I wasn’t planning on writing another blog post, since our 40 days are now over, but because of a request from our dear Bishop Waltersheid, asking for a favor (which will be at the end of this post), I have decided to sit down and write a final reflection which will close out our Lenten campaign, and bring us into these most sacred three days which are now beginning.
Today is the day that marks the beginning of our Lord’s passion…the beginning of his betrayal and abandonment. I think it is fitting to meditate on his abandonment in the Garden of Gethsemane, as we have just completed a 40 day prayer vigil at the site where approximately 400 pre-born children were abandoned by the very people who should have loved and protected them. Yesterday, as I stood in front of Planned Parenthood for my regular sidewalk advocate shift, a mother of a teenage girl pulled up to the curb. She stepped out and began guiding her daughter towards those terrible doors. When I told her about the statistics of teen suicide being 6 times higher for those who have had abortions, she angrily told us that her daughter was going to be a pharmacist, and a baby was not going to get in the way. So, a little boy or girl was discarded…sacrificed on the altar of material success.
So, just as we seek to be close to these little ones…to be there for them, so they are not alone as they are abandoned by those who should love and protect them…we also seek to be be close to Jesus, as He is betrayed and abandoned this night. Those who were the closest to him…all fled in fear. His beloved disciple John, with his mother Mary, were there as He was crucified.
Tomorrow you are invited to come to Planned Parenthood at 10 am, as we gather in the bitter cold to pray the Stations of the Cross. After that, we will all go our separate ways…to our own parishes and church services…to pray and console our Lord in our own ways. But for tomorrow…as during these 40 days…we are together.
The world is abandoning us Christians right now. Can you feel it? There is a hatred…an animosity that is in the air. I sensed it during these 40 days. It was different than in the past. It used to be that people would look at us praying on the sidewalk, and they would laugh at us, or mock us. They thought we were crazy and would simply dismiss us. But now it is different. They almost think we are dangerous. I believe we have turned a corner, where respect for Christianity is long gone…and tolerance for Christianity is rapidly vanishing. I think we are entering the time of persecution now, where the world will betray and abandon us. But that is why God, in His Goodness…has banded us together in community! He has given us 40 Days for Life as just one way of helping us to not feel so alone.
So, the reason for this reflection was prompted by our dear Bishop Waltersheid, who is asking for a favor from us. There is a faithful bishop, Archbishop Naumann, who is being persecuted for his courageous stand against President Biden’s hypocrisy (referring to himself as a faithful Catholic, while supporting abortion). The “Cancel Culture” is trying to have him removed from his position as head of the USCCB’s pro-life committee. There is a petition to support him which can be signed at: https://catholicvote.org/petition/we-stand-with-archbishop-naumann?fbclid=IwAR36Am7rqjlB1YTsUEj67xbYJbRf2pOC9FBTmd0PRqmxavA3gFVrwX4PDko
I will close by thanking everyone who prayed, fasted and witnessed at Planned Parenthood during these 40 days. You made a difference! You made a difference to all those little babies who were saved, as well as those who were taken to Heaven. They saw you praying for them, and it mattered. And thanks to the MANY people who reached out to Regina Ranelli, of Birthright of Pittsburgh, with offers of help for the 17-year old couple who chose life for their baby during the final days of our 40 days! Because of your generosity, Regina has found temporary housing for mom and has been working with them daily to get all their needs met. Thanks to the wonderful couple who offered their home to the young mom! May God bless you all for your generous hearts!
Our fall 40 Days for Life begins on September 22nd and ends on October 31st. If you feel called to help with the 40 Days for Life 365 program, which will re-launch on Tuesday, April 6th, you can sign yourself up at https://www.40daysforlife.com/en/Pittsburgh or contact Jen McDevitt at email@example.com. The 365 program is much less intense than the 40 days campaigns. We are seeking to have 2 people per hour on abortion days (Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat.) from 7:30 – 4:30. There are no materials on the sidewalk, so you must bring your own sign. We can get signs and literature to you if you need them, just let us know.
So thank you for another successful 40 Days for Life! Thank you for not abandoning our tiny sisters and brothers, and for staying close to Christ as you stay close to them.
Your grateful sister in Christ,