URGENT VIGIL NEED TOMORROW FROM 7-11AM! The groups that had these times had to cancel…so now it looks like shift manager Marian will be alone from 7-9 and Ginny will be alone from 9-11! Please come if you can!
Before I begin to write about the happenings from today’s vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, I would like to make a public apology to someone who is very dear to me.
Bob Newman is the very first person I ever met in the pro-life movement. Back in 2009, when God was breaking my heart over abortion, it took all my courage to drive to Pittsburgh and walk the busy city sidewalks to Planned Parenthood for the first time. I was all alone…I didn’t have anyone to go with me. I was so scared, my palms were sweating and I had butterflies in my stomach. When I approached the clinic, the first thing I saw was a huge photo of an aborted baby. I was new to the pro life movement, and hadn’t seen those images before. It was a photo of Malachi., (an 18 week fetus that had been aborted using the Dilation and Extraction method). Click here to see him. His body had been found frozen inside a jar in an abortion clinic in Dallas in 1993. His gruesome and painful death has now saved many other babies from the same fate. Many times Bob has had women come up to him and thank him for holding these signs because they changed their minds about having an abortion after seeing them. Anyway, when I arrived at Planned Parenthood that first time, and was face to face with the large image of Malachi, I couldn’t help but cry. My eyes were glued to that poor little baby, to his skull with the crush marks from the forceps, and his little dismembered leg lying next to his body. Tears were sliding from my eyes as my resolve to join this fight to end abortion was cemented at that moment.
Bob has now decided to retire from the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. I guess at 85 years old, after 15 years of witnessing three days a week…he deserves to retire. But thanks to a recent video that Tom Venditti posted, I have come to realize that I owe Bob an apology. In trying to please others on my team, I asked him not to bring his large signs during our 40 days…or at least to separate from us by keeping them on one side or the other. I realize now that was hurtful to him, and I am sorry.
Bob, you know of course that you don’t need my permission to bring your signs anytime you want. After all, this is America! It is a public sidewalk, not owned by 40 Days for Life. The pr0-life movement is large and expansive….kind of like the mustard plant in yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 13). We have room in our branches for all sorts of birds! I am sorry that many folks don’t agree with the graphic signs. I believe there is a purpose, a time and a place for all the different pro-life activities. Just like a work crew building a house; Excavators dig the foundation; carpenters build the walls; electricians and plumbers do their thing; roofers, plasterers, flooring, window installers. It all comes together into one beautiful house when everyone does what they are supposed to do. No one’s job is better or more important than another’s. The pro-life movement here in Pittsburgh is rich and deep. I could never begin to name everyone…but from the many pregnancy resource centers and the heroes that work, volunteer and manage them….to the sidewalk witnesses…to the many pastors who preach the pro-life message from the pulpit…adoption agencies and homes for pregnant women…People Concerned for the Unborn Child and many others…we are blessed! Bob, please keep doing your thing, whatever you feel God calling you to! And I will keep doing mine! I know your intentions to reach Kim Everett with your signs were good and noble. And my intentions to try to keep unity in our 40 Days for Life team were also good. Tom’s intentions by putting out this video…I am not so sure…but the result is good anyway! I am sorry. Please forgive me.
Now…onto the sidewalk stories from today….
Sue M. managed the vigil from 7-9am and wrote:
I covered the 7-9a shift and was greeted not only by Beverly, who so graciously volunteered to come down so I wouldn’t be alone on the sidewalk this morning, but also by Dave and – to my surprise and delight — by Vince P. and Linda L. from my own parish, St. Sebastian. Marian C. also stopped by before work, as she so often does. My personal thanks to all of you for putting up with the rain this morning and coming down to pray. We had a peaceful shift, with the usual goings-in of clinic workers and Kim. A few women and one couple did walk in. We prayed for all of them. This will be my final shift for this 40 Days campaign, and I thank the Lord for the privilege and honor of being able to stand for Life, on a regular basis, with so many faithful. God is working and one day there will be no more Planned Parenthood and no more abortion. Praise Him!!! May God bless you all!!!
Cathy was the shift manager from 9-11am and had a Deacon and seminarian from SS. Cyril & Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary sign up to fill empty hours! Thanks so much Deacon Stephen and Bryan! Cathy wrote:
I didn’t know if anyone would be joining me this morning, but true to form, despite the rain, pray-ers came. Two, who had been with Sue, were there when I arrived, and stayed until others came, which wasn’t long. Thanks to Meagan, Bryan, Steve, Walt and of course, Bill, we had a strong presence. There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity at the clinic, though there was a lot around us, with a movie crew preparing for a shoot. We had several “God Bless You” and “Thank you!” and only one negative comment, as the person walked away.
I (Nikki) arrived for my 11-1 shift, along with two members from my church, St. Irenaeus in Oakmont. Thanks so much Cathy and Joan for coming with me to represent our church!
We were also joined by Walt from Holy Trinity Polish national church, who had been there all morning. Mark from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church also came by to pray with us, since he is unable to come with his church group this coming Sunday.
It rained…poured…for most of my shift. Kathy L. came by for her regular Wednesday Sidewalk Advocate shift. She was doing a great job offering help to people who were going into Planned Parenthood. It was very busy today, many people (some couples) were going in. At 1:00 my replacement shift manager, Chris, arrived to take over. Jim is a prayer volunteer from The Log Church, who came to stand with Chris so he wouldn’t be alone. It was wonderful to watch Jim as he used his “gift of gab” to reach out to those going in to PP, with literature and conversation. Thanks for your witness Jim!
Chris wrote from his 1-3pm shift:
And the rain kept coming… I was joined by Jim for my shift- he was a welcome sight. He did his best to try and hand pro-life literature to anyone he suspected was going into Planned Parenthood. During the two hours, about 4 or 5 couples went into PP. Several couples took the literature on their way out. We received numerous positive comments, no negative comments or gestures.
Pat filled in for the 3-5pm shift and wrote:
Took a picture of our new sign since I hadn’t really noticed and read it before. If it hasn’t been in the blog yet, maybe it would be good for everyone to see it.
Not having a window in my own office in downtown Pittsburgh, I got a little surprise when I left my building just before 3. It wasn’t just raining. It was raining HARD! As I walked out into with my hood and umbrella up, I trying to look on the bright side of things. I consoled myself with the thought that at least the good people of St. Mary’s, PA, (which included my good friend, Laurey) who drove THREE HOURS just to get to Pittsburgh so they could pray with us for FOUR HOURS, had much better weather on Tuesday.
I really enjoyed talking with and praying with seminarians Brian and Tom. Thanks for being there guys. And a little later on, meeting and getting to know (and pray with) Hank F., who I learned is a regular. It was a pleasure.
More stories and photos will be posted soon…stay tuned!