Day 1…Thanks to Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church, Divine Mercy Parish, St. Maria Goretti Parish and many faithful team members and individual participants!

God is carrying us today, and will be with us throughout all of these 40 days!

This morning at 6am, the Body of Christ in Pittsburgh gathered inside Epiphany Church for a Mass to open our 40 Days for Life. I am still trembling slightly from the emotion and joy that I experienced from this amazing and encouraging experience! I was expecting four priests and maybe 50 or so people. I was happily surprised to see the church filled with approximately 200 faithful souls, and SEVEN HOLY PRIESTS to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

As I was driving into town this morning at 5am, I felt the Lord’s presence with me in such a comforting way. I was not anxious or nervous at all…as I normally would be before a kick off event. Everything just felt right. A total peace and trust. I felt carried by our Lord. I knew that HE was doing something for us. This morning was ALL FOR HIM!!! So, when I saw that there were SEVEN priests, instead of the four that I had expected, I knew that HE, in His Goodness…provided the perfect number of priests…the number of fulfillment and perfection. In fact, Fr. Jason noted the following in a text message to me after this morning’s Mass:

The numbers seven and three have ancient meaning for we Christians. This morning not only were seven priests present with us, seven being a number of divine fullness and favor, but we also had a trinity of the earliest apostolic traditions of the church present. We had the Greek, Latin and Aramaic liturgical traditions present with our beloved priests from the Diocese of Pittsburgh (Fr. Chris Donley, Fr. Joe Freedy, Fr. Thomas More Sikora, Fr. John Sweeney and Fr. Jay Donahue), Fr. Jason Charron representing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church and Fr. Rudy representing the Maronite church, which uses the actual Aramaic words of Our Lord in their ancient liturgy.

Fr. Jason Charron, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church

I cried throughout the entire Mass…tears of joy and gratitude that the faithful were being led by such good and holy priests. We long for that so desperately! I thought back to our opening Mass last February, where we had 40 priests and the church was packed to capacity, with between 500-800 people. It was proof that there are many people who still love the Lord and want our priests and pastors to speak out against the evil of abortion and lead us in the battle to end it! The harvest truly is ripe…but we need more workers for the vineyard!

When we arrived in front of Planned Parenthood, the faithful spontaneously knelt on Liberty Avenue in prayer. I did not know people would do that. They spilled out into the lane of traffic, but the wonderful police officer protected us from traffic. We were all blessed so incredibly by this show of faith…and I have to believe that those souls inside of Planned Parenthood felt the Spirit of the Lord. Enjoy the following photos from this morning’s Mass and procession. Thanks to our dear Lisa K. for taking them! Keep scrolling for photos and reports from today’s vigil on the sidewalk. Tonight’s “Praise and Testimony” event, at the Ark & Dove Retreat Center, with former abortion worker, Sue Thayer will be posted on tomorrow’s blog. Hope to see you there tonight!

