DAY 12, Thank You, Saint Barbara/Saint Mary/ Holy Child Parishes; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Melissa D., Jim and Cathy S.; Volunteers Thao N., Susan B., Amy M., David P., Maia M.; and all the people who witnessed with us today!

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (c. 1659-1660)
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.
© BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN-GP / Jorg P. Anders.

But contemplation of this masterpiece, particularly the placid beauty of the angel, unveils an even greater mystery: in his purple tunic, Jacob appears as the figure of the One who, conceived and begotten in the bosom of God as his eternal Wisdom, wholly deigned to be born and ever remain the son of man.  Yet here, at the break of dawn, this true God, rendered handicapped – and what a handicap for a God to be mortal! – prevails over the almighty God, wresting from him, in hand-to-hand Eucharistic battle, the perpetual blessing that revokes the original curse weighing upon humanity.

Dumont, Pierre-Marie.  “A Strange Adventure.” Magnificat 17, no. 5 (June 2015): 448.

Pierre-Marie Dumont reviews … the goodness of Richard’s and my children … the perseverance of Bishop Zubik … the exuberance of Father Tony… the fortitude my parents lived … the ardent steadfastness of my sisters and brothers in Pittsburgh 40 Days … God strengthens me with beauty. One day early in my middle years, I decided that being visible as a Catholic always got me in trouble. I decided to lie low. This decision lasted for longer than I want to admit.

During those days, a friend and I went to a nearby university to hear the president of Planned Parenthood speak. We planned to be a prolife voice during the question and answer session. I sat in the audience like a stone. I was unable to speak. I was so surprised! I had never seen myself as weak.

“A dead thing can go with the stream,
but only a living thing can go against it.”
G. K. Chesterton, “The Five Deaths of the Faith.”

In the readings from Mass today, Paul writes,

“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7

How bereft our life would be if either of these women had been a coward.

Ave Maria composed by Michat Lorenc.

This Friday morning a volunteer told me that she felt a powerful reluctance about coming to pray in front of PP.  She actually stopped coming for a while.  Then, she realized this was a bad decision.  She still feels powerfully reluctant.  Nonetheless, she comes any way, in all weather, all year.

Wow! How beautiful! 

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Corinthians 12:9


Al and Sally


The vigil started off right with Tom delivering supplies and Bill H. assisting.  My shift buddy, Vince, brought his nephew, Tyler, to pray with us today.  Faithful Thao joined us, too.  Young people on the sidewalk really make a statement, and I was grateful to them for joining us.  
We were able to pray through all the mysteries of the Rosary, meditating on Scripture passages throughout, before reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Not long after, we greeted Sue and Ken, coming to cover the 9-11 AM shift.  Sue is still radiating with joy from yesterday’s save.  What a blessing to have God work through her to save a mother and child!  

Tyler, Vince, Thao

Early morning Witnesses for Life!!



Sunday mornings on the sidewalk are always peaceful, and today was no exception.  Many Steeler fans came by throughout the shift, and we received more positive comments from this crowd than usual today.  Ken, my loyal shift buddy, was inspiring as always to pray and talk with.  Patty M. arrived after a while, and then Sue B.  Sue and I graduated from high school together almost 40 years ago,and it’s a blessing to reconnect!
So the Gospel this weekend at Catholic Mass is Luke 17:5-10, which begins with the apostles asking Jesus to increase their faith.  The priest who celebrated my Mass had interesting things to say about this passage.  Father said he sees the mustard seed passage as one of the most misunderstood in the Gospels.  That people tend to read that and think their faith must be tiny since they haven’t actually been able to make the “big things” (trees uprooting themselves and planting themselves in the ocean, or more likely other seemingly impossible events) happen and that therefore there’s no hope for their personal faith and that it will always be pathetically and inadequately small.  He explained that God is the One Who makes those big things happen but that what He needs from us for these things to happen is for us to keep doing our part, the things that we are obliged to do for Him as His servants (as discussed at the end of the passage).  Which are mostly little things day in and day out.  And that He will work through our devotion to doing those things for Him not only to increase our faith but also to take care of the big stuff that only He can.  He added that we do need to ask God on a regular basis to increase our faith.  This all brought to my mind the vigil:  all we have to do are the things He expects of us and that we are obliged to do as His servants (praying on the sidewalk at PP and fasting), and KEEP doing them regularly and faithfully, and He will take care of the big things (i.e., hearts softening and abortion clinics closing).  Very encouraging!
A happy and blessed Sunday to one and all!
Sue M.



