left. It was good to listen in on the various points and perspectives. PP was definitely covered in prayer on this beautiful day! ~Sue

 

Rose W. from St. John XXIII, and Dot L. & Mary Ann P. from St. Sebastian
Rose W. from St. John XXIII, and Dot L. & Mary Ann P. from St. Sebastian

 

Guy & Mary M. and Judy C., all from St. Sebastian
Guy & Mary M. and Judy C., all from St. Sebastian

Sue M. took the 11-1:

We had a quiet, very prayerful shift today.  All praise and thanks be to God!  Many thanks to prayer warrior volunteers from both St. Sebastian and St. John XXIII.  I was feeling a bit spiritually out of sorts today as I arrived for my shift.  I definitely felt more peaceful as the shift went on.  I believe that sometimes even we ourselves (even though it is not our objective) can benefit from all the prayer going on at the vigil!  My hope and prayer is that the people entering and exiting the clinic, along with those who work in there, benefited even more today from all of the prayer.

Lots of yellow cards were given out and accepted today.  Did you know that we are aware of at least two lives saved because of people receiving those yellow cards and accessing the info on them?  Diane, who created them, keeps them stocked in the smaller of the two boxes — don’t hesitate to give them out, along with the plentiful supply of other literature in those boxes!

 

 

Daniel and Luisa from Assumption
Daniel and Luisa from Assumption

 

Marie from St Sebastian
Marie from St Sebastian

Dean manned the 1-3:

I was glad to have “pray-ers” from both Assumption and St. Sebastian on the sidewalk with me this afternoon.
I gave away 2 of our feet pins. A young woman who had stepped outside of P.P. to smoke, accepted one of our pins and surprised me by saying that she was actually trying to have a baby. She thanked me for literature but, ended up returning inside to P.P. I hope that God leads her to look elsewhere.

Kathy stood from 3-5:

Rick, Mary, and their son from the Assumption church were praying as our shift began. Charlie from Assumption joined them
Many people were out on this beautiful day. A philosopher came twice to talk to the group, talking not debating. I talked to one girl who brought her friend. She had talked to the earlier shift. She put Martha’s Vineyard info in her bag as she said Planned Parenthood threw away our info earlier. As she left with her friend, she said, “I will give her that paper.”

Maggie was the manager of the 5-7 shift and wrote:

Mary and Rick (and friend) from Assumption Church
Mary and Rick (and friend) from Assumption Church

day 11, 6th shift2

Praise God for a very high traffic day and wonderful people from Assumption parish to pray with. We had a lively discussion with man about the sanctity if life . He had some confusion about rape but otherwise was right on. A mother whose birthday was today the day of our lady of the rosary and her son were there with me. She wrote this beautiful poem:

day 11, poem

day 11, 6th shift3

Day 10: Thank You to St. Ferdinand Right to Life Group, Holy Sepulcher Catholic Church, Weirton Pro Life Group, Living Hope Church, and Individual Volunteers!

We are in need of prayer volunteers to join Shift Manager Sue on Monday, 10/9, from 5-7 PM. 
Please sign up now at https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/or email Nikki to let us know if you can help.  Thank you!

waves

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil 4:6-7

My dear grandmother used to have a word for a person who is nervous all the time— “worrywort.”  I readily admit that I am one, and have been since birth.   So the scripture quoted above is one of my favorites.  I have it posted on my big folder of bills and tasks.  God has a way of making it pop up in other places, too, when I need to be reminded of it.

True to form, He made sure I saw it this week when I really needed it. I was being hit with wave after wave of troubling news from near and far.  I felt exhausted, as if I’d been struggling to stand in the pounding surf of the ocean.  I know, life is like that sometimes.  Okay…lots of times.

God is telling me to have no anxiety?  Seriously?

Oh, but He is…and as always, He’s right.  When I pray, when I petition, when I thank God, when I put my life into His hands, He never fails to help me.  He grants me new strength and a peace that flies in the face of worldly logic.

