Our day was covered in prayer by St. Louise de Marillac parish and St. Mary of the Assumption parish. A big thank you to all of them!
And Shift Manager Jeannie made an exceptional Lenten sacrifice today, and stood at the doors of Planned Parenthood for EIGHT hours! Thank you to Jeannie!
Here are some of her many experiences today:
TODAY we truly walked the Stations of the Cross with the Lord!
We began with our small but mighty crew from St. Louise de Marillac in the wee hours of the morning. We were unexpectedly and pleasantly joined by folks from Steubenville, OH, who were passing through on the way to a college pick up. Once the workers entered in a slow stream, there were very few clients today. PRAISE GOD!
Members of the St. Louise men’s retreat group stopped by enroute to their various work destinations. These guys really classed up our gathering! 🙂
The high school students seemed pretty rambunctious today— maybe that is typical for a Friday! Perhaps we are all ready for SPRING! Still-it is truly wonderful to see their joyfulness.
There was a medical supply van making a delivery mid-morning. We noted how ironic that a profession usually focussed on making people well would be in the “business” of taking life.
Just after the supplies were delivered, Bob Newman & company pulled in with the famous photo of the unborn child grasping the surgeon’s hand during an operation. Between our lovely sidewalk signs and this big big photo, we gave folks lots to think about all morning.
The St. Louise crew was pretty steady on the recitation of the rosary. They also really liked the LITANY to end abortion that Sally Brunn sent via email. This litany covers a lot of ground!
For Catholics, Fridays in Lent always means STATIONS OF THE CROSS. This event, by event dialogue and prayer of the time from Jesus’ condemnation to interment, is remembered in Catholic churches throughout the world on Fridays in Lent.
Our morning group generously shared one copy of the “Stations of the Cross in front of an Abortion Clinic” (provided courtesy of PCUC). This beautiful narrative correlates each of the stations— Jesus is condemned— Jesus Falls the First Time— Simon helps Jesus– to the abortion struggle. It is a beautiful prayer which, like the litany, helped us to correlate present day abortion with the Evil Jesus faced at Calvary. (These stations are prayed at the PP clinic every GOOD FRIDAY if you’d like to experience first hand.)
By the afternoon session, the stations of the cross would come in 3 forms to the sidewalk at 933 Liberty Avenue: The “classic” version was prayed in the early evening by a lovely family from SS. John & Paul (and friend from St. Alexis) … This group brought the Stations of the Cross to the city from Sewickley. They huddled together and prayerfully remembered the details of Christ’s torture and death even as the sun set and the temperature sank in downtown Pittsburgh.
The evening group from St. Louise (predominantly women!) brought a version of the Stations of the Cross from the perspective of Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus. All who were saying the stations were parents, and the idea of watching any of our children suffer such a horrible humiliating death was a sobering thought. As we prayed these stations, we realized the deep, deep loss these young mothers will no doubt experience after abortion.
During the afternoon, a woman stopped to ask us not to send “bad pictures of abortion” to her in the mail— she said she was having nightmares. I explained that we did not send those pictures and we talked a little about how terrible abortion was.
In the course of the morning and afternoon shifts today, we had several folks extend thanks or stop to voice agreement. We were joined by those wonderful prayer warriors who can stop to pray on the way to work or on their lunch hour. We are blessed daily by these folks— our safety net in the city!
We walked our own way of the cross, too. The usual handwritten bible misquote was out in front of the bookstore, a handle of characters called us “losers” or told us to “go home,” and a woman approached one of our women and told her “she should be ashamed of what she was doing.” We were even told by one passerby that we were “Edomites.”
We persevered and shared a little friendly greeting with a few of the clinic staff.
Through it all, the sounds of unison prayer and the path of the Walk of Calvary reminded us all that we are partaking in the greatest sacrifice ever—through the passion and salvation of Jesus Christ.
Friday Shift Managers Ginny and Marie also spent their afternoon shifts at the vigil. Thank you to them, and to all of our dedicated shift managers and prayer volunteers!
Here is what Ginny shared from her shift today:
Here are some pictures from our shift today.
Our group was from St. Mary’s and there were groups from other churches. It was very peaceful during our shift. We prayed all 5 mysteries of the Rosary and a Divine Mercy Chaplet.God Bless You,Ginny
Pastor Bryan (pictured above in the top picture) emailed us with this thoughtful response to yesterday’s “gun scare” (see the blog from Day 16). His words are appreciated. He says:
I read about the woman near one of our praying teams who mouthed she wanted to get a gun to shoot “those people”.
I firmly believe that when there is a direct or overheard threat of physical violence to any of our people, the police should be immediately called. Those there should practice observation, in spite of the upset, to remember a description of the perpetrator (or take a photo, even a back shot, if it can be done without their seeing that is happening).I know that martyrdom often brings a ground swell of support, but we aren’t wishing for that course to take place.
In the meantime, our ministry just celebrated the Feast of Purim from the book of Esther, and as I prepare to go down to the sidewalk today, Esther’s statement “If I die, I die” comes to me. She uttered that as she decided not to cower but resolved to face possible dire consequences to save her (God’s) people.
Down on Liberty Ave, those unborn babies are also God’s people.
Good thoughts with which to end. Let us continue to pray for the peace of this vigil, and for peace in the hearts of all who pass by. May they see the truth of the Lord that can hopefully be conveyed by our prayerful witness.