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

Who’s afraid?

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

We knew this fall was going to be bad…didn’t we? When the Lenten campaign was cancelled half-way through, I wondered if we would ever be able to have another sidewalk prayer vigil for 40 days. The world is just not the same. People are afraid…and I really can’t blame them. In fact, that was the game plan all along. To make people afraid. Fearful people are easily controlled and manipulated, and they know that.

So, who are the “they” that I am referring to? Well…I guess they are whoever is behind the unleashing of a virus which wasn’t as deadly as it was supposed to have been. They are the “they” who are controlling the media to make it seem as if it is much deadlier than it is…in order to keep people panicked and obedient. They are the “they” who are tolerating or funding mobs to riot in the streets, intimidating citizens and police. They are the “they” who want our good police officers to quit or retire so they can replace them with bad police who will enforce “their” evil agenda of global control.

Are they scary? Yes!!!

Should we be afraid?

Maybe…depending on what your house is made of…

My two-year old twin grand kids love the story of the Three Little Pigs. My grand daughter is especially fascinated by the Big Bad Wolf. The Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs, and blows down the house of straw and the house of sticks. But he cannot blow down the house of bricks.

We have seen the videos of the mobs “blowing through” the patrons who were peacefully eating their dinners at the sidewalk cafe on Penn Avenue last Saturday. These wolves simply huffed and puffed with their little megaphones…and the sheep scattered. Then, these wolves entered the McDonald’s Restaurant on Stanwix and did the same thing. They huffed and puffed and the patrons scattered. The heroic manager stood up to them…and they retreated.

So…the question for our fall 40 Days for Life is this: What will OUR response be to these fear tactics? When the Big Bad Wolf comes to our door…will we flee? Or, will we stand up to the scare tactics?

I guess the answer to that depends on what our house is made of. Have we built our house on sand…or on Rock?

I speak for myself when I say that my response is to be MORE determined then ever! I will stand up to evil by KNEELING DOWN to our Lord! If they come to disrupt our vigil, I personally plan to simply kneel down in prayer. I will look them in the eyes without fear, knowing that He who is within me is greater than he who is within them… while praying for protection. They will then have to make a decision to either: 1.) physically assault a person peacefully praying…or 2.) Leave us alone. If they choose to attack and physically assault peaceful people…then it will be a whole new ball game and we will have to re-evaluate and take it from there.

The main thing that I want to say to all of our 40 Days for Life family is this:

Please do not feel obligated to participate in this fall campaign if you are fearful or anxious!

In the past, I have always said that one of the reasons why 40 Days for Life has succeeded is that it allows many people to each do their small part…and when we coordinate all those “little parts”….together, it has a big effect. But that is no longer the case. Some people have greater family responsibilities then others, and it would not be prudent for them to take risks…when those of us who don’t can “step it up a notch” and do more this time…to make up for those who will not be able to participate.

I am thinking of the story of Gideon. Gideon had a large army to fight against the Midianites, but God told him that his army was too big. He didn’t want anyone to think that they won because of their large numbers. So He told Gideon to instruct anyone who was afraid to fight to go home. About two-thirds of his army left. He was left with 10,000 men. God said that was still too many. So he told Gideon separate the remaining men by watching them as they drank water from a stream. Those who lapped the water with their mouths were only 300…and those were the ones who God told Gideon to keep. The others were sent home. God wanted a small number to remain in the battle, so that HE would get the glory from the victory! I don’t know if that is what He is doing now or not…but that story popped into my head as I was ready to sit down and write today…so I thought I would share it.

Our 40 Days for Life team is seasoned and strong. We have faced various persecutions on the sidewalk throughout the 10 years that we have been doing this. God has prepared us. Our “house” is built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ…and no wolf is going to blow it down. Our numbers may be fewer this time, but those of us who remain will give all the more glory to God!

May God be with all of you. Trust in Him!

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

Power-Packed Kick-off Planned for Day #1!

We are less than three weeks away from the start of our 40 Days for Life campaign!!! I am amazed at how God is providing for us! He loves us so much! Even in our fear, confusion and weakness. He looks at us lovingly…as a Good Father looks at His weak and imperfect child who is looking trustingly to Him! I think this photo captures how God sees us when we pick up our spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting and peaceful witness and stand in front of Planned Parenthood:

Until two weeks ago, I wasn’t even planning to have a kick-off event. I reasoned that, with the all the craziness in the world right now, that it would be best to just skip it this time…and to try to just limp along with the sparse vigil coverage that was sure to be the case during this fall campaign.

But God had other plans!

Within a few days, details for TWO…Yes, TWO Kick-off events just fell into place! First of all, Fr. Chris Donley agreed to have an early morning Mass (6 am) on the morning of the first day of our vigil…followed by a Eucharistic procession to Planned Parenthood! That means that, for the first time EVER…JESUS HIMSELF will be on the sidewalk as our 40-day vigil begins!!! how awesome is that??? This will be the first time that we have had Jesus’ Real Presence there while they are open…and while workers and abortion-bound couples are walking in. I believe that lives and souls will be saved on that day!

