What do we look like to other people, I wonder…as we stand and hold our signs and pray? Do you think most people think we look silly…or maybe just self-righteous?
I overheard one couple today, as they were walking by our vigil. One said to the other, “They will spend their time coming here to do nothing, instead of helping people who actually need help!”
If I had been able to engage these two men in conversation, I would have told them that the large group that was praying at the time, whom they were referring to…(Guardians for Life, led by Fr. Tim), will be under a bridge feeding the homeless tomorrow…and that they do that every week! I also could have told them that just last night, our own 40 Days for Life team held a baby shower for Carita, who chose life because of our sidewalk help, and is now joyously awaiting the birth of her little baby girl! But they didn’t stop for conversation, and so I just let them pass by in their own “judgmental” opinion of us.
As exhausting as this pro-life work is, I have received the greatest blessings and met the most wonderful people because of it! Thank you Lord for this pro-life family that you are knitting together in Pittsburgh! If we look silly…I don’t mind. I am just going with the flow, and watching the Holy Spirit at work. God is with us…and if He is with us, who can stand against us?
Before I get to the stories and photos from the vigil today, I wanted to let you know that I will be giving my personal testimony of how I came to be involved in pro-life work and my faith journey at a Magnificat Breakfast on Saturday, October 24 at the Ramada in Greensburg from 9am-noon. The cost is $20. If you are interested, reservations must be made by October 16th and should be mailed to Brenda Concannon, 162 Bus Garage Rd, Greensburg PA 15601.
Also…no one has signed up for the empty hours coming up this week! Tomorrow (Thursday), there is no one at 7am or 4pm. I THINK the shift manager (Charlene) at 7am will have her friend, Dick, with her…but I know that at 4pm shift manager Jeannie will be alone if someone doesn’t come. Also, the 3pm hour on Friday (I am the shift manager) and 6pm (shift manager Pat will be alone). Also, 6pm on Saturday, shift manager Joe needs someone to stand with him please! You can reply to this email, or if possible, sign yourself up online at https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/
Now…onto the vigil reports from today…
Sue M. was the manager on-duty this morning from 7-9…she wrote:
I covered the 7:00a-9:00a shift this morning. Cathy Z. and Mary B. from St. Juan Diego Parish joined me. We were joined by Dave S., wearing a 40 Days jacket; he is from the state of Indiana and is in Pittsburgh on business. He said he will be coming to our vigil over the next few weeks, especially mid-week, so please welcome him when you see him. Marian C. also stopped by to pray for a few minutes on her way to work.
All was peaceful and prayerful. A few negative comments, but a few smiles and positive ones as well. As I was praying with Cathy and Mary, a young African-American woman walked by wearing an interesting T-shirt. It featured images of what appeared to be slaves packed onto cargo ships, and it read:
THE AFRICAN HOLOCAUST
In retrospect, I wish I’d have had the presence of mind to stop her and ask her kindly if she realized that the business in the building she had just walked past is the major contributor to the massive NEW African(-American) holocaust. The one that has taken an estimated 10 million black lives since 1973 (yes, that’s just the black lives). To ask her if she was aware that one out of every two black babies is aborted — and that right now in New York City, more black babies are aborted than are born. To continue on and ask her if she knew that Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s founder, stated as one of her goals the eradication of society’s “undesirables,” including African-Americans: her direct quote is “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population ….” Certainly I am not trying to diminish the horrors of the slave trade in this country’s history. But with this knowledge about PP, would this young woman ever consider wearing a T-shirt bearing these abortion facts? Would she see the parallel?
Wishing everyone peace on this lovely fall day!
Cathy managed the vigil from 9-11am. Her report will be posted soon.
I (Nikki) was the shift manager from 11-1, and had the great privilege of sharing the sidewalk with Fr. Tim and his wonderful group of Guardians for Life! There was about 20 prayer warriors, praying and singing for the whole two hours!
The time went by quickly, and before I knew it, my replacement shift manager, Chris arrived. I felt badly leaving him standing alone on the sidewalk…especially since I had so much fellowship during mine! But there was a church scheduled to come from Punxsutawney from 1-3, so I thought he would have some company. It turned out that they never arrived…and he ended up being alone for the whole 2 hour shift. He wrote:
As I stood alone in front of Planned Parenthood for my 2-hour shift, I realized I was not alone at all- that the Holy Spirit was there with me, giving me strength and courage. More than a few passersby said “God Bless You” or “Thank You” during my shift, with the highlight being the several small children who accepted a fetal model from me (after I asked their parents’ permission). There seemed to be a sizable number of PP clients entering the facility, but only several male/female couples. In the first hour, I spoke with a woman who said she’d had an abortion in the ‘80’s and, years later, joined a Bible study group, and found God’s forgiveness. She thanked me for being there and wished me well. One final thought- it never ceases to amaze me how the vast majority of people walking by us stare straight ahead with no eye contact. I wonder, when God is judging them and asks them to look Him in the eye, whether they’ll be able to do it.
Richard and Barbara managed the vigil from 3-5 and were blessed to pray with faithful members from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, led by their pastor, Fr. Carmen:
While I’m standing on the 40 Days for Life sidewalk downtown, fasting from my couch, books, iPad… my “life” grinds to a halt. Depending on the weather the sun gets in my eyes. Rain soaks into my coat and shoes. Cold conquers my every attempt to get ready with coat, sweater, slacks, socks, boots, hat, scarf and gloves. My feet get tired. My clothes feel too tight. I can’t grab a cup of coffee. I marvel at the commuter traffic crescendo reaching such decibels.
To sum it up, I feel happy as a clam.
Today, as usual, I’m in good company. Richard, Janice, Rosemary, Regina, Linda, Jonna, John and Hank crowded the sidewalk…oops, I mean we carefully maintained the pedestrian corridor as we prayed the Rosary on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We also sang hymns, thanks to the talent these wonderful people shared. We also prayed prolife specific prayers. Mark from St. Elizabeth Parish stopped by to give us $10. His parish had come earlier and he was unable to join them. A woman stopped to show us the sonogram of her grandchild. She was thrilled and the baby looked cozy.
“The story of the Good Samaritan concerns the fundamental human question,” says Emeritus Pope Benedict. Working to be a good Samaritan brings joy overflowing onto Pittsburgh streets this evening.
Barbara L., Shift Manager
Audrey and Jim managed the last two hours from 5-7. There wasn’t anyone scheduled to come and pray with them…but from this picture that Audrey sent in…it looks like they got company after all!
Stay tuned for more reports and photos…