Traffic advisory for Sunday: Their will be rolling closures on Liberty Avenue from 8-10:30am for the Equitable 10k Race. 5000 runners expected, so I am guessing no parking on Liberty either. But what a way to close out the Vigil; if you can stop down one more time, Sunday morning would be that time.
Dear 40 Days family:
It would seem that all of our shift managers are all on fire as we near the end of our vigil, and as each report came in, I was amazed by their stories. So spend some time curled up with your tablet or phone or desktop computer and savor God’s glory. Or you could print it. It’s a keeper.
God provides in the most wonderful ways and today it came in the form of a wonderful group of prayer warriors from my parish, St. Alphonsus Parish in Wexford along with some wonderful friends to participate in the vigil. I was joined at the start of this morning’s vigil by Donna P. and Donna L. It was a dry and pleasant start to the day. The rain held off during the four-hour shift.
In addition to the large signs, Kathy dropped off the fetal models this morning. This is the first time I had the opportunity to stand vigil with the models being present. Nikki has always said that the models have a tendency to draw people’s attention and sometimes will stop and ask about them. I did notice many passersby looking down at them. One young man stood by the models. I went over and asked him if I could help him. He asked me how big the largest model is and how heavy it would be. I told him I thought it was probably about 30 weeks and maybe 5-6 pounds. I was guessing because I wasn’t sure (fortunately I think I was pretty close on my guess!). He then went on to say he just had a son a month ago and he weighed 6 lbs. 10 oz. at birth and now weighs 10 lbs.! He was very thoughtful as he looked at the model and we talked for a short while about his baby boy, named Isaac. I could tell it really struck him to look at the model and then think about his son. His name is “D” and we told him we would pray for him, his son and the mother. He seemed grateful and thanked us before he walked away.
Other members of St. Alphonsus included Barb W. , Michele M, David S. and Cathy A. God is so good. I was hoping for 4 participants from St. Alphonsus and 8 came! It was a blessing to have such a wonderful turnout of faithful, pro-life people!
As our shift was coming to an end Emil came down to harass the gathering as he always does. I had not seen him in several weeks and with my back turned toward the direction from which he came I was unprepared for his visit. Today was different though. After he said his unkind words to us as he turned to leave he kicked the stand that the fetal models were on and knocked them over and into the street! I was totally unprepared to him to do this and felt that his reaction was so unnecessary. After we collected the models and put them back into place I was upset for not being prepared for this. In hindsight his reaction shouldn’t have surprised me because he was very foul in his language to the 3 of us women who were standing there and the look on his face was more disgusting than usual. I will admit it took me a while to regain my internal composure after that and resolved not to let the incident ruin the otherwise wonderful witness given today.
Lisa sent in the following:
This last shift of mine was, again, such a time of thankfulness and joy. I am constantly overwhelmed by God’s generosity to us all, in giving us the gift of one another. That is something that just continually amazes me when we spend time at that vigil together, united in Christ and in prayer.
My favorite moment of the afternoon was seeing how little Mimi (one of our regulars) authoritatively told our group– with her preciously thick Italian accent– that we were going to begin the rosary. What she didn’t know was that half of us were not Catholic. Does something like that minor detail bother someone like Mimi? Of course not! And the funny thing was…. all of the non-Catholics were praying the rosary right along with her anyway! What a joy! They surely did it out of respect for her. And what FUN the Holy Spirit was having with all of this. It tickles me (and I’m sure it tickles the Lord) to see things like that. So thank you to all of you sweet, faithful pray-ers this afternoon. God bless you!
Read what Marilyn has to say about her last shift:
Confessions of a shift manager. When I realized one of my shifts fell on Halloween, I must admit I was a bit unsettled.
Inspiration sometimes waits until the last minute, as it did for me yesterday. Twenty minutes before I was to leave to attend Mass before going to the vigil, an idea popped into my head to hand out Halloween treat bags on the sidewalk. All I had was a box of 32 fruit gummy snacks in fun Halloween shapes, kid stuff — you see selfishly I purposely did not buy any chocolate to pass out to trick-or-treaters as I gave up chocolate for these 40 Days. I’m telling you this not to brag, but to be totally honest – it was selfish — I have this nasty addiction to chocolate that I am trying to master. Halloween has always been my downfall. But, with 40 Days falling during Halloween, I figured what better way to offer it up. But, I digress. So, here’s me racing through the house gathering up supplies (never thinking last year when I bought the treat bags on clearance after Halloween that I would be using them outside PP!) As part of our mission is outreach, I figured what better way to educate the public by inserting the great new 40 Days brochure into the treat bag. Then my mind started racing, should I have two different kinds of bags, one for general passerbys, one for people going into/out of the clinic – what else could I put in the bag – on and on and I was running out of time. I assembled a few of the bags, then gathered the supplies and figured my friend Beth Ann could finish them in the car on the way down.