The following day, I was contacted by Sue Thayer, Director of Outreach for 40 Days for Life. She offered to come to Pittsburgh to speak at our kick off! Since I hadn’t been planning to have an actual “event”…I hurriedly found a venue and the details all fell into place! The wonderful people at the Ark & Dove Retreat Center in Gibsonia were so warm and welcoming in offering their beautiful outdoor space for our evening “Praise and Testimony” event, where Sue Thayer will share her personal journey from Planned Parenthood Manager, to Pro-Life activist! She has a beautiful conversion story and I know you will be inspired by it! This event will begin at 6 pm on the same day as the kick-off Mass. Please remember to bring your own lawn chair for this event.

To download, print and share the event flyer, CLICK HERE!

For the bulletin announcement, CLICK HERE

And for the campaign Flyer, CLICK HERE

It truly is amazing to just sit back and watch how God is leading us! He is providing everything that we need to continue fighting the battle to end abortion, without getting discouraged and giving up in fear.

I will close this post with a short reflection from today’s Gospel.

Today’s Gospel reading (for Sept. 3rd in the traditional Missal), is from John 21, when Jesus (after He was resurrected), asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter affirmed three times that he did indeed love him, and although hurt and exasperated at Jesus’ seemingly unbelief of Peter’s love, Peter finally answered, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!

As I reflected on this verse this morning, it occurred to me that at times like these, it is all we can do to just say…”Lord, you know everything. You know my weakness and my failure. You know my sins and my back-sliding. But at the end of the day…you know that I love you. And to SHOW you that I love you more than myself…I will put my trust in you and I will do what you have commanded IN SPITE of my fear! I will go to that place where your precious little ones are being led to the slaughter. I will go to that place where your children who are enslaved by the enemy think they are doing a good thing by helping women to kill their children. I will go…because I love you. You know Lord…you know.

Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem himself by proclaiming his love three times, after he had denied even knowing Jesus three times. Most of His disciples had abandoned Him during His passion…out of fear and despair. Only Mary his mother, Mary Magdalene, the repentant sinner, and his beloved apostle, John remained at the foot of the cross. That is what I think we are called to do right now. To remain with Him. At the foot of His cross. Not to run away in fear.

If you are able to commit to a time on the sidewalk, the vigil schedule is very sparsely filled. With less than three weeks to go, we could use your help! See the church schedule HERE, and then contact Fran Morrow at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to sign up your church group. Or, to sign up as an individual, contact Donna Goss at gdgoss620@gmail.com

Confusion vs. Clarity

In these uncertain times, we need not fear the darkness…for we carry the Light of Christ with us…and we have the saints, like these little fireflies, helping to light the path before us.

In these confusing times, there seems to be very little that I know for sure. What is the right thing to do? Should we continue to fight against the evil that has grown so powerful lately…or should we hunker down and accept it all as God’s will?

I keep going back and forth on this. On one hand, I want to shout loudly, and aggressively resist the evil that is taking over the world right now. On the other hand, I wonder if God is allowing this for a purpose…and if that is the case, should I just be silent and offer any suffering I experience in union with His?

Activism…or submission? Which one is the proper response?

The answer is YES! Both!

When we fight against the evil of abortion by praying and witnessing at Planned Parenthood, we are being BOTH active AND submissive to God’s will. We are being active because God commands us to rescue those who are being led to the slaughter. We are being passive because we willingly take the risk of being persecuted while we are on the sidewalk. We accept the risk…God’s will be done.

When this whole craziness broke out last February, I was amazed that our churches closed. DURING LENT!!! I would have thought that if there was a life threatening virus that was going to decimate our world that maybe we should have MORE Church…not less! Call me crazy, but I thought Christians were supposed to trust God…not cower in fear.

So now that our sidewalk prayer campaigns are facing threats from the pandemic, Anti fa and a brutal election season…it is my thought that we should be on the sidewalk MORE then ever before! Not less!

Do we trust God or not? Are we willing to suffer if He asks us to, or not?

I have continued to be on the sidewalk weekly, as part of the Pittsburgh’s Sidewalk Advocates. The sidewalks are not as busy or noisy as they used to be, but I have felt perfectly safe. Just this week, a young woman walked out of PP, saying she had gone in for an abortion…but after watching another woman crying…she changed her mind. Our presence there MATTERS! We are ESSENTIAL! There were many pray-ers on the sidewalk that morning, and every woman who walked by heard that both her and her baby’s life matter, and that help is available. And so a life was saved.

It seems to me that God has given us pro-lifers a clarity of vision to see what is really going on right now. We know that abortion is an abomination against Almighty God which cries out for vengeance. In fact, out of the four sins that the Church teaches “cry out to Heaven for vengeance…the first two are; (1) Shedding innocent blood and (2) Sodomy, or non-procreative sexual acts. Is it any wonder that our world is being divided along these very sins? God would not be merciful if He continued to permit us to destroy ourselves with these moral evils.

It is a privilege to be used by God on the front lines of the battle to end abortion. I hope that if God is calling you, that you will join us.