Our Opening Mass at Epiphany was blessed by the angelic voice of this beautiful young woman as she led us in beautiful hymns of praise!
There were SEVEN Holy Priests to lead us this morning! Fr. Jason Charron gave the homily, Fr. Chris Donley was the principal celebrant, assisted by Fr. Joe Freedy, Fr. Thomas More Sikora, Fr. Rodolph Wakim, Fr. Jay Donahue and Fr. John Sweeney. We were blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude for these faithful shepherds as they led us into the wilderness for these 40 days! They truly fed us with the Bread of Life, to give us strength for the journey! Thank you Fathers!!!
Fr. Jason gave an inspiring sermon, comparing our pro life work to Sgt. Major Thomas Patrick Payne, who was recently given the Medal of Honor by Pres. Trump for his heroic rescue of 75 hostages in Iraq who were set to be executed by ISIS terrorists. This hero ran into a storm of fire and bullets to save those hostages. Fr. Jason told us that we are to be God’s “Shock Troops”…and we are called to run into battle to save lives and souls as well. God has done the work of grace by all the pro-life victories, so now it is our turn. He has given us our marching orders! Thank you Fr. Jason for such a motivating message!
We were not expecting so many people to show up for a 6 am Mass this morning! We estimate that approximately 200 people filled the beautiful Church of the Epiphany! Thank you Fr. Chris for having this Mass for us!
I cried through most of this Holy Mass, but was SO moved at the sight of these men, representing Christ at the altar…offering the Holy Sacrifice to the Father, for our 40 Days for Life and the salvation of lives and souls! Thank you dear Lord!!!
Our Eucharistic Procession begins with Seven Holy Priests, representing the Three Traditions of our Catholic Faith…Latin, Greek and Semitic! God was really in Charge!
Our procession began on Centre Avenue, as we exited Epiphany Church.
The faithful streamed out of Epiphany Church, following our Seven Holy Priests with Our Lord Jesus Christ leading the way!
Our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Humble and Holy Servant Priests led the charge into spiritual battle against abortion!
Onward Christian Soldiers…
When we arrived at PP, we were just beginning the fourth decade of the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. People spontaneously knelt on Liberty Avenue, as Fr. Donley blessed us with the Holy Eucharist, as we prayed the final two decades in front of PP. Father Chris blessed all of us and all those who were or will be inside of PP. May God be with us and may He draw all of those who do not know Him yet! May all evil spirits be bound and cast from that place, in Jesus’ name!!!
If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will hear their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Fr. Chris Blessing PP with the Mercy of Christ Jesus…May His Goodness and Light cast out all darkness!
Wow. Just, Wow. That’s all I can say about this… This is what the Church of Jesus Christ SHOULD look like each and every day! Praise God!!!

Now…onto Day One’s shift reports:

Peggy and Charlene, with Beth, were the shift manager/buddy team on the sidewalk from 7-9 today. Peggy writes:

Wow what a beginning! Our day began with 6:00 a.m. Mass at the Epiphany followed by a Eucharistic procession to PP. For an early Mass there were a couple of hundred people in church. Awe inspiring! Not all could walk but those who did knelt in adoration as Fr.Chris stood inside the “forbidden zone” and held Jesus high as we prayed the rosary. The experience of kneeling in front of our Blessed Lord with the evil building in the background was overwhelming. Overwhelming in a good way, Evil will never prevail. Jesus is Lord! The shift was pretty busy as evidenced by all the pictures. PP had two escorts standing guard. It was a very prayerful morning. No incidents.

Peggy
Diane’s new and improved sidewalk set-up includes a security camera! Thanks Diane and Tom for keeping us equipped and organized for the sidewalk prayer and witness!!!
Fr. Rodolph, representing Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church committed to stand and pray from 7-11am this morning! Thank you Fr. Rodolph for being a faithful supporter of 40 Days for Life for so many years! We will miss you! (Father is being transferred to North Carolina next month…so this is the last time we will see him. Please keep him in your prayers!)
Love seeing the home-made signs! Great witness!
More homemade signs, we pray lives were saved through prayer and witness this morning!
This young mom with her five children attended the Mass and procession. I spoke with her and was so inspired by her faith and dedication, to gather her family and head into downtown Pittsburgh at such an early hour! Thank you dear sister in Christ for your faith!

Terri & Elsie managed the vigil from 9-11. Terri reports:

I was greeted by a prayerful Priscilla and Father Rodolpho praying the rosary. Elsie soon came. Elsie and I passed out a nice amount of literature to people walking by on the street. I was able to engage several men about the importance of supporting women. We received positive comments and thumbs up from several people. There were no negative interactions. Father Rodolpho stayed with us us until almost 11:00 and he had been there since the early Mass. I left with the real hope that next year none of us will have to be there and that Roe vs Wade will be overturned with the new justice on the court.

Terri

Elsie was kind enough to fill in for Katie, who is sick. She was shift buddy for the 9-11 shift AND the 1-3 shift.

