It is a Steeler day in Pittsburgh…I realize that. But I say it is a PRAYING DAY in Pittsburgh! Thanks to the dedicated volunteers from Church of the Assumption in Bellvue, Christ the Divine Teacher in Beaver Falls and St. Angela Merici parish in White Oak! One thing about pro-life Christians….they are water-proof! Cold and rain doesn’t keep them away! While thousands of people are cheering on the Steelers, 40 Days for Life vigil participants are standing as witnesses to the sanctity of human life on a cold, wet sidewalk within walking distance of the stadium. “Hardy Folk” is what we are!
Tim N. was a “substitute” shift manager for us today. Thank you Tim for helping us out in this important way! Here are some photos:
Grace, Clare, Christina and Patrick
“Thanks to you all so much for the privilege of being able to serve as a shift manager this year. I’m already signed up for a shift next time. It was an honor and a blast. Joining us in our shift today was a woman who is pregnant with her 13th child (that is not a typo, 13th it is!). She brought 6 or 7 of her kids with her, and a fellow parishioner Paul. Paul and I had a lot in common and I’m positive we will stay in touch. A parishioner of theirs, and a student at Duquesne, also showed up with her guitar so we all sang together for a while too. And joining us for about the first half of our shift was a Nazarene Pastor Adam and his wife who is expecting their second child. We truly had a blessed time together. God is great indeed!”
Nicole, who organized her church’s time slot at the vigil, wrote the following account of their time today:
Today was prayerful and positive. We got to the Planned Parenthood building about 20 minutes before the first shift was over. There were 3 people there and we prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet together before they left. Our shift manager came. He was great. The entire shift was peaceful and very prayerful. I was thrilled to see that Mary, a lady from our parish had come to join us and soon after Ashley, a sophomore from Duquesne who also belongs to CDT came with her guitar,and a pastor from another church, I believe Church of the Nazarene, came with his wife. There was a total of 13 of us there at one point.
We prayed several rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplets as well as the prayers that the pastor had printed off from the 40 Days for Life website, Ashley played her guitar and led us in song. It was beautiful. There were a lot of people out walking around, we had a few encounters with some negativity. A man who was working at a business down the street came rushing up to us to say that we were picking on poor women and asked us why we weren’t at the ‘rich abortion clinics, just the poor ones.’ We told him that people were praying at ALL of the abortion clinics and that we were there to help women. We said a Hail Mary for him, that his eyes and heart would be opened. There was also a Lesbian couple who skipped by holding hands singing that they ‘We Love women, it’s a great day for an abortion’.
The most remarkable thing for my kids was to hear this kind of objection to our prayerful presence. We have been very candid with them about the issue of abortion, but this was their first witness. I think they were shocked to see and hear first hand, the perversion and the evil. They have been raised in a culture of LIFE. My prayer is that everyone would share that shock and horror for abortion. The world has become so desensitized. They were truly in disbelief and I know they were angry when they heard these comments. I reminded them that we needed to remain peaceful and pray for them to convert.
It got pretty cold and rainy towards the end and I know that the kids were not comfortable, hungry and just wanted to get warm. Our shift manager gave my daughter Clare, 12, his jacket because she was shivering. I was anticipating that they would have a list of complaints, but not one of them had anything negative to say. They came home to tell my husband everything that happened. It was an uplifting day for all of us. They are already texting pictures to their friends. I know this was a life changing experience for all of us, but mostly for them. It brought back memories from my teen years when we drove from Niagara Falls to Toronto to Operation Rescue and sidewalk counsel in front of Henry Morgentaler’s abortion clinic. He had an injunction in place when his business slowed down. Police protection during business hours and people got arrested. There were also lots of crazy things like counter protesters dressed in wild costumes, Gay and Lesbian couples acting lewdly waving ribbons and flags and playing loud music. It was a scary time. I am glad that my kids didn’t have to witness that. It was a sickening experience but an eye opening one for me. I knew that I was on the right side and it convicted me.