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!
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
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.Elsie
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.
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
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.Joe
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.