Day 4: Thank you to St. Paul of the Cross Parish, Archangel Gabriel Parish, and Fabulous Volunteers!

…building high places for Baal to burn their children in fire as offerings to Baal…

Jer 19:5

Bill S. sent in this chilling comparison between a recreation of the Arch of Baal and the doorway to Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh.

It’s agonizing to think that we are still making the same tragic mistake as our ancestors did years ago.

Ancient people sacrificed their children in the misguided hope that Baal would grant them health and security in return.

Modern people sacrifice their children in the misguided hope that the child’s death will ensure their own health and security.

It has never worked…not in ancient times, not now. Yet we still have not learned.

Lord, have mercy on us!


SIDEWALK REPORTS

Tim and Sidewalk Advocates, 7-9 AM

Sunrise Group
Rosa came for the first time and Tony came Thursday for his first time.

The predawn darkness gave way to the light of Christ as prayer warriors from St. Anne’s and St. Paul of the Cross arrived early and began praying. First timers, Rosa and Tony (his first time was Thursday), joined in. What a strong witness we made with all the hand held signs, Nikki’s big beautiful signs and lots of people.

We had a nice moment when a young lady approached the clinic and was greeted by sidewalk advocates.  She just smiled and said, “I’m here to pray.  I didn’t sign up.  I just showed up, is that OK?”  What a joy that was.

As my shift was ending four students, who drove an hour down from Grove City College, joined us in prayer (for the second week in a row).  What a blessed morning it was. You could feel the love and hope in the air in what is usually a dark and dreary place.  God sure blessed us today. 

Tim

Sue D. & Sue M., 9-11 AM

Prayer warriors from Grove City College
Sean & Sons, from St. Paul’s Cathedral

We two Sues arrived today to a large crowd of pray-ers on the sidewalk.  A student group from Grove City College was there, as they had been last week.  A large group from the men’s group at St. Paul of the Cross Parish, including Sue D.’s dad, was there before we got there and stayed after we left.  Sue M. was happy to see her brother-in-law, Brian, from the new Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, join us.  Sean from St. Paul’s Cathedral brought his two adorable sons to bring everyone smiles, and that they did.  Regular Jericho Walkers Chuck and Carol did their seven Saturday rounds around the block.  Prayer warriors Joan, Paul, Sharon, and Steve from Archangel Gabriel Parish joined us, along with Anita and Isaac from PCUC.  A third Sue walked and prayed the Rosary, as did Bill S.  Bill H. was there.  And our regular faithful Sidewalk Advocates Greg and Judy rounded out the group.
Unfortunately, a larger number of folks than on recent Saturdays also entered the clinic for services.   We reached out to all of them but sadly were unable to get literature into their hands.  Julie from SS. Peter & Paul in Beaver, who works with Rachel’s Vineyard, was able to engage a young man in conversation after he had dropped off his sister at the clinic.  He seemed to want to talk, she said.  I’d had a short conversation with him at the front door, but he did not accept any literature.  Julie encouraged him to have his sister come out and talk with us, but as of the time I left, I did not see her come out.
Shortly before the end of our shift, Bishop Waltersheid arrived to pray!  Thank you, Bishop Waltersheid!  Many thanks to the MANY who came out today to pray and witness. 

Sue M.

Dean and Greg, 11 AM – 1 PM

Bishop Waltersheid
Members of Archangel Gabriel Parish who prayed with us today

Mostly it was a quiet shift today but, well represented by two different parishes.

A young woman (K.) asked about the intent of our protest. I used my answer to explain the difference between a protest and a prayer vigil. She wanted to know if all who participated felt likewise. I told her about our declaration for prayer sheet that we sign. I re-affirmed that it is NOT our intention to pass judgment. She is a single mother of three and I told her that we would be lifting her up in prayer.

Dean

Jim and Nikki, 1-3 PM +++ Jeff and Billy, 3-5 PM

Sidewalks filled with prayer this afternoon
Archangel Gabriel Parish
Shift buddy Billy with prayer volunteer Mary, twin signs!
Shift manager Jeff
Shift manager Jim with members of Archangel Gabriel Parish

It was beautiful afternoon to be outdoors, although very sad to be at a place full of so much heartbreak and darkness. Watching women leave after their abortions is so sad. The sidewalks were full of people praying from Archangel Gabriel Parish and that was comforting to hear the constant, nonstop prayers. That is as it should be. If we must live in a crazy world that has legalized the killing of innocent babies, we should be lamenting and praying at the places where it is happening. From 1 to 3 the shift manager/buddy with me was Jim and from 3 to 5 it was Jeff. Billy was also the shift buddy from 3 to 5, and faithful Mary was there praying after the large church group left at three. We had some other people stop to pray, the sidewalks were full. Thank you to everyone who came out today!

Nikki

Day 3: Thank you to the Shift Managers, Shift Buddies, and Wonderful Volunteers!

“…Go and learn the meaning of the words,

‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”

Matthew 9:13

As I’ve admitted in the past, the start of each 40 Days for Life campaign fills me with dread. That’s awful, immature, selfish…and true. Although my heart knows that God uses suffering to bring about good, my body and mind rebel against it. My reluctance is even more pathetic when you see how very little suffering I actually have to do in order to participate in these vital campaigns.

Given my distaste for suffering, I’ve always been intrigued by Jesus’ words in the Scripture passage above. Wait, you mean there’s an easier way? I don’t need to sacrifice, just show mercy? Sign me up!

Jesus specifically says to go and learn the meaning of that directive, though. With the help of the Divine Teacher, I remember something important when I take time to reflect more deeply.

