I have been thinking about our presence on the sidewalk. And as I watch people go by as we stand there I wonder: What do they remember? What catches their eye? The signs? The peaceful grouping of people? The flowers? The sound of praying aloud or singing? It seems many people walk by, just ignoring us as if we were just standing there waiting for the bus. But the truth is, God is working on their memory. And one small moment may return to someone who passed us on the sidewalk and change them.
Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever –Psalm 111
Here is the review of today’s vigil. Thank you to Sue McGrath, Nikki and Patti for remembering the unborn standing out in the cold morning.
I woke up this morning and the first thought in my mind was poor Sue…standing on the sidewalk in the freezing cold. It was 8am and my phone said it was 18 degrees. I knew one person had signed up to be with her, so she wasn’t alone. But, it was just too cold to leave her for her whole three hour shift. I quickly dressed and drove downtown, arriving at 9am to find Sue and Patty huddled together on the lonely sidewalk…both shivering. After two hours of standing in the cold, Sue was grateful for my offer to relieve her. We are so blessed to have such wonderful and dedicated vigil shift mangers! Patty and I stood together and prayed…and as we prayed the sun began to shine right on us! The sun doesn’t shine very often…or for very long on that part of the city, so we enjoyed praying with the sun on our face. It was a very quiet and peaceful time in the city. I was blessed to be there. At 9:45 Roseann and Rich arrived for their 10-1pm shift. I hope they didn’t freeze too badly! It was still only in the mid 20’s.
Sue’s perspective on the morning shift:
As I sit typing this blog entry for this morning’s 7:00a – 10:00a shift, I am still thawing out, with those icy-yet-wonderful feelings remaining in my legs that mean I am finally in the warmth and out of the cold! I am typing this one whole hour earlier than I thought I would be able to. More on this in a little bit ….
I arrived at 7:00 a.m this morning (which really still felt like 6:00 a.m. due to “spring ahead”) to find David already there and praying on his knees on the freeeeeezing cold sidewalk. He stayed there for well over an hour, too. Talk about inspiring! Bill joined us for a little while on his way to church, and Patty also came around 8:00a. Although we could tell it was shaping up to be a sunny day, it was reeeeeally cold. A quiet morning on the streets – several passersby, all with whom I tried to make eye contact, but none of them really even seemed to take notice of us.
On a “prayer break,” Patty came over to my side to chat a little. We talked about the building and how, despite its beautiful brick façade and stained-glass window (how ironic) at the top, it looks rather dirty and unkempt – certainly nothing like anywhere we would choose to go to have any kind of medical procedure at all. She mentioned that she and a friend were heading this afternoon to see the new movie “Son of God.” We talked about the creators of the movie, Roma Downey and her husband, and how they’d said in an interview that one of the reasons they’d made the movie was for their children. Just when I was fondly remembering Roma’s role on the TV series “Touched By An Angel” and wishing it was still on, lo and behold – an angel pulled up to the curb in a car! It was none other than our own Nikki. She got out of the car and said, “Sue, it is just too cold for you to stand here for your full three-hour shift. You go get a coffee, and I’ll cover the last hour.” I cannot remember a recent time when I felt more grateful! I did take her up on her offer. I was so floored by the fact that Nikki went out of her way on a freezing cold Sunday morning to come down and relieve a shivering shift manager. This Nikki of ours is one extremely special and dedicated lady!!! And I finally now know who I want to be when I grow up!! THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU, Nikki!!!
Thank you Church of the Assumption in Bellevue for your presence from 11am-3pm. Mary Thimons of Assumption parish shares this experience from today:
As my daughter and I were praying in front of PP today, a young lady came up to us confused and said “do they do abortions in there??” we said yes, and then she said “but I thought Planned Parenthood, meant they help “plan” your parenthood. She was serious, she had no idea. It is good to witness, even on a slow Sunday, if this helps educate even one person, it is worth it.
Thank you to Rich and Roseann King for keeping vigil as shift managers from 10am-12pm today!
Jeff, the shift manager from 1-3 writes:
Cold in the shadows today. I was joined by Rick from Assumption Church in Bellevue and Stan from St. Sylvesters. Town was busy with people going to the home and garden show. So we were getting our message out to a lot more people than usual. It may be one of the few times they even think of the plight of the unborn.
We are grateful to the parish family of St. Gregory in Zelionople for keeping the remembrance of the unborn from 3pm-7pm. The 1 hour or more driving distance from Zelionople to downtown Pittsburgh is a sacrifice of love and commitment to the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters in the human family.
Thanks for reading!!! Let us bless the Lord, and give him thanks:
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.