During this 40 day vigil, we pray, we fast, we educate, and we love. We give of ourselves and we receive from the Lord in return. We have some of the best people in the world down on that sidewalk each day. And I am so glad to be able to say that I KNOW these people. There are many whom I would consider friends. What a BLESSING. THANK YOU to all of you who have been there so often… or even those who have come for the first time. You are a blessing to all of us, and to our whole city. Thank you!
This morning, Shift Manager Marie was there, and what a story she shares with us today:
Today’s Shift– It’s Only Words?
I’ve decided that standing out in the dark, cold air is an issue of “mind over matter.”
So, despite four layers of clothing, two pairs of socks and hand warmers, I was prepared to be cold for my shift this a.m. (4 hours).
It always helps to have people there with you to take the chill away – thank you to Pastor John, Dean D., Bill H., Beth S., Donna P., and Kim O. for standing with me for parts of my shift.
For the first time this vigil the sun did shine on us this Thursday morning – if only for a bit while it came up over the buildings. It was such a welcome sight after so many dark, dreary hours and days in front of PP.
An ironic thing happened today that I shared with Beth S. – I wanted to get her take on it as well. One of the young women that work at PP came out and headed down the street towards the Cultural District.
As she passed me I couldn’t help but notice her t-shift because of the word I saw at the bottom “LIFE”! Upon looking a little closer and deciphering the word above it from under the scarf she had on I noticed the word “LOVE”.
Now I put that together and it read “LOVE LIFE”! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Did she even know what she was wearing and what it said??
When I shared what I had just seen with Beth, who was on the opposite side of the circle, she couldn’t believe it either!
When the young woman returned to PP Beth could see the words as well.
We discussed it for a few minutes and determined that the words didn’t mean anything to the young woman wearing them.
I chalked it up to a “fashion statement” because if she really does “LOVE LIFE” why would she be involved, at any level, with PP?? Why wouldn’t she be working at a crisis pregnancy center?
I will pray for this young woman that one day, soon I hope, she will come to realize that those two words – taken together or separately – have a far different meaning than what happens behind the doors at 933 Liberty Ave.
There, LIFE and LOVE are destroyed and have no meaning.
Shift Manager Marilyn shared this from today:
Another bitter cold day at the vigil! But that didn’t stop so many faithful Christians from coming out to pray!
We were so blessed to have so many folks come and brave the cold today. The kind words from passersby kept us going strong.
God knows when we need a boost!
Here are my (Lisa’s) thoughts from this afternoon:
Today was a mostly sunny shift for me… but windy and cold nonetheless. Thank God for the inventor of hand-warmers!
It was a relatively uneventful shift, which meant that I got in a good, long chunk of prayer time. We got some of the typical positive AND negative responses. And many good people joined us to pray, as always. I am so thankful for that.
One woman saddened me, however, by implying that she was “only” going in to get contraception. Women DO NOT KNOW the harm that comes to their bodies, souls, lives, marriages, etc. through this. May God (through us, if possible) show this to them.
One other sad, but poignant story: One of the prayer volunteers with me today shared that her granddaughter had been aborted, and that TODAY would have been her due date. How powerful that this loving grandma came today to pray, on behalf of all those who continue in their ignorance and despair. Thank you to her, and all others whose lives abortion has touched. May the Lord help to heal them.
Here are some photos I took during my shift:
Shift Manager Dee took these photos and had this to share from her late afternoon shift:
Our third shift went quite well. A number of people passing by thanked us for being there.We did not receive any negative statements today–that I am aware of. Weather was beautiful, but, cold.
I was happy to have both Shift Manager Barbara and her husband Richard show up for the shift. They were a great help to us. We also had a couple of people just show up who were not signed up. A surprise to us all.
Lastly, Shift Manager Jeff shares some comments about his shift this evening:
Another cold night on Liberty Avenue, but clear and dry. Daylight Savings Time helps with extra daylight, but not the temperature, not tonite anyway. Just something else to “offer up” along with our witness.
I had one girl walk by me tonite who casually tossed a comment over her shoulder at me – “Yours is a dying generation!” For a split second I took the comment as it was intended, to discourage and to demean our efforts. Then it came to me, 40 Days for Life is part of a “dying” generation – a generation dying in Christ. I am given the opportunity to suffer in Christ’s name every time I bear witness to the butchery that goes on in at 933 Liberty Ave. and at every Planned Parenthood across this nation – acknowledging the “dying generation” of unborn children killed there.
The only thing not “dying” at 933 Liberty Avenue is our willingness and determination to be a visible sign of Christ in the world – and to each other.
We would like to share the story of a special friend and veteran of the pro-life movement in Pittsburgh- John Sieger. John has gone to eternal life, and Shift Manager Sally writes a bit to honor him:
John Sieger, stalwart of the prolife movement in Pittsburgh, has gone to his reward, and since Al and I were with him on the street for over 15 years, Nikki has asked me to write a little about him.
John Sieger was a retired chemical engineer who had worked for PPG Industries until he retired in 1985. He then became active in prolife work. He faithfully showed up at Women’s Health Services (later PP) Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in all kinds of weather. He always carried a small sign and a bag of literature. He would offer the literature to everyone who passed by or went into the building, and would say something positive to every girl or couple as they entered.
John was always eager and willing to help anyone who had a problem, both with monetary aid and friendship. I remember in particular two pregnant girls. “C” had aged out of the foster care system & found herself pregnant by a guy who offered her a place to live when she had nowhere to go. With John’s help and encouragement she delivered her child and kept him. John and others helped her when CYS threatened to take him from her because they considered her an unfit mother. Once they knew she had people who would help her they backed off.
“B” was in a bad relationship. She had an abortion, and instantly regretted it. She often came to the abortion mill, sometimes with her mom, to try to talk others out of going in. John became a sort of substitute grandfather to her, and on a few occasions took “B”, her mom, and Al and I to dinner just so we could sit around and talk & be sort of like a family. She knew he was there for her if she needed anything, and it made a difference in her life.
John was always giving people things he knew they might like. Once he gave us a beautiful quilt for our bed, and another time two daily missals (prayer books for the Mass) because he knew we went to the Latin Mass. For John’s 75th birthday we decided to have a birthday party for him… on the sidewalk in front of Women’s Health Services (WHS). We asked a few others to join us. We stood around, each holding a cupcake topped with a lit candle, and sang “Happy Birthday, John”. Then we each ate our cupcake and went back to our job of witnessing against baby killing.
John was still with us when PP took over WHS, and was still coming down on Saturdays when they moved to Liberty Avenue. A few years later, he retired to rest a very persistent leg ulcer. Al would call him once or twice a year just to see how he was. The ulcer never healed, and other health problems finally took their toll on a very good man.