Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father… “
This campaign, our theme is FORGIVENESS. So since this is never my first impulse when I see someone walking in or out of those glass doors, I’ve asked God to help me remember to say the following prayer for each person I see go in and go out of those glass doors:
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Here’s Tim’s report:
Someone started to say, “wow, this weather is not so bad”, but then caught themselves and said, “well there’s no wind”. It was a balmy 2 or 3 degrees but spirits were high. By 9:30 it was already up to 8 degrees. Beth V., Mimi, and their team from St Elizabeth of Hungary were at the vigil promptly at 7 and more of their prayer warriors showed up as the morning progressed. Amy arrived well before the vigil started, as was the solitary witness until the vigil began. Weekly sidewalk counselors Virginia and David arrived shortly thereafter to take up the regular positions at each end of clinic. Diane brought us hand-warmers that were really, really, really appreciated.
We were blessed to have the Choices Pregnancy Center’s Mobile Sonogram at the vigil. Their team, Sue, Betsy, and Jill came by to encourage and thank everyone for their witness. What a great service they provide.
Prayer warriors continued to come and go all morning as they were concerned the weather would keep people away: Bill H. (who arrived at 7 and stayed till 10 with intermittent breaks), Sue from St Bernard’s, regulars Bill S. from St Ferdinand, and John. Plus a Saturday morning downtown jogger stopped to join in prayer (his face was covered in perspiration but quickly changed to ice). We were reminded of the words of Pope John Paul II, as we endured the numbing cold “don’t waste your suffering, offer it up and unite it with Christ’s suffering”.
Thanks to Dean who came down to relieve me of my 4th hour. What a blessing. Thank God for Hot Coffee.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Sidewalk Advocate Sue
More from St. Elizabeth
Jogger stops by to pray
Ever faithful Virginia
Dean was there from 10-11:
P.P. escorts outnumbered the vigil prayer warriors this morning when I arrived. Beth said that they had a lot of “business” early. Only one couple entered during my shift. Cathy L. tried handing out counseling information but, people refused it. Don’t give up hope.
Here’s new Shift Manager Heidi’s report:
It was a great privilege to be able to finally join this winter’s 40 Day campaign today as a first-time shift manager. It is such a gift to be in solidarity especially with the generous and faithful prayer warriors of Pittsburgh who have been enduring these harsh temperatures for over ten days now. My husband, Scott, and I were there for the 11am to noon shift and were joined by a number of men from the Men’s Fellowship Group at St. Anne’s Parish in Castle Shannon. Praying along with the strong voices of these men was quite a blessing and it was not a surprise to me that eventually we were joined by a young man who was quite agitated by the witness of our presence. My heart was saddened by his anger and the delight that he took in professing that he was an atheist and an even greater delight in his disdain for the “institution” that we call Christianity. More than anger, his face revealed to me a deep pain, hurt, and loneliness. We tried to engage him in peaceful conversation but it was not fruitful. When he left us, he stated very clearly, “I am so glad that your prayers are meaningless…they will change nothing.” His words did not hang in the air long before I recalled a verse that I had prayed over earlier this morning in preparation for the vigil. It is from Isaiah 49:23: “You shall know that I am the Lord, and those who hope in me shall never be disappointed.” All thanks be to God…we do know the Lord and are hope is sure…someday, through God’s infinite mercy, our prayers will be answered and we shall see the victory that Christ has already won for us even in that dark place on Liberty Avenue! Please pray for this young man and for all those who pass by on the sidewalk with anger who do not know the Lord and are without hope. Looking forward to my assigned shift early tomorrow morning…after seeing the activity in the clinic today, it will be good to see the doors locked even for a short time.
Julie, from 1 to 3:
There was a strong showing of the St. Anne’s men’s fellowship group during my shift: 9 men and 3 women, including me. I took a photo of what it looks like to someone walking down the street with people on either side. I was thinking: Does this look intimidating? After I looked at my own photo, I didn’t think so. The group stands there humbly praying, rosaries hanging from their hands. I would hope it looks inviting or comforting. It is, at least to me.
PP, of course, was busy today and probably 5-6 women came in and out for appointments. I think of Jesus having compassion on those who needed healing or didn’t understand his message. I pray that we could show that same loving compassion on the sidewalk. We are people who have our own hurts and disappointments and struggles in life praying for the parents who are struggling and their innocent children in the womb.
“We approach the fullness of our union in Christ on earth when we begin to realize that in Christ we too are those who are like us in our pain right now. And in Christ we can cry out as them before the Father, right now, as we are! Not for them—that’s caring. Not with them—that’s compassion. But as them. That’s Love.”
Fr. Patrick McNulty, “I live now, not I”
And here’s a special report from John, a parishioner at St. Anne’s:
Our St. Anne group began to arrive at Planned Parenthood at 10:45am this morning. There were six of us by 11am. At about 12:15pm, half of us went into Bruggers across the street for a break, then when we were done, the other half took their break. A few more St Anne people arrived later, and for the final hour from 2pm to 3pm, there were ten of us there!
The only resistance we faced was a very troubled and angry young man who hated the Church and said he was an atheist. For some reason he was riding all over downtown on a bicycle in this bitter cold, because he approached us two separate times. He lashed out at us, and at one point indicated that he had been greatly wronged by the church. I couldn’t help but think that he was a victim of child abuse by a member of the Church and I felt very sorry for him.
On the plus side, we prayed at least six Rosaries and one Divine Mercy Chaplet during our shift. The final Rosary was a Scriptural Rosary of the Sorrowful Mysteries, and I know that God heard our lament through this profoundly sad prayer.
Thank you Nikki for continuing to lead us in this effort to rid our city, nation and world of this horrific crime against humanity.
Jeannie, the 3-5 Shift Manager, took this picture and said…
…Rick Lisa and Mary stormed heaven! We learned what it’s like with and without the sun, and realized how cold and empty our lives are without the Son.
MORE REPORTS AND PICTURES WILL BE POSTED AS THEY ARRIVE.