“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:10
During this campaign, the Lord has blessed us with opportunities to serve as witnesses for His truth, not only for the women going into/out of the abortion facility, but also for members of the general public walking by, some of whom, at times, have been less than friendly. Read about how vigil participants from St. Regis served in this capacity in a Christlike manner in the story from this morning’s shift manager, Pat:
St. Regis in Trafford, came through with a total of 9 volunteers and I had at least one present with me for the entire shift. They are: Stephanie, Albert and Yolanda, Nancy, Larry and Georgia, Mike, Diane, and Donna. We were also blessed to be joined for periods of time by Meredith and Pat S. I thank them all coming out, especially since the weather was less than pleasant.
The morning started out strange – and a little scary. It was dark, there was a light rain, and the streets and sidewalks were nearly deserted – all of which was to be expected. After giving my wife her sign, I went to the car, which I had parked just to the left of PP, to start the sign-in sheet and to get myself organized. As I was doing this I heard some voices approaching us, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. As they got closer to Steph, who was on the far side of PP and closer to them as they approached, the voices got louder and I heard the word “abortion.” [That’s when I stopped what I was doing and went over to where she was standing.] Right away it was pretty clear that they were drunk or high. It was also clear from their words and behavior that they were a gay couple. Mocking us, one of them sarcastically pulled on the doors of PP bemoaning the fact that he couldn’t have an abortion “because it would be the best thing ever.” Even though we ignored them, they went on taunting us for several more minutes. Fortunately they remained several yards away from us as they did so. While I know that there’s always hope for people like this, that was the furthest thing from my mind at that moment. As this was happening it felt very clearly to me like we’d had an encounter with real evil and darkness.
A few hours later a man approached five of us in the 8 o’clock hour. He wanted to debate with us the merits of what we were doing. He described himself as both Christian and pro-choice. He wasn’t belligerent and, of course, neither were we. Later in the conversation he agreed that what went on at PP was a sin, but didn’t agree with what he understood our “methods” to be. He seemed to think that we were there to give the women going in for abortions a hard time when they were already going through a very difficult time. We then explained that our primary mission was to PRAY for an end to abortion, while at the same offering them other options to consider. [The very fact that we were there on a Sunday morning when PP was closed had to be pretty good evidence of the primacy of prayer.] The debate went back and forth for a while and ended amicably. While he gave no outward sign of a change of heart and mind on these things, I can’t imagine that our witness and our words would not have had some positive effect.
Feeling the weight of responsibility for just four hours made me look at the bigger picture of this Pittsburgh 40 Days campaign. It made me realize a little more clearly how truly difficult it is to do what we are doing for 12 hours a day for 40 straight days. And that it could not be done without His help.
The second shift was managed by Rose. Although the church that had been scheduled for this slot had to cancel due to illness…many faithful prayer warriors came to stand with Rose. Here are some photos:
What a blessing I had today being at PP! I thought I would be alone, but Kathy from Risen Lord was with me the first two hours and we prayed several Scriptural Rosaries. We were joined by Bill for a short time. At 1:00 Nancy from St. John the Baptist came as well as Mary from St. Sebastian and we prayed some more. Then at 2:00 Jeff came from St. Therese in Munhall, followed by Karen, Mary Jane, Kristine and Marie from Our Lady of Grace. Even though it was raining the last hour, we felt blessed to be praying together under the “umbrella of God’s love.” A few people encouraged us as they walked by and we had only two negative comments. I was looking for the Cafe owner, but he never showed his face today. Though I was prepared to be alone today I was truly blessed with joy by everyone who took the time to come to pray!
Our Lady of Grace in Scott Twp. had the third shift and Jim and Cathy were the shift managers. If I receive any stories or photos, they will be posted here.
Dr. Timothy Fahrenholz