God, in His grace, reached out to calm and comfort me over and over again in the past few days.  He put the Philipians scripture in front of me.  He let me run into a friend I hadn’t seen in months who shared the amazing ways in which God is seeing her through a very difficult year.  He inspired Nikki’s beautiful blog entry on Wednesday, which really picked me up.  (Read–or reread–the Day 8 entry for yourself to feel God’s warm embrace!)

It’s very easy to get anxious and overwhelmed as we fight for the sanctity of life.  After all, this is truly a matter of life and death—not only physical, but spiritual, as well.  Blessedly, God has the remedy for our worry and exhaustion.  As we present the prayers and petitions of our 40 Days for Life campaign, let’s do so with thanksgiving and complete TRUST in Him.  Please use this link https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/to choose a time when you can join us, and then see the pictures and stories from today’s vigil below!

 

From Richard and Barbara, 7-9 AM:

Diane and Tom were just finished setting up as Richard and I arrived at the sidewalk on a warmly cool, slightly foggy 7AM. 

Not long after, staff started arriving at Planned Parenthood.  Today is an abortion day. 

Remembering the rich man and Lazarus in the Old Testament, I always will try to share with a person who appears abortion vulnerable.  I am their sister.  Perhaps they will let me be a part of their redemption. 

One tall young man stopped to look at our fetal models.  He looked at the 10 week unborn baby model and said, “Wow!  Their little body is all there.”  As we talked he told me about his 12 year old daughter who lives in northern Pennsylvania with her mother.  “It got complicated.  She and I couldn’t stay together,” he said about the mother.  Today he has a fiancée who has the implanted type of birth control.  He wishes she would stop it because he would like to have a baby. His understanding about the rules that shape wholeness in life appears fragile.  This morning, I could only share a few loving words and a smile.

A young woman about 20 years old, stopped and leaned against the brick wall of the next door bar, finishing her cigarette.  I took off my prolife sign and walked over.  She was “there just for a checkup,” she said.  We talked for a bit. “Just in case you would ever need this,” I offered her our little yellow crisis pregnancy care information card.  She took it and said if she would ever need it, she might read it.  She walked over and into PP.

A young man walked back and forth in front of PP.  I did not see him go in.  I saw him come out, light a cigarette and stand outside the doors.  I walked over, standing near, outside the gold circle, and showed him a picture of a 10 week old unborn baby.  He asked me why I was talking to him when he didn’t even know my name.  We started from the beginning, introducing ourselves, first names only.  He was polite.  He was decided.  He accepted the little crisis pregnancy care card and got into a car that drove up and took him away.

 

From Marie, 11 AM – 1 PM

Parishioners of Holy Sepulcher praying at today's vigil
Parishioners of Holy Sepulcher prayed and witnessed for four hours at today’s vigil–thank you!

Holy Sepulcher covered this vigil time and it was peaceful and prayerful shift.  There were several instances when people passing would smile or even verbally give approval to our witness.  A vigil participant from the earlier shift (not from Holy Sepulcher) told her story of having an abortion as a teenager and how it had stayed with her till this day.  She is now a mother and grandmother.  What has helped her through this sadness was bringing God back into her life and volunteering at pro-life activities.

 

From Sue, 1-3 PM:

Holy Sepulcher was there for the entire shift–they had signed up for 4 hours! We prayed and handed out pro-life information. Billy came at the last minute and stayed the full 2 hours as well.  He prayed very reverently…I was touched and thought how God must hear him! WTAE also showed up and went into PP for an interview.  He came out and filmed us as well as the A-frame sign. I gave him a 40 Days for Life brochure and verbally gave him the updated statistics. The sidewalk and PP were very busy!

 

From Lisa, 3-5 PM:

Peaceful pray-ers witness for Life!
Your presence on the sidewalk makes a difference!