The important fact is this: mercy and sacrifice often involve the same “suffering” actions. What makes the difference is my attitude–whether I concentrate on what I’m giving up, or on what’s being gained. If I focus on myself as I get up early and go to pray on a cold sidewalk, I’m pretty miserable. But if I turn my focus to the women in crisis and the unborn children in danger who will be helped by my prayers, I feel motivated and even excited to get out there.

Sacrifice for the sake of puffing myself up with pride or eliciting sympathy is pretty pointless. But sacrifice for the sake of others is MERCY, just what our Lord desires from us. May Jesus help us to turn our focus to the needs of others so that we can enthusiastically go out and take care of them. Thanks to all of you who bring His MERCY to the sidewalk!


Sidewalk Reports

7-9 AM +++ Barbara, Richard, and Rose

Dave, Richard, and Tom
Diane, Claudia, Antoni, and Rose
Rose and Friendly Passerby
Bill, Kathy, and Mark

Daylight was peeking through the night sky as we arrived at PP on this warm fall day.  Rose, our Shift Buddy, joined us, gathered some information cards, and took her stand at the edge of the gold arch on the sidewalk.
Very quickly the sidewalk filled: Diane (keeper of the signs, designer of the equipment stands and so much more) and her husband Tom;  Cathedral Parish prayer witnesses Claudia and Antoni, answering Donna’s call for more help; and Dave, who traveled up from West Virginia when he read that we needed people to strengthen our witness for life this Friday. Completing our group, Bill arrived with holy water and his irreplaceable zeal.
Early on only staff arrived at PP.  We offered all of them, “God Bless You!”  Around 8, young women began to arrive.  They steadfastly refused our offer of help.  Dave led us in prayer after each of these refusals.  It really feels bad.  The Mothers can never be the same after this day.  Abortion cannot make them unpregnant. We were busy every moment.  Sidewalk Counselor Kim came ready to share her abundant sources of help and hope.   
And then Kathy and Mark arrived.  It was time for us to leave. Thank you, Dear God.

Barbara

9-11 AM +++ Kathy and Mark

Sierra, Mary, and Monica

From left to right are Sierra, Mary, and Monica from Stonehedge Baptist Church.  These dedicated ladies travelled from Bruceton Mills, WV to participate in the 40 Days vigil this week.  Their signs say it all.  Thanks for coming and safe travels going home.
Also present on the sidewalk were SA Kim, SB Mark, and Bill H.
Some passersby accepted literature and pens but none of PP clients did.  Sad.

Kathy

11AM-1PM +++ Sheila and Dee

Anna, June, Dee, and Arrika

1-3PM +++ Jeannie and Elaine

Shift buddy Elaine and Annika discuss the culture of life.

Marilyn and Lisa admitted that the weather helped them decide to come to the sidewalk LOL. Praise God for sunshine and warm breezes! 
Anne-Marie finds her place in the sun!
Father Jeremy brought the grace of God to the sidewalk quite literally.

What a beautiful afternoon on the sidewalk today! I went expecting to be with my shift buddy Elaine. No other groups were scheduled. What a wonderful surprise to be greeted by five lovely prayer warriors and more throughout our time on the sidewalk. Annika had been a part of the prior shift and stayed on through our entire shift.  Father Jeremy, too stayed after the ending 11 to 1 shift and kept vigil with us the entire two hours. AMAZING grace.  Patty joined in as did Lisa and Marilyn!  We prayed the intentions on the back of the baby pictures all together. We also sang Amazing Grace on the sidewalk, and prayed the stations of the cross for the unborn. It was a beautiful witness for sure. The city was quiet given that we still have the pandemic, but we now have a new group of folks to witness to as they wait outside the motor vehicle bureau. A beautiful start indeed.

Jeannie

3-5PM +++ Pat, Val, and Mike

Patrick, Bill, Pat, Val, Mike, and Friends

We had beautiful weather and more pray-ers than I expected.  On top of that Val (half of the SB of Val and Mike), noticed that the bar next door wasn’t operating – and late on a Friday afternoon at that.  This made for a considerably more quiet and peaceful shift than we’re used to. 

It was a nice surprise to see my old SB, Bill, there and get to catch-up with him.  And Val and Mike and I had a lot to catch-up on as well – mainly focused on what our kids were doing.  We had a nice combination of prayer and conversation.  Patrick, who lives downtown, was there for quite a while praying with us, as was Annmarie, who had been there during Jeannie’s shift.  I have to say that I was very moved by the quiet, but intense, praying done by Amy, who spent much of her time on her knees.  She was accompanied by Vince who also projected a quiet peaceful and prayerful presence. 

Pat

Day 2: Thank you to Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene, St. Joseph (Cabot), the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and all of our other volunteers!

In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
~Psalm 90:1

Ah yes, 2020. The year of oddities, confusion, and chaos. But aren’t there ALWAYS those things? And when they happened before, what did we do? We did NOT cower and give in. So why would we do it NOW? Short answer is, we can’t. Today’s First Reading from Ecclesiastes tells us that “Nothing is new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9c) So why worry now? The above passage from the Psalms reminds us of an important truth:

IN EVERY AGE, O LORD, YOU HAVE BEEN OUR REFUGE.

May we hold on TIGHT to Him in the midst of this crazy world. Pandemic, riots, even abortion- have all happened before. But GOD has been our REFUGE amidst ALL of it. He is forever faithful. Let us hold fast to Him in childlike abandonment and trust, knowing that He is in control.

