Day 15…Knights of Columbus (McNellis Council) & St. Irenaeus in Oakmont bring Church to the streets!

Today was a powerful day of prayer on the sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood today!  Read all about it in the following stories:

Dean managed the vigil from 7-9am and wrote:

Thank you to Brian H. and Ben R. who stood with me from 7-8.  Thank you to Susan C. and her daughter Veronica who stood with me  from 9-10 and then continued to stand with Cathy Zusa. Also thanks to shift mgr. Marian who stopped by to pray with me and Tony from Zelienople. 

Brian and  Ben answer the call to stand with shift manager Dean
Brian and Ben answer the call to stand with shift manager Dean

 

The only negativity we encountered during my shift was when two different men tried to engage Ben and Brian in a one-sided argument about women’s rights. Once again any consideration for the unborn life is conveniently shelved. Both Ben and Brian stood firm in their faith and refused to allow themselves to be pulled into a pointless discussion.

Thanks guys. 

Sue and her daughter Veronica answer the call to fill an empty hour
Sue and her daughter Veronica answer the call to fill an empty hour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathy, who managed the vigil from 10am-noon wrote:

Gwen, Colleen and Sue from St. Winifred and Beverly Heights Presbyterian answer the call to fill empty vigil hours!
Gwen, Colleen and Sue from St. Winifred and Beverly Heights Presbyterian answer the call to fill empty vigil hours!

 

 When I arrived shortly before 10 there were five pray-ers with Dean, two who had come earlier and three who had just arrived and stayed until ~11:30 – Gwen, Colleen and Sue, from St. Winifred’s and Beverly Heights Presbyterian.  Thank you to them for answering the call so I was not alone from 10-11.  It was a quiet morning, not a lot of traffic in and out of PP.  We were able to pray together much of the time.  At 11 the van with the K of C and others from Indiana Pa arrived for two hours of virtually non-stop praying and singing (praying twice!).

Knights of Columbus, led by Fr. Tim fill the sidewalk!
Knights of Columbus, led by Fr. Tim fill the sidewalk!

 

 

 

Also Sue R. and her 5 children stopped by for a short prayer time before going to a concert at Heinz Hall.  

Sue with her five beautiful children stop to pray
Sue with her five beautiful children stop to pray

 

 

 

Sue sent me an email today about her experience of praying at the vigil with her kids.  In it she wrote:

The blessings of participating in 40 Days for Life to my family have been numerous. Discussions before and after are always so fruitful.. How we should pray for others, even those who don’t think the way we do or those who don’t see God the way we do. Today I told Dominic (#2) that when he gets to heaven one day, a baby might come to him and say “thank you for saving my life!” or “thank you for praying for me”! even if we are never there when a baby is actually saved.

I wish I could say my kids all line up, rosaries in hand, and begin to pray. That’s not the way it normally works. #3 has decided he’s done with the vigil entirely and stands in stony silence. #4 plays with her rosary and manages to drop it on the ground at least once per decade. #5 looks very cute for the first 15 prayers then you really need to have snacks on hand or it goes downhill quickly.

However, my two elder children (yes, even #2!) managed to stand and pray their way through 3 decades. I think they sense when evil is stronger and try to step up and work hard. Whatever the reason, when I looked up, I saw the face of one of the nuns (she was likely in her mid-80’s). Her smile was a little bit of Heaven amidst those dark surroundings. She was smiling at my son and I hope, at that moment, whispering a prayer for he and I to have the grace to do God’s will.”

What an amazing blessing for my children to see so many others willing to step out and pray for life. Those with religious vocations make such an impression on my little people. How blessed we were to be in their presence today. It is so good that you gather so many together to pray for life. The fact that we are building God’s kingdom in the process is so very amazing.

Thank you Sue for helping to build the culture of life…starting with your own family!  You are blessing our community with your witness!