We will need courageous individual volunteers to really step up this time to fill the hours! Since the churches are really having a hard time right now, there are not many church groups that have signed up so far. Please consider signing up for a weekly commitment as an individual. Contact Donna Goss at gdgoss620@gmail.com to get signed up, or sign yourself up at www.40daysforlife.com/pittsburgh. If you are able to commit to a time slot for your church group, contact Fran Morrow at franmac98fmc@gmail.com. You can view the schedule of churches at https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/vigil-schedule/

Thank you and may God bless you!

Who should we trust?

It has been a while since I have felt prompted to write a blog post. Such confusing and strange times…and when our last campaign had to be cancelled due to the plandemic, I thought that maybe our time of uniting the Body of Christ in front of Planned Parenthood had come to an end.

But fortunately, I was wrong! Pittsburgh WILL be part of the LARGEST EVER 40 Days for Life campaign! There are over 500 cities participating in the fall campaign, which will run from September 23rd through November 1st! You can sign up anytime! The flyers and bulletin announcement are posted here: https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/get-involved-2/

Please use them to spread the word on social media and in your church bulletin!

I expect there will be some people who are afraid to come to the sidewalk during this fall campaign. Some will fear contracting the coronavirus. Some fear riots, mobs and persecution for their religious and political views. Some just want to stay under the radar until this all goes back to normal…but will it ever get back to normal? And…should we want it to?

What was our normal anyway? Drag Queens reading stories about gender ideology to pre-schoolers in public libraries? Christian morality labelled as “hate speech”? Empty church buildings? Let’s face it…humanity has become “too smart” for God. Like the ancient people of Babylon….building the tower to reach Heaven…God had to stop us….for our own good. He stopped the Babylonians by confusing their language, so they would not be able to communicate and conspire against him…is He doing a similar thing to us today?

It is such a confusing time, when we don’t know who to trust. If we watch one news network we will think one thing….and if we watch another, we will think something completely different. How do we know who to believe?

For me…it all boils down to one thing…LIFE!

If a politician, or religious leader, or television network allows for abortion…in my opinion, they cannot be trusted in anything they say. Just as I would not drink from a water spigot that gave poisonous water one-tenth of the time…I will not get any of my news from a network that promotes abortion or the liberal agenda. I will not watch it or listen to it…EVER!

We are so easily manipulated and controlled because of the availability of technology! There is a great deception happening now, and many Christians are in danger of falling prey to it. One of the scariest things about these times is seeing the division among believers. I am not afraid of the virus, and I am not even so much afraid of the economic collapse and the suffering that is sure to come. The thing that most disturbs me is to see how completely and easily people have been manipulated and controlled! I feel like we are part of a flock of sheep that is being herded toward the edge of a cliff, and we are blindingly and trustingly following our “hireling shepherds”. There are precious few voices that are shouting out to warn us…but I there are a few. I would recommend enlisting in the U.S. Grace Force and join in the prayer campaigns led by Fr. Richard Heilman. We are on day 22 of a 40 day prayer campaign right now, where we are praying to be delivered from a certain manifestation of evil each day. You can enlist here: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001ESuSGaJpYPCG2iUdd4j4bkKwd4gkh2ZUVbam_Ty9rCn6blH6_U3cI2D8UvSLEcSzHnC4eq2UWmK1I0SbEw0SPKqnkZ2j0Z4J4D-_m4dD6CKJU9day-bBa8Qnx4dv7RLDIVlYAjL1JWsjfUTNPH2jQIVY9gbdbz4O4oMIzv5V1dT_upQsD8cX86iq_5Y-x4eLrTVtdOmA24s%3D

I have also been encouraged by following a young African American woman named Bevelyn Beatty, who evangelizes in front of Planned Parenthood in New York, as well as fighting to open the black communities eyes about the BLM deception. She even got arrested for trying to paint over the “BLM” murals on the streets of New York! You can follow her at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KMp27GY6L9Nqfi21P3ogw

We need to stick together in times like these! I would encourage you to join our impromptu 1 1/2 mile rosary walk around Pittsburgh every Sunday morning. We meet at 9:30am in front of St. Mary of Mercy Church and then walk down Stanwix to Liberty, past the Planned Parenthood and turn on Grant. We walk and pray past the courthouses and end back in front of St. Mary’s, where we close with a Divine Mercy Chaplet. We have done this for the past 5 Sundays and have had between 30 – 40 people each time. It is a beautiful grace to pray together as we walk around our city. Join us any time! And stay tuned for more news about one of our bishops consecrating the city at the Point at noon on Saturday, August 22nd. When I have the confirmation and details, I will send it out.

If we stick together in prayer and Christian unity…and keep our minds focused on God’s Word, we will be okay. We need to avoid looking too much at the waves that are crashing around us. We know Jesus, and He knows us. He said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” He will not let us down!

I remembered that I wrote a blog post about fear of 2020, back in early January…if you are interested in reading it, here is the link:

https://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/2020/01/10/have-no-fear/

Day 36…Old Testament God?

What happened to THIS God???

These have been strange days lately. Our world seems very different, doesn’t it? I keep waiting for our leaders, be it church leaders or civic leaders, to acknowledge our need to repent and turn to God for deliverance from this global chastisement…err…pandemic.

