What a powerful, prayerful witness we had at the vigil this afternoon! We truly have a great 40 Days for Life family in and around Pittsburgh!
This morning, we had no church coverage and our 7-9am shift manager (Cathy) and our 9-11am shift manager (Kathy) would have been alone. But of course, our 40 days family came through. Individuals showed up to pray with both of them throughout the morning. Cathy wrote:
A quiet morning and I was blessed to be joined by Susan for the first hour and then Kathy L. for the second, who also stayed another hour with Kathy K. We had a meeting of the C(K)athy’s! Bill also stopped by for awhile. The clinic didn’t seem terribly busy, Emil came down to say his piece and leave (what troubles his heart?). I noticed that the older woman who works there and always walks very slowly with a cane now has a walker. She needed help getting in the door. I was slow on the draw, and also saw a teenager and his mom coming towards her. Thinking they would hold the door for her, I held back. But they just walked by. Then someone from inside opened it for her. I should have been quicker. Too bad she has to work there. She always smiles at us as she passes.
Kathy, who managed the 9am-11am shift wrote:
Kathy came with her own sign and reached out to individuals. God taught us lessons on communicating with those inside circle as a direct answer to prayer. We thanked Him for His lovingkindness. Psalm 136
John was passing by in his car, he circled the block several times : hunting a parking spot. He wanted to encourage us, tell us how much it means to Passerbys that we are here. He was present when the shopkeeper did his dialogue. I heard the shopkeeper ask him if he was one of us. He said loudly, Yes, I am. He called John on left: First John and himself :Second John.
When I (Nikki) arrived for my 11-1pm shift, the sidewalk was already filling up with prayer participants from many churches from near and far! Many of them had driven long distances to witness at our vigil! The church that had adopted the 11am-3pm shift was St. Anne in Waynesburg. This mighty group of four dedicated individuals (including their pastor) began praying right away. Here is a photo of them:
This faithful group prayed on one side while Fr. Tim’s group of Warriors for Life of Indiana & Westmoreland Counties prayed on the other:
It was awesome to have two priests covering both sides of the clinic!
We were joined by Amy and her son Nate from Our Lady of Grace in Scott Twp.
We were also joined by former shift manager Charlotte from St. Gregory in Zelionople along with her little grandson:
Sandy from St. Theresa of Avila and Mary Jane also joined us for prayer for a while.
We were also blessed by two pastors today. Rev. Bryan Werner and Rev. John Patterson…along with his wife Carol:
Rev. John and Carol came to manage the vigil from 1-3pm…so I was able to leave early!
A first-time group from Our Lady of Peace in Conway adopted the 3-7pm shift. Barbara managed the vigil from 3-5pm. She wrote:
Our Lady of Peace, Conway, was the group that came to pray with us today. Jamy, Donna, Linda, Bob and Bill showed up. Jamy, the leader of the Conway team is a convert to Catholicism. He teaches CCD in his parish. He was in the military and says he had a conversion in Tarsus.
This evening was the last 40 Days for Life shift for Richard and me this year. The weather was clear and a sweater kept out the October cool. Buses screeched. Cars and pedestrians crowded past. Gold, pink, purple and blue flowers remained in the vase and people accepted them with a smile. “Thank you for being here,” many of them said. Standing on the sidewalk, praying al fresco, we said the Joyful and then the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary. At times we could not hear the person praying next to us. But we moved the beads and knew the prayers and stood united. We know that God completely fills this space. God sustains this space. The plans of Planned Parenthood exist on borrowed time.
Joyce, a PP employee left the dark building and turned toward us. She uses a walker and walks with difficulty. She has a relative who was a Methodist minister. We are both 70 years old.
Vicki stopped to ask us about 40 Days for life. As we talked, she became tearful and confided that she had an abortion when she was very young. She said her life was never the same. She never had another child. She got her “tubes tied” when she was 20. She was afraid that she might be tempted to have another abortion. As we talked, we asked if she thought about her baby. “I think she was a girl.” We asked if she would like to name her baby. She couldn’t answer that. We joined hands and prayed with Vicki. As we finished, she looked at us and said that she would name her baby Janice. We gave her a Project Rachel pamphlet. We handed her the Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing sheet. Together we read the questions: Can my baby forgive me? Can God forgive me? Can I forgive myself? Together we read out loud the answer: YES. As she spoke, she became tearful again and said she had to get home.
A man passed and in a polite voice told me to “go to hell.”
A teenaged girl, accompanied by a young man, stopped and looked into my eyes. “Stop trying to force your opinions on us,” she said. “A baby is a parasite growing inside a woman’s body.” “Americans share opinions,” I said. “Let’s talk about yours.” She said something truly vulgar and walked away. One of our group quietly called to her, “God bless you.”
When we come downtown to Planned Parenthood we are quite aware of the power of the abortion industry. We know that Planned Parenthood is invited to participate in our public schools. We know the power the devil has to beguile people into behavior that drives them to desperate choices. We know that we are not “powerful saints.” I am reminded of a few lines from A Prayer for Right Living. “I asked for strength that I might achieve…I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.”
Jim managed the vigil from 5-7pm. he took the following photos:
Thanks to all who travelled to come witness for life today!
Can you believe our 40 days is almost at an end??? I can’t believe I am saying this…but I almost hate to see it end. It has been 36 days of amazing blessings for me. So many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ have come and stood for life…it was an honor to stand beside you and to pray with you. I hope to see you all at the closing rally on Sunday!