PLEASE NOTE: vigil at Planned Parenthood will be shortened to 9am-5pm on Monday, 2/22 due to the extreme cold temperatures!
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. (Psalm 147:16)
Today we saw yet more evidence that it’s God who’s really in control. Recognizing that a decision was made on Friday night to close the vigil for Saturday due to the predicted snowstorm to make sure that no one took any unnecessary risks to travel downtown. Nevertheless, many of our prayer warriors still ventured out and made their way to Liberty Avenue. Tim was there early. Here’s what he wrote:
It was a beautiful morning when I finally arrived at the vigil site a little after 8 AM and my heart leap with joy as I saw over a dozen active prayer warriors already there holding 40 Days signs and praying. I was so excited when I saw them all. I couldn’t wait to join in. And surprisingly, it wasn’t that cold, although I had 3 pairs of socks and five layers on. Plus two hats (seriously).Fr. Tim brought his ever faithful group from afar. His booming voice was inspirational to all and even stopped a jogger who joined in prayer. Amy from the South Hills took advantage of God’s gift of snow to write a powerful message in the snow in 5 foot letters, it read “DO NO HARM”. Tom V and a friend of Jeff, the sidewalk advocate, both brought statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe to “ introduce her to those who need her”. Ever faithful Saturday regulars Meredith, Virginia, and Bill H. were there at 7 AM despite the weather. We made a powerful witness this morning as was evidenced by a passerby in a car who gave us a big thumps up. Sadly, despite the weather, a handful of women went into the center.Peace.
Off-duty shift manager, Barbara, wrote:
I was down town anyway. I walked over to the vigil and stayed from about 11:45 until 2. As usual the time spent fasting…doesn’t standing and praying there feel like fasting…was enormously beneficial. I had no 40 Days signs and must have looked like I was loitering. I decided to kneel down for those few words in the Rosary, “Oh, my Jesus, have mercy on us, especially on those most in need of your mercy.” I heard some one behind me ask “Are you OK,” as he slid his arm under mine. My “rescuer” was a late teen young man, wearing his trousers “street smart” low in the back, with sweetest smile on his face.
Joe came from Holy Trinity Parish to pray. He saw Nicki write that sometimes unscheduled people join us and Joe decided to be that person today. He works in town and sometimes joins the vigil for an hour on work days.
Almost immediately Jeff came with three 40 Days signs. We became official.
A group of “hundreds” of college age students, in town for a Christian conclave, walked past, open faced and cheerful. Two of the girls stopped and asked to pray with us. One of them led us in prayer for the young women and men temped to abort their child.
Before Jeff came with his signs, as Joe and I greeted passers by, we struck up a conversation with a woman who had been briskly walking by. She has been “on the fence” about abortion and organized religion. I’ll bet she will walk by again and talk with 40 Days people about these topics. She has moved Downtown and loves to walk.
Life is good and not complicated when you stand and pray with 40 Days.
Jeff was there from 1:15 – 3pm and said that Barb and Joe from Holy Trinity in Robinson Twp. braved the snow to come and pray:
I finished shoveling my driveway around 12:30 today and thought I would run up to church and pray for a while for the vigil. But once I got in my car, I figured I might as well just drive downtown and pray on the sidewalk. As I was driving down Liberty to park on Penn Ave. in the Strip District (meters are $3 for two hours up there) I saw 4 or 5 groups of a dozen or more college students walking towards the convention center. They were pretty much the only people I saw on Liberty, not much car traffic, and no evidence of a snow plow given the piles of snow on the street. I got to 937 to find Joe from Holy Spirit in Robinson and our own dear shift mgr coordinator Barbara. They had both been there since noon. I asked about all the foot traffic and Barb told me that their was a Christian Youth convention for college kids at the convention center (called Jubilee, I think). Almost a 100 students walked past us on their way to the convention center and thanked us for our witness. We in turn were thanking them for their wonderful witness as well. Quite the Christian Lovefest going on in the shadow of that dark place. I couldn’t help but think how different it will be on St Patrick’s Day, and am so grateful to have experienced this encounter. On a sadder note, PP was open for business and had a lot of foot traffic in and out. Joe got one girl to stop and talk with us. She was there picking up BC, but talked with us for 5 minutes or so about the right to life from the perspective of her new-age religion. I am always surprised by these positive encounters and embarrassed that I don’t initiate them like Joe did (Note to self: add this to already long list of things to pray about). At 2pm, Barb left and Lisa – from Word of God parish – showed up and led us in prayer, all the while kneeling on the wintery sidewalk. We three left at 3 with the hope that the thousands of souls who have died at 937 Liberty will know that they are – and will be – remembered by those of us who stand, and kneel, and pray….on that sidewalk.
Even though the vigil was “officially” cancelled today…shift manger Joe showed up for his 5-7pm shift and wrote:
By the time my shift started the roads were fine and the weather was warm. As I was arriving at P.P. the snow turned to a steady rain and remained that way for the rest of my shift(note to self put rain poncho in car) The weather may have been gloomy, but the evening was anything but. The jubilee was in town and the streets were bustling with young Christians. I received many God Bless you, and thank you Sir, and didn’t here one negative comment or see any of the condescending sneers.
Later in the shift, two spirit filled and well formed young men named Cody from Gibsonia, and Brian from West View stopped in a steady rain to chat and then pray with me, They lifted my being even higher and filled me with joy and hope. They took the 40 days brochure maybe we will see them again they would be a wonderful addition to our army of witnesses.
God Is So Great!!!
I was feeling so good I even took my first ever selfie and hopefully my last.
Do yinz think my puffy bright yellow down coat makes me look fatter?