As you may know from Wednesday’s blog post, we had a beautiful opening Mass and Eucharistic procession on Wednesday morning. One of our 40 Days participants, Audrey, sent us a short reflection she wanted to share:

A Day of Contrasts – the Dawn and the Night

This morning in the city of Pittsburgh, a new day dawned.  A sunrise Mass and the Blessed Eucharist processed through the city streets with over 100 of the faithful praying and being witnesses to the beauty of life.  As the night set in, sitting in my office at Duquesne University, I hear the noise of an angry mob.  Outside my building there are 100 marching, but they march in darkness and their chants are angry and hateful.  Lord God bless us with the light of the dawn.

Fr. Chris and the other priests leading the Eucharistic procession through the city
The angry mob at night. Such a contrast.

National Speaker, Sue Thayer

Last evening (Wed), we were blessed to welcome Sue Thayer to speak to us at the Ark and the Dove Retreat Center. Sue has an amazing witness story of how she went from working in the abortion industry (participating in thousands of abortions personally) to now serving as Outreach Coordinator for the 40 Days for Life national team! What an amazing journey with the Lord she has had. Thank you, Sue!

The Ark and the Dove- what a beautiful setting!

What a great crowd.

A lovely evening outdoors to hear Sue!

Former abortionist Sue Thayer tells her amazing story.
L-R: Donna, Nikki, Joe (Nikki’s husband!), Chris, our guest speaker Sue Thayer, and Sue D.

Sue D., Donna, Nikki, (all from our Pittsburgh team), and Sue Thayer on right. Thank you, Sue!!

Sidewalk Reports:

Nikki:

It was a peaceful shift this morning, and was so nice to see the beautiful setup that Diane and Tom bring to the sidewalk! So well organized! David was there from West Virginia for our first hour and then it was just Peggy and me. We prayed pretty much the whole time, with a little bit of conversation mixed in. Thankfully it did not seem to be an abortion day, at least not this early in the morning. In my two hour shift there was only one girl who entered, and she was clearly disturbed and angry. She screamed at us as she walked in, and about half an hour later, screamed at us again as she walked out. I tried to tell her that God loves her and has a plan for her life but she obviously was spiritually wounded and in need of prayer.

Thank you to David, Tom, Shift Buddy Peggy, and Shift Manager Nikki!!

Judy:

Thank you to the beautiful prayer warriors from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene: Meredith, Chuck, Judy, and Pastor Joe!!

Lisa K.:

Today’s shift was mostly quite peaceful and prayerful. I’m so thankful for my Shift Buddy Beth Ann, and all of the volunteers who joined us today, especially first-timer Tony!

We had one sad situation with a woman who seemed to need our help. I prayed a lot for her. There were also some other small instances of “harassment”… but nothing out of the ordinary.

Thank you to Sidewalk Advocate Walt, first-timer Tony, and faithful Bill!!

Hank:

Well the 1st day was very pleasant, partly sunny and a comfortable temperature. We arrived early (Judy, me and Glenn) and so we were happy to spend some time with the 1-3 shift, Carolyn, Cecilia and Patti who were joined by Bill and a couple (Sarah and Scott) who just happened to encounter the vigil.   Bill stopped by for a short time and Larry (AOH) was with us the entire time.  There was very little activity at  PP, so it must not have been an abortion day.  Also, there was not the usual pre-COVID street traffic, but we did distribute a good amount of literature to passers-by.  We received several positive comments and only one nasty remark.  The sign Judy used prompted several positive reactions.  We prayed up a storm…..4 rosaries and the Divine Mercy. However, Judy and I for the past several years had the 11- 1 shift on Wed and were frequently accompanied by the Guardians of Life……now that’s a group that creates a real storm of prayer. Toward the end of the shift a gentleman named Chris, who has a ministry to homeless, stopped and encouraged us.  Chris travels all over the country with the ministry and he shared about this with us.  He was on his way to Washington DC for the Prayer Rally this Sat. as a volunteer with Franklin Graham.  So we ended the day on a high note.    Hank

In this spiritual fight against the evil of abortion, we are always in the arms of the Lord.

Let us remember those powerful words from Scripture:

“In every age, O Lord, You have been our refuge.”

Day 1…Thanks to Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church, Divine Mercy Parish, St. Maria Goretti Parish and many faithful team members and individual participants!

God is carrying us today, and will be with us throughout all of these 40 days!

This morning at 6am, the Body of Christ in Pittsburgh gathered inside Epiphany Church for a Mass to open our 40 Days for Life. I am still trembling slightly from the emotion and joy that I experienced from this amazing and encouraging experience! I was expecting four priests and maybe 50 or so people. I was happily surprised to see the church filled with approximately 200 faithful souls, and SEVEN HOLY PRIESTS to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

As I was driving into town this morning at 5am, I felt the Lord’s presence with me in such a comforting way. I was not anxious or nervous at all…as I normally would be before a kick off event. Everything just felt right. A total peace and trust. I felt carried by our Lord. I knew that HE was doing something for us. This morning was ALL FOR HIM!!! So, when I saw that there were SEVEN priests, instead of the four that I had expected, I knew that HE, in His Goodness…provided the perfect number of priests…the number of fulfillment and perfection. In fact, Fr. Jason noted the following in a text message to me after this morning’s Mass:

The numbers seven and three have ancient meaning for we Christians. This morning not only were seven priests present with us, seven being a number of divine fullness and favor, but we also had a trinity of the earliest apostolic traditions of the church present. We had the Greek, Latin and Aramaic liturgical traditions present with our beloved priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh (Fr. Chris Donley, Fr. Joe Freedy, Fr. Thomas More Sikora, Fr. John Sweeney and Fr. Jay Donahue), Fr. Jason Charron representing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church and Fr. Rudy representing the Maronite church, which uses the actual Aramaic words of Our Lord in their ancient liturgy.