Cathy’s report continues…

The three ladies from South Hills moved to the other side of the circle to give some coverage on that side.  A young woman, who had previously gone by with some friends, returned to talk.  It seemed to be more of a religious discussion, as she questioned where in the Bible the “Before I formed you in the Womb, I knew you.” quote was located.  Sue told her it was in Psalms.  She went away, but some seeds were planted.  Hopefully, they grow.  Bill H. stopped for a few minutes, asking for some prayers for his son.  He also said something that stuck with me – He said that everyday is the best day ever, he is always thanking God for all things, and that everyday he throws his will in the garbage in order to do God’s will.

I (Nikki) arrived for my 12pm-4pm shift, which I was blessed to share with members of my own church, St. Irenaeus Church in Oakmont.  When I arrived, Fr. Tim was already leading his group in non-stop prayer and song!  My pastor was also there, and so we were blessed to have a double duo of priest power! 

Fr. Tim and Fr. Frank
Fr. Tim and Fr. Frank gave us a double shot of priestly prayer power today!

Members from my church jumped right into prayer alongside Fr. Tim’s wonderful group, who regularly drives two hours (each way) from Indiana County to witness at our vigil!  It was a powerful experience of Christian unity and witness and I believe it had an effect on many a passerby!

Church on the sidewalk!
Church on the sidewalk!

While Fr. Tim and Fr. Frank were leading our prayer, a young father stopped to ask us to pray for his child, who was sick.   It was touching to see this man (who didn’t strike me as being a religious man) reaching out in faith to these two men who visually represent Christ to our world.   It reminded me of the passage in the Bible where a father asked Jesus to heal his son, who was possessed by Demons.  The man’s faith wasn’t strong…but it was strong enough to ask Jesus to heal his son!   (Mark 9:23-24)

 

prayer warriors cover the sidewalk
prayer warriors covered the sidewalk today

 

McNellis Council Knights of Columbus witness for life!
Knights of Columbus, McNellis Council

Witnesses from St. Irenaeus in Oakmont

Prayer warriors from St. Irenaeus
Prayer warriors from St. Irenaeus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1pm Fr. Tim’s group left and it was St. Irenaeus’ turn to fill the space around Planned Parenthood with prayer.  Quite a few of my faithful brothers and sisters joined me.

While we were praying a young woman named Ebony stopped to talk.  She thanked us for taking a stand against abortion.  She was 24 weeks pregnant and was interested in looking at the fetal model set to see what her baby looked like at this stage of development.  She said her and her boyfriend are getting married this weekend!  She loves Jesus Christ and said she would love to attend Cornerstone Church in Export, but it is too far for her..so she has been attending a Catholic Church in the Southside.  She prayed with us for a few minutes before leaving.  I gave her a little gift for her baby…a pair of pink booties.

Ebony, holding the 26-week fetal model.  She is 24 weeks pregnant and is keeping her baby!
Ebony, holding the 26-week fetal model. She is 24 weeks pregnant and is keeping her baby!

 

Natasha, University of Pittsburgh Student
Natasha, University of Pittsburgh Student

At the end of my vigil shift, a young woman named Natasha stopped by to talk.  She was also interested in the fetal models.  She told me she is a Pitt student and is doing a report on the pro-life movement.  She knew about 40 Days for Life already and we talked for a long time.  It turns out she is pro-choice and not a Christian, but we had a very nice, respectful conversation.  She is studying art and writing, and I told her those are my two loves as well.  She is a very sweet girl and it was a joy to talk with her.  God seems to use the pro-life movement to bring His Children Home to Him.  He just may have His heart set on Natasha…we will see. The Spirit is ALIVE  on the streets of Pittsburgh…that is for sure!!!

 

When I left at 4:30, our shift manager, Richard was all alone in the rain.  No one answered the call to fill the empty hour.  But he said he would be fine.  There was one person signed up for the 5pm hour and one person for the 6pm hour…and shift manager Jim was scheduled to relieve  him at 5:15.  Jim sent in this photo from the end of our vigil today:

Lisa from St. Coleman answered the call to fill an empty hour, with Tom (Diane's other half), picking up the signs at the end of the day.

Lisa from St. Coleman answered the call to fill an empty hour, with Tom (Diane’s other half), picking up the signs at the end of the day.

Thanks to everyone who is praying, fasting and witnessing during these 40 days!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

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