“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.” John 5:21
I have been thinking about renewal. Maybe because spring is in the air, and that naturally makes us think of new life. But also the readings lately seem to be pointing to renewal…to a newness…a freshness! The Gospel reading today from John 5, speaks of God giving life to the dead! On Monday, the Gospel reading from John 4 told of an important official begging Jesus to heal his son, who was near death. Jesus spoke the words, “You may go; your son will live!” Yesterday’s Gospel was also from John 5 and told the story of the man who had been ill for a long time, but who could never reach the healing waters of the pool of Bethesda. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?”
I imagined the NEW-NESS…the FRESHNESS of those moments! That moment when those people felt something like a fresh wind, rushing into their stale and musty lives…as the door in their hearts burst open to receive new life in Christ! I imagined someone who had been “stuck” in their sins…flat against the earth…receiving the strength to rise up…new life being ripped away from the old life of death. I thought about the POWER of God, pushing against all the forces of darkness…breaking down the power of death!
Isn’t this exactly what we are doing through 40 Days for Life? We are praying, fasting and standing as witnesses, trusting in God’s promise to hear our prayers and answer them. We acknowledge His power and strength to save us…even from the terrible sin of abortion! We are trusting in Him to use us to bring NEW LIFE to our city, through our loving interactions on the sidewalk, and through our prayers and sacrifice. And we are believing that one day the building at 933 Liberty Avenue will be a source of LIFE instead of death.
We BELIEVE! We PRAY & FAST! We STAND as witnesses to God’s love, mercy and kindness!
Read on for stories and photos of those who brought LIFE to the sidewalk today…
Sue D. was the first shift manager of the day from 7-9 am and wrote:
What a beautiful morning on the sidewalk! I was joined by members of Hosanna Church in Brighton Heights. What a beautiful witness to have 3 strong men + the lovely Vicky standing for life! It was a mixed bag of comments, seeming to alternate almost evenly between support and negativity….its so good to be on the side of TRUTH! A lot of “women of steel” passed us and Peggy greeted each group with “welcome to our city” which cracked me up, but they were really fun and joyful groups of women! About 5 young ladies went into pp and we tried to hand out fliers, so they are informed that there are alternatives to choosing abortion/death for their child. Marian stopped on her way to work and Bill was there for a time and dressed so dapper, that I had to take a picture! Kevin from Hosanna came to take over with Shift manager Cathy right before 9am.
The second shift from 9-11 am was “manned” by Cathy. She wrote:
How nice to not have to wear 5 layers of clothes! Peggy, Elsie, and several members of Hosanna Church (Vicky, Kevin, Meredith & (husband), Neil, and Erin) came at various times to pray and witness. Saw a couple of couples (mother and daughter, two friends) and some individuals go into the clinic, but none wanted info or to talk. An older man, when offered a flyer, said that, as a man, he didn’t think he should have any say in the matter. He was very nice and talked a bit, but then had to catch a bus. He just doesn’t get it!
I (Nikki) arrived for my 11 – 1 shift, bringing my dear hubby Joe along for the ride. I thought I would choose the warmest day so far…to make it easy on him!
Joe enjoys passing out literature and greeting passersby with a smile. He is always very friendly and jovial…that is the trademark of his personality…so it was sort of a shock when he received a “F-YOU” from someone he had greeted this morning. But mostly, we received positive remarks. It was very warm, sunny and beautiful during my shift…what a pleasant day to witness to life! Memorial Park Church in Allison Park had adopted the 11-3 shift, and they had many wonderful participants. I was especially impressed with Jaime, who had packaged little baggies with candy and referral cards to Women’s Choice Network to hand out!
I told Jaime that there is another young woman named Katie who has also been bringing little “gift bags” with goodies and pro life literature to pass out. Things like this inspire those of us (speaking for myself here), who have gotten into a “rut”, after coming for so many years…we forget to be creative…and things like this help to inspire us! It was an honor to stand with these great folks from Memorial Park Church today!
Kathy L., “Off-duty” shift manager and sidewalk advocate was there with her church (Memorial Park), and had made a new sign to wear. The verse she wrote on this sign fit right into the theme of this blog post! It’s all about NEW LIFE in CHRIST!
There were a few people who entered the clinic, but it didn’t seem terribly busy. The sidewalks were very busy with passersby! One worker came out, and I was reminded of what I wanted to say to her….but a bus was going past at that moment and it was way too loud for her to hear me. What I want to say is, “Go to abortion-worker.com…they can help you to find another job!” I received a phone call yesterday from someone who works for Abby Johnson’s ministry, “And Then There Were None”. She told me of a clinic where a man who comes to pray always says this to the workers…and this clinic has had five workers leave! So this is what I am going to say to them, along with wishing them a good day….from now on!
