Day 21, Byzantine Catholics, Elk County Right to Life & Corpus Christi in McKeesport Hold the Vigil

Today was an abortion day at Planned Parenthood.  Many little ones lost their lives at 933 Liberty Avenue…but they didn’t die alone.  Although our government and half of our country’s citizens don’t recognize them as humans with a first amendment right to life…many followers of Christ from near and far sacrificed their time to stand in solidarity with these not-yet-born brothers and sisters.  I imagine that as each baby’s guardian angel carried them into the arms of Jesus, they looked down and saw those of you who were standing on the sidewalk for them.  I imagine them saying “thank you”.

Sally managed the 9-11am shift and wrote the following:

This morning started out badly when Al’s bus never arrived. The next bus, which would get him to PP 10 minutes late (7:10), was late and packed full, because it had to pick up 2 bus loads of people. Al finally made it to PP about 7:25.  The signs had been delivered, and Byzantine Deacon Paul, his wife & 2 others were there.  They brought their own signs and literature to hand out.  Here is a picture of them:


Deacon Paul and his wife came from DuBois, another from Freeport & I don’t remember where the 4th person was from.  They were joined at 10 a.m. by a priest from Charleroi, PA, about 8 from St. Mary’s, PA, including a nun in full habit, and 2 local pray-ers.  We all participated in a Byzantine Liturgy, which is very beautiful. 

A very nice young man came out of PP, and I told him that his girl, and his child, needed him.  He said, “I know.  I don’t want her to have the abortion, and my father does not want her to have it.  We already have a 1 year old.  She is having a sonogram & will schedule an abortion.”  I told him that he needed to get her out of there NOW!

They come from another county.  I gave him the sheet of resources, another flyer, and told him about all the help that any one of the CPC’s can give them.  I showed him the 800# on the resource sheet to call for local help. He really seemed interested, took the flyers willingly, and went back in. When I caught my bus over a half hour later he had not come back out with or without his girl. Please pray for him “S” and her “J”. 

This was a fairly busy morning, as Tuesdays now tend to be.  The abortionist went in with 3 students, looking about ready to deliver her own baby.  Please pray for her eyes to be opened so that she will realize how inconsistent it is to kill other people’s children while pregnant with her own second baby.

I (Nikki) managed the second (11am-3pm) shift.  I finally was blessed to meet the wonderful group from Elk County Right to Life!  They faithfully participate in every 40 Days for Life and drive 2 1/2 hours each way to stand on the sidewalk for 4 hours!  They were prayerful for the entire shift.  It was a somber mood in front of the clinic, with everyone silently praying on their own.

Elk County Right to Life Group
A Byzantine Catholic Priest joins ladies from Elk County

It was a peaceful time today…very different from LAST Tuesday’s shift!  THANK YOU to everyone who has signed up to fast!  Megan Merante told me that she had a huge response from folks last week wanting to join our 40 day fast!

One young man came out to smoke and I offered some information for him to give to his girlfriend.  He scoffed at me and said he didn’t want it.  He had a look of disgust on his face as he pointed to a woman who was crossing Liberty Avenue carrying a young child who looked to be about two years old.  (She was carrying her little girl upside down…I guess just playing around with her child.)  This man pointed at the woman and her child and said to me, “See…THAT is the alternative!”  I looked at him and said in return….”YES!  That IS the alternative…isn’t it beautiful?”  He looked back at me like I was crazy and said, “Beautiful???  Didn’t you see the way she was carrying that baby???  What kind of life is that child going to have???”

The point he was trying to make was that this mother was obviously a terrible parent…carrying her baby upside down…and that child was probably going to grow up to be a mass-murderer or something of the sort…and therefore would be better off dead than living such a terrible life.