Fr. Jason Charron, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church

I cried throughout the entire Mass…tears of joy and gratitude that the faithful were being led by such good and holy priests. We long for that so desperately! I thought back to our opening Mass last February, where we had 40 priests and the church was packed to capacity, with between 500-800 people. It was proof that there are many people who still love the Lord and want our priests and pastors to speak out against the evil of abortion and lead us in the battle to end it! The harvest truly is ripe…but we need more workers for the vineyard!

When we arrived in front of Planned Parenthood, the faithful spontaneously knelt on Liberty Avenue in prayer. I did not know people would do that. They spilled out into the lane of traffic, but the wonderful police officer protected us from traffic. We were all blessed so incredibly by this show of faith…and I have to believe that those souls inside of Planned Parenthood felt the Spirit of the Lord. Enjoy the following photos from this morning’s Mass and procession. Thanks to our dear Lisa K. for taking them! Keep scrolling for photos and reports from today’s vigil on the sidewalk. Tonight’s “Praise and Testimony” event, at the Ark & Dove Retreat Center, with former abortion worker, Sue Thayer will be posted on tomorrow’s blog. Hope to see you there tonight!

Our Opening Mass at Epiphany was blessed by the angelic voice of this beautiful young woman as she led us in beautiful hymns of praise!
There were SEVEN Holy Priests to lead us this morning! Fr. Jason Charron gave the homily, Fr. Chris Donley was the principal celebrant, assisted by Fr. Joe Freedy, Fr. Thomas More Sikora, Fr. Rodolph Wakim, Fr. Jay Donahue and Fr. John Sweeney. We were blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude for these faithful shepherds as they led us into the wilderness for these 40 days! They truly fed us with the Bread of Life, to give us strength for the journey! Thank you Fathers!!!
Fr. Jason gave an inspiring sermon, comparing our pro life work to Sgt. Major Thomas Patrick Payne, who was recently given the Medal of Honor by Pres. Trump for his heroic rescue of 75 hostages in Iraq who were set to be executed by ISIS terrorists. This hero ran into a storm of fire and bullets to save those hostages. Fr. Jason told us that we are to be God’s “Shock Troops”…and we are called to run into battle to save lives and souls as well. God has done the work of grace by all the pro-life victories, so now it is our turn. He has given us our marching orders! Thank you Fr. Jason for such a motivating message!
We were not expecting so many people to show up for a 6 am Mass this morning! We estimate that approximately 200 people filled the beautiful Church of the Epiphany! Thank you Fr. Chris for having this Mass for us!
I cried through most of this Holy Mass, but was SO moved at the sight of these men, representing Christ at the altar…offering the Holy Sacrifice to the Father, for our 40 Days for Life and the salvation of lives and souls! Thank you dear Lord!!!
Our Eucharistic Procession begins with Seven Holy Priests, representing the Three Traditions of our Catholic Faith…Latin, Greek and Semitic! God was really in Charge!
Our procession began on Centre Avenue, as we exited Epiphany Church.
The faithful streamed out of Epiphany Church, following our Seven Holy Priests with Our Lord Jesus Christ leading the way!
Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Humble and Holy Servant Priests led the charge into spiritual battle against abortion!
Onward Christian Soldiers…
When we arrived at PP, we were just beginning the fourth decade of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. People spontaneously knelt on Liberty Avenue, as Fr. Donley blessed us with the Holy Eucharist, as we prayed the final two decades in front of PP. Father Chris blessed all of us and all those who were or will be inside of PP. May God be with us and may He draw all of those who do not know Him yet! May all evil spirits be bound and cast from that place, in Jesus’ name!!!
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 them from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will hear their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Fr. Chris Blessing PP with the Mercy of Christ Jesus…May His Goodness and Light cast out all darkness!
Wow. Just, Wow. That’s all I can say about this… This is what the Church of Jesus Christ SHOULD look like each and every day! Praise God!!!

Now…onto Day One’s shift reports:

Peggy and Charlene, with Beth, were the shift manager/buddy team on the sidewalk from 7-9 today. Peggy writes:

Wow what a beginning! Our day began with 6:00 a.m. Mass at the Epiphany followed by a Eucharistic procession to PP. For an early Mass there were a couple of hundred people in church. Awe inspiring! Not all could walk but those who did knelt in adoration as Fr.Chris stood inside the “forbidden zone” and held Jesus high as we prayed the rosary. The experience of kneeling in front of our Blessed Lord with the evil building in the background was overwhelming. Overwhelming in a good way, Evil will never prevail. Jesus is Lord! The shift was pretty busy as evidenced by all the pictures. PP had two escorts standing guard. It was a very prayerful morning. No incidents.

Peggy
Diane’s new and improved sidewalk set-up includes a security camera! Thanks Diane and Tom for keeping us equipped and organized for the sidewalk prayer and witness!!!
Fr. Rodolph, representing Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church committed to stand and pray from 7-11am this morning! Thank you Fr. Rodolph for being a faithful supporter of 40 Days for Life for so many years! We will miss you! (Father is being transferred to North Carolina next month…so this is the last time we will see him. Please keep him in your prayers!)
Love seeing the home-made signs! Great witness!
More homemade signs, we pray lives were saved through prayer and witness this morning!
This young mom with her five children attended the Mass and procession. I spoke with her and was so inspired by her faith and dedication, to gather her family and head into downtown Pittsburgh at such an early hour! Thank you dear sister in Christ for your faith!

