Blessed are they who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 40:5
At my mother’s funeral Mass last month, the priest gave a beautiful homily in which he reflected on 1 Thessalonians 4:13. That passage says: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” I have thought of this passage several times since then, and it seems relevant here as well, in the midst of our 40 Days for Life campaign.
People are being killed at Planned Parenthood ALL THE TIME. And yet… and YET… we cannot forget HOPE. The hope is NOT that the children who were killed can ever come back. The hope is for the LIVING. Those who can still choose life. Those who can still choose family. And those who can change. THEY can have hope. And so can we.
As long as the post-abortive father or mother is still alive, there is HOPE that he or she may be healed.
As long as the abortion worker is still alive, there is HOPE that he or she might turn away from a job that profits from killing.
As long as we who pray on that sidewalk are still alive, there is HOPE that 933 Liberty will CLOSE for good, and that it might become a place of life and joy.
We are Christians. Jesus rose from the dead. We can’t be like the rest of the world, those who have no hope. As long as we remain close to the Lord, there is ALWAYS hope.
Shift Manager Reports
There are many things I am thankful for during this morning’s shift. First of all, it was not a busy clinic day! Thankfully not many people going in. Secondly, the weather was mild and pleasant, and thirdly, I had wonderful prayer partners, Amy and Peggy with me for the whole shift. It was a peaceful and quiet time, which I spent praying on my knees, which is how I have felt led to spend my sidewalk time lately. Thanks to everybody who is praying and coming along on this 40 day journey through the desert. God will use it for good!
Thank you to Nikki for taking a picture of our crew, Chuck, Carol and myself from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene. We were joined before long by Bill, who brought the sunshine with him!
My impression was that they were not killing babies there yesterday.
There seemed to be some kind of presentation going on. A man hauled in huge duffle bags (I mistook him for a homeless person at first!) and was followed in by a woman who was apparently the presenter. A couple of people came out of Planned Parenthood who must have gone in before our shift, but hardly any going in stopped at the window. (Apparently employees.) We were blessed to be joined by Mike and first time attendee, Hannah. Very grateful for a quiet day.
Well, thanks be to God for the beautiful weather today…. even though I still had my thermal layers on! (Better safe than sorry!) One crazy thing I want to apologize for– I don’t know why, but most of my photos I had taken at the vigil were NOT on my phone when I got home! I’m so sorry, but only ONE photo remained! But we had some awesome people praying with us today! Thank you to Chris, Bob, Ken, Mike and his niece Hannah, Denise and her daughter Rachel, and first-timers Sandy and her son Marty. God bless you all!
Nikki mentioned in her report that there was not a lot of foot traffic into PP today. She was right. Perhaps there were some meetings going on, who knows. But it was nice to NOT have clients going in.
One passerby, on seeing our sign that says “Women DO Regret Abortion,” “cheerfully” called out to us the reasons she did NOT regret her abortion. Sigh. Such a “drive-by” comment cannot possibly be addressed in the moment. There are so many multi-layered issues there. I simply responded with a kind “God bless you.” Sometimes, that’s the most charitable thing we can do in that moment.
However, the BEST thing that happened was this. A young couple approached the resource table and started picking up brochures. Volunteer Mike called me over to talk with them. I asked if they needed help. The woman said, “I just don’t know what to do.” I asked if she was expecting, congratulated her, and asked how far along she was. I then showed her, via the fetal models, the “rough” size of her baby now in the womb.
The couple was worried about their ability to care for the child financially. We talked about that a little, and I offered her one of the cards and explained about the services she could receive. They both were so sweet and receptive. They thanked me and left.
A little while later, they came back from the other direction. I had just been praying for them, and was HOPING they were not going into PP. They didn’t. The woman asked me, “Can you pray for me?” I smiled and said, “I already have been.” Then she said, “But I mean, right now, out loud?” I said, “Absolutely.” I prayed for this sweet couple and their baby. And she thanked me, gave me a hug, looked at us and smiled and said, “Nice people.” And they left. Oh…. God is amazing. Let us continue to pray for this couple who is sincerely searching and desiring GOOD.