Funny how two people can look at the same thing but “SEE” two totally different things!  I saw a loving young mother having fun with her small child.  All he saw was hopelessness and despair.  It reminds me of the verse from Matthew 6: 22-23:

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

This is why 40 Days for Life is the answer to ending abortion.  Because it puts GOD FIRST!!!  And GOD is the ONLY One who can end this scourge on our nation!  Until people have faith in God…why would they think there is anything wrong with abortion?  Until their eyes are healed from the darkness…they will never be able to see.  Please keep praying and being Jesus to those around you!

In addition to the great group from Elk County, a few other prayer participants joined us.  Joe from St. Elizabeth in Carnegie, Mary Elizabeth from St. Maria Goretti in Bloomfield and John Mihm from Holy Wisdom parish in the North Side came to pray.

At 3pm two men from Corpus Christi Church in McKeesport showed up for the 3-7pm shift.  Barbara took this photo of me with them:

Barbara wrote:

Corpus Christi parishioners, Joe and Mike prayed with Richard and me Tuesday afternoon.  They planned to remain until 7.  Mary Elizabeth, a regular prayer volunteer with a luminous face, stayed until her bus was due.  Mimi from Cathedral Parish comes almost daily by bus.  Mimi is an “older” woman with a heart younger than springtime.

Pittsburgh at the corner of Liberty and Smithfield, at Planned Parenthood, holds few surprises for me after all this time.  Its stories are ever ancient, ever new. The streets are regularly swept.  Nature pleases or punishes.  Buses screech.  Pedestrians singularly or in crowds come and go.  Desperate people choose to have their babies bloodied and murdered in that terrible place.  Parents’ hearts are broken. Society groans under the weight of agony.

“See, I have today set before you life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am giving you today, loving the LORD your God, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and ordinances, you will live and grow numerous….

If, however, your heart turns away and you do not obey, but are led astray and bow down to other gods and serve them, I tell you today that you will certainly perish….

Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him.

Deuteronomy 30: 15-16, 17-18, 19-20 

According to an internet search I learned from Mark Giszczak at the Catholic News Agency site some things about Deuteronomy.  “Deuteronomy is the heartbeat of the Old Testament. The author is unknown. It was written between 1450 BC and 517 BC.   It had tremendous influence on the writings of the prophets and on the New Testament. Indeed, Deuteronomy is a repetition and summation of the Law presented in the previous books of the Pentateuch.”

Deuteronomy may be ancient, but Pittsburghers still need it.   Evil continues to tangle “savvy Americans” in lies.  Evil offers abortion as a solution to a crisis pregnancy.  40 Days for Life offers prayer and the love of people.  It offers repentance and love to abortion wounded people.  Love and sin are the ever ancient and ever new struggle in the human heart.

Kudos to Augustine of Hippo for his “ever ancient ever new” reference to God.

Barbara Lewis

Thank  you to everyone who is praying, fasting and standing for an end to abortion!  More stories and photos will be  posted as they come in.

3 thoughts on “Day 21, Byzantine Catholics, Elk County Right to Life & Corpus Christi in McKeesport Hold the Vigil

  • October 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    The man not named in the picture of Deacon Paul is his brother Tom also from Dubois and I am the other Byzantine from Freeport, Karen
    I was with the Cabot group who came with came the day before. It was so soul wrenching to see the young women pass through those doors to change their babies lives forever. Yet was I moved by Gods will to be there and pray for all of them: moms, dads,workers and the doctors too.

  • October 16, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Really a terrific insights Nikki – both in your image in the e-mail about how we are building a structure and about how those unborn who die at PP may view us here below who stand vigil.


  • October 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    How can I not be grateful, even to tears, when the gang from Elk County comes to pray. Who is not moved when we see people who come despite their “crosses” of canes, wheelchairs, blindness, and burdens invisible to us but carried daily by soldiers of Christ. My special thanks to the men and women who come for the last shift of the day. It has to be a sacrifice to stop what you are doing in the middle of the day and come downtown when most people are ready to go home. Thank you to everyone.


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