Terri & Elsie managed the vigil from 9-11. Terri reports:

I was greeted by a prayerful Priscilla and Father Rodolpho praying the rosary. Elsie soon came. Elsie and I passed out a nice amount of literature to people walking by on the street. I was able to engage several men about the importance of supporting women. We received positive comments and thumbs up from several people. There were no negative interactions. Father Rodolpho stayed with us us until almost 11:00 and he had been there since the early Mass. I left with the real hope that next year none of us will have to be there and that Roe vs Wade will be overturned with the new justice on the court.

Terri

Elsie was kind enough to fill in for Katie, who is sick. She was shift buddy for the 9-11 shift AND the 1-3 shift.

On the sidewalk outside The Saddest Place in Western PA was a nice little team: Terri from Sidewalk Advocates; Priscilla the Ukrainian Catholic Prayer Warrior; Father Rudolph from Our Lady of Victory Parish; a quiet, earnestly prayerful gentleman from Orchard Hill Church; and three lovely ladies in cheerfully bright “40Days” tshirts.  I regret very much that I don’t know their names, but the latter four individuals, in addition to praying silently, held beautiful signs in defense of mothers and babies.  Anybody passing by on “Liberty” (License!!) Avenue saw their heartfelt witness and got some great food for thought.  We can hope that at least one couple looking for the death mill was reached by these signs and JUST DROVE ON BY, by God’s grace.
I don’t think Priscilla ever ceased in her prayers for lives to be saved, with Father Rudolph joining her and Terri smoothly shifting back and forth between prayer and offering help and information to victims entering and exiting PP.  There were also positive interactions with passersby.  I gave out more pro-life leaflets today than I have on any day since COVID hit our land.

Elsie

Barbara & Richard were in charge from 11-1.

Richard and I went to the 6am Mass and the Eucharist procession. Jesus accompanying us to PP in the Blessed Sacrament felt like such a blessing. Ordinarily it is hard not to think of that sidewalk as one of the most bleak places. Elsie organized some pamphlets into just the right item to hand a young woman as she exited that dreary dirty-windowed building. A few of the young women accepted them.  As one young woman quickly got into the waiting car, the man accompanying her opened her window.  She tearfully accepted Elsie’s pamphlet package. A handful of women spoke with us politely, and went into PP anyway. God always gives me another chance.  He will give them 70 times seventy more opportunities to say “yes” to him. I did my best. God willing I will go back and try again. 

Barbara

NOTE: Could Barbara’s seemingly sorrowful account of the young woman in tears be a possible change of heart? Could it be a life saved? If she had already had the abortion, why would she roll the window down to accept the literature? I have seen many women in tears after changing their minds and leaving. Sometimes they are still so overwhelmed and scared, even if they have decided they cannot go through with the abortion…that they are in tears! I believe this could very well be an account of a life saved! Thank you Barbara!!!

Chris & Elsie were the sidewalk duo from 1-3.

What beautiful weather God blessed us with on Day 1!  I was joined by Elsie, ever-vigilant handing out pro-mother & baby information, and her son, who prayed a long time on his knees.  Dan, from Holy Family parish in Steubenville, held his “Choose Life” sign facing traffic the whole shift.  Tom and Dolores were from Divine Mercy Parish.  Tom prayed the Rosary on one side of the semi-circle, while Dolores and I prayed many Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy on the other side.  We prayed for the end of abortion and the closing of PPs, everywhere.  Praying downtown does take focus, what with the constant barrage of street noise.   There was not much foot traffic on the street and few women entering PP during the shift.

Chris
Dan from Holy Family Parish in Steubenville and Tom from Divine Mercy, downtown

Joe and Virginia closed out the first day from 3-5…here is their report.

Blessed with a brilliant fall day for our kick-off. I joined Virginia, then Dan from St. Maria Goretti joined us on our shift. Dan witnessed to the wonderful kick-off Mass and procession this morning that he attended.
Lots of sharing and many resource cards handed out to passersby.  The most I have ever seen!
Only a couple of negative comments, but these were far out numbered by many more friendly faces.
One mother and her young family stopped by and were very curiously looking at and discussing the fetal model display after which Virginia gave mini-models to them as they were leaving.
A young military passed by with kind words which we returned with our appreciation for his calling.
Similarly for police officers on horseback who acknowledged us on their way down Liberty.
The evening ended quietly as faithful Diane packed-up the new display for day 2.

Joe

Who’s afraid?

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

We knew this fall was going to be bad…didn’t we? When the Lenten campaign was cancelled half-way through, I wondered if we would ever be able to have another sidewalk prayer vigil for 40 days. The world is just not the same. People are afraid…and I really can’t blame them. In fact, that was the game plan all along. To make people afraid. Fearful people are easily controlled and manipulated, and they know that.

So, who are the “they” that I am referring to? Well…I guess they are whoever is behind the unleashing of a virus which wasn’t as deadly as it was supposed to have been. They are the “they” who are controlling the media to make it seem as if it is much deadlier than it is…in order to keep people panicked and obedient. They are the “they” who are tolerating or funding mobs to riot in the streets, intimidating citizens and police. They are the “they” who want our good police officers to quit or retire so they can replace them with bad police who will enforce “their” evil agenda of global control.

Are they scary? Yes!!!

Should we be afraid?

Maybe…depending on what your house is made of…

My two-year old twin grand kids love the story of the Three Little Pigs. My grand daughter is especially fascinated by the Big Bad Wolf. The Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs, and blows down the house of straw and the house of sticks. But he cannot blow down the house of bricks.