Thank you, Matthew from Living Hope Church in Latrobe for standing with us from 2:30 on to 5 and was staying when his church gathered from 5 to 7!!!!
Thank you, Mark, Lori, and Mary from their pro-life group in Weirton who prayed, smiled, and witnessed to life!
Benson joined us after school for his 10th consecutive day. Thank you for your witness.  You are an inspiration!! 
Quiet overall for our shift with some “thank you’s” and other negative comments. Prayer prevailed throughout! 

 

From Pat, 5-7 PM:

Thank you to members of Living Hope Church in Whitney!
Thank you to members of Living Hope Church in Whitney!
Benson has prayed with us on ALL TEN DAYS of the vigil to date!
Benson has prayed with us on ALL TEN DAYS of the vigil to date!

I’m so inspired when people come down to the sidewalk from such far distances.  The group from Living Hope Church in Whitney – who came in a big van – drove all the way from the Latrobe area.  They even brought their own pro-life signs which must have made an impression on those passing by both on foot and by car because they were nice and big and easy to read.  And as I was praying on the opposite side of the circle, I noticed Marta (with the dark hair) engaging with a woman in her late 20s who was passing by.  They talked for about 10 minutes and then I could see Marta putting her hand on the woman’s shoulder and praying over her for an extended period of time.  It was a beautiful thing to see. 

And I want to thank Benson, from St. Anne’s in Castle Shannon for spending his 10th consecutive day down on the sidewalk.  I enjoyed both praying and talking with him.  He really inspires me.  

Day 9: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, Byzantine Catholics of Pittsburgh, Lutherans for Life, St. Scholastica Catholic Church (Aspinwall), and all of our other volunteers of the day!

Please remember, we are in need of prayer volunteers
to join Shift Manager Joe on Sunday, 10/8, from 5-7 PM. 
Please sign up now or email Nikki to let us know if you can help.  Thank you!!
10-5-17 harvest
[Jesus] said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
 
Luke 10:2-6
An abundant harvest is a beautiful thing.  But imagine an abundant harvest, like the one in the above photo, but with only ONE laborer.  We’ve probably all been there…. much work to be done, but too few to do it.
The solution, according to Jesus, is to “ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”  We must continue to ask the Lord for pro-life workers and advocates to help us in our mission of prayer and ministry to the people on the Liberty Avenue sidewalk.
Jesus also tells us in this passage that He is sending us “like lambs among wolves.”  But are we to fear this?  No.  Our Lord is completely trustworthy.  While driving to the vigil today, one of the last things I heard on the radio was a song with these Christian lyrics: “I am not alone…. I am not alone…. You will go before me.  You will never leave me.”  This REALLY lifted me up to go onto the sidewalk with confidence.  We ALL can have that confidence and trust in the Lord while on that sidewalk…. in that “field.”  There is much work, much harvesting to be done.  We can’t slack off now.  🙂

 Shift Manager Reports

 Nikki:
Thursday 7 to 9: it was a quiet and peaceful shift this morning. It was a blessing to be joined by Peg. We each prayed silently one on either side of the circle for most of the shift. Near the end of our shift we noticed Meredith on the other side of the street with her pro life literature. It was great to see her! Soon we were joined with wonderful Judy and Chuck from Lincoln Place Nazarene Church. They are both so full of joy and the Holy Spirit shines so beautifully through them! I am constantly encouraged by the gift that God gives us through 40 Days for Life by putting us all together as a family and God!
Another thought I had today, as I thought about the gospel from Luke, is where Jesus sends his apostles out, saying he is sending them like lambs among wolves. Isn’t that what he is doing with us? Our peaceful, vulnerable witness in front of Planned Parenthood, surrounded by hostility, sounds like he is using us in the same way! To proclaim the kingdom of God! I wonder, if the cities in which 40 Days for Life campaigns are taking place, are the very places in which he intends to pour out his Spirit in the coming days? Thank you everyone for praying and witnessing today!
Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Thank you for your faithful witness!
Chuck and Judy from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. Thank you for your faithful witness!

