I have been whining a lot lately…to anyone who will listen. (My husband, customers, friends and even to God.) Whining about being too busy, trying to juggle too many things all at the same time, always in a hurry, racing, racing, racing. This morning I asked the Lord to give me some advice. Am I supposed to be working so hard? Or, am I supposed to enjoy my life? Should I cut back on some things?
The verse that jumped out at me from today’s reading from Luke 12 was, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” The words “required” and “demanded“ struck me as sounding pretty strong. Then I thought about the word “entrusted“. When God ENTRUSTS us with something…it is precious! It would be a crime to either lose, ruin or waste what God has entrusted to us.
So, I didn’t get the answer I was hoping for. And then, in today’s Office of Readings, I read about St. Isaac Jogues…how he had come to North America in the 1600’s to be a missionary to the Iroquois, who ended up torturing and brutally murdering him. In his letter (written soon before his death), he was not whining to God because of his sufferings. In fact, he was actually joyful, because he was doing it out of love for God and his Iroquois brothers. After his death, one of his companions wrote about the conversion of the Iroquis man who had murdered him. He wrote: “It must be confessed that the spirit of Jesus Christ breathes where it pleases. This poor man (the Iroquois) astonished us all. He gave marked evidence of his belief, and asked pardon of God for his transgressions. ‘Yes, I believe’, he said, ‘I wish to go to heaven. But I am grieved to have offended him who has made all. Jesus, pardon me! Jesus, pardon me!’ he said in his own language. ‘Do not doubt,’ he added, ‘that I believe with all my heart what you teach me.’ ” He was baptized and took the name of the man he had killed, Fr. Isaac Joques.
Wow! St. Isaac gave his life in a painful and brutal way…and it resulted in salvation for the man who had killed him…and I am complaining about giving my time in hopes of helping to bring about an end to abortion? Shame on me!
But God is so good and kind…He knew I needed a little encouragement! I received that encouragement when I read Beth’s shift report from yesterday, where she wrote of a woman who changed her mind and left Planned Parenthood, crying and saying she had decided to keep her baby! And again TODAY Cecilia writes about a young woman who came out during her shift, saying the same…and thanking all of us for our presence there! Okay Lord…forgive me. I am SO thankful for the treasure of my life that you have entrusted to me…and I will try to be more joyful about the tiny little sufferings that you ask of me…for the good of my brothers and sisters who do not know you yet.
That is my prayer. Please pray with me.
Now, onto the shift reports from today:
7 – 9 am – Nikki
I arrived for my 7-9 am shift to find Katie, Henry, Marian and Diane. Diane was busily setting up all of the vigil materials that we have come to take for granted. Somehow, they just “magically” appear every morning at 7am, and then again, “magically” disappear at 7pm! Diane and Tom….we are SO indebted to you for your sacrifice each day! I don’t know what we would do without you!
After Diane left, Marian stayed until she had to leave for work at 7:30, and then it was Katie sidewalk advocating, along with Henry praying. I was trying to do a little of both. There were a few customers going in…some took the information. Katie and I had the opportunity to talk to a young woman who was going in for birth control. We tried to plant some seeds about purity and the wisdom of God’s plan for us.
A couple from St. Joseph in Coraopolis came to pray, Steven and Denise, along with Mark from St. James in Sewickley. I sure didn’t need to worry about being alone on the sidewalk today!
9-11 am Katie & Elsie…check back later for their report.
11 am – 1 pm Cil reports:
Many blessings for my shift today. Here are a few:
The weather was just beautiful! My friend, Joyce, due to change of events was able to not only go to the vigil with me but she drove us down since my car is acting up. She was a faithful pray-er during my whole shift. The Holy Spirit was truly moving today!
Elsie stayed through the whole shift on “the other side” and was great at reaching out to others as usual.
The wonderful couple, AnnaMarie and Bob, kept me company and did a great job representing their church, St. John’s of Delmont.
My college friend, Lisa, stopped by as well as Bill H. But I was so preoccupied with the people on the streets to be able to catch up with them.
We had a SAVE today!! Thanks to those present earlier in the day, “M” came out of PP and told me she couldn’t go through with it. She had tears on her face. She said she knew where to get medical help and food but her main concern seemed to be after the baby was born…where to get diapers and clothing. I did share resources with her. I offered to take her to C.C. but she said she would be fine and headed that way when we finished talking. We exchanged phone numbers and first names. I don’t see her changing her mind. She encouraged us to “keep doing what you’re doing”. It made a difference in her life and her child’s. Please keep “M” in prayer. I touched base with her when I got home and will check in again in a few days…
Camille stopped and shared her wonderful life story with us. Back in 2011, she was homeless and found herself pregnant. She came to PP to get an abortion but a pastor “in collar” spoke with her and she changed her mind. She had her child and placed the child in foster care. She is now married to Rev Ronald from a Baptist church in Wilkinsbug. They have a ministry to the homeless called “Serenity Sunshine”. They come to Market Square every Sat. He speaks with the men and her with the women. She said that many of the ladies find themselves pregnant. Camille is able to witness to them thru her experience and direct them to the help they truly need. I did share resources we had with her and encouraged her to have her church or ministry come to join us at the Vigil.