We have seen the videos of the mobs “blowing through” the patrons who were peacefully eating their dinners at the sidewalk cafe on Penn Avenue last Saturday. These wolves simply huffed and puffed with their little megaphones…and the sheep scattered. Then, these wolves entered the McDonald’s Restaurant on Stanwix and did the same thing. They huffed and puffed and the patrons scattered. The heroic manager stood up to them…and they retreated.

So…the question for our fall 40 Days for Life is this: What will OUR response be to these fear tactics? When the Big Bad Wolf comes to our door…will we flee? Or, will we stand up to the scare tactics?

I guess the answer to that depends on what our house is made of. Have we built our house on sand…or on Rock?

I speak for myself when I say that my response is to be MORE determined then ever! I will stand up to evil by KNEELING DOWN to our Lord! If they come to disrupt our vigil, I personally plan to simply kneel down in prayer. I will look them in the eyes without fear, knowing that He who is within me is greater than he who is within them… while praying for protection. They will then have to make a decision to either: 1.) physically assault a person peacefully praying…or 2.) Leave us alone. If they choose to attack and physically assault peaceful people…then it will be a whole new ball game and we will have to re-evaluate and take it from there.

The main thing that I want to say to all of our 40 Days for Life family is this:

Please do not feel obligated to participate in this fall campaign if you are fearful or anxious!

In the past, I have always said that one of the reasons why 40 Days for Life has succeeded is that it allows many people to each do their small part…and when we coordinate all those “little parts”….together, it has a big effect. But that is no longer the case. Some people have greater family responsibilities then others, and it would not be prudent for them to take risks…when those of us who don’t can “step it up a notch” and do more this time…to make up for those who will not be able to participate.

I am thinking of the story of Gideon. Gideon had a large army to fight against the Midianites, but God told him that his army was too big. He didn’t want anyone to think that they won because of their large numbers. So He told Gideon to instruct anyone who was afraid to fight to go home. About two-thirds of his army left. He was left with 10,000 men. God said that was still too many. So he told Gideon separate the remaining men by watching them as they drank water from a stream. Those who lapped the water with their mouths were only 300…and those were the ones who God told Gideon to keep. The others were sent home. God wanted a small number to remain in the battle, so that HE would get the glory from the victory! I don’t know if that is what He is doing now or not…but that story popped into my head as I was ready to sit down and write today…so I thought I would share it.

Our 40 Days for Life team is seasoned and strong. We have faced various persecutions on the sidewalk throughout the 10 years that we have been doing this. God has prepared us. Our “house” is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ…and no wolf is going to blow it down. Our numbers may be fewer this time, but those of us who remain will give all the more glory to God!

May God be with all of you. Trust in Him!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

Power-Packed Kick-off Planned for Day #1!

We are less than three weeks away from the start of our 40 Days for Life campaign!!! I am amazed at how God is providing for us! He loves us so much! Even in our fear, confusion and weakness. He looks at us lovingly…as a Good Father looks at His weak and imperfect child who is looking trustingly to Him! I think this photo captures how God sees us when we pick up our spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting and peaceful witness and stand in front of Planned Parenthood:

Until two weeks ago, I wasn’t even planning to have a kick-off event. I reasoned that, with the all the craziness in the world right now, that it would be best to just skip it this time…and to try to just limp along with the sparse vigil coverage that was sure to be the case during this fall campaign.

But God had other plans!

Within a few days, details for TWO…Yes, TWO Kick-off events just fell into place! First of all, Fr. Chris Donley agreed to have an early morning Mass (6 am) on the morning of the first day of our vigil…followed by a Eucharistic procession to Planned Parenthood! That means that, for the first time EVER…JESUS HIMSELF will be on the sidewalk as our 40-day vigil begins!!! how awesome is that??? This will be the first time that we have had Jesus’ Real Presence there while they are open…and while workers and abortion-bound couples are walking in. I believe that lives and souls will be saved on that day!

The following day, I was contacted by Sue Thayer, Director of Outreach for 40 Days for Life. She offered to come to Pittsburgh to speak at our kick off! Since I hadn’t been planning to have an actual “event”…I hurriedly found a venue and the details all fell into place! The wonderful people at the Ark & Dove Retreat Center in Gibsonia were so warm and welcoming in offering their beautiful outdoor space for our evening “Praise and Testimony” event, where Sue Thayer will share her personal journey from Planned Parenthood Manager, to Pro-Life activist! She has a beautiful conversion story and I know you will be inspired by it! This event will begin at 6 pm on the same day as the kick-off Mass. Please remember to bring your own lawn chair for this event.

To download, print and share the event flyer, CLICK HERE!

For the bulletin announcement, CLICK HERE

And for the campaign Flyer, CLICK HERE

It truly is amazing to just sit back and watch how God is leading us! He is providing everything that we need to continue fighting the battle to end abortion, without getting discouraged and giving up in fear.

I will close this post with a short reflection from today’s Gospel.

Today’s Gospel reading (for Sept. 3rd in the traditional Missal), is from John 21, when Jesus (after He was resurrected), asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter affirmed three times that he did indeed love him, and although hurt and exasperated at Jesus’ seemingly unbelief of Peter’s love, Peter finally answered, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!

As I reflected on this verse this morning, it occurred to me that at times like these, it is all we can do to just say…”Lord, you know everything. You know my weakness and my failure. You know my sins and my back-sliding. But at the end of the day…you know that I love you. And to SHOW you that I love you more than myself…I will put my trust in you and I will do what you have commanded IN SPITE of my fear! I will go to that place where your precious little ones are being led to the slaughter. I will go to that place where your children who are enslaved by the enemy think they are doing a good thing by helping women to kill their children. I will go…because I love you. You know Lord…you know.

Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem himself by proclaiming his love three times, after he had denied even knowing Jesus three times. Most of His disciples had abandoned Him during His passion…out of fear and despair. Only Mary his mother, Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner, and his beloved apostle, John remained at the foot of the cross. That is what I think we are called to do right now. To remain with Him. At the foot of His cross. Not to run away in fear.

If you are able to commit to a time on the sidewalk, the vigil schedule is very sparsely filled. With less than three weeks to go, we could use your help! See the church schedule HERE, and then contact Fran Morrow at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to sign up your church group. Or, to sign up as an individual, contact Donna Goss at gdgoss620@gmail.com

Confusion vs. Clarity

In these uncertain times, we need not fear the darkness…for we carry the Light of Christ with us…and we have the saints, like these little fireflies, helping to light the path before us.

In these confusing times, there seems to be very little that I know for sure. What is the right thing to do? Should we continue to fight against the evil that has grown so powerful lately…or should we hunker down and accept it all as God’s will?

I keep going back and forth on this. On one hand, I want to shout loudly, and aggressively resist the evil that is taking over the world right now. On the other hand, I wonder if God is allowing this for a purpose…and if that is the case, should I just be silent and offer any suffering I experience in union with His?

Activism…or submission? Which one is the proper response?

The answer is YES! Both!

When we fight against the evil of abortion by praying and witnessing at Planned Parenthood, we are being BOTH active AND submissive to God’s will. We are being active because God commands us to rescue those who are being led to the slaughter. We are being passive because we willingly take the risk of being persecuted while we are on the sidewalk. We accept the risk…God’s will be done.

When this whole craziness broke out last February, I was amazed that our churches closed. DURING LENT!!! I would have thought that if there was a life threatening virus that was going to decimate our world that maybe we should have MORE Church…not less! Call me crazy, but I thought Christians were supposed to trust God…not cower in fear.

So now that our sidewalk prayer campaigns are facing threats from the pandemic, Anti fa and a brutal election season…it is my thought that we should be on the sidewalk MORE then ever before! Not less!

Do we trust God or not? Are we willing to suffer if He asks us to, or not?

I have continued to be on the sidewalk weekly, as part of the Pittsburgh’s Sidewalk Advocates. The sidewalks are not as busy or noisy as they used to be, but I have felt perfectly safe. Just this week, a young woman walked out of PP, saying she had gone in for an abortion…but after watching another woman crying…she changed her mind. Our presence there MATTERS! We are ESSENTIAL! There were many pray-ers on the sidewalk that morning, and every woman who walked by heard that both her and her baby’s life matter, and that help is available. And so a life was saved.

It seems to me that God has given us pro-lifers a clarity of vision to see what is really going on right now. We know that abortion is an abomination against Almighty God which cries out for vengeance. In fact, out of the four sins that the Church teaches “cry out to Heaven for vengeance…the first two are; (1) Shedding innocent blood and (2) Sodomy, or non-procreative sexual acts. Is it any wonder that our world is being divided along these very sins? God would not be merciful if He continued to permit us to destroy ourselves with these moral evils.

It is a privilege to be used by God on the front lines of the battle to end abortion. I hope that if God is calling you, that you will join us.

We will need courageous individual volunteers to really step up this time to fill the hours! Since the churches are really having a hard time right now, there are not many church groups that have signed up so far. Please consider signing up for a weekly commitment as an individual. Contact Donna Goss at gdgoss620@gmail.com to get signed up, or sign yourself up at www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh. If you are able to commit to a time slot for your church group, contact Fran Morrow at franmac98fmc@gmail.com. You can view the schedule of churches at https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/

Thank you and may God bless you!

Students for Life, 40 DFL, Sidewalk Advocates and PPFL join in National Pro-Life Generation Sidewalk Day

Help and hope were in abundance on Saturday morning, August 1, during the Students for Life National Pro-Life Generation Sidewalk Day. Students across the country gathered outside abortion facilities to sidewalk counsel, offering women help and hope before they walk through those doors. Their goal was to be a life-changing spark of hope for another in need. And that they were!

It was so refreshing to see the younger generation in action interacting along with the “more seasoned” pro-life warriors of 40 Days for Life, Sidewalk Advocates, and the newly formed Prayer Partners for Life.  Their kindness and compassion brought true joy to my heart and filled me with confidence knowing that our mission to end abortion will be continued by the next generation.

The Mary’s Place residents made blessing bags to give out to women going in as well as to those passing on the sidewalk. It was heartwarming to see the young people giving them out.

I’m sure Heaven heard our prayers and God smiled today.

Who should we trust?

It has been a while since I have felt prompted to write a blog post. Such confusing and strange times…and when our last campaign had to be cancelled due to the plandemic, I thought that maybe our time of uniting the Body of Christ in front of Planned Parenthood had come to an end.

But fortunately, I was wrong! Pittsburgh WILL be part of the LARGEST EVER 40 Days for Life campaign! There are over 500 cities participating in the fall campaign, which will run from September 23rd through November 1st! You can sign up anytime! The flyers and bulletin announcement are posted here: https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved-2/

Please use them to spread the word on social media and in your church bulletin!

I expect there will be some people who are afraid to come to the sidewalk during this fall campaign. Some will fear contracting the coronavirus. Some fear riots, mobs and persecution for their religious and political views. Some just want to stay under the radar until this all goes back to normal…but will it ever get back to normal? And…should we want it to?