 

Meredith and Judy: two beautiful ladies, inside and out!
Meredith and Judy: two beautiful ladies, inside and out!

 

Shift Manager Bill, with Peg and Nikki! Friends united in prayer!
Shift Manager Bill, with Peg and Nikki! Friends united in prayer!

 

Mark:

Today,  Jody and Chuck and Meredith from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene
and Beth Ann from St Alexis stood firm as faithful missionaries to our Father God, spreading His love and message of grace and compassion.
Thank you for your faithfulness, Meredith!
Thank you for your faithfulness, Meredith!

 

An adorable group of holy warriors! Thank you to Beth Ann, Chuck, and Judy!
An adorable group of holy warriors! Thank you to Beth Ann, Chuck, and Judy!

 

Lisa K:

It was a rather hectic shift today!  But it was good for me to remember the “hectic side” of this ministry; many times I get WAY too complacent.  Two main things to mention: Please pray for Carly (not her real name) who went into PP today for an abortion.  Her male friend had come outside for a smoke, and I was able to speak to him.  Shift Manager Pat and I saw them later, walking away from PP.  But we’re not sure what had happened- whether the abortion had taken place or not.  So thank you for the prayer support she still needs.

And there was a man who approached one of our participants who was CLEARLY under the influence of drugs or alcohol (or both).  He talked to us a tiny bit, and tried to hug one of our participants, but I did not allow him.  And the poor guy was in REALLY bad shape- he could hardly stand up straight.  Well, a few minutes later, the cops arrived.  None of us had called them, so I wasn’t clear on the situation, but within minutes, SIX police officers were surrounding and frisking and searching this guy.  They were very gentle and soft-spoken with him, as he could hardly communicate.  But we think he had some drugs on him.  Crazy.  Thank GOD this did not involve our vigil at all.  Just painting a picture of the scenes during my shift… and of course, while all of this was going on- and before and after- people were entering PP, and Deacon Paul and I reached out to help them…. but very few were receptive.  But I am not deterred.  We NEVER know how the Lord will use us.

Thank you, Mary Ann, Karen, Deacon Paul, and Pat!
Thank you, Mary Ann, Karen, Deacon Paul, and Pat!

 

Fr. James, with the same Byzantine Catholic group. BEAUTIFUL prayers today, thank you!!
Fr. James, with the same Byzantine Catholic group. BEAUTIFUL prayers today, thank you!!

 

Carda and Angela (and Edie, not pictured) joined us from Lutherans for Life! Thank you, ladies!!
Carda and Angela (and Edie, not pictured) joined us from Lutherans for Life! Thank you, ladies!!

 

Rick:

The Thursday 5-7 PM shift was very prayerful and encouraging.  Special thanks to Mary Catherine, Ann, Vincent & Vicky from St. Scholastica in Aspinwall for their faithful prayers and witness.  Vincent lead us in singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which was inspirational.

May the Lord bless us and keep us close to His most Sacred Heart and may the lives of unborn children be cherished, and hearts be converted, through the grace of God, the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and the faithful witness, prayers, and fasting of Christians and others throughout the world.

God Bless!

Rick

 

10-5-17 trust (800x533)

Day 8…St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Indiana), Clarks Mills United Methodist Church and faithful individuals provide the witness today!

“He will command his angels concerning you, and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

angels-2332987_960_720

This world is getting scary, isn’t it?  We see how the lack of respect for human life and the lack of knowledge of God has led to mass killings, such as happened Sunday night in Las Vegas. 

In our prayerful witnessing in front of Planned Parenthood, we are vulnerable.  We are putting ourselves in the public eye…standing as a sign that ALL human life is precious and valuable and WORTH our sacrifice.

