I was blessed a little over a week ago to attend the Totus Tuus conference at The Apostolate for Family Consecration. The theme of the three-day event was the dream of Saint John Bosco concerning The Eucharist, Our Lady and the Church. The image he saw shows a great naval battle in a fierce storm while the Holy Father attempts to guide the Bark of Peter, The Church, through the safe harbor of the two great columns of The Eucharist and The Blessed Virgin. Many other vessels fought alongside in this great Spiritual Warfare. We are reminded of Our Lord’s words, “Upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” As part of the Church’s mission, she must be battering at the gates, and against the concupiscence of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and she does so through Her Mass, Sacraments, devotions and works of Mercy. One of the speakers at the conference I attended was Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He spoke of this battle in our time and the need for us to stay close to The Eucharist and Our Lady. At one point he invited everyone to move forward and fill the empty seats because we are many, who stand shoulder to shoulder in this battle for the Church and our Nation. He wanted us to be constantly reminded that we are never alone.
Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.St. Matthew 16: 15-18
We who stand on the sidewalk know these themes very well because we stand at the gates of hell, and they will not prevail. We stand for the very foundational principle of Catholic moral teaching, that every human person has value and dignity. The death, the injury, the destruction of life, of society, of families and of the church are our call to action. Only four Months ago the impossible came true, on June 24, 2022, Roe vs. Wade was overturned. It took almost fifty years of prayer, sacrifice and much suffering to accomplish this. And the gates of hell will not prevail. There have been so many lives lost in this battle and we pray that the loss, the tears, the hurt will end soon. This is why we battle against the gates of hell even though many in society do not stand with us.
Some time ago I was kneeling at a Tomb for the Unborn where seven babies are buried. This is a place of healing like so many others around the country. There was a note under a stone, so I picked it up to read: “Jessica, I love you, I am sorry, I hope to see you some day in heaven. Love, Mommy.” What great sorrow!
This is why we battle; this is why we stand shoulder to shoulder on the sidewalk, this is why we pray with the church and suffer through the cold, the rants and rage of the world. All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, all through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, all in union with the pure heart of Saint Joseph.
It was our regular crew holding down the fort this morning: Greg, Jackie, Anthony, Bill H#1, Bill H#2, and me.
PP had a slower start this morning and not many clients went in while we were there. Most claimed to be there for birth control. Some took our literature and Greg managed to have a conversation with a few. All headed into PP nonetheless. Sometimes, all you can do is offer to be here if they have second thoughts about going in.
Quiet morning at PP today. A few couples went in and by 10:30, a few women came out. The Tuesday Trio, Claudia, Linda, and I were joined by Bill, Jenna, and Dan.
Said prayers, distributed literature on a chilly morning.
We were blessed with beautiful weather and a nice bunch of prayer warriors.
A couple that passed by thought we were passing out pro-abortion literature and the guy got really upset, screamed that “abortion is murder.” After he understood our position, he told us that he and his wife had adopted their newborn baby out to a wonderful family since they were both struggling with addiction. Now they’re both doing better and they have frequent contact with their son and are so grateful for him and their decision.
On a sour note, an angry young woman knocked over a sign and proclaimed her love for abortion as she was heading down the sidewalk. When asked if she has seen what an abortion procedure looks like, she said she had and that there’s “nothing wrong with it.” Then she demanded to know if all of us had adopted children!! On her way back, about 20 minutes later, she didn’t say a word but knocked over the fetal model display and literature table. My guess is that she’s post-abortive; she was so consumed in anger. I believe that the fetal model display strikes a painful chord, forces these women to revisit what they did. So many prayers, so much love is needed for these deeply wounded women.
The 1 to 3 shift was uneventful on our side of the door. Got to speak to a number of passersby. Got to meet baby Terese and her mom Mary Ann who joined us in a number of Rosaries. Mike, Delores and Conrad were there praying, too.
Had a crazy start. There was a gun shooting a couple of blocks over near one of the schools. The city and Allegheny County police were everywhere with sirens going. A number of people gave us the finger. A lot of women in and out of the clinic. It was very pretty with the trees changing colors and leaves falling down. Virginia tried to give out literature. Not much luck. We prayed the Rosary, Stations, and Chaplet to Saint Ann to protect all the children of the women who went in. May God bless you and keep you close to His Sacred Heart and Her Immaculate Heart.
Overall it was a pretty quiet night. We prayed the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy. Bill‘s wife, Ursula, joined us for a rosary and the chaplet. There was one man who stopped and started yelling at us that we don’t love children, that we should be protesting Catholic churches and orthodox churches about abuse of children. He said that women are dying all over the world and countries where abortion is illegal. He eventually just walked away. As soon as he left, another man came walking down the street and thanked us for what we were doing. Thank God!