What was our normal anyway? Drag Queens reading stories about gender ideology to pre-schoolers in public libraries? Christian morality labelled as “hate speech”? Empty church buildings? Let’s face it…humanity has become “too smart” for God. Like the ancient people of Babylon….building the tower to reach Heaven…God had to stop us….for our own good. He stopped the Babylonians by confusing their language, so they would not be able to communicate and conspire against him…is He doing a similar thing to us today?

It is such a confusing time, when we don’t know who to trust. If we watch one news network we will think one thing….and if we watch another, we will think something completely different. How do we know who to believe?

For me…it all boils down to one thing…LIFE!

If a politician, or religious leader, or television network allows for abortion…in my opinion, they cannot be trusted in anything they say. Just as I would not drink from a water spigot that gave poisonous water one-tenth of the time…I will not get any of my news from a network that promotes abortion or the liberal agenda. I will not watch it or listen to it…EVER!

We are so easily manipulated and controlled because of the availability of technology! There is a great deception happening now, and many Christians are in danger of falling prey to it. One of the scariest things about these times is seeing the division among believers. I am not afraid of the virus, and I am not even so much afraid of the economic collapse and the suffering that is sure to come. The thing that most disturbs me is to see how completely and easily people have been manipulated and controlled! I feel like we are part of a flock of sheep that is being herded toward the edge of a cliff, and we are blindingly and trustingly following our “hireling shepherds”. There are precious few voices that are shouting out to warn us…but I there are a few. I would recommend enlisting in the U.S. Grace Force and join in the prayer campaigns led by Fr. Richard Heilman. We are on day 22 of a 40 day prayer campaign right now, where we are praying to be delivered from a certain manifestation of evil each day. You can enlist here: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001ESuSGaJpYPCG2iUdd4j4bkKwd4gkh2ZUVbam_Ty9rCn6blH6_U3cI2D8UvSLEcSzHnC4eq2UWmK1I0SbEw0SPKqnkZ2j0Z4J4D-_m4dD6CKJU9day-bBa8Qnx4dv7RLDIVlYAjL1JWsjfUTNPH2jQIVY9gbdbz4O4oMIzv5V1dT_upQsD8cX86iq_5Y-x4eLrTVtdOmA24s%3D

I have also been encouraged by following a young African American woman named Bevelyn Beatty, who evangelizes in front of Planned Parenthood in New York, as well as fighting to open the black communities eyes about the BLM deception. She even got arrested for trying to paint over the “BLM” murals on the streets of New York! You can follow her at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KMp27GY6L9Nqfi21P3ogw

We need to stick together in times like these! I would encourage you to join our impromptu 1 1/2 mile rosary walk around Pittsburgh every Sunday morning. We meet at 9:30am in front of St. Mary of Mercy Church and then walk down Stanwix to Liberty, past the Planned Parenthood and turn on Grant. We walk and pray past the courthouses and end back in front of St. Mary’s, where we close with a Divine Mercy Chaplet. We have done this for the past 5 Sundays and have had between 30 – 40 people each time. It is a beautiful grace to pray together as we walk around our city. Join us any time! And stay tuned for more news about one of our bishops consecrating the city at the Point at noon on Saturday, August 22nd. When I have the confirmation and details, I will send it out.

If we stick together in prayer and Christian unity…and keep our minds focused on God’s Word, we will be okay. We need to avoid looking too much at the waves that are crashing around us. We know Jesus, and He knows us. He said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” He will not let us down!

I remembered that I wrote a blog post about fear of 2020, back in early January…if you are interested in reading it, here is the link:

https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/2020/01/10/have-no-fear/

Patriotic Prayer Vigil to be held Saturday, July 11th!

Prayer Partners for Life is holding a patriotic prayer vigil!
Date:   Saturday, July 11, 2020
Time:   8 – 10 am
Place:  Planned Parenthood, 933 Liberty Ave. downtown

Please join the newly formed Prayer Partners for Life as we pray for the rights of the unborn and also for their mothers and fathers considering abortion. Let’s hope they instead will celebrate 4th of July as a family next year because they chose LIFE.

No need to sign up, just show up and pray.  We are also hoping to have a Jericho march. 

This event is the second vigil for Prayer Partners for Life, a new coordinated effort between Pittsburgh’s Sidewalk Advocates, who are outside Planned Parenthood all year long, and members of 40 Days for Life. The goal of this new multi-denominational team is to bring prayer and witness outside Planned Parenthood all year long.  Currently, trained Sidewalk Advocates and other prayer warriors are outside Planned Parenthood all year long and could use your prayers and presence. We are now inviting anyone who hears the inspiration and wants to join us to come back during non- 40 DFL Campaigns and keep coming back all year long to Planned Parenthood. 

The year-round times of prayer vigils are to coincide with the dates and times when the Sidewalk Advocate teams are scheduled to be outside PP so no one who comes down to pray and witness will ever be alone.  

Here is their current schedule for when we would like to pair up churches or individuals with those already there:

Tuesdays          7:30am-9am 9am-11am
Wednesdays     8am-10am       10am-12noon***

Fridays             8:30am-10am
Saturdays         7am-9am          9am-11am       11am-1pm

We would welcome any groups or individuals who would want to make a commitment to begin a regular presence with us.  Maybe twice a month?  Or more or less? We ask that you contact Sue David at smfreedy@aol.com or 412-651-2782 to make your commitment. ***Wednesday schedule may vary slightly, please email Sue to confirm times.

Please pray for the discernment to determine if increasing your presence is right for you.  We know it’s not for everybody but if God is calling you to do this, please take the call. Contact Tim Barr at timbarr5480@gmail.com or Sue David at smfreedy@aol.com if you have any questions. God bless you and bring you peace and joy.


 –Tim Barr and Sue David