Why is no one looking around and seeing God’s Mighty Hand in this? When I mentioned to a church-going friend of mine that I believe that God is chastising us with this pandemic, she responded with, “Oh, I don’t believe that God would do that!” My boss gave me the same response when I was talking to him on the phone a couple days ago. He is not a believer, but said “I thought your God was supposed to be all about forgiveness!

So, during my morning prayer today, I reflected on today’s Gospel reading (in the traditional Catholic Missal). From John 10:22-38, the unbelievers in Jesus’ time were trying to trip him up and wanting Him to admit openly that He was the Christ. In reply, Jesus said:

“I and the Father are one.”

John 10:30

As I meditated on that short verse, it occurred to me that the reason that so many Christians are unwilling to entertain the idea that this global crisis could possibly be a chastisement is because they are conveniently forgetting that the merciful Jesus of the New Testament…IS ONE with the Just Judge of the Old! In fact, there is a quote from Billy Graham that says:

If God doesn’t punish America, He owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah!

Billy Graham

In fact, God first broke my heart over abortion through a sermon that I heard on the radio called “Stop the Holocaust,” by Rev. John Guest. Before hearing this sermon, I had never given the issue of abortion much thought. I had never seen a photo of an abortion victim and I didn’t know the gruesome truth about the horror of abortion, or about the trauma that many post-abortive parents deal with for the rest of their lives. But as I listened to Dr. Guest talk about the numbers of babies that had been killed, and about various instances in the Old Testament where God had destroyed peoples and nations for the crime of shedding innocent blood…I heard him say that America is guilty in the eyes of Almighty God for this horrible crime. At that point, I began to cry and sob…as the reality of what our nation has done sunk in. Just as the passengers of an airplane have to pay the consequences of the pilot’s error when the plane crashes…so we will suffer God’s judgement for the shedding of innocent blood for over 60 million babies.

That was when I decided I needed to get involved in pro life work, and then I discovered 40 Days for Life. For 10 years now I have had the amazing privilege of leading so many faithful and dedicated brothers and sisters, as we have prayed, fasted and stood on the sidewalk. We have had joys and sufferings through these past 10 years, and I can say without a doubt that being part of the 40 Days for Life movement has been the most meaningful and spiritually enriching experience of my life. It has helped me to overcome my natural timidness, laziness and weakness. I am very grateful to God for bringing us all together to fight this spiritual battle, and I have no doubt that our efforts have brought much grace to our city…whether we see the results or not. Imagine, all the babies that were saved that we never knew about…some of them are hitting puberty by now! In another 10 years or so, a second generation will come forth from those saved lives! Our work will indeed bear eternal fruit!

Speaking of babies that have been saved…the couple who chose life after coming to PP for an abortion near the beginning of our campaign, are currently working with Birthright of Pittsburgh to help them with some of their needs. They have three small children and are in need of housing and employment, as well as material help for their children and baby-on-the-way. The husband is a plumber but would be grateful for any kind of employment. The wife is looking for cleaning work (in the evenings)…and they are in need of a house to rent. If you can help this courageous young couple, please contact Regina at nateran1291@aol.com

This is my last blog post for these 40 days. I am uncertain what our future holds, and whether or not we will be able to hold a campaign in the fall. But I have peace in letting God take the reigns right now. I just want to watch and pray…and listen for His call when He wants me to jump back in.


Today’s message from Shawn Carney:


Here are our final Wednesday shift reports:

Faithful Cathy has been keeping her 9-11 shift from home:

I have been praying from home for my shifts (last week and today), streaming Mass, and prayer walking.  No particular insights or revelations, just trying to stay faithful.

Cathy Z
Hank and Judy fulfilled their last 11-1 shift today by praying from their car at Planned Parenthood!

When we arrived at pp this am it appeared that they were closed but shortly a young man came out for a smoke and an older woman with a young child got out of a car and went into pp for a short time obviously  both waiting for someone having an abortion.  How ironic we’re asked to stay home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus and save  lives but the state allows pp to brutally kill the most innocent and defenseless among us.  Lord have mercy on us.  We prayed the Rosary and Devine Mercy for the end of abortion and for those seeking abortion and those facilitating this abomination.  

Hank & Judy

I had a quiet two hours of prayer in my home this afternoon.  I prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries using my Rosary of the Unborn (pictured below).  Within each bead is the image of a 1-month old unborn baby.  God bless those who are continuing to pray for the unborn during this time of trial.

Chris

Today was a “dry” day inside, no breeze, 72 degrees…
Seriously, the shift was “Pro-Life Potpourri” – trying to tune-up the Mind, Lips, and Heart with worship (Virtual Mass with Bishop Barron), prayer (Vespers, and Divine Mercy Chaplet) and catching-up on Pro-Life email newsletters and educational videos.
Ended the shift reflecting on a few verses of the day that stood out with respect to our time with each other and others on the sidewalk as well as our current situation:

Ephesians 4:32 [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Matthew 4:34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself…

Peace my brothers & sisters!

Joe

Day 29…Hopes Dashed…

Our Kick-off Mass with 40 priests on Feb. 25th began with hope of God doing something BIG!

