Many faithful Christ followers gathered on the cold, wind-whipped sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood today!
Thanks to Kathy who managed the entire 7-11am shift today (filling in for Cathy, for whom our prayers continue to go out), and to all the prayer volunteers from St. Alexis who joined her at the vigil this morning. Here is a photo that Kathy took:
7am to 9am went fast on the 29th day of vigil. Pat prayed with me, then my daughter from NY called and prayed. The beauty of falling snow mixed with encouragement from passerbys mixed with prayer and singing helped. Nasty remarks were fewer than kind ones. “Traitor, don’t smile at me. You are a traitor to all of women.” Next time I get that one, I think my answer will be “Jesus loves you”. That’s the only answer there is.
9am brought two Claudia’s from same parish, then William and Sue from the Pregnancy Resource Center of South Hills. Then precious MaryElizabeth came. There were many smiles and much literature was handed out. I praise God for today!
I (Nikki) was blessed to have the opportunity to stand and pray with the members of my own church, St. Irenaeus parish in Oakmont, and also many other dedicated individuals! Here are some photos from my 11am-3pm shift:
It was uplifting to see so many pastors and selfless individuals brave the cold and windy weather to joyfully stand at our vigil today! I am happily amazed at how our 40 Days for Life efforts continue to spread and flourish, even in challenging weather and an even more challenging culture! We received many positive comments from passers-by and very few negative ones. The Lord is truly blessing us! Thank you Lord!
Barbara took these photos of the wonderful group from St. Paul’s Cathedral & St. Regis in Oakland:
Barbara wrote the following reflection of her time at the vigil tonight:
While the cold wind froze our toes and whipped our signs, our hearts were warm in the company of 14 parishioners from St. Regis and St. Paul Cathedral parishes this evening. Our prayer companions were Father Michael, Father Daniele, Chels, Priscilla, Kris, Maria, Dee, Diane, Mimi, Aaran, Claudia, Antoni, Ricardo and Ethel. Richard, Bill and Marci joined us.
Tiger (Richard) stopped by. He was on crutches and on his way to the library to wait until the shelter opens at 7pm. He accepted a few cigarettes and a hat. He said he was “on alcohol” since he was 13. He doubted that he could ever give it up. He doubted that he would ever want to. He gets food at a church on the North Side and at St. Mary’s downtown where he sometimes goes to Mass. He is 45. His parents are dead and he is an only child.
“Bus screeched street” was one of my earliest impressions of the Planned Parenthood intersection. After my few seasons with 40 Days, the beauty of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Otto Klemperer, 1962) overrides the unpleasantness of the street sounds.
“So is my Jesus captured now. Moon and light are quenched for sorrow, because my Jesus is captured. They lead him away, he is bound. Loose him, do not hold. Do not bind him!
…. Open your fiery pit, O hell, wreck, ruin, engulf, shatter with sudden force the false betrayer, the murderous blood.”
Horror, sorrow and outrage are natural responses to villainy. Abortion is supported and provided by a vast machine of people doing evil things. Their actions accuse them of being false betrayers of the woman with a crisis pregnancy. The sacrificed baby is cruelly killed.
But what I have learned about abortion blunts my outrage with the people who support it. People have told me about how they were tricked by the lie that abortion can be a merciful solution. I have learned about the agony abortion triggers in the life of every person caught in its lies. I have heard about so many people whose encounter with abortion caused them to turn to God, to repent and to move into a fruitful life.
I wish that when Jesus was suffering his Passion, he could have been comforted by the continuously solicitous chorus Bach wrote to accompany the Matthew Passion.
I wish a desperate pregnant mother could be comforted by the beauty of its music and heartened by its message.
Standing outside with companions in the 40 Days for Life effort, we ignore the buses and remember the beauty of Bach’s music and celebrate the joy God offers to all of us repentant sinners.
I have never heard any music from Bach. Barbara has just inspired me to Google this song and listen to it. One more example of the way we “sharpen” each other. 🙂