Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” –Genesis 1:26-28
When we read our Bibles, one of the main lessons that we learn is who God is. We know that God is love, God is uniquely concerned with humanity, and that He is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ—the Sacrifice offered for our redemption (And we could keep going forever talking about the greatness of our God!). However, when we read our Bibles, we also discover who we are. Part of the divine mystery is that “who we are” is a reflection of who God is. Genesis tells us that we are made in the image of God. That means that we were created to look like God and that we are all images of God to this world. In other words, the world “sees” God through us. The Bible tells us that all people, both male and female, are made in the image of God. The Bible doesn’t say that God created us “black and white/gay and straight/poor and rich/strong and weak.” Rather, Scripture tells us that all people, no matter who we are, reflect the image of God. Because all human life bears the image of God, all human life is valuable, as we can learn more and more about God through others’ reflection of Him. It doesn’t matter if that life is “viable” or not. That life is valuable because each life reveals a different facet of the God whom we love and serve. As we pray outside of Planned Parenthood, let us pray that the mothers and fathers who go into that place will see God in the life growing inside the womb. Pray that God reveals Himself to them through the tiny person who has entered their lives and that they will see the intrinsic value in that life and that the lives of the mother and father will be changed by seeing the image of God appearing in their midst.
For those of you who don’t know, there has been a man coming to our vigil who has been taking pictures of people and harassing and startling shift managers and participants. Please be aware that Pennsylvania does have laws concerning harassment. While no one has been assaulted or threatened, please know that if you feel as though you are being threatened, you can always call the police and report the incident and request their presence. However, what we must do is remember the “rules of the sidewalk,” and not aggress against these people. Instead, I urge you to pray for them–and pray hard! They need the love of the Lord in their lives. What follows is Pennsylvania’s legal statement on harassment:
Title 18, Chapter 27, § 2709
In Pennsylvania, the general harassment law includes a variety of actions. The following prohibited conduct is relevant to street harassment, if done with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another:
* Following someone in or about a public place.
* Striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting someone to physical contact, or attempting or threatening to do so.
* Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which serve no legitimate purpose.
* Communicating to or about someone any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures.
This statute defines “course of conduct” as “a pattern of actions composed of more than one act over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of conduct.”
If a harasser follows you, uses sexually explicit or obscene language, has some physical contact with you, or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose, you can report that person.
Now, please enjoy the stories and pictures from the sidewalk!
The rain had not yet arrived, so our shift was warm & sunny. About 6 couples went into PP by 9 a.m. and a few more on my shift. An abortionist and 2 or 3 students went in as usual around 9 a.m., just as I was walking from my bus stop. I was not close enough to see who they were.
A lady named Elaine, who is from an Orthodox Presbyterian Church & counsels girls who have had abortions, told Al that the biggest reason women have abortions is FEAR. Fear that the guy will leave them, fear that their parents will throw them out, fear that people will look down on them, fear that they will not be able to care for a child, fear that the child will not be “normal”, etc. So I guess the first thing to ask any woman we meet who is abortion bound is why she feels that she needs to have an abortion.
Only 3 people arrived from St. Margaret Mary, but they were powerful pray-ers and also were handing out literature. We had 4 sidewalk advocates on duty, first Seamus and Kim and later Peg and Madelyn. Bill, Rose & Lillian were also with us. People walking by seemed to be more friendly than usual.
Regina managed the vigil from 11-1 and wrote:
As you can see the ‘wet wittness’ did not dampen the smiles or spirit of love pouring forth from the 11:00-1:00 40 Days For Life shift on Friday. Fr Frank from St. Mary Margaret in Moon Township, helped kicked off our first hour with his warm personality and easy going laugh. Peggy, Madelyn, and Pastor Bryan, our regular sidewalk advocates, worked hard as always to inspire different choices and change hardened hearts. One example was a conversation engaged by Pastor Bryan, and a gentlemen making the common argument for abortion in the case of rape. Pastor Bryan applying logic and reason, answered the argument effectively by noting that in the case of rape resulting in conception, there are are not one but two victims; the mother and her baby. He then posed the question as to why the victim should be punished? The gentlemen reportedly responded by exclaiming that “He would have to let the logic of that argument sit with him for a while”!
We had the pleasure of praying with Sharon and her lovely, newly married daughter, Elisabeth both from Holy Trinity Parish in Robinson, Helen from St. Joseph’s in Indiana Township, and Audrey from St. Margaret of Scottland.
A special thank you to all for uniting their prayers with the added sacrifice of standing in the torrential downpou! St. Pope John Paul II said; “The most powerful force in human history is to unite suffering with prayer”! I Thank God for receiving yesterday’s offering for the cause of life!
With love, Regina
I arrived after the downpour, to a warm, breezy and even sunny sidewalk. Thanks to all those before me who stood in the rain! I know your witness did not go unnoticed!
I was alone for my first hour, which was fine.
I sat on the plastic bin and prayed my rosary, while gazing at the door of Planned Parenthood…imagining the day when that door will no longer be opening for abortions. It seems to me that when a woman is alone at the vigil…and the environment is safe (a busy weekday afternoon)…more folks seem to be comfortable to want to stop and chat. One young woman was pushing her toddler in a stroller and told me that she had almost had an abortion. She had a beautiful little girl and I thanked God that she chose life! Another man stopped and said, “People don’t like it when you live a righteous life, do they?” Sort of a strange, random opening statement…but that began a conversation. Then a young man who had been working at the convention center stopped to “debate” about abortion. He was respectful enough, but I think he would have gone on forever, if Greg from St. Gregory in Zelienople hadn’t shown up at 4:00 to pray. Thanks Greg! This was his first time praying at a 40 Days for Life vigil. Soon, Lisa and her two daughters, Esther and Natividad arrived for their 4-6pm shift for SS. Peter & Paul in Beaver. It turned out that both Lisa and Greg had a lot in common…they had both adopted kids from Guatemala…and even in the same year! It’s amazing the people you meet on the sidewalk!
We were also joined by Rick (not pictured). Together we prayed the rosary and a Divine Mercy Chaplet. Another prayer volunteer, David, joined us near the end of my shift. Before I knew it, Pat was there to replace me.
Thanks to everyone who is praying and fasting these 40 days! God bless you!
Tonight I once again had Lisa to pray with, but this time she brought here two youngest daughters, Nadi and Esther, with her. It was great to see their smiling faces again. Greg, who I know from the daily mass at Epiphany parish, came down to pray for the first time. Thanks for being there tonight, Greg. And through my entire shift I was once again privileged to have David with me. Thanks so much David.While there were a few incidents of “drive-by” harassment, the night was fairly calm. The highlight came at about 5:45 when a young woman tried to get in, but couldn’t. She asked me if they were open and I told her that they weren’t. I said that we have other alternatives to PP that I’d be happy to give her, she said that she wasn’t there for an abortion. I told her that no matter what it was: birth control, STD testing, whatever, I had a list of places where she could go. She waited for me as I went to the other side and gave her one of our tri-fold resource sheets. I also happened to have on hand a pamphlet about birth control and its dangers. She took that as well. Who knows how the intersection of her being late and our being out on the street will change her life. If you can, please say a prayer for her.Pat, 5-7