Day 33: Thank you, Erie Carmelite Nuns; all of you who pray, fast and witness for life with our Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life community.

The Crucifixion of Christ (detail)

Diego Velazquez (1599 – 1660)

Prado Museum, Spain

©Jean-Paul Dumontier/La Collection

There are three thousand abortions per day in the United States. Do you believe that will end? We need to know that deeply and work that reality into our daily lives. And when abortion ends, there will be but one reasonable explanation: God.

Shawn D. Carney


The 40 Day Companion to Live a Culture of Life

“Cynicism Takes No Effort”

Put yourself in the place of your sisters and brothers who feel that abortion is the only solution for their crisis pregnancy. You know how bad life sometimes feels.  You feel tightly gripped by relentless cold, impenetrable darkness.  Details out of your control block your escape.  Your faults nag endlessly.  Not thinking, you get up.  You go outside.

We pray that this moment … this exact moment … will change everything for them.  Let them notice the rush of fresh air … the fragrance of spring … birds singing, winging bush to tree … colors … daylight.  Let them feel Beauty calling.

Dear Father, help this poor one to turn to you. 

Hear him. 

From all his distress save him.

Saint Augustine says when we fall down we get up faster. Sidewalk witnesses, (virtual sidewalk witnesses for now) the infantry in the war for life, watch our PP bound sisters and brothers, hoping to rescue them.

Our Sidewalk Advocates are really good at it. Listen!

We want to help you.

Right now … we are ready now … to help you today … and tomorrow … and  always.

Let’s go for coffee!

You are right. This is serious.

It is life and death.

We want to get it right.

God takes life and death very seriously.  Reacquaint yourself with Jesus’ Passion and Death on the Cross.  Remember.  Listen and sing along. 

J.S. Bach Saint Matthew Passion, Choral: “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,”

O Sacred Head, surrounded by crown of piercing thorn!

O bleeding Head so wounded reviled and put to scorn!

Our sins have marred the glory of Thy most Holy Face

Yet angel hosts adore Thee and tremble as they gaze.


I see thy strength and vigor all fading in the strife.

And death with cruel rigor bereaving thee of life.

O agony and dying! O love to sinners free!

Jesus, all grace supplying, O turn thy face on me.


In this thy bitter passion, Good Shepherd, think of me

with Thy most sweet compassion, unworthy though I be.

Beneath Thy cross abiding forever would I rest,

in thy dear love, confiding, and with Thy presence blest.


But death too is my ending. In that dread hour of need,

my friendless cause befriending, Lord, to my rescue speed.

Thyself, O Jesus, trace me right passage to the grave,

And from Thy cross embrace me, with arms outstretched to save.


The words are attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153)

Together with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, we too must recognize that man seeks God better and finds him more easily “in prayer than in discussion.” In the end, the truest figure of a theologian and of every evangelizer remains the Apostle John who laid his head on the Teacher’s breast.

Retired Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 10/21/2009

Shawn Carney’s message for Day 33:


Erie Carmelite Nuns

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Just a note to let you and those at 40 Days for Life know that you have been in our thoughts, prayers, and sacrifices especially during the Novena to Our Father, Saint Joseph. He saved the Author of Life from Herod’s plans to kill him—what a strong supporter and model for 40 Days!!

May he obtain from Jesus all the graces you need to remain faithful to Him and to persevere in your good work of saving lives—-both body and soul of mother and child. 

God bless and Mary keep you, Saint Joseph guide!!

Sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Your devoted Carmelite Nuns

 “As Jesus was Himself subject to Saint Joseph on earth, just so in heaven, He still does all he asks.”    St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)




In an email this morning, Barbara lovingly asked us to send in our shift reports and noted, “It is harder without the sidewalk.”  I agree!   Many people wrote this week that they were better able to focus on prayer in the silence of their homes.  Not me, sadly…but a few things comforted me in my distraction. First, I was blessed to have a livestream from a Perpetual Adoration chapel showing on my computer.  Looking up at our Eucharistic Lord helped me to re-focus many times.  Second, I knew my shift buddy, Vince, was joining me in prayer from a distance.  I missed having his spiritual leadership to guide me, but it felt good to know we were still united in praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Third, I’ve been told that intentionally redirecting your thoughts to Jesus over and over again when you are distracted is an act of love to offer up to Him.  I’m glad I had something to offer, considering the sorry state of my prayers.  And finally, knowing that our prayer is a supplication rather than an incantation gives me comfort.  If it were an incantation, like some magic spell, the effectiveness of my prayer would depend on my power and my ability to recite it perfectly.  But a supplication is totally dependent on the power of God to hear and answer in the way He sees fit.  And so I ask my merciful Jesus to hear my pathetic plea:  please end abortion, both the act and the belief, and remind us all that you are the Lord of Life!


