I asked Joe K. if we could re-post his report from Day 15 with the Jump, Jive and Harmonize report which is representative of many shifts. He has also highlighted parts of a speech by Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia. When I read the speech. that Joe has summarized, I felt as Joe did, that it was something we could share on the blog and be in complete harmony for life with all denominations. As I listen to the leaders of my faith practice and listen to the many preachers and speakers on WORD radio, I think we all agree on the sanctity of life. In fact, the message is being hammered… is anyone paying attention we ask? Read today’s blog and take comfort that we are not alone. The Carpenter’s son is standing with us!
This blog is dedicated to the many members of the clergy from all denominations who support 40 Days for Life Pittsburgh through their prayers, presence on the sidewalk with us, or persistent message of life from the pulpit. We also want to give a special thank you to those clergy who host The Pieta- Nikki’s artistic message remembering the unborn.
Mark sent this picture in. You know the faces!! Pastor Bryan entered into ministry later in life and is so young at heart. I have seen him in action. Rose, on the right, has two young sons who are both studying to be priests.
“Jump, Jive, and Harmonize” – Heard this song from the 60’s LA rock band The Midniters for the first time today, and oddly enough, that is exactly how this evening’s 5-7 pm shift seemed to play out…
I arrived on this spectacular fall evening ready to jump into my shift. Greeted our Wednesday regular Hank, and was about to relieve Barbara as shift manager, but I noticed that she was involved in deep conversation with an emotional woman, “B”. My first reaction was to jump into the discussion, but decided that they were best to continue without me butting-in, but did support them in prayer. It ended peacefully – job well done Barbara! And keep B in your prayers.
In the course of B’s conversation I heard many a time the “…if this hasn’t happened to you, you have no right…” mantra to a number of pro-life issues… Maybe, it hasn’t happened to me, but I am sincerely sorry / concerned, and I am more than willing to help you, but it DOES NOT disqualify me from discussing, having opinions, and solutions to try and make the world a more loving, respectful place for all (the born and unborn).
What was so, so beautiful this particular evening was the harmony in seeing how our community authentically reaches out to women in need – be it Barbara talking with B or the wonderful folks from Hosanna Church that joined us today. Pastor Gary reached out to “B” after Barbara left and continued talking with her for quite a while and shared a bit about Hosanna’s overseas mission work; especially in Liberia, (they’re building their second school). Joe spreading the message of hope. Meredith leading the Magee Project. Bernadette reaching out to explain the fetal models to the four very curious children who were fascinated by them and played with them for a bit. Erin and her husband Neil, who engaged a woman about fetal development, provided her with one of our flyers. This woman revealed that she is a post-abortive mom that has long regretted her decision, has long-ago asked for, and received God’s forgiveness. Erin and Neil provided her with a Rachel’s Vineyard flyer. Hosanna harmonizing and living out the pro-life song…
Another woman, “G”, stopped by and expressed her regret over aborting her daughter, the lies and deceit of the “clinic” involved, the impact of her decision on her other children, and in near tears, the need to tell her daughter she is sorry. G was also given Rachel’s Vineyard info and keep her in your prayers.
Overall was a pleasantly large amount of support from passersby’s and not one single anti-life comment or gesture. Joe K
Joe wrote this summary:
Like myself, maybe you were not able to make this year’s Pennsylvania Pro-Life Dinner in Harrisburg this September, but I ran across the powerful Keynote Address given by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia and wanted to share.
(If interested, please see the following link http://www.paprolife.org/state-events for a transcript of the speech from which this post was based upon.).
Following are some “noteworthy excerpts”, from this keynote, categorized and which in themselves, could be given more thought, reflection, and discussion, but are not at this time for the sake of brevity…
“Evil talks a lot about “tolerance” when it’s weak. When evil is strong, real tolerance gets kicked out the door. This in turn explains a lot about our current cultural climate.”
“To put it simply: Evil cannot bear the counter-witness of truth. It cannot co-exist peacefully with goodness, because evil insists on being seen as right, and worshiped as being right. Therefore, the good must be made to seem hateful and wrong.”
“The very existence of people who refuse to accept evil and who seek to act virtuously burns the conscience of those who don’t.”
Choice & “Rights
“…people who march and lobby and speak out to defend the unborn child will be – and are – reviled by political leaders and news media and abortion activists who turn the right to kill an unborn child into a shrine for personal choice.”
“Seventy years ago, abortion was a crime against humanity. Four decades ago, abortion supporters talked piously about the “tragedy” of abortion and the need to make it safe and rare. But not today. Not anymore. Now abortion is not just a so-called “right,” but a right that claims positive dignity, the license to demonize its opponents and the precedence to interfere with constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly and religion. We no longer tolerate abortion. We celebrate it. We venerate it as a totem.”
