“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
― St. Therese of Lisieux
During this 40-day campaign, I’m blessed with many opportunities to make a small sacrifice for love by standing vigil outside Planned Parenthood.
Coming to the vigil requires me to give up some of my time. My responsibilities leave me with very few free moments, so it’s definitely a sacrifice to use them for driving downtown, parking, walking to the vigil, and staying there to pray.
Standing on that sidewalk also means I have to sacrifice some of my comfort. I don’t know about you, but I prefer staying on the couch in my warm, dry house to purposely going out on a cold, wet, windy day. And it’s not just physical comfort involved…I have to be willing to take on some mental and spiritual discomfort, too. It’s not easy to put my faith into action where so many people without faith will see and judge me. It’s not easy to listen to the negative remarks of some who disapprove of my being there. And it’s definitely not easy to come to terms with what is actually going on inside that building and how I ever let myself ignore it.
Looking at it from my own individual perspective, it doesn’t sound like such a SMALL sacrifice after all.
Actually, it sounds kind of tough, and I don’t think I want to do it…until I place it next to Christ’s sacrifice for me.
Now it looks truly small, and very do-able…with His grace.
Now it seems like the least I can do for love of the God who loves me so much.
Here are the reports from those who made the loving sacrifice to be at the vigil today!
7-9 AM, Barbara and Richard:
Friday 7-9 shift always included Al and Sally. We are saving their place.
Today, Mary from St. Sylvester signed up and came to witness and pray with Richard and me. Her warm heart made all the difference.
We had to photograph the bus as it stopped for the light. “Here’s the plan for the road ahead.” So true! How wonderful when a man and woman and their children are together and sacred in God. You see the joy of the Holy Spirit in their faces, right?
“God bless you today,” we said as people passed including those entering PP.
One PP woman scolded us. “Get something useful to do. Stop coming here to shame women.” Mary talked with her while she could. The woman kept walking away.
A lovely teenager, wearing the tats and piercings appropriate for her age, noticed the fetal models and graciously discussed babies, science, God, mothers, dads, friends, and being pretty much on her own. If I had a magic wand…but God gives us other things.
Shalani and Kay and Kathy (9-11 shift manager) arrived.
God is so good to share the sidewalk with us.
9-11 AM, Kathy:
Thank you to Kay and Shalani from St Ferdinand’s church and regular participant Terry for coming to pray this morning. Bill H also stopped by offering holy water to participants.
Passed out almost all of my lit to passersby and some to pp patrons. Two women, who were going into the clinic, accepted yellow cards and stopped to briefly talk with me, but still entered pp. Not for abortion though.
A mother came by with her daughter who was about the age of 6, and stopped to take a picture of the fetal models.
11 AM-1 PM, Elsie and Pastor Bryan:
The 11-1 shift had many negatives, chiefly that a lot of victims went into PP. My personal negative was a selfish cowardice that made me hang back from approaching one couple & one woman who came outside on more than one occasion. What was I afraid of? If a gentle offer of help & a persuasive plea for their child’s life makes someone mad, we still haven’t made things any WORSE for them or their baby, have we? What other approach can we use?
Now for the POSITIVES!! When I arrived, the ever-gentle, ever-faithful-to-the-babies Kathy was there, offering help to everyone entering, exiting, or passing by. Two angelic-looking ladies were there as prayer warriors, just finishing their shift. Then Pastor Bryan arrived, & the new shift started, with Pastor on one side of the Bubble & me on the other, both of us handing out lit. Pastor is always VERY good at engaging folks in conversation!!
We were soon joined by a lovely couple from Mother of Sorrows Parish in Murrysville. This was their first time out on the sidewalk in many years, but they hit the pavement running — & praying! The sweet wife didn’t have any of my selfish cowardice; she went over to the couple & the woman who came outside (separately) & gently, sincerely offered them help. Surely good seeds were sown thereby, even if lives weren’t saved today. Her husband offered lit packets to everyone he saw exiting PP, & some of them accepted it!
Pastor Bryan & I knew we were leaving the sidewalk in good hands, as a brave lady from Holy Spirit in Millvale began offering lit even before we left. Elaine & a lovely lady from the Legion of Mary also arrived before I left.
1-3 PM, Elaine and Marianne:
Prayers are needed for a 25 year old woman who had an abortion today who felt she had no choice because she was raped.
I talked to a passerby who knows of a woman who is pregnant but she is also a drug addict as well. Prayers are needed for her and her unborn child.
A young man thanked us as he told us that his girlfriend had an abortion some time ago. He broke up with her because of it. He started to cry and said “That was my child.”
3-5 PM, Pat:
Today I experienced a very peaceful shift – save for the woman who told me I had no business being there since I was a man. I spent much of the time praying on my knees on the materials side of the circle while Missy, my SB, spent her time reading and praying over Sacred Scripture from the other side. (Forgive me, Missy, for forgetting to ask about the name of your church and where you were from!)
I did see many people coming out, one of whom I was certain had had an abortion. It’s funny that it’s not something I dwell on much while I’m there. However, in this instance, the reality of watching a woman walk down the sidewalk who had just killed her own child really hit me.
5-7 PM, David and Bill:
It was only me and Bill but the sidewalk was crowded with people out for a Friday night. A few accepted info. Two young men with skateboards stopped and debated for a while. They were very civil, and that surprised me. Bill said, “we are planting seeds.”
A young couple exited PP, she was walking very gingerly. I offered info but the man declined.
A lady named Rose stopped by and thanked us and said that she had joined 40 Days for Life in Indianapolis, Indiana. She said it was very rewarding.
A young lady and her daughter walked by the models and the daughter said, “Mommy, I like that little baby!”