Day 36…Elk County Right to Life from St. Mary’s PA, along with Guardians for Life, St. Catherine of Siena and many dedicated individuals carry the torch today!

Finish Line. Digitally Generated Image

We are nearing the finish line!  After 35 LONG days of praying and fasting, and maintaining a peaceful witness on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood…we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!  Unfortunately, even though our 40 day campaign comes to an end on Sunday, abortions will continue at Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh, Allegheny Reproductive in East Liberty and Magee Women’s Hospital in Oakland.  So, if you are not totally exhausted after these 40 days…and if you want to find ways to remain actively involved in pro-life witnessing throughout the year, I encourage you to attend our CLOSING CELEBRATION this Sunday! (Click HERE for details).

  • Meredith Parente will talk about her plans for the up-coming “Magee Project”
  • Sue McGrath will talk about the up-coming Sidewalk Advocates for Life training
  • You will hear testimonies from two first-time 40 Days for Life vigil shift managers…

And to top it all off…

  • You will have the joy of meeting a young woman named Jenifer who formerly was a pro-choice “counter-protester”…and who was part of a group that protested the first campaign I led, back in 2010!  They even came to my house at night, dressed in robes with their faces covered, banging pots and pans and chanting my name…to try to intimidate me on the night of our first kick-off event!  Praise to Jesus, Jenifer has humbly asked for forgiveness, is now a Christian and is pro-life! She has agreed to share her story with us this Sunday!  

I have read in the blog from the past two days that we have a new counter-protester, who has been arriving during the 3-5 pm shift.  His sign says that he supports Planned Parenthood on one side, and on the other side it says that he loves Satan.  What perfect timing…that God has graciously given us the gift of witnessing the transformation in Jenifer’s life…while witnessing the darkness and confusion that this current counter-protesting is ensnared in.  We have HOPE that one day HE will also be sharing HIS story of conversion!  Please pray for him, maybe even fast for him if you feel called.  If you are there when he comes, ask God to surround you with His angels and to allow you to feel His Peace.  Try not to engage him and simply pray in love for his soul.

And if you are interested in learning more about the Magee Project, here is a word from Meredith:

Yesterday’s national 40 Days for Life blog, “Does YOUR hospital do abortions?” includes a short podcast about abortion at hospitals and what you can do about that. I encourage you to click HERE to read and listen to it.  If you would like to know more about what is being done about abortions at Magee Womens Hospital of UPMC, contact TheMageeProject@gmail.com or contact PCUC at 412-531-9272.

Sue D. was the shift manager during the 7-9 hours this morning, while Mary Ann from St. Catherine of Siena in Beechview held vigil for the unborn.  

Mary Ann from St. Catherine in Beechview, with Vigil Materials Manager and Transporter, Diane and Tom
Mary Ann from St. Catherine in Beechview, with Vigil Materials Manager and Transporter, Diane and Tom

Sue wrote:

It was a lovely morning to be greeted by the faithful Tom and Diane as well as Mary Ann from St Catherine’s of Sienna  who came to pray from 7-11am! The street seemed very quiet this morning so we had plenty of time to pray the rosary and divine mercy. There were two couples who entered pp and you could tell as they approached because they had a sad look about them. Unfortunately neither coupled accepted any information  or help from us. It truly was a pleasure to get to know Mary Ann and we said the Litany for the end of abortion right before my shift ended at 9am.

Cathy Z. managed the vigil from 9-11 and was blessed to share the sidewalk with the faithful members of Elk County Right to Life, who drive 4 hours each way…all the way from St. Mary’s PA…and then stand at the vigil for another 4 hours!  Thank you Mary Bea and your group for your dedication!  Cathy wrote:

Thank you to all those who came out today to pray and keep vigil – people from St. Catherine’s, St. John Neumann, Sacred Heart (from St. Mary’s , PA – a 3 hour drive!), St. James and St. Elizabeth’s, and Bill.  There were some people going into the clinic whom we tried to engage.  Only a couple took literature.  Bill, who was wearing the sign about the Holocaust and abortion, said a man felt insulted that we were linking the two, that the Holocaust was just for Jews.  Of course that’s not true, and even if it was, abortion is our holocaust today.  Innocent people are being killed by the millions.

When I (Nikki) arrived for my 11-1 shift, I saw that the sidewalk was quite crowded with prayer warriors!  In addition to the wonderful group from Elk County, there were also Fr. Tim’s large group of about 15 Guardians for Life, three ladies from St. Catherine of Siena in Beechview, two ladies from St. John Neumann in Franklin Park…and probably some others whom I am forgetting!  It was a challenge to try to keep the peace with the bookstore employee, but it all went well.  Fr. Tim kept everyone praying and singing non-stop throughout my entire shift.  The ladies from St. Mary’s PA prayed on the other side, while Terri and Elsie advocated for life by offering help to those going inside PP and passing by.

Mary Bea (right) is the dedicated leader of her faithful pro life group in St. Mary's PA
Mary Bea (right) is the dedicated leader of her faithful pro life group in St. Mary’s PA
More long-distance prayer warriors from St. Mary's PA
More long-distance prayer warriors from St. Mary’s PA
Rose and Mary from St. Catherine. Their leader, Mary Ann had been there since 7am, but left right before I took this picture
Rose and Mary from St. Catherine. Their leader, Mary Ann had been there since 7am, but left right before I took this picture
Fr. Tim leading his group in prayer
Fr. Tim leading his group in prayer
Faith in God was plainly evident on the sidewalk today!
Faith in God was plainly evident on the sidewalk today!
Knights of Columbus
Knights of Columbus

Thankfully, it did not appear that PP was very busy during my shift, and the weather was very warm and pleasant.  Amy, who was with the group from Indiana PA, picked up one of the fetal models and, cradling it in her open hand, walked down the sidewalk, displaying it for all to see.

Amy shows the humanity of the unborn child.
Amy shows the humanity of the unborn child.

Before I knew it, Jim showed up to relieve me for the 1-3 shift.  The group from St. Mary’s was scheduled to be there until 2, and then Seamus signed up for the 2pm hour.

Jim wrote this about his shift today:

At first the shift started out where some people seemed a little miserable that were passing by, but that was only for a very short time  and after that the rest of the shift went great . I prayed for a young woman who was open to accepting Christ and she repeated a prayer to accept Christ which gave me such joy through the Holy Spirit. Her name was Kaitlyn and she had passed by and I gave her some literature and she seemed very kind and then a few moments later she turned around to come to talk with Judy,          and I. She told Judy and I that she had a girlfriend who had an abortion awhile ago and was  still feeling a lot of guilt . Judy and the gentleman who was with us gave her pamphlets with resources and we told her there were numbers on there for counseling. Kaitlyn told us she was personally against abortion and would possibly like to volunteer some time. She was given a brochure with your contact information and she also told me that she was moving to Mount Washington in early May. When I had prayer with her to accept Christ I told her she should read JOHN in the Bible to start with and try to attend a church that preaches truth. When she told me she was moving , she wont be far from the church I attend which is a great church that has been growing for years and has growth groups that I really believe would bless her, such as the growth group for people from 18 to 35. She wanted to talk more, but I had to leave, and gave her my G-mail in case she would have any more Questions. If she does e-mail me I am going to give her the phone number for our church and they would direct her to a female member of the group who I am sure would be glad to kind of mentor her. One last thing, a young girl came with her young son to pass out pamphlets and said she was a part of our group. Judy and the rest of our group were fantastic.

Barbara was the shift manager from 3-5 and took these photos:  Her report is posted below:

1-3pm shift manager Jim, with faithful participant Judy
1-3pm shift manager Jim, with faithful participant Judy
For someone who didn't have anyone signed up to be with her, Barbara sure ended up with a lot of company! Thanks to all those who answered the call! Claudia, BJ, Katie, Nick and Jim
For someone who didn’t have anyone signed up to be with her, Barbara sure ended up with a lot of company! Thanks to all those who answered the call! Claudia, BJ, Katie, Nick and Jim
BJ, Hank and Michael help fill the sidewalk today!
BJ, Hank and Michael also answered the call for help on the sidewalk today!

Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.  Matthew 10:16

Jesus talked with the woman at the well and she brought the townspeople to hear what he had to say.

Our conversation with “Jordan” went a differently.  He is a young man who told us he is in the process of becoming a woman. He is about 20 years old, has brunette hair to his shoulders, is about 5 feet 10 inches tall and has a beautiful tenor voice.  He wore a two sided sign fashioned out of old cardboard that supports Planned Parenthood on one side and says something praising the devil on the other side.  He talked and smiled a lot.  And then, after about 20 minutes, he sprinted to catch his bus.  As we shared this splinter sized moment of his life, Jordan talked and we prayed that the breath of God draws him irrevocably to joy.

The breezy sunny sidewalk blossomed with people coming to pray.  Michael, Katie, Judy, Hank, Claudia, Bill, Jim, BJ, Katie and Nick, and Seamus joined Richard and me.  People nodded as they passed and blessed us.  Middle school children accepted small, wrapped candies from Katie and Nick.

Katie joined us as we were about to leave.  She had been a regular a few years ago.  At that time, we prayed for a husband for her and for her to have the energy to complete her education.  Today she is married to Joel and is an occupational therapist.  Go Katie!

Mimi joined us from Cathedral parish.  She is an amazing Italian widow, dressed all in black, fiercely independent and talks with a thick accent. We had not seen her this spring until today.  She promptly got us to begin the Joyful Mysteries for a Rosary.

When we go to the sidewalk for our shift, we do feel like sheep going to mix with the wolves.  Anything can happen.  We do sometimes have to be shrewd as serpents.  But mostly, the shift feels just right.  We thank God for sending us.

Audrey managed the vigil from 5-7pm and took these photos.  She wrote:

We ended today’s vigil with mixed feelings – we are happy to have completed our final day as shift managers for the Wednesday 5 to 7 shift, but we are saddened to see it end.  We felt we made a difference this campaign.  Perhaps it was the warmer weather that caused people to spend more time interacting with us or perhaps we more open to the Lord in our prayerful vigil.  We were blessed as always to have faithful Hank with us to share his quiet strength and faith.  Katie, another regular, offered cheerful prayers and thanksgiving.  Claudia, Jim, Tom, and BJ from Holy Trinity in Robinson joined us – the Knights of Columbus were well represented with this group.  Mimi delightfully shared stories from the many years she has been participating in the vigil.  Jim and I wish a most Blessed Easter to everyone and God bless the unborn angels we have fasted and prayed for this Lenten season.

Many prayer warriors showed up tonight!
Many prayer warriors showed up tonight!
Shift manager Barbara (center) surrounded by pro-life friends!
Shift manager Barbara (center) surrounded by pro-life friends!
5-7pm shift managers Jim and Audrey had lots of company during their shift!
5-7pm shift managers Jim and Audrey had lots of company during their shift!

 

 

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