My shift went by quickly, surrounded with so many wonderful people…and before I knew it, my replacement shift manager, Jim, arrived:
Jim wrote of his 1-3 pm shift:
Everything went real well Today. Many people accepted our Literature and seemed to be very kind and not combative. There was a girl who passed by who I guess to be in her twentys and with a smile on her face stated how abortion is wrong. Terry was speaking to a man who was ready to go into the clinic for STD Testing and after talking with Terry about other Health Care Options decided to change his mind about getting it done at planned parenthood. I talked to a man who went to the clinic door with a woman and then I would assume was coming back and told him there was a better way and he seemed to be thinking about it and if I can recall correctly got Literature from Terry. People also taking our material who were entering the clinic, including the Security Guard, Educating these people is a positive approach, especially if they tell others.
Barbara managed the vigil from 3-5 pm and wrote:
This evening, about 15 well dressed executive types sporting briefcases went into PP. Two hours later, they had not yet come out. PP is regularly supported by millions of tax dollars.
PP is big guns. They have brains and brawn.
Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life and the prolife network is supported by volunteers and private donations.
We could look scrawny and hopeless in comparison.
However, let me share a little of the bigger picture.
In the holy Gospel according to John, 6:1-5, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Philip and Andrew respond naturally to Jesus’ telling them to, “Have the people recline.” “Hey, wait,” they said. There were about 5000 hungry people. Where would they go to get enough food? If there were a place to go, two hundred days wages would not be enough to buy enough for each person to have a little bit. But…. They did what Jesus told them. Jesus blessed the 5 barley loaves they had. After the meal, people gathered the leftovers and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments that had been more than the crowd could eat.
God makes more than enough available to people in crisis. He invites them to choose; life or death. The offer is open until the last moment of their life. The decision is theirs. There is a time limit. There is no limit to God’s mercy while time is left.
Audrey managed the vigil from 5-7 pm and wrote:
Today the 5 to 7 Wednesday afternoon vigil was the most eventful shift I have ever experienced. We were blessed with the prayerful presence of Hosanna Church – Pastor Gary, Kim, James, Bernadette, and Neil.
Hank, our faithful friend, who graces us every Wednesday – rain or shine – was with us.
And today the sun was shining! I think that is why we had so many encounters with passersby. Mattie stopped and spoke with us – his sister aborted her child and he is trying to come to terms with that. We offered prayers and support. A very hostile and aggressive young woman openly tried to argue with us. She was accompanied by two older women who supported her arguments and encouraged her to continue her rantings. This woman did not want to hear our side and continually said, “Let me finish.” when we tried to talk to her. It seemed she did not ever want to finish…… We determined the confrontation was going nowhere and there was little hope to help this woman, so we had to ignore her arguments. We told her we would pray for her and her reply was, “Don’t bother. There is no God.” I think that says it all. We were approached by a friendly looking older African American man. He asked us what we were doing. He replied that PP had “helped” his daughter and that it helps young women decided whether to have an abortion or not. He donated to PP and believed it is a good place. He said his daughter has two children now and is a doctor. He said that if she hadn’t had an abortion, she would not be as successful as she is. He said the abortion made her a better person….. Just like the young confrontational woman, he would not listen to the truth. I think that when the weather is warmer, our 40 Days vigil has a great impact on people because they aren’t hurrying to get inside to get warm. More people smile and give us words of encouragement. And more people try to discourage us and tell us we are wrong. But that is why we are there….
We are fast approaching the closing of our 40 Days for Life! You are invited to attend our closing rally! Here are the details:
Sunday, March 20th at 6:30 pm in front of PP for closing prayer and hymns
and 7:00 – 8:30 inside Catholic Charities Welcome Center (corner of Ninth and Liberty) for a time of fun, fellowship and food! The meal is pot-luck, so bring something yummy to share!
Finally, I have just come to learn of a great resource for the victims of rape…both the children conceived in rape and the women who have become pregnant from rape. There are very inspiring videos and testimonies on this website. If you ever felt at a loss for what to say when someone tells you they think abortion is okay in the case of rape, you will want to pass along this website! Go to
http://www.savethe1.com/ or just watch the promotional video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6HO0oP6fdU
Thanks to everyone who prayed, fasted and witnessed today! Keep shining your light!
Your sister in Christ,