It is the day before St. Patrick’s Day. In our secular culture, do saints’ feast days mean anything? I would think usually not. Yet, many DO make quite elaborate plans for this one. Oh, it must be because St. Patrick was such a good example, right? Because he was a pagan turned Christian? Because he converted a whole pagan culture? Hm… no. We all know what I’m getting at.
But WHY has the celebration of the patron saint of Ireland become an excuse for getting purposefully intoxicated? I’d have to do some research on that one, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so. The point is…. our faithful friends were praying today. Simply praying to end what was happening at Planned Parenthood THIS VERY MORNING in OUR VERY CITY. That’s ALL they were doing. And no doubt, St. Patrick is also one of those, now in heaven, who prays right along with us for the end to abortion.
May those who fail to see the true meaning of the reason for prayer and the Christian Faith never fail to see Christ IN US and in our demeanor toward them. This is as St. Patrick himself has prayed:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
(One version of only one stanza of the prayer known as the “Breastplate of St. Patrick”)
We express a big thank you to all the faithful from Guardians for Life of Indiana and Westmoreland County, New Life Community Church, and St. Joseph parish in Verona. You helped to make a HUGE difference in the time at the vigil today. May God bless you for your time and prayers!
Here are some photos from this morning:
Shift Managers Al and Sally held their posts this morning. Sally had this to share:
PP was steadily busy all morning. Not as bad as yesterday, but almost. The escorts stayed until 10:30.
Practically everybody who came to our vigil this morning came with Father Tim.
We had prayer and singing all morning, which astonished most of the celebrants who came walking by wearing something green from hair to shoes. Some just hurried by those “strange people,” others smiled or made silly comments, or danced a little jig. Occasionally someone took a picture. One girl came past us with a half full bag of plastic wrapped condoms, which she proceeded to scatter all over the sidewalk the way people scatter candy to children in a parade. And one man crossed the street while yelling, “We’re supposed to be having FUN today. And I don’t want to look at any pictures of dead babies.” Of course there were none of those, but he evidently equates such pictures with abortion even if he doesn’t see any. Quoting from an ancient Chinese proverb, “One picture is worth a thousand words”. Whatever he saw at some other time has stayed in his memory.
The bar was playing very loud music and the bartender came out 4 times telling people to move away from his window. I had them move away the first time, but two older people insisted on being just to the side of the window and when they changed position they were in violation of his order again, and again.
Then before 11 a.m. the bookstore opened & that lady insisted that everyone move off “her sidewalk” completely. No hanging around the curb either. “That’s loitering! It’s illegal to loiter. I’ll call the police.” But nobody wanted to move, even though the other side of the circle was almost empty. Fortunately Pat had arrived by that time and I asked him to send them to the other side of the yellow line because my bus was coming. God bless him, he was taking care of the situation as I got on the bus.
Shift Manager Pat shared about his shift as well:
When it’s cold, you can’t stay out too long before your body tells you that it’s time to come in and get warm. And the colder it is, the shorter the amount of time your body is able to tolerate it. I think the same can be said for our souls being out in the culture for too long.
Today I was in the midst of our culture from 11-1. Not only was it an abortion day, but the occasion of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Between the things I saw and heard on the street today (you do not need the details) and the noise coming from the very busy gay bar next door, I’d say it was the cultural equivalent of 10 below. Thank God for the good people who came and prayed (there were never less than four of us) and offered the culture at least a glimpse – for those with the eyes to see it – of the fire of God’s love.
- St. Joseph parish in Verona provided the prayer witness during this evening. Thanks to all the faithful witnesses from St. Joe’s!!!
Shift Manager Jeannie tells about the evening shift here:
We had our hands full with the street theatre of St. Pat’s. It seems that the lack of inhibition brought on by a few drinks encouraged many folks to approach us.
Some good, most negative. We held fast to our prayer and thought about Jesus on the road to Calvary— this was nothing compared to His suffering. I think we’d all agree that that it bound us together—
Alcohol truly made many uninhibited in mostly bad ways, but sometimes for the good.
I started at 3 with a hearty group of sisters in Christ from New Life Community in Bellevue. We had several conversations with our gay brothers and sisters who wanted to clarify where we stood on the gay issue…. They were mostly surprised to learn that we felt God loved them and had a plan for their lives… They were clearly searching, clearly uncomfortable with the path they were on. PRAISE GOD.
This first picture finds us with a friend who lingered far longer than we thought he would. Michael seemed truly open to our message which we simplified for all who stopped.
We were joined at 4 by a delightful group from St. Joe’s (Verona), and later Tom and Diane from St. Paul Cathedral (and of sign fame), who were there to see one particularly vulgar young woman knock our “HELP” sign into the street. Tom and Diane were then joined by Dan from St. Louise de Marillac and our finally our “bouncer,” Will, who plays football for CMU. We had a few tense moments but nothing was going to unglue this crew!
Through the snow and sleet with many hurling obscenities, we graciously witnessed for the unborn. Even the security guard from PP intervened to move a particularly loud, offensive woman along— The guard said, “These people are here to pray. Leave them alone and move on.”
We (literally) wrapped a blanket around a sorry-looking PP client who emerged and was waiting for a ride in the bitter cold. You could see her expression change as she accepted the gesture and the loan of a phone to call her friend. It made us all realize that PP does NOT empower women! Every heart is movable!
We interacted with 100’s of Pittsburghers on St. Paddy’s day and I can honestly say it was a real opportunity to accept the vulgarity and mocking in love. With the remembrance of Jesus’ trip to Calvary so near, it was a very small sacrifice to make.
With deep gratitude for the afternoon St. Paddy’s crew.-Jeannie