Today was the day that we had planned to have a Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood, led by Bishop Waltersheid. It was to be an amazing time to bring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament to defeat the evil that has a stronghold at 933 Liberty Avenue. Obviously, that is not going to happen.

We started out 29 days ago with the most powerful kick-off event that we have ever had, and my expectations were high that God was going to do something really big during these 40 days! I honestly worked harder than I had since we began this thing…back in 2010! So, did God disappoint? Did I do something wrong? Is He not all powerful, and with Him, are not all things possible?

Those thoughts are just my own pride and weakness tempting me. I have always struggled with the feeling that everything depends on ME, and MY actions. Too much “Martha“, and not enough “Mary“. I remember when I began leading 40 Days for Life. My heart was so broken after God opened my eyes to the tragedy of abortion, that I just had to DO something! All I could focus on was getting churches to wake up and see the horror that I saw, and to get people to stand in front of Planned Parenthood, so as to wake up the rest of our city. Prayer? Well…sure…we could pray too. As long as it didn’t interfere with the actual WORK of pulling off these 40 day campaigns.

You may be surprised to hear me say that. I didn’t let anyone else know that I didn’t really think prayer was that important. I could talk a good game…

But, over the years, and as I have seen more and more of the spiritual battle that is going on under the surface of our day to day life, I have come to understand that prayer, united WITH action, is the most powerful weapon against evil. However, it seems that we no longer have the option of “action“…and are left with prayer only. So, my old “Martha” started to raise her ugly head. I was feeling guilty about not having anyone on the sidewalks, as Planned Parenthood is busier than ever, with scared and desperate women thinking they need to kill their babies to solve their problems. Then, as I was typing an email to my team on Monday, a Bible verse randomly popped into my head. I even typed it into the email. It was the following verse:

Are there not just twelve hours of daylight? A man can walk in the day-time without stumbling, with this world’s light to see by; He only stumbles if he walks by night, because then the light cannot reach him.

John 11:9,10

The confirmation that God was speaking to me through this verse came after I sent the email and went to bed. I pulled out the book that I am currently reading, Fulton Sheen’s “Life of Christ“. I opened the book to my bookmarked page and began to read. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this very verse right there in the chapter that I was reading! I felt such comfort knowing that it is okay that we are not there right now. We worked very hard, and we were pleasing to the Lord with our sacrifices and prayers. But now is not the time for work. It is the time for more prayer…and more sacrifices. After all, we were asking God to do something big, weren’t we? And look around you! Doesn’t it look like something big is happening?

There are no drag queen story hours happening in public libraries right now. Preschoolers are not having “My Two Dads” read to them as part of the indoctrination process. Life as we know it has come to a screeching halt. And maybe it is God’s mercy that has stopped us in our tracks…because maybe we were running full steam towards a cliff.

Now the busy-ness has stopped. The noise and distractions are gone. It is time to be quiet and still…and wait for God.

I have read that some theologians believe that the Church, since she is Christ’s Bride, follows the pattern of His life. He was born in a stable, and the Church was born on Pentecost. He taught and sent out his disciples to teach, and the Church had her great missionary time. He had his betrayal by Judas, and she has been betrayed by wicked men in the hierarchy. He endured humiliation by the scourging and crowning with thorns, and She has been humiliated by the sex abuse scandal. He hung on the cross and died…and was laid in the darkness of the tomb. His disciples shut themselves away in fear in the upper room…and prayed. Now, it appears that our beloved Church has died. The buildings are closed and we are denied holy communion with Him. We must wait and pray.

Our Blessed Mother, Mary also waited. Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The day in which we celebrate the coming of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, to announce that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and would give birth to a Son. She didn’t understand fully what God’s plan was. There surely was fear of the unknown…would Joseph understand and accept her? Would she be stoned for adultery? She said “YES” anyway. In complete humility. Then she waited for nine months to give birth to the Savior.

So, even though we don’t understand fully what God’s plan is, we do know that He is allowing this to happen for a reason. Let’s trust and accept His Holy Will, while we wait and pray…and look forward to seeing Him again in the resurrection!


Here is today’s message from Shawn Carney, President & CEO of 40 Days for Life…featuring some events and pictures from our Pittsburgh campaign! Check out our own Nikki and Joe in the opening shot below!

Our team members are keeping their regular shifts that they would have had at Planned Parenthood, but are praying from wherever they can. I encourage everyone who was signed up to pray for an end to abortion during those times.

Today, Hank and Judy, who have the 11-1 shift on Wednesday, went to Planned Parenthood to pray.

Even though the vigil is officially cancelled, that couldn’t keep Hank and Judy from praying in front of Planned Parenthood today!

Judy and I went down to PP for part of the 11-1 shift and prayed the scriptural rosary. The guard came out and told us we were not allowed to be there, to which Judy responded, “If you are still doing business, we’ll be here!” Several Pittsburgh police officers walked by us, but did not say a word. If evil exists, how much more grace abounds.

Hank & Judy

Parishioners of Holy Redeemer prayed from 11 AM-3 PM today.