Optimism & Hope
“People sometimes ask me if we can be optimistic, those of us who are religious believers, about the future of our country. My answer is always the same. Optimism and pessimism are equally dangerous for the believer because both God and the devil are full of surprises. But the virtue of hope is another matter. We have every reason to hope. Scripture tells us we must live in hope, and hope is a very different creature from optimism. Hope is the grace to trust that God is who he claims to be, and that in serving him, we do something fertile and precious for the renewal of the world.”
“Our lives matter not because of who we are. They matter because of who God is. His mercy, his justice, his love – these are the things that move the galaxies and reach into the womb to touch the unborn child with the grandeur of being human. And we become more truly human ourselves by seeing the humanity in the poor, the weak, the elderly and the unborn child — and then fighting for it.
The Movement & The Truth
“Over the past 43 years, the pro-life movement has been written off as defeated and finished too many times to count. Yet here you are,…disappointing your critics and refusing to die. And why is that? It’s because no court decision, no law and no political lobby can ever change the truth about when human life begins and the sanctity that God attaches to each and every human person, born or unborn.”
Wisdom of Heart
“As I was gathering my thoughts for tonight, a line from Psalm 89 came back to me again and again: [Lord,] make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. The time we have in this world is brief. The choices we make have real substance – precisely because we come this way in life only once, and the world will be better or worse for our passing.”
“God put us here for a purpose. He’s asking us turn our hearts to building the kind of world that embodies his love and honors the sanctity of the human children he created.” Archbishop Chaput
The wise words from the sidewalk will be posted as they come in!
Barb sent in her report from this morning’s 7 am to 9 am shift: Some of our favorite faces!!
Sheila was shift manager from 9 am to 11 am this morning.
Sheila sent in this picture….more joy filled people hoping all children can live to laugh the day away.. we know those aborted can’t.
We had a great turnout of prayer warriors from St. Ferdinand today. There was the normal traffic in and out of the facility, and really nothing out of the ordinary to report! Peace to all. Sheila
Marie managed the vigil from 11-1:30…stay tuned for her report.
Regina was in charge from 1:30 and reports:
Pastor Bryan and I made for a small but united team on Liberty Ave this afternoon. It was once again very encouraging to see him connect and engage with young people as they walked by. I’m always encouraged (if not a bit surprised) by the willingness of folks to take the time to stop and participate in a thought provoking conversation on the most important and controversial issue of our day. Pastor’s genuinely loving and gentle demeanor seems to immediately disarm and welcome the total strangers he reaches out to. Seeds of truth are surely being planted and cultivated! Thank you for your faithful, year round commitment Pastor Bryan! You are an inspiration and a faithful partner for life. (I would have been alone today had Pastor not been there)!
The foot traffic was heavy on the street, providing the opportunity for positive witness for life. People seemed to be particularly supportive today, offering many positive comments of encouragement and thanks. Some resource cards were successfully distributed, but unfortunately no offers for help or alternative options were accepted by those entering and exiting the clinic. But as Saint Mother Theresa said; “We are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful”.
Thank each and everyone of you for your faithfulness.
Your’s For Life,
Nikki reports from her 3-5 pm shift:
Thank you to the faithful ladies from St. Bernadette Church in Monroeville for coming to pray with me today! Dee, Winnie and another woman (sorry, I forgot her name), came and prayed for the first hour. (I forgot to take a picture). And Peggy came for the second. The only photo I took was this selfie:
Although it was a prayerful shift, I have to say that I sensed despair in the air. With the exception of some young people who excitedly asked for fetal models (there were about 5 kids who asked for them during my shift), other than that, most everyone simply ignored us. What struck me today was the hopelessness that seems to be reflected in so many faces. So many people just do not know their value. They lack meaning in their lives, because they have based their lives on material and worldly success…and when that fails them, it is like the bottom dropping out and they have nothing to stand on.
There is a noticeable difference in the children who pass us by. Their faces radiate with innocence, hope and excitement! Even if things aren’t going right in their young lives…they still have HOPE that it will get better. Us older folks seem to lose that hope when we don’t keep our hope fixed on Jesus. I guess that is why Jesus said that we are to be childlike in our faith, and that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these! Jesus came and labored on the Earth that he had created. He lived, and gave, and healed, and was mistreated and suffered and was killed because each one of us has an amazing value to God. We are precious…every one of us. Let’s never forget that…and may our presence on the sidewalk be a reminder to everyone that all human life has value. Nikki
Pat, pictured above, sent in this report for the 5 pm to 7 pm shift:
Nikki posted the later reports for me tonight. If you only look at the pictures… well you miss out on some great reflections. This past week we had inspirational writing by “Julie Andrews” “Andy Williams” “The Great Pumpkin” the “Karate Kid” and great warriors from history read back through this week and see!!
Thank you all for the conversations on print and in person.