On the sidewalk outside The Saddest Place in Western PA was a nice little team: Terri from Sidewalk Advocates; Priscilla the Ukrainian Catholic Prayer Warrior; Father Rudolph from Our Lady of Victory Parish; a quiet, earnestly prayerful gentleman from Orchard Hill Church; and three lovely ladies in cheerfully bright “40Days” tshirts.  I regret very much that I don’t know their names, but the latter four individuals, in addition to praying silently, held beautiful signs in defense of mothers and babies.  Anybody passing by on “Liberty” (License!!) Avenue saw their heartfelt witness and got some great food for thought.  We can hope that at least one couple looking for the death mill was reached by these signs and JUST DROVE ON BY, by God’s grace.
I don’t think Priscilla ever ceased in her prayers for lives to be saved, with Father Rudolph joining her and Terri smoothly shifting back and forth between prayer and offering help and information to victims entering and exiting PP.  There were also positive interactions with passersby.  I gave out more pro-life leaflets today than I have on any day since COVID hit our land.

Elsie

Barbara & Richard were in charge from 11-1.

Richard and I went to the 6am Mass and the Eucharist procession. Jesus accompanying us to PP in the Blessed Sacrament felt like such a blessing. Ordinarily it is hard not to think of that sidewalk as one of the most bleak places. Elsie organized some pamphlets into just the right item to hand a young woman as she exited that dreary dirty-windowed building. A few of the young women accepted them.  As one young woman quickly got into the waiting car, the man accompanying her opened her window.  She tearfully accepted Elsie’s pamphlet package. A handful of women spoke with us politely, and went into PP anyway. God always gives me another chance.  He will give them 70 times seventy more opportunities to say “yes” to him. I did my best. God willing I will go back and try again. 

Barbara

NOTE: Could Barbara’s seemingly sorrowful account of the young woman in tears be a possible change of heart? Could it be a life saved? If she had already had the abortion, why would she roll the window down to accept the literature? I have seen many women in tears after changing their minds and leaving. Sometimes they are still so overwhelmed and scared, even if they have decided they cannot go through with the abortion…that they are in tears! I believe this could very well be an account of a life saved! Thank you Barbara!!!

Chris & Elsie were the sidewalk duo from 1-3.

What beautiful weather God blessed us with on Day 1!  I was joined by Elsie, ever-vigilant handing out pro-mother & baby information, and her son, who prayed a long time on his knees.  Dan, from Holy Family parish in Steubenville, held his “Choose Life” sign facing traffic the whole shift.  Tom and Dolores were from Divine Mercy Parish.  Tom prayed the Rosary on one side of the semi-circle, while Dolores and I prayed many Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy on the other side.  We prayed for the end of abortion and the closing of PPs, everywhere.  Praying downtown does take focus, what with the constant barrage of street noise.   There was not much foot traffic on the street and few women entering PP during the shift.

Chris
Dan from Holy Family Parish in Steubenville and Tom from Divine Mercy, downtown

Joe and Virginia closed out the first day from 3-5…here is their report.

Blessed with a brilliant fall day for our kick-off. I joined Virginia, then Dan from St. Maria Goretti joined us on our shift. Dan witnessed to the wonderful kick-off Mass and procession this morning that he attended.
Lots of sharing and many resource cards handed out to passersby.  The most I have ever seen!
Only a couple of negative comments, but these were far out numbered by many more friendly faces.
One mother and her young family stopped by and were very curiously looking at and discussing the fetal model display after which Virginia gave mini-models to them as they were leaving.
A young military passed by with kind words which we returned with our appreciation for his calling.
Similarly for police officers on horseback who acknowledged us on their way down Liberty.
The evening ended quietly as faithful Diane packed-up the new display for day 2.

Joe

2 thoughts on “Day 1…Thanks to Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church, Divine Mercy Parish, St. Maria Goretti Parish and many faithful team members and individual participants!

  • September 24, 2020 at 8:06 am
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    I was certainly happy to be a part of yesterday’s procession to PP with Jesus!
    We prayed for all at our motherhouse mass too and will continue throughout the 40 days for life!
    God bless you organizers! Your reward is great!
    Blessings on all,

    Reply
  • September 24, 2020 at 9:05 am
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    How wonderful to hear the good news! It’s dear souls like all of you that will make a difference! I will continue to pray and have faith! We will fight and win this – God hears our prayers and answers us! I’m grateful for the warriors of 40 days you are heroes! Thank you Nikki and 40 days family!

    Reply

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