Carolyn (with report by Beverly):
I myself was only there from about 1 to 2:20. It was Carolyn, Kathy (a first timer), myself and Bill and then about 2 o’clock, Anita and Cathy came and the other new lady Kathy had to leave. We didn’t get any negative remarks. A couple people said thank you, and we were able to pass out brochures to people, but as usual most people were hardened and didn’t look our way. But I pray for the ones that did receive the literature, that they would read it and be touched by it.
Toward the end of my shift, two young ladies walked by but would not take the literature, but they waited for a bus across the street. Kathy, the new lady, as she was leaving, crossed the street and engaged them in some conversation. I’m not sure how that ended, but at least she was able to say something to them.
As far as PP was concerned, there weren’t many going in or coming out. However, my personal prayer was that the babies went without pain directly into the arms of Jesus, and that the women would change their minds and not go through with it, and that the workers would be convicted and quit their jobs there. I’m sure that’s something we all can agree with and continue to pray for.
While we were on the sidewalk, I saw only one person go into PP. She was inside for a brief time and back out within 15 minutes or so. We did see employees leaving for the day. Thank God, it was not another Tuesday.
While we prayed, we had the usual passers-by who aimed gestures and words of contempt toward us. I think the “thank yous” and “God bless yous” were welcomed as much or more. The “different” gesture for today was a man who, as he walked past us, leaned over and coughed at us – twice.
Traffic on the sidewalks and at crossings seemed to be a whole lot less than we expect at these hours. Even the usual long line for buses was absent today.
It was warm enough to take off our coats.
Two ladies came along, saying they had not eaten for two days. They said they were from out of town, but when we offered to take them to Catholic Charities, one of them said “all they had was noodles.” Our belief in her experience dimmed when she said they were from “someplace else.”
Mary Jane pulled out her card and said, “Come on, ladies. We’ll go over to McDonald’s and you can get a hamburger.” At that, the lady said, “Never mind.” She walked away and the young woman with her shrugged and followed her. Apparently, they wanted cash.
By 4:30, our numbers increased. Rose L. and the 5:00-7:00 group filed in, along with a man who joined us for our final rosary. It felt good to see nine smiling 40 Days veterans.
A little footnote: shortly after the ladies who refused the hamburgers left, a man who was ready to cross the street in front of PP asked if we would be there “tomorrow.” I told him we are there from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. He said, “Tomorrow I’ll bring hoagies. I sell hoagies, and I’ll bring them.” He said he went on the March for Life every year in what sounded like his teens. He was probably 20 years beyond that. It will be good to see him, no matter who is at the vigil tomorrow.
When I arrived, faithful Shift Buddy Barb was already there, and we prayed a rosary with Rose from St. John Capistran, who had joined an earlier shift and stayed for ours. Helen and Mary Jane from the earlier shift joined us, and Patti and her friend John from St. Titus in Aliquippa arrived for our shift and also joined us. We then split up so we could be on both sides of the circle, and we had some encouraging words from passers-by.
One man, who has previously approached the group asking for money, told us a story about being released from the hospital and needing money to get home, and although Barb was very kind and explained that we don’t carry money, he stalked off. He has been seen before and will probably approach people again.
We were blessed with great weather and a mostly uneventful shift, until the end when the materials were being loaded into the car and someone (from the yellow bar?) approached Barb and Patti and asked why we weren’t home, doing “something good.” Barb answered tactfully that we were there to save lives because we love babies; the questioner replied that she also loved babies, but “that” wasn’t a baby. She was applauded by her friends standing outside the bar. She didn’t care to stay and have a real discussion, just wanted to make her point. Unfortunately that’s what we face every day–people who believe a real, live, created child is a blob that can be easily removed, and that we are trampling on women’s rights when we show up to witness for the unborn. It’s discouraging, but we see evidence of changing hearts, a little at a time. I am blessed to have such wonderful people to pray with.