Holy Redeemer (comprised of St. Mary’s and St. James’) had our shift today from 11AM-3PM.  With everything SO “off kilter” these days and kids needing to do schoolwork on all the family electronics, I did not manage until late last night to send out an email requesting fellow parishioners to pray from home for the babies and their parents today.  Nevertheless, wonderful Friends of Life responded right away, promising to pray at specific intervals so no one would be required to pray for four hours straight (although we ARE supposed to “pray ceaselessly,” right?)
Divine Redeemer prayer warriors included Mary Beth (joined from a distance by two friends from Saints John and Paul), Jim (a member of Assumption but a “fellow traveler” with our Respect Life group), Ibie, Mary, Sandy, Betsy, Christian, and Charlene.                                       
  I noticed (surprise!) that it is  a lot more comfortable and less stressful to pray at home than outside a death mill, but it is dreadful to contemplate vulnerable, misled mothers approaching Pittsburgh’s Auschwitz with NO human being outside it to offer a last-minute plea (whether silent or spoken) to reconsider.  SO WHEN THE KIDS FINISHED USING THE IPAD TONIGHT AND I SAW THE PHOTO OF HANK AND JUDY OUTSIDE PP TODAY, I KNEW THEY WERE AN ANSWER TO PRAYER.  Thank you, Hank and Judy, for risking your own lives to be a sign of contradiction in this culture of death and a sign of Hope to a frightened young mother.

Edith

Chris prayed from 1-3 PM.

It was a quiet shift in my family room, with the only passerby being the occasional cat wandering through.  I prayed the Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary using my Rosary of the Unborn (pictured above).  Within each bead is the image of a 1-month old unborn baby.  I prayed with increased focus compared to praying on a noisy Pittsburgh street.  I’ve found it helps me concentrate on Jesus’ suffering if I try to visualize the scenes from The Passion of the Christ.  While my prayer–time went well, I missed the fellowship of prayer warriors standing with me in defense of the unborn.

Chris

And Joe kept his 5-7 PM vigil slot to pray for the end of abortion.

From the front yard of the church where Joe went to pray today, although it turned out to be closed. His vigil occurred at home instead.

Guess I got “home schooled” by God today!  My vigil occurred from home…

A couple of things: “God woke” me today – Nikki’s beautiful outpouring in today’s blog post, and Hank & Judy’s witnessing today.

In today’s scripture readings the Responsorial Psalm:  “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” I must accept that it is his will that this vigil is done elsewhere today.

Fr. Robert Barron’s homily during Mass today: he contrasted Ahaz from the first reading and the Gospel reading of Mary’s Annunciation as “dreaming small” (Ahaz) vs. “dreaming big” (Mary) – “May it be done to me according to your word.”

Sometimes I must admit of “dreaming small.”

We must not fear “dreaming big” and to ask God for the “big dream” -not just closing 933 Liberty Ave., but an end to abortion in our state, country, and in the world!!!

Another thought – in these troubled / uncertain times that we are dealing with… In a 2006 Stephen A. Smith interview of (recently deceased) NBA’s Kobe Bryant, Smith asked Kobe Bryant what he learned after one of the lowest points of his life – to which he replied “God is great.” Pressed further on how he knows this, Kobe responded: “You can know it all you want, but until you have to pick up that cross that you can’t carry and He picks it up for you and carries you and the cross, then you know.”

I “know” God is carrying our crosses during these troubling times – “GOD IS GREAT” my brother and sisters!

Joe

I also want to let everyone know about the virtual rosary congress which began today. Go to https://www.rosarycongressusa.org/virtual/ to sign up to pray the rosary for one hour, to help fill the week-long, 24 hour prayer vigil…to bring grace and healing to our land!

Day 22…Thanks to Divine Mercy Parish & Faithful team members and volunteers!

These are Different Times….

Do you feel like the world is changing? Could it be that we are at the end of an era?

I know everyone is wondering what the right thing to do is. Do you go out? Do you stay home? What is the definition of “essential”? Getting food? Going to work? How about mourning the death of innocent little ones? Could that be considered essential? I mean, funerals are still taking place, right? Where are the funerals for the little ones being aborted at Planned Parenthood? Who cares about them? Who loves them?

Of course, God loves them. And we love God. And therefore, we have to be there. In fact…it is ESSENTIAL that we be there. For them…and for HIM.

But…the times they are a changin’…so we need to do things a little differently. We need to be responsible and not take a chance of spreading any contagion. So, here are the guidelines that we are asking all vigil participants to abide by during the remainder of these 40 days:

  1. Please maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others. Refrain from hugging, hand shaking or standing too close when speaking.
  2. For safety, we have done away with the sign-in sheet and the signs. You need not touch anything that others have touched. You may bring your own sign if you wish.
  3. We ask that you do not distribute literature to passersby or to Planned Parenthood clients. If you want to bring literature to the vigil to have available in case someone asks, that is fine.
  4. If a passerby or worker does anything such as coughing or spitting in your direction, please let the shift manager know so they can report it to the police.
  5. Starting today, we now have a security guard with us at all times on the sidewalk, thanks to the 40 Days for Life national team…so we will be much less vulnerable to these hateful attacks.

I am sad to say that Planned Parenthood is busier than I have ever seen them. Since this crisis began, more and more women feel that they NEED an abortion…possibly out of fear of the future. We need to be there in prayer and peaceful witness in hopes that their hearts will soften and they will reconsider this terrible decision to end the life of their own flesh and blood….their heritage.