I was joined in my two hour shift today by my wife Darlene and our four children still at home, Bernadette, Rita,  Brendan, and Emma. We offered our prayers for the closing of PP on Liberty Avenue and for God’s Mercy on all women who have appointments for the coming week. In our first hour we prayed the Stations of the Cross,  the five Glorious mysteries of the Holy Rosary,  and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the altar of our Domestic Church. The second hour we prayed the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass live streamed from Duluth by Father Michael Schmitz. Father’s homily was most appropriate for our intention. He spoke of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus allowed His Heart to be crushed and broken as He wept for Martha,  Mary and Lazarus whom He loved. And so our hearts are broken and crushed but we do not lose heart, we are not discouraged,  we continue to enter into the Sacred Heart and we continue to trust. And so this is our prayer today,  that those women whose hearts are broken and crushed with an unplanned pregnancy will trust in the heart of Jesus and the hope of the resurrection. May God have Mercy on us all. 


During our 11-1 Shift, we prayed the beautiful Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by Donna Cori Gibson.  I shared a link. I hope I shared it correctly. We prayed the Rosary and several more pro-life prayers that we found from Father Frank Pavone. Then at 12:00 noon we attended Mass via television EWTN. The R. Family prayed the rosary during our shift today from their home.
I pray you all are doing well in these stressful times. Stay strong.


Lindsay and I split our prayer time today. I prayed outdoors from 2:00-3:00 p.m. standing in front of a tabernacle that has been place inside the glass doors at my parish, SS John & Paul .

The tabernacle sits on a table with a small statue of the pregnant Blessed Mother (Guadalupe perhaps?) on one side and the Divine Mercy image on the other side.

While we no longer have Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist for now, we are able to visit the tabernacle here at any time. This virus cannot keep HIM from us!

I prayed the Pro-Life Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries from Priests for Life followed by the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

It was nice to feel the warmth of the sun shining down despite the strong wind gusts that threatened to blow me over.

This afternoon was to be our parish’s time at the vigil. Since we could not be present physically, our Respect Life team members were asked to spend time in prayer between 1:00-3:00.

This past week’s blog reports have made me think how deliberate and intentional our prayer has become, now that we are no longer on the sidewalk outside PP.

I found that my prayers today were that way since I didn’t have all the distractions that being on the sidewalk, even on a Sunday afternoon, presents.

My prayer is that ALL of our prayers are being raised up with more fervor – for the unborn, their mothers and fathers. I know that they are.

And that God is pleased with our intentionality – He longs for us to be intentional. Perhaps not being on the sidewalk is meant to remove the distractions.

God has a plan, it is on us to trust His plan! It is on us to remain strong – and to finish these 40 days strong!! I know we will!!


A surreal day, praying to shut down the mill.  And to open the Churches. Sunny skies, a strong wind at times.
But a heavy heart over the cancellation of funerals, weddings, and baptisms.
And the pandemic.
Part of me wants to lock myself in a safe room and never leave, and part of me thinks it is all in God’s Hands as a just punishment for my sins and those of the whole world.
I do encourage you to read the Dr. Fauci article in last week’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Interesting stuff.
Be faithful and keep praying.  


I was cleaning up my email this week and stumbled across this photo from the 2012 fall campaign. Nikki sent it to our church group with a thank you letter. It stirred up a lot of emotions, below are a few.

Wow that went by fast … I’m OLD … and  BORING  (wknd shifts) …

AMAZEMENT, I can’t believe how many wonderful people I’ve met down

there, and the things I see them do.

FULFILLED … what happens down there is really indescribable … it

must be experienced to be understood.  Where such wretchedness

abounds, so too is the abundance of God’s graces.



I feel so FORTUNATE, in my journey to CHRIST, to reap the abundant Fruit of this ministry. Your example truly brings out the good in me (yes it’s hard to find).

My inclination was to watch tv, however the beads ended up in my hands with the Word (7 penitential Psalms) thanks to all of you, MY FRIENDS.

See ya’ll in the fall.


Shift Manager Joe with 4 Friends, Faithful Witnesses

And God saw that it was good.

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