Several campaigns ago I honestly was thinking it is time to stop being a shift manager. I did not want to go down there alone anymore – even though we are never really alone. I had a little scare with a kooky lady and I’ll admit our tattooed friend from past campaigns rattled me. I figured if God wanted me to continue doing this he was going to have to let me know. And, that he did. Without asking, my friend Beth Ann told me she wanted to accompany sometime. Well, that sometime has turned into a faithful companion on the journey. She came with me for every single shift for this campaign! What a blessing she has been to me. God knows what we need, we only have to ask. We are not in this alone. And when we don’t see God with skin on, we have the multitude of heavenly hosts, all the saints & angels surrounding us – our guardian angel awaits our call.
Back to Halloween, so we’re down at the clinic and so blessed to have the presence of Memorial Park on my shift. The first person I met from MP was Jim, a ‘newbie’ to 40 Days (though you would never know it!) and the music director at Memorial Park. He jumped right in, lead us in song and prayer and helped pass out treat bags! His fellow parishoners Kathy, Terri, Rosemarie and Jamie joined in beautiful song. When we ran out of treat bags, Jamie ran to CVS to buy more treats! So, here we are on the sidewalk assembling more goodie bags, folding brochures and getting the word out. It’s amazing how friendly people are when there is candy involved! Even the neighboring bar owner, who was making so many trips back and forth with supplies for what I guess he was anticipating a busy evening, seemed friendlier than usual. The mailman’s eyes perked up – people generally were in a jovial mood. Folks in costume stopped and talked. We did pass out a lot of treat bags and hopefully not all of the brochures ended up in the garbage — I walked over to throw away some wrappers and right on top of the trash were two perfectly good flyers which I rescued and we re-used! Several people thanked us for our presence. I did not encounter any negativity, and later found out that Beth Ann had specifically asked friends to pray for us on this Halloween!
I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend Cathy when I arrived. She brought the beautiful framed Preborn Jesus artwork at http://prebornjesus.catholicweb.com . Megan from Mother of Sorrows helped pass out treats. I met Liz from St. Louise who told me she was going to be a shift manager for the next campaign! I was so excited. She is hoping someone else steps up and she could share a shift with them. When you are on the sidewalk for two hours it goes fast. Four hours can be a very long time, especially in bad weather and it is a big time commitment when you factor in parking and travel time. Wouldn’t it be great if next vigil we had enough shift mgrs for everyone to have a 2 hr shift!
With each campaign I have participated in I have grown more confident on the sidewalk. I really think that very soon we will no longer have to witness at 933 Liberty Avenue. Our presence is making a difference. More people are being educated; hearts are changing, women are given options. Take a risk, if you feel God is calling you to become a shift manager, you will be so blessed! You will meet the most amazingly nice people who have a heart for our Lord. Love one another, what better way to show our love than to pray for the least among us. God is not deaf to our prayers. He cares and just needs more of his hands and feet on the sidewalk! Even if you have never prayed at an abortion clinic before, come to our closing rally this Sunday 6:30pm which begins at PP and then concludes at Catholic Charities:
Dee G, the 3-5 shift manager was sick for the past week and could not make her last shift. Not to worry, Pat M picked up 3-4 and Barb L. picked up 4-5. Vigil intact. Marilyn sent the following pic in:
Jeff was on the 5-7 shift and writes:
When I arrived for my shift, Bill H. was on vigil with Joe White. Bill stayed till 6 and Joe till 6:40. Diane picked up the signs at 6 and I stayed till 7. It was my most quiet 2 hours yet. A steady rain kept us company and warded off the evil spirits of the night. And Emil, too.
I took my grandkids to the zoo this past summer, and as we were leaving to go home, the 7-year-old raced ahead with his 4-year-old sister right behind. I was following with the empty stroller, and took off after them, calling to the 2-year-old, Meredith, to hurry up. She was 20 feet behind, and staring intently at something out of my view. Then I heard it – a waterfall – and Mer enthralled before it. I scrambled for my phone to take a picture, when I stopped and thought (or He said, I don’t know which) forget the phone and enjoy the moment.
After 20 seconds or so passed, she looked around and saw me in the distance, took two steps toward me, and stops. She turns to the waterfall and waves, as if to say goodbye for now, but I’ll be back. She chases after me, and together we chased the other 2.
So as I left my last shift tonight, I practiced the lesson my granddaughter taught me. I turned and looked with the eyes of a child to see the face of God on that shiny wet sidewalk, and in the faces of all who witnessed with me. And I whispered…bring me back, Lord.
Bring us all back.