Day 38: Sidewalk Advocates for Life on duty; Individual 10-12; Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh 11-2 Individual 2-5p / St. Regis (Trafford) 5-7

Parental guidance for such a time as this!


One sentence, uttered from a Jewish woman, melted my heart about life.  “We didn’t believe they were ripping babies apart.”  I was ready to hear that statement for pro-life animation.  The day after I heard that testimony on tape, I wrote my first published editorial.

When are people ready to accept a message?  I haven’t the slightest idea.  I do know one thing though “behold the turtle, it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out.” We deliver the message for life- it seems to be a slow process.  And in a city as wonderful as Pittsburgh, PP located in the heart of an entertainment district, delivers the wrong message for fun.  Do people know that 933 Liberty Avenue is a house of horror stories next to live theatre?

As a Christian group, we use Scripture to tell our stories because we are priests, prophets and kings.  How do we tell the story about life affirming choices when the person listening or reading is not Christian and has no interest in reading Scripture?  What if, in fact, Scripture is a “turn off”, the person won’t listen to scientific fact and ignores the obvious?

How do we melt those frozen hearts?

Let us entertain them….

“Frozen” includes veiled references to global warming, so I am told.  To me, the movie, a recent family favorite, is about computer animated relationships.   Parental Guidance-13 is not suggested although it has very sophisticated concepts masked in loveable characters. Laying down one’s life, betrayal, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation and celebration are serious issues addressed in this well -loved movie.  “Frozen” is good for business.

Adults look for more sophisticated distractions, right? The Bible is the inspired Living Word of God-a good read of it could flush a face with colorful embarrassment. It would seem that God has a good grip on understanding and writing about human behavior, but what does He know?  No entertainment value in the Bible you say?  Think again.   One just has to trust that the Script is inspiring.


Life as we know it is full of imperfections, anger, frustration, sin and everything else which is unholy.  How would your life be rated- P, PG, PG-13, R or heaven help us- X? Real life can involve scenes of sexual misbehavior, drug use, relationship discord and murder.  Jesus’ life, a real trouble maker, would be rated “R” for the violence done to him. King David, an adulterer and murderer, rates an “X”!

Mary, holy as she was, wouldn’t even get a P rating in a production.  She was pregnant and not married.  Joseph needed a message from an angel- hmm?  Have you read St. Augustine’s Confessions (for Dummies)? (I tried.) Moses?  Jeremiah? Saul/Paul?  So, those “bad asses” on Liberty Avenue think they are tough.  Get Saul and David together and their life story could be called “silence of the lambs”.  Paul and David have jaded histories!  Followers of Jesus have colorful threads in their fabrics.

I started my series of blogs this campaign with a movie about a prodigal.  Father Adam Verona, of St. Paul Cathedral,  says that prodigal means “wasteful”.  Isn’t promiscuous living a waste?

“Life as We Know It”, (not computer generated) with two popular movie stars headlining the marquee, involves two single, career driven characters, who appear to despise each other.  Thrown into a situation by the death of their best friends, they reluctantly come to a fork in the road.  Their decision to take up the cross that was left to them alters their lives and impacts the future of a young child.  The two adults have already had their hearts broken by their friends’ death and melted by the child they love.  Is the love for her strong enough for parenthood?  Do they pass her off like a basketball or throw her in an oven?



The scenes in the movie are funny, poignant, fact filled and life affirming with parental guidance-13 suggested because of scenes with non-marital sex, marijuana and special brownies.  “Life as We Know It”— never a block buster, not a new choice on IMDb but a heart-warming story for frozen hearts.  It may not have been the author’s intent, but “Life as We Know It” delivers the pro-life message of sacrificial love.  The characters take up their cross daily- falling at least three times.  Becoming a saint is a work in progress.   (It is my understanding from popular media, that both actors are parents and family oriented- although I haven’t heard them preach a sermon on it.)

No one in their right mind,

would ever suggest killing the child if the parents die first.


Jesus told stories on the sidewalk.  We hear stories on the sidewalk and write about them in this blog.  We don’t have room to tell them all.  There are even dogs who walk by us, one I know by name.  He is cute and adorable.  I wonder what he would tell his owner if he could talk.

Abba Father has long legs.  Here are our letters to Him for His children.

Life is joyful… and we must tell that story.

Pat’s heart was melted again—-5 pm to 7 pm:

Pat’s story is told with permission by the mother, pictured, of these beautiful children.

While I was supposed to have at least a few souls from my parish (St. Regis) and my brother Knights of Columbus from the parish join me this evening, that didn’t happen.  Nevertheless, several answered Nikki’s call and I wasn’t alone.  Jim came by for about 15 minutes before catching his bus (I took a picture, but it turned out fuzzy).  SM Bill stopped by for a considerable period of time, Marian came at six and stayed until the end, and Elsie – who is the best I’ve ever seen at getting people to take literature – stayed with me for my whole shift!  Thank you all.  
IMG_20170407_171702 (1)
The highlight of my evening – heck, the highlight of the whole campaign for me – was meeting Violetta and he five children.  The first thing she said when she saw me and our signs (and our baby models) was:  “Oh you guys are just the greatest.  Thank you for being here.”  Then she explained.  
She had been at the East Liberty mill seven years ago for an abortion.  As she went in there were people there who were trying to convince her not to have an abortion.  She heard what they were saying, but went in anyway.  Well, through a series of strange events – along with the voice of her conscience – she walked out and decided not to have that abortion.  Then she introduced me to Nyona, who is seven, the baby she was going to abort.  
It was obvious the way that she talked that she understood that it was God who ultimately saved her and her baby.  She said that she had made the mistake at 16 of having an abortion right there at PP. We talked quite a while and I have her information from “Silent No More.”  
When I shook Nyona’s hand I said:  “I’m glad you’re here.”  She said she was glad she was here too.  
Pat, 5-7


Barb’s report from this morning 7 am- 9 am:

The Sidewalk Singers for Life!