I will leave you with a verse from today’s Gospel reading for the Tuesday in the third week of Lent. It gave me so much comfort as I meditated on it this morning.

For where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there am I in the midst of them.”

Luke 4

We are not doing this alone. He is with us. We can be sure of that. Thank you to all who are praying, fasting and sacrificing because you love.

Click HERE to watch a short video from Shawn Carney, National Director of 40 Days for Life as he informs us of the impact the corona virus is making on our 40 Days for Life witness.

Today’s reports from the sidewalk:

Peggy & Beth 7-9

Faithful few…Joe, Beth and Peggy start out the morning in prayerful witness!

Today we had three couples go in only one came out. Might have been scheduling issue. One of the couples was from West Virginia. They slowed down in front and then parked in our garage. No persuasion but lots of prayers. Today I was struck by the people who avoided walking on the roses. They did not talk to us but I believe they understood the significance. I was very very touched by their actions.

Peggy

Cathy & Priscilla 9-11

This time it was not as busy as the previous 2 days, but still, 3 couples and several women went into the clinic. One woman, part of a couple, looked very sad. I called to them that there were other places, they didn’t have to go in, but sadly, the continued into the clinic. A young man stopped to talk, said he goes by often, noticing the baby models. He said his (now ex) girlfriend had an abortion behind his back. He pointed to the 16 week baby and said that was the size. He was upset that he had no say about their baby. I had tucked a few flyers in my bag, one was for fathers so I gave it to him. In addition to shift buddy, Priscilla, we were joined in prayer by Steve from St. Thomas More and Ed from Brighton Heights.  The streets and sidewalk had a lot less traffic than usual.  As Peg reported, many people walked around the rose petals, though some were oblivious.

Cathy

Hank & Judy 11-1

Very quiet day on the street, although several couples entered PP for abortions.  They were approached, but to no avail.  Judy and I were joined today with Ken (St.Germaine), Tom (St.Thomas More) and Glenn (Most Precious Blood).  Samuel, the security guard was there today.  We prayed and prayed….God deliver us from all evil.  Pray Psalm 91.  

Hank & Judy

Chris & John 1-3

It was a quiet shift on the sidewalk this afternoon- noticeably fewer pedestrians and vehicle traffic.  I didn’t see any abortion-bound women enter PP.  Joining me in four Rosaries and multiple Chaplets of Mercy were Fr. Joe, George, Sister Rose, and Dolores.  In this strange time, it felt odd not to be wearing a sign and not having a resource container.  A man stopped to tell us his daughter had an abortion years ago- we offered a Rosary in her name.  No negative words today, but several “Thank you for being here” comments.  It was great to meet Samuel, our new “protector”.

Chris

Jeannie & Virginia 3-5

It was —- dare I say — a very peaceful day on the sidewalk. With so few people around, the minutes tick slowly by out here! I miss the hubbub of the commuters and the kids coming from school. There was very little foot traffic and gratefully very few people coming out of Planned Parenthood either- yay! Virginia and I were to be alone but as is the case with this incredible 40 days for life group, we were not. Marilyn from Saint Bernard’s and Maggie and Eileen from Saint Philip’s round out our crew. The rain began to fall just as the next shift started. It was very good to have Samuel among us. I think just his presence is a force for peacefulness!

Jeannie

Joe K & Jeff 5-7

The drive and subsequent into the vigil today seemed a bit apocalyptic…

Very little traffic car & foot, only 3 people in front of the “Steel Building”,

the sink hole on Penn & 10th…  And the blood still flows out of 933 Liberty

Ave.

The warmth of all the folks at the vigil and the “virtual” physical greetings that are the norm (at least for now) shook the “darkness dust from my sandals”…

We know – God is Great! God Provides! and in the end – God Wins! God Wins!

Jeannie and Virginia turned over the reigns and off we went…

Mary and Tim showed-up and Samuel was there.  Bill H. and Jim & Jim showed up too…

Little foot traffic and only 2 young men stopped to talk about abortion and the typical edge cases…  The discussion ended with a virtual high-five!

There also was sharing and prayers around the drizzle that increased over the course of the shift.

Faithful Diane showed up to put the vigil on hiatus until tomorrow morning when Our Awesome God will provide for the vigil once again!!!

Day 15…Thank you to Flame of Love Prayer Group, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Indiana), Divine Mercy Parish, Intercessory Prayer Group and dedicated Individual volunteers!

“Come out so that His Great Mercy may be yours!”

Reflection by Pat Malley:

Let the Lord of the Black Land come forthLet justice be done upon him!”

That line comes near the climax of The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King.  It’s spoken by Aragorn, the king, who has just led an extremely small, and wholly inadequate, army to the imposing Black Gate of Mordor.  He is daring Sauron (that world’s version of Satan) to come out from behind the Black Gate and fight him.  Since joining 40 DFL many years ago, that scene has never failed to bring to my mind an image of the doors at 933 Liberty Avenue.

