Thank you today to St. Joan of Arc parish in Bethel Park, St. Bernard parish in Mt. Lebanon and St. Alexis parish in Wexford for keeping the vigil going on the 40th day and finishing strong! Also thanks to Northway Christian Community for sending a group to help us end our vigil on a strong note!
Here’s the report from the 7am-10am shift manager, Sue:
Day 40! And it dawned quite beautifully! We had a few passing drops of rain, but other than that, it was pretty much downright balmy. (Did anyone think they would ever use the word “balmy” again?!?!!) I was joined by Robina, Mary, JoAnn, Nina, and Ian & Erin (expecting their second child!), all from St. Joan of Arc Parish, and Bill also came by on his way to church, completing his goal of at least stopping by the vigil each of the 40 Days. Our shift was prayerful and not too eventful otherwise. Bill left us with an interesting thought and something certainly to look forward to: he said not to forget that when we get to Heaven, we will be wonderfully overwhelmed by all of the babies who have ever been aborted, hugging us and thanking us for our efforts to promote respect for Life while here on earth. What a beautiful thought!!I would like to personally thank Nikki and Diane, as well as all of the shift managers, for your undying dedication to 40 Days and to Life. Of course my tiny “thank you” is woefully inadequate to acknowledge your amazingness. What an inspiration you are to all of us. I am SO BLESSED to know and be associated with all of you for such a holy purpose! May God bless you all!Sincerely,Sue McGrath
Jeff stood the 1-4 shift and reports:
Thanks to everyone from St Bernard’s and St Alexis’ churches for standing with me today, and answering Christ’s question to us all, What more can I do? Ok, I stole that from the Catholic Men’s Conference from yesterday, but the question remains for each and every one of us.
Maybe your church or group would like to adopt a 2 hour shift during the next vigil. It is a six week commitment in exchange for a life-changing event for you, for like-minded people such as yourselves, and for the babies we will never see in this life.
The final half hour of prayer on the sidewalk:
Pastor Bryan was there during the final hours of the vigil and wrote about a break-through in post abortive healing that happened on the sidewalk:
A young lady stopped by and started talking stridently to me “Do you know what it’s like to be raped? And at 3 years old?” and we were off and running, from god is light and dark and all over the map, an animated and not too quiet discussion. I think some there were thinking this is disrupting our group – which it was – but God was telling me that this woman was different from those who come and only want to argue. It was while discussing agape love, I think, it came out that she had also been raped after puberty and aborted the baby. Shortly after that revelation, one of our women (I’m sorry, I don’t know her name) came over, talked softly to her (I backed off then), and then picked up one of the fetus in utero models to show her what her baby had looked like. A great breakthrough came with tears and submission and release, and she fell into our worker’s arms. After at time of that comfort and release, she and I continued to talk and she apologized for the abrasive way she had treated me, but I told her that it had been the hurt little girl inside that had been crying in despair. During our initial dialog one of the many things I had mentioned to her was how I read peoples’ faces when counseling. I then noted that she was now smiling (which she didn’t realize); that when she arrived her face was defiant and hard …. and now her face is soft – and beautiful! — that she was a beautiful woman, and kept marveling at her smile and beauty. And it was truly a beautiful and wonderful change that God had brought in releasing her from all the rage that had been torturing her. I gave her some literature to take along explaining more about God and salvation.
Two footnotes. We aren’t in this alone, and I’m used to team ministry where the Lord can work through more than one person, as He did last night — it’s not about us, it’s about Him. The other note I discovered while riding Paul D home after the festivities – he said he had been praying for the Lord to help me while the dialog was going on. We need to do this when we see any of us counseling with someone while out there on the sidewalk. OK one other footnote – we never know what the person is like inside their exterior of bluff, defense, anger, or whatever, but God does. A when we seek to see what He sees in the person we can be strong – yes, strong – in love and respect countering the Devil’s lies even when that person’s coating over God’ image disrespects us. But for the grace of God, there goes I.
The final day of the 40 Days for Life campaign also included an evening of reflection and fellowship at Catholic Charities downtown.
There were a few points points made this evening by Pastor Adam, Jen from Womens Choice Network, Al and Nikki that I would like to share:
We can add the word “diverse” to the description of 40 Days for Life: Diverse, Christ-like , Prayerful, Peaceful vigil. 95 Churches and about 1000 participants is not a homogeneous group. Many came to pray from at least 2 different states, several different Christian denominations and a few different generations. In fact, it’s like a glimpse of heaven right there on the sidewalk.
The 40 Days campaign saves lives: Jen from Women’s Choice Network Oakland center enthusiastically shared her experience of meeting clients who have been directly and positively impacted by the prayerful presence at Planned Parenthood and the resource flyers that are handed out to passersby at the vigil.
Even though the 40 Days is over, abortion is still a threat to the vulnerable unborn, so we must continue to pray and pray unceasingly. We are called to be “doers” of the word and not just hearers. We must be a united Christian community and do what has been asked of us: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
As Christians united in prayer and fasting for an end to abortion–we are on the winning team:
The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37). –excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest By Oswald Chambers
Final Prayer (from today’s devotional): Father, you are the God of hope. Your word fills us with the vision of the world to come, when every tear will be wiped away, and death will be no more. Father, how we need that hope, how we are strengthened by that vision! Keep our hearts focused on heaven, and diligent in the labors of earth. As we struggle against the culture of death, root our souls in the assurance of victory. We pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” — Revelation 21:4-5
Yours, in Christ, Julie C.