Oh, the weather outside was frightful.
But the prayer was so delightful.
And so we decided to stay.
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Brrrr….  Cold weather, warm hearts.
The sidewalk was warm and cozy as people crowded in. 
Over our two early hours Richard and I counted Diane, Marian, Al and Sally, Patty, Dan, Karen, Kim, Kathy and Bill. 
Patty and Dan drove in from Steubenville.
Sheila arrived from out of state to manage the next shift (what a woman!). 
Barbara 7-9 


Sheila sent in pictures from her shift from 9 am to 11 am:


There was nothing out of the ordinary this shift, except for lots of passersby dressed in various costumes!  Someone said that’s because there is a certain show in town.  Sounds like fun!  And, there were plenty of Pirates fans heading to the stadium for the noon game.  Brrrr!

Kathy (sidewalk advocate) and I talked to a 22 year old woman who was looking for help (cost to cover a moving van) to move out of a dangerous neighborhood. She is pregnant and has two other children; her husband is disabled.  She shared her story of how she came from being an atheist to a Christian who is studying to be a pastor! No doubt that the Holy Spirit is at work in this young woman…she gave such a powerful witness. She said she would like to spread the word of life to those in her community and beyond. She has numerous friends who have had multiple abortions.

 She herself considered abortion when she and her boyfriend were homeless and pregnant with their first child. She was worried about how they would survive. He told her abortion was not an option and assured her that they would find a way, because their child deserved to live.  They married shortly after that and are ‘getting by.’  Kathy and I are looking into how we can best assist this young woman.  Sheila




11 am to 1 pm:

I would like to offer a special thanksgiving to those who stand during the 11 am- 1pm shift.  We may not know your story, but God does.  Marian

Katie holds down the 1 pm to 3 pm shift (literally)! 
It was pretty busy today, both going in and out of PP and the traffic on the sidewalk, and it was very, very windy. A few of the signs blew away but I think we were able to retrieve them all, and the sandwich board started moving too. One of the babies blew off the stand. We prayed with the priest and deacon from Du Bois then from 2-3 Pastor Brian and Elsie were there. It didn’t feel as cold knowing it was probably the last cold day till next fall!
People praying and sending prayers for the babies.

Lisa covers the news and tells the story from the 3 pm – 5pm shift: 

Elsie must not have had “anything better to do today”— God bless those who reach out!!  Mimi is a long time prayer warrior and those girls, well, they are Lisa’s blessings!!


Bitter day but it did not keep Mimi ( late 80’s ) from joining us in prayer! What an inspiration!!! Elsie was there before three and stayed to 7. Her kind smile to passersby touched many hearts! Thank you Esther and Nati for braving the cold😌!


You need to read this again!!  Joe K from Wednesday, April 5

Drifted into the 5-7 shift with a personalized version of (Ringo Starr’s version of) the “No, No Song” – Finally – No gloves, No hat, No hand warmers, No winter coat,…OK, you get the idea…
The group from Saint Bernadette’s came strong and stood strong for my entire shift – Tom, Beverly, and Mary Frances were hold-overs from the previous shift and we were joined by Lisa and Ed.  Bill H. stopped by on the way home as did Jim who stayed through most of the shift…Just a whole lot of sharing going on…  Even got to talk a little music, of course, in a religious context… about someone who knew a famous Pittsburgh musician who attended St. Bartholomew’s in Penn Hills…Was able to hand out a “Watch me grow!” brochure to a curious young women looking at the fetal models.Minimal folks exiting 933 Liberty this fine evening…  Looking at 933 (“the kingdom of rationalization”) the Dylan song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” echoed in my head with lyrics like “He not busy being born is busy dying,” and “Money doesn’t talk, it swears,” – abortion, forgiveness, greed,… all in one uncomfortable, though tidy dark package…All comments, facial expressions, and even hand gestures from the passerby’s were ALL positive+++The usual joyous group of kids and mom passed by late but not before their usual stopping and handling of the fetal models… They never tire of this and are just awesomely amazed at the models…  Mary Frances told the littlest one that he came from his mom’s belly and it was too cute to watch him immediately turn and ask his mom for confirmation that this was indeed true. Lastly, just want to send out a BIG THANKS to all that make this happen – thanks for the opportunity and blessings with being able to serve this campaign.              God Bless!!!   Joe

To everything – turn, turn:

For those who stood in the snow this campaign, “Glinda” sent snow in response to the poppies’ sleep inducing coma spell cast by the green-faced broom rider and eventually cold, icy, snowy weather made for fun in the “Frozen” world.  My mother called snow- “nature’s fertilizer. ”  God is in charge of the weather!  He knows what is He is doing!!     He is trustworthy in big things, He is trustworthy in little things, too!)



A family member told me that if pirates can figure out how to entertain the family unit and find treasure, then we can!!

God blesses the beasts, but loves the little children most of all. 

The Bible tells me so!!!


See you during the World Series— unless through the miracle of prayer and perseverance, a new business is located at 933 Liberty Avenue where the entertainment is about life!

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