I didn’t want to go to Planned Parenthood this morning. I woke up at 5:30am and looked at my phone to see the current temperature. 3 degrees.
“God…should I go this morning?” (I was hoping He would let me off the hook.) “Nope? Okay…I’ll go.” I swung my feet out of bed onto the floor and got ready. Went to 7:30 mass at St. Mary’s downtown as is my Friday routine. After mass I walked to Planned Parenthood and began to pray and hand information to the numerous couples who were entering the clinic on this busy abortion day in Pittsburgh.
One young woman got dropped off in front of the clinic. I spoke to her words of life and love, and attempted to give her the pro-life resource brochure in my hands. She would not take it. She looked upset, and walked into the clinic. I prayed for her and decided to be on the look-out for the man who drove away, thinking he was probably going to park the car and come back. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, I saw him walking towards me. I met him on the sidewalk and told him how much abortion hurts women AND men…how they regret it…how this child is his HERITAGE and a gift from God. He took the information and said he would give it to his girlfriend.
I continued to pray. About half an hour later, he walked out of the clinic and stood on the sidewalk, inside the circle, and was texting on his phone. I looked closely at him and saw a single line of tears sliding down his smooth brown cheek. I asked him if he tried to talk her out of it. He said he tried, but she was going through with it. He told me he was texting her to ask her to change her mind. I told him I would pray. Right there on the sidewalk in front of him, I got down on my knees. I was praying the Joyful mysteries. I was on the second decade, Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth. I continued through the third joyful mystery, the birth of our Lord…and I asked God to allow this child to be born. I told God as I was praying…”Lord, nothing is impossible for YOU! You can save this child! I trust in YOU!!!” I told my dear mother Mary that I trusted in her prayers for this baby and for her intercession.
I was just finishing the third joyful mystery…still on my knees…when she exited the clinic…HOLDING THE ULTRASOUND PICTURE IN HER HANDS!
She told me she was going to keep her baby! Look at how beautiful this little child is! Such a perfect image! She is 13 weeks pregnant. She let me hug her and told me I could take a picture of her ultrasound picture…which I did…as you can see. She gave me permission to post it on the blog. I asked if her boyfriend had given her the information that I gave to him…and she said he had…but she had thrown it away as soon as he gave it to her. She accepted new information as I told her about all the help available at the pregnancy centers. She didn’t look happy…looked like she was in shock, actually. Please pray for her “J” and her boyfriend “M”…that they will remain strong in their commitment to bring this child to birth.
I am so grateful to God for saving this little life…and for using me as an instrument! And especially at this time…as we are about to begin our 40 days…we needed this encouragement!!! We are now just a few days away from the start of 40 Days for Life! From Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday…in Pittsburgh and in hundreds of other cities around the world, faithful Christians will join in united prayer, fasting and peaceful vigil…for an end to abortion.
Are you ready? Have you prayed about the way God wants you to sacrifice during these 40 days? Does He want you to fast? Make a regular prayer commitment at Pittsburgh’s 40-day vigil at Planned Parenthood, and from home? Go to www.40daysforlifepittsburgh.com to sign up to pray at the vigil (“Schedule” page), and to join our 40 day fast (“Get Involved” page).
The weather forecast is not looking promising. Next Wednesday is supposed to be very COLD! And, there are still many un-covered vigil hours during the first few weeks where our 40 Days for Life vigil shift managers may be standing alone. The beginning of a 40 Days for Life campaign is always the hardest. I think it is kind of like when you are first trying to get moving in the morning. Things just don’t move as easily as they do later in the day. But, once we get moving…momentum takes over nicely. But to begin, it does take extra effort. Maybe God gave us this encouragement today to help “jump-start” our 40 days! It sure jump-started me! I can’t wait to begin now!
On day #1 (Ash Wednesday), it is forecasted to possibly be in the single digits during the early morning hours. There is a church signed up, Our Lady of Victory in Carnegie. Fr. Rodolph has faithfully stood during the first shift of our 40 days for many past campaigns. I told him he is the “Engine” that begins our 40 –day “train”. Our “caboose” will be the wonderful group from St. Alexis in Wexford, during the final shift on April 13th. In between those dates, there are now more than 80 church groups scheduled to provide the prayer witness at our vigil. But we still have the following times that need to be filled:
Wed. 3/5 from 2-5pm
Thurs. 3/6 from 8-11am
Fri. 3/7 (abortion day) from 7-9am
Sun. 3/9 from 7-11am
Mon. 3/10 from 8-11am AND 3-7pm
Tues. 3/11 (abortion day) from 10am-3pm
Wed. 3/12 from 11am – 7pm
Thurs. 3/13 from 7-11am
Mon. 3/17 ALL DAY
Tues. 3/18 from 7-11am AND 3-5pm
Fri. 3/21 (abortion day) from 7-11am AND 3-7pm
Thurs. 3/27 from 5-7pm
Fri. 3/28 (abortion day) from 7-11am
Sun. 3/30 from 11am-3pm
Mon. 3/31 ALL DAY
Tues. 4/1 from 3-7pm
Mon. 4/7 from 7-9am
Wed. 4/9 from 3-7pm
We need individuals to sign up to pray for an hour or two during these empty times, so that our 40 Days for Life vigil shift managers don’t have to stand alone. Please go to http://vigilcalendar.com/pittsburgh/login/login_page to sign up. Remember, wherever you see “orange”, that is a church that has adopted the time (the name pops up when you hold your cursor over the orange bar). If you see “yellow” that is an individual who has signed up. If you see only red (with no orange beside it) that is where we need help!
We can talk about our faith and say that we are pro life…but there are no words that can compare to our physical presence on the sidewalk. When we publicly witness our faith as we do at the vigil (in addition to saving lives)…we can also strengthen our brothers and sisters whose faith is weak.
I was convicted of this last fall, when I went to on a family vacation in Texas. I found myself embarrassed to pray before meals at the restaurants…and to get on my knees during my regular nighttime prayer. When I got home and went to confession, I confessed being ashamed to witness my faith in front of my family. The priest told me that some people’s faith is weak…and they are unsure. He told me that I could have helped my family become stronger in their faith if I hadn’t been afraid to let my faith show. I was convicted of this, and have since made an effort to over-come embarrassment about showing my faith publicly (as I did this morning on my knees!) God will use us mightily…if we just let him!
I hope to see you at our Kick-Off event this Tuesday evening in the beautiful sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 320 Sixth Avenue, downtown! Speakers start at 7pm, but come early to enjoy the awesome music from INTENT (www.intentworship.com) . They will begin playing at 6:30. At 8pm we will have a solemn candlelit procession from the church to Planned Parenthood, complete with music and prayer…the only funeral these babies will have. I hope to see you there!
May God bless you!
Your sister in Christ,