Why?  It’s the many parallels I see.  Between their small army and ours.  Their puny-looking weapons and ours.  Their army’s slim chance of success and ours.  

But while there are parallels, there is an important difference.  Yes, we come to battle Satan and drive him out of that place, but we have a completely different attitude towards those who work there, having been deceived by The Father of Lies.  To you we say this:

“Come out, so that His great mercy may be yours.”

But maybe you believe yourself to be beyond the reach of His great Mercy?  Listen with your heart to the words Christ spoke in a private revelation to St. Faustina of Poland in the early part of the 20th century:

“I perform works of mercy in every soul. The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy.”

From Nikki: The image above is my rendition of St. Faustina’s “Divine Mercy Jesus.” The image is made up of tiny baby faces in the exact number of babies that were killed at Planned Parenthood in 2013. Even this terrible sin is not beyond the Mercy of God!

Now for today’s sidewalk reports…

7-9am, Peggy & Beth

Shift manager and buddy, Peggy and Beth

Three couples during our shift. I did approach without success. A woman stopped by in tears with the story of her daughter aborting her 1st grandchild but go pregnant again and thru the intervention of a youth leader kept the second baby. Baby is beautiful. I gave her a pamphlet on Rachel’s Vineyard. Her daughter is in denial about the first baby.

Peggy
 

9-11am, Cathy & Priscilla

It was fairly busy this morning with individuals and couples going in and out.  So sad they feel there are no other options, even though there are.  Too many are not interested in what we have to offer them.  Linda, Kay and Betty from Flame of Love, Irene, Lois, and Dennis part of St Bernard-Indiana, Fr. Jeremy, Bill, and Jim & Claire from St. Bonaventure were all there at various times to pray for the moms, the babies and the workers.

Cathy

11-1pm, Hank & Judy

A cold gray day on the street, but even on the sunniest day abortion is cold and gray….there were several couples who went into PP during the shift.  The bright spot was the wonderful prayer warriors who were out praying for an end to this tragic story in American history and for the many people who greeted us with words of thanks and warm smiles.  Bill, Irene and Lois from St. Bernard in Indiana were there from 10 AM until 1 PM.  The Guardians for Life including Terri (sidewalk advocate), Tom, Joe and Rudy were there. Tom from St.Thomas More in Bethel Park and Pat from St. Ferdinand joined us for an hour as did our faithful Bill.  Fr.Jeremy was there when I arrived and remained in prayer with us for some time.  We prayed rosaries, the Stations of the Cross, Devine Mercy and several litanies and we sang songs of worship.  The sun (SON) is still shining even on the darkest days!

Hank

1-3pm, Chris & John

It was brisk weather on the sidewalk today, but I was warmed by faithful prayer warriors Fr. Joe & Dolores from Divine Mercy Parish, Churches of St. Benedict the Moor, Epiphany, and St. Mary of Mercy, Diane from St. John Neumann, and George from Sts. John & Paul.  Steve and Brendan joined us in praying four Rosaries and a Divine Chaplet of Mercy.  Roseanne sacrificed her work lunch-hour to pray with us.   One woman stopped to ask if she could have one of the soft baby models, as her daughter is pregnant.  She picked one out and I gave her a Watch me Grow! Booklet.  Late in the shift, while we were praying the Rosary, an angry woman walked past and loudly cursed all of us.  She continued the vile language as she continued down the street.   May God have mercy on her and heal her from the inside out.  While reading the Book of Daniel last week, I thought of how each of us pray outside the lion’s den, praying that little lives might be saved.

Chris

3-5pm, Virginia & John …check back later for report….

5-7pm, Joe K

Michelle and Linda from Bridge City Church in North Braddock

Blessed with a dry / calm / quiet Wednesday – Yay!

Greeted on my shift by my ole Sidewalk buddies Virginia and David. Walk-ups on their way home joined me for the 1st half of the shift which included Jim from St. Maurice.

Linda and Michelle from Bridge City Church in North Braddock joined for the later half of the shift, took materials to hand out and prayed / shared from the other side of the arch.

Only positive comments from today’s passersby, though one gentleman did stop to thank us for being there, to pray, and to let us know to see the film “October Baby” which Jim had seen on the bus returning from this year’s March for Life.

Joe

Day 8…Thanks to Flame of Love Group, St. Richard & St. Catherine of Sweden (Gibsonia/Allison Park) and Dedicated Individual Volunteers!

RESISTING SHRINKING

Reflection by Pat M.

From Miletus, Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned.  When they came to him, he addressed them;

“You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.  I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit…And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

Acts 20:17-20, 26-27

Think of the implications of that.  What happens if we do shrink?  If out of fear we shrink from going out to the sidewalk and telling people what is for their benefit and proclaiming to them the true plan of God?  Doesn’t it seem fair to say that we would bear the responsibility for the blood of others? 

It’s easy to forget, but Paul was human.  He too experienced the fear that comes from telling people that they’re not living according to the commands of God.  If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have spoken of it in the terms he did. 

So what’s the secret to overcoming that fear?  Part of Fr. Joe Freedy’s homily at the kickoff mass dealt with that question.  He spoke specifically about the fears we all have in going down to PP and publicly witnessing to a grave moral evil that most people don