We came prepared for rain but were fortunate to avoid it. Amy and Vince came to witness and pray with us. It was nice to see them again as they witnessed with us last week. We had a young father and his 4 year old son that was passing by and stopped to talk with us. He wanted to know why we were there and we gave him a brochure and explained our 40 days campaign. He told us that he was from West Africa and we would be seeing him again, so maybe we have a new recruit. Other than that, it was very calm today even though there was a lot of foot traffic.

Amy and Rich, Sunday witnesses !!



“There are children present!”
Today was a balmy, breezy, and thankfully not too damp day at the 40 Days for Life vigil. I had a wonderful group of parishioners from Holy Child and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. We filled the sidewalk with spirit, grace, prayer and friendly good fellowship! I always love it when the R.  family and their beautiful children show up, there’s no better sidewalk witness than children!   
Also, sometimes God will put people from your past back into your present, and this blessing happened today with the beautiful, sweet daughter of a dear friend of mine. It was so wonderful! 
As we were praying the Rosary, we got a  colorful “walk by” verbal lambasting  from a pretty young woman who I suspect is a regular harasser. Normally, insults and foul language don’t upset me. In fact, I just feel the grace of God that much stronger! But today I got upset by it (internally), to tears. My first thought was to yell to her quickly retreating back “mind your mouth, there are children present!” I was mortified that somebody would speak like this in front of young and teen children. But the second thought that popped into my head (after a self-admonishment about keeping peace) was that my words would bear no weight. Why would this young woman care about her crude words harming children, when she supports the physical destruction of innocent pre-born children?!

I also remembered that these particular children are regular prayer warriors like their parents, and I stopped worrying about their ears hearing things that were inappropriate. So instead of getting angry, I wiped away my tears and I started to pray extra hard for that spiritually blind, sadly lost, and foolish young woman. May God lead her to his glorious, healing light of truth, repentance and conversion to His Love.

Saint Barbara/ Saint Mary/ Holy Child Parishioners

Beauty on the Downtown Sidewalk

Pro life Sunday Witnesses



Rosaries… Litany of the Sacred Heart… Scripture readings… Chaplets of Divine Mercy… and prayer from the heart were on the menu. And the meal was wonderful.
The rain held off. We had a visitor, Lisa, whom we spoke to for a good while.  She shared her experience of aborting her baby and crying through the entire experience.  We prayed together.
God’s Will be done. 

Shift Manager Andy with Sunday Prayer Warriors



Rough day at the ballfield translated into a number of drunk, angry and abusive Steeler fans.
Fortunately, two young, cheerful, magnificent, faithfilled authentic Christians (Chris and Suki pictured) accompanied me for my entire shift.
Also the humble fatherly influence of Tom D. probably spared me from attempted violence. 
Oooh weeeee God is so good.
All glory and praise be to God!!!

Chris and Suki

Evening Prayer Witnesses

And God saw that it was good.

2 thoughts on “DAY 12, Thank You, Saint Barbara/Saint Mary/ Holy Child Parishes; Shift Buddies Vince P., Ken B., Marie P., Melissa D., Jim and Cathy S.; Volunteers Thao N., Susan B., Amy M., David P., Maia M.; and all the people who witnessed with us today!

  • October 6, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Such inspiring reflections today and thanks for that beautiful music, which moved me to tears!

    • October 6, 2019 at 11:33 pm

      Lindsay, you are such a good person. We had a discussion about the comments and agree that she would not have responded to any request so silence was the better part. We are grateful that the kids don’t really grasp all that she said, only that she was very angry, and that she needs our prayers. We also figured, after the life was saved there yesterday, the devil is pretty agitated and willing to do anything to disrupt the good work of the vigil. It’s good we continued to pray. In God’s time we will be victorious.


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