Yesterday, our dear Sally was knocked over intentionally by a passerby.  She fell flat on her back on the sidewalk, but miraculously…(she is in her 80’s and frail) she was not hurt a bit!  I spoke to her this morning, and not only was she not hurting, but she was in excellent spirits!  She says that her angel cushioned her fall…and I don’t doubt that for a minute!  You see, Sally and her husband Al have devoted their lives for the past 3o years to defending unborn human life.  If you call their house phone and get their voicemail, Al’s voice will inform you that every day in this nation, thousands of little babies are killed by abortion, and urge you to do something about it.  Their car has many pro life bumper stickers on it, they witness in front of Magee Hospital every-other month, take part in Face the Truth tours…and come to Planned Parenthood twice a week EVERY week, ALL YEAR ROUND.  They, along with Bob Newman, were the very first pro-life people I ever met.  When Sally informed me that she had given birth to 11 children, I was flabbergasted!  I never even knew it was POSSIBLE for someone to have that many children and still be able to walk around and be active!  But the word “active” is an understatement when describing Sally.  She is smart…no, more than just smart…the word to describe her is WISE.  She is so wise.  She and Al are a TEAM!  In fact, I used to get their names mixed up and refer them as “Sal and Ally”…they are so united in their marriage, their faith and their cause.  I have never seen a trace of bitterness or resentment in Sally…just peace.  She has an incredible  peace about her, that I guess is what comes from living a life faithful to God and having no regrets in her past.  It makes me a little envious…but not really…because I can still STRIVE to end up like Sally someday.  With God’s grace, maybe I can get there.

There was an incident last week at the vigil where a very hurting woman screamed and ranted for 45 minutes.  Our hearts and prayers go out to her that she will find healing.  But here is what Sally wrote to our team about it:

So many of these young people have been lied to all their lives by teachers, the media,  and often by their family members. They  have little or no faith in God, no idea about right and wrong, and no clue about how they should be living.  So when they mess up their lives they have nowhere to turn for help.  That’s why they drink too much, take drugs, sleep around, and kill themselves.  We know someone who has lost 20 friends to death, half  of them by suicide. These young people do not understand our campaign motto of TRUST. It might as well be in a foreign language. Isn’t that sad?  They need the help that big time prayer can give them.  Please, all of you, pray every day for all the lost ones who are out there.  They are SO NEEDY.  Thanks. Sally

So let us thank God for protecting Sally yesterday, and let’s continue to step out in faith and TRUST God to protect us during our peaceful witness on Liberty Avenue!  As WE are there to protect the most vulnerable…the babies…I have confidence that God’s angels are surrounding US as well!

baby-feet-402844_960_720

Sally and Al...Sally was my sponsor as I entered the Catholic Church in 2013
Sally has touched many lives with her selfless witness for unborn life. She has made a big impact in my life personally…in fact she was my sponsor as I entered the Catholic Church in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for today’s shift reports…

Kathy wrote from the early morning shift (7-9):

Pleasant weather is always a positive when standing on the sidewalk.  Many passersby smiled.  Many glances at our signs and the fetal baby models.  One young woman engaged in conversation on her phone approached the display and told her listener that the models “scare her.”  I would have liked to ask her why they did.

Thank you to those who stopped by before going to work or starting their daily routine:

Vicky from Hosanna church, Bill H , Pat M , Tom, and Robert.  Thank you to Eloisa who comes weekly and filled the 9 to 10 prayer need for S M Cathy.

day 8, 1st shift

Cathy Z. was the 9-11am shift manager and was going to have to stand alone for her first hour, but thanks to Eloisa, she had company!

Eloisa and SM Cathy
Eloisa and SM Cathy

Cathy wrote:

Eloisa and I had a fairly quiet shift. We prayed together and separately, and gave out a few cards. She stayed until 10 when St. Bernard’s and Assumption arrived, with Ken arriving about the same time.  Many people were nice, with “God Bless you” or “Thank you” , one couple was not when I offered them a card as they were going into the clinic.  A pickup went by and the man passenger yelled “prochoice!”  An interesting statement was made while I was waiting at the bus stop to go home.  A woman strode past me and yelled across the street “God loves the abortion doctors too!”  Of course He does, He just doesn’t love what they are doing.  Some people must think we (and God) don’t love them because of what they do, when that is farthest from the truth.  God loves us all, so much He doesn’t want us to stay in our sin.

Jim filled in for Hank for the 11-1 shift and took this photo:

Attached is photo of vigil participants from Kathy Zuza and my shifts….Ray, Dennis, Michele, and Bill from St. Bernard in Indiana, PA, Mary from St. Monica in Chippewa, and Ken (Ken works downtown, not sure of church affiliation).
vigil participants from the 9-11 and 11-1 shifts….Ray, Dennis, Michele, and Bill from St. Bernard in Indiana, PA, Mary from St. Monica in Chippewa, and Ken

Chris managed the vigil from 1-3 and wrote:

I walked to the vigil site today trying to be more aware of my surroundings and saying a prayer for Sally.  Everything was fine during my shift; in fact, there was not one critical word spoken by a passerby.  When I arrived I was greeted by the prayers words of a Rosary being led by Jim, the shift manager, and prayer warriors from Indiana and Chippewa.  Shortly thereafter I was joined by Pastor Adam and Ginny.  It was great to have company on the sidewalk.  There were the usual comings and goings of the PP staff and just a handful of “clients” entering PP.  The highlight of the shift came when Pastor Adam greeted a woman walking by us with her boyfriend.  When he asked if she would like a resource card for someone who might be pregnant, she said, yes, that she was pregnant with her second child.  Pastor Adam then asked her if he could pray with her, which he did, for her, her unborn child, and her boyfriend.  She gladly took the resource card and thanked Pastor Adam.

Pastor Adam from Clarks Mills United Methodist Church and Ginny
Pastor Adam from Clarks Mills United Methodist Church and Ginny

Barbara and Richard report from the 3-5 shift:

We half expected an ice cream truck to pull over to the curb, with kiddie music playing.  Today felt like a summer day in the burbs.  By the grace of God, Wednesday is not an abortion day.

We were joined by Pastor Adam, Fran, Benson and Bill.  We were book ended by Chris and Joe, shift managers.  We tried to be vigilant to avoid any shoves or other unpleasant items.  But we are people persons and more watching for a friendly face and someone to talk with. Every passer by was pleasant, nodded or gave thumbs up.  At least 3 people stopped to thank us for being there.

We are there because there is nowhere else we would want to be during Pittsburgh 40 Days. It is impossible to explain.  I know I have always been opinionated and declined to be budged.

God is generous.

We are so grateful for the people who stand up in our group and help guide and keep us on track.

Ginny, Pastor Adam and Chris
Ginny, Pastor Adam and Chris
Bill and Benson
Bill and Benson

Joe wrote about his 5-7 shift report…

Probably best way to describe today’s shift – weather, vibe, folks… is “Peaceful Easy Feeling” – just refreshing after a “hectic” first week for the campaign…

Overall, “seemed” like less than normal foot and street traffic / noise.  Not much activity for folks exiting 933 Liberty Avenue.  Really minimal reaction from the passerby’s – seemed like everyone wanted to get “somewhere”…

I was joined for the entirety of my shift by individual volunteers Christopher and Nadine – the talk and prayer came easy, we just soaked up the weather / enjoying the comfortable temps and gentle breeze against an Indian Summer-like background of sun splashed building tops – Thanks Guys!

Found out that both Christopher (who was in town from Milwaukee) and Nadine are both proud parents of young men serving our country – one in the Army, the other in Marines – God Bless them and God Bless America…

…and God Bless our vigil and those that participate, help out, lead, pray, and just care so much and our mission.  Let us not be deterred….

A deacon stopped by to wish us well and to indicate that his group would be coming to witness later in the campaign and a young man stopped by and asked for material, but didn’t really want to talk.  …and of course, the mother and children that always pass by before the shift ends made their appearance… and the shift faded to black…

Christopher answered the call to stand with shift manager Joe!
Christopher answered the call to stand with shift manager Joe!