I just got home from my 7am-11am shift at the vigil. I must say that I haven’t been this wet with my clothes on since riding the raging rapids at Kennywood…except that it was a lot warmer then!
I won’t lie…it was not fun at all standing in the rain today, but I had wonderful company. Thanks to Michael…a young man who signed up to stand with me from 7am – 9am! I would have felt pretty sorry for myself if it wasn’t for him. Turns out we had a lot in common…both graduates from CMU and both Protestants-turned Catholic (I am just now in the process). Here is a picture of him (Very poor one, since my camera phone takes horrible photos in low light):
A little later, Sue and Mary Anne showed up. We all prayed together. I believe our witness is stronger when the weather is rotten. The urgency of this issue of abortion is seen in our sacrifice of physical discomfort…by clinic workers, clients and passerbys.
A very faithful friend in the Lord, Johnny, showed up for his 9-11 time slot. It was a pleasure praying and talking with all these good people this morning!
When my shift was about over, our next Shift Manager, Cathy showed up…along with three men from St. Anne’s Parish in Castle Shannon. Mark, who had coordinated his church is planning to stay at the vigil for 8 hours…from 11am -7pm! I am inspired by his dedication! Here is a photo of them:
There were lots of girls going into Planned Parenthood today, but none would accept our offer of information, directing them to nearby crisis pregnancy centers. However, at about 10am a young girl named “J” came out, and when I asked her if she would like information to go to a crisis pregancy center, where they could offer her free pregnancy test and ultrasound…she told me that she had just had a pregnancy test in Planned Parenthood and it was positive. I asked her how far along she was and she said 8 weeks. I asked if she was going to keep the baby and she said “yes!”. I was so happy for her…showed her the 8 week fetal model and let her hold it. She was amazed, looking at the detail of an 8-week old baby. She accepted the information referring her to the crisis pregnancy centers and I gave her a hand-made baby blanket that the women at Grace Baptist Church had crocheted for just this purpose. She was so grateful and happy…she gave me a big hug! Thank you Lord for giving me this encouragement…a little life that is being welcomed into this world instead of destroyed! I needed that!!!
I was feeling a little extra sad, after last night. I had listened to a CD that my friend Pat had given me. It was the testimony of Bernard Nathanson, whose book “The Hand of God”, I had already read. But, hearing his testimony in his own spoken words…was very moving. It was sad, but also inspiring to see how God saved him. If you don’t know his story…he was one of the founders of NARAL, and was instrumental in getting abortion legalized in 1973. He revolutionized the abortion industry, by helping to develop the vacuum aspiration abortion method, and making abortion available in free-standing clinics as outpatient services. He says he personally did 75,000 abortions, including aborting his own child. He tells of his conversion to pro-life in the 1980’s after viewing the fetus on ultrasound. Still not a Christian, he began researching “scientifically” to find out more about what happens to the fetus during an abortion. He asked his friend (who was also an abortionist) to film an actual abortion on ultrasound. That film became the movie “The Silent Scream”. He also filmed a second trimester abortion using a endoscopic camera. That film is called “Eclipse of Reason”. Shortly after this, through the friendship of a priest, he came to know the forgiveness of Christ, repented of his sin and joined the Catholic Church. He was a pro-life speaker and activist until he died in 2011. The reason I was extra sad this morning was that after listening to his testimony yesterday, I “Googled” “Eclipse of Reason” and watched it. I had never heard of that film before, and so wanted to see it. It was horrible. The endoscope clearly shows the male child, peacefully asleep in his mother’s womb, right before the doctor reaches in and rips the umbilical cord out of his belly. The womb fills with blood, and no more can be seen from the camera’s view…so they show the peices being removed from outside the woman’s body, and laid in a pitiful pile on a nearby table. I don’t recommend anyone watch this film, I am just telling you about it in case anyone feels they need to be reminded of why we are continuing to sacrifice our time, comfort, food, safety and pride…to fight against this great evil. If you need to be reminded of why we can never quit fighting…you can watch the film “Eclipse of Reason” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nff8I2FVnI But again…I don’t recommend it. Not unless you are as crazy as I am.
Tom send in the following comments from his time at the vigil today:
“I came with Father Tim’s group and had an action packed two hours. My first encounter was with the security guard who was filling in and was Pro=Life and completely supportive of what we were doing!. Good start. Well after speaking with him, I encountered a young man leaving PP by himself. I asked him if he was there with his girlfriend, and he informed me that he was a woman and the PP was helping her transition into becoming a man. I spoke with this poor, confused young lady for a half an hour. She was so open and honest. She showed me all the scars on her arms from cutting herself and told me she was happier living as a man. I just tried to let the Lord speak to me and eventually she told me that she was molested as a 6 year old girl for 2 years by her cousin. My heart went out to this poor, child and strongly encouraged her to seek the Lord before going any further. She was open and receptive, please pray for her. Unfortunately, PP isn’t concerned for the souls’ of these abused and confused people. After that a Methodist pastor stopped and took some literature and expressed an interest in bringing his people out! And finally, 2 young ladies left PP with their supply of birth control pills and we entered into a legnthy discussion on the blessings of abstinance and the goodness of following God’s plan for sex within marriage. They were quite friendly and open! Dear friends, look for opportunities to witness, if you are so inclined. You never know who you will be running into. Remember what Jesus said in John 4: “I have food to eat which you do not know about, to do the Will of My Father.” God Bless, Tom Venditti”
The following reflection was sent in by Barbara, who was the shift manager during the third shift:
“Yesterday afternoon, warned about fierce winds and rain due to arrive at any minute, the Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life late afternoon vigil keepers prayed and kept the prolife cause
vibrant in front of the Downtown Planned Parenthood site. Already present were men from the Catholic Men’s Fellowship, Mark (coordinated their presence today), John and
Keith. The group had committed to pray from 11am to 7pm and remained well represented during that time. In time we were joined by my better half, Richard, and John, another John, Keith and Katie.
Another man stopped. He said that abortion should be strictly left up to women. She should be able to “do what she wants with the pregnancy, it’s her body.” We noted that that is how the law is written in America today. Even a married man has no legal standing if his wife decides to abort their child. He was surprised by that. We noted that the facts of biology state that the baby is not her body. He or she has its own distinct DNA makeup; unique since the beginning of time. The unborn baby is an entirely new being. Also, don’t some of us occasionally say we’d like to kill someone? Maybe someone would like to kill us sometimes. Imagine that scenario becoming the law of the land.
Finally, a beautiful woman joined us. Her parents had taken her to this Planned Parenthood site when she was 17. This pregnancy would ruin their plans for their daughter’s future, they said. She quietly, tearfully told us that she has 6 children, plus the aborted baby. She had not thought about naming her baby, but, then, decided to name
the baby “Anna.” She thought she might discuss her abortion with her mother.
She accepted a “Rachel’s Vineyard” leaflet. She said she would probably come back to pray
with us. On a public sidewalk, infinitesimal in the universe, people share their secret stories and their ideas about abortion. Hearing us pray, seeing our signs, they trust us to listen and understand. Saint Augustine loved God, “Beauty, ever ancient ever new.” Steeped in faith in this Beauty, we know that no matter how dark a situation seems, calling on God is the first step toward what, then, inevitably becomes the fullness of life.
February 29, 2012