Had a wonderful encounter with a young woman who says she “works” for PP to help “keep them open” and available to women. She briefly went in and then came out before speaking with me. She claimed that woman would still seek abortions even if it were made illegal. She said she had 2 abortions… the first at 16 and the other around 20. She has a hormonal problem and the Dr told her the babies were dying and she would die too if she didn’t have the abortions. I expressed my sadness for her to be in that situation and explained how and it sounded like she was miscarrying. We care about the life of mothers and their babies. I don’t know that abortion was her only option and don’t know that the Dr gave her the best advice but that is what she was told. We don’t condemn those who are in difficult situations like that. I didn’t think it would help to suggest that she may have had other options. She said she did still want children and wants to adopt. She was in foster care herself growing up. It was a bad experience and she had a difficult childhood. But I told her it was good that her mother chose to give her life, that she made it to this point and seems to be smart and is beautiful…that God has a plan for her life and all life. Also, I said how it would be helpful if more money went to help support Foster Care and Adoption services which she said needs to be improved. I shared Adoption resources with her and also gave her RV info since she seemed to be grieving the loss of her children. I wish I had Pope Paul VI Institute resources (http://www.popepaulvi.com/ ) to share with her so that if she finds herself pregnant again, perhaps they can work with her to try and keep the pregnancy. Though she started off upset with us, she left smiling, thanking us and I gave her a hug.
1 – 3 pm…Chris wrote:
There was a lot more activity at PP this afternoon, an abortion day. There were five prayer warriors during my shift, including a Sidewalk Advocate who was lovingly relentless in trying to give passersby “Help” brochures. A lot of brochures were accepted by people walking by. Rosaries were prayed for the unborn babies and their parents. It still amazes me that people walk by, stone-faced, staring straight ahead, as if we weren’t there. A young homeless man came by, we offered him a granola bar, and he said, “Awesome! Thank you so much.”
3 – 5 pm Shift Manager Barbara reports:
The thrill is gone. People pass us. School kids happily crowd and rush by, shouting, laughing. Commuters quietly line up and bus home.
People shuffle in and out of ugly Planned Parenthood as if it were not busy killing children…as if it were not dismembering families.
The thrill of standing witness is gone. The chill remains. The weather is lovely…the site is foreboding.
Richard and I are joined by Judy and Hank. Our prayers are for all people vulnerable to the lure of abortion as a solution. God help us.
Barbara, Shift Manager
5 – 7 pm Joe K. wrote:
Another awesome fall evening! The “vigil bat signal” went out the day before for folks to join the 5-7 pm shift which portended a quiet evening. Though it was both quiet and quite positive (a number of thumbs-up, thank you’s). My brothers and sisters (literally) did not disappoint as this vigil did not fly solo – God Bless You All (from the person that put out the signal to those that heeded the call).
I was joined by Wednesday evening regular, Hank, and his wife Judy (St. Valentines). Judy informed me that they would be staying for the shift as they saw the call-out. We were joined later in the evening by Sister Jolenta, who was returning for a second time this campaign – this time to honor her brother, Fr. Joe S. from Ascension Parish in Greensburg, who passed away 1 year ago while visiting Poland. Fr. Joe was a regular at the 40 DFL Vigils, his last one, just before he passed away. Sister shared that she helps out with many ministries, including Catholic Cemeteries and tries to make a vigil to 933 Liberty Ave. near her birthday – which I do myself and think is a great idea for a multitude of reasons…
Overall, this evening was a very peaceful time for prayer and reflection – seemed like very little distractions (i.e., buses). Judy shared her “special way” of saying the last Mystery of the Rosary that honors and remembers the unborn and with love. As Judy and I discussed how anyone can deny the intrinsic moral evil that takes place behind the doors of places like 933 Liberty Ave. Actually, it starts well outside the doors…The phrase that describes this that Judy enlightened me to was “diabolical disorientation”.
Speaking of “diabolical disorientation”, as I was speaking with Judy and Sister Jolenta, I noticed Hank on the other side of the arc in a discussion with an “animated” man, “A”. Apparently “A” was angry – venting about many things, some religious, some moral (abortion), but from a distance Hank stayed calm and held firm. “A”, frustrated eventually left. We prayed for “A” immediately afterwards – please keep him in your prayers.
One young couple stopped by and were fascinated by the fetal models and seemed supportive. They were given a copy of “Watch Me Grow” and headed into the evening.
Also, I would be remiss to mention that there was a big birthday anniversary (ironic???) this past weekend – 100 Years of that organization at 933 Liberty Ave. started by Margret Sanger… Cupcakes are certainly in order for our most vulnerable – our unborn brothers and sisters who won’t enjoy a birthday…
Be sure to mark you calendars to attend our 40 Days for Life closing rally on Sunday, November 6th! Meet at Planned Parenthood at 6:30 pm to close out the final half hour of our 40 day vigil in prayer and song! Following our time in front of PP we will gather in the welcome center at Catholic Charities (212 Ninth St.) for a fun time of fellowship and food! Fr. Jason Charron lead us in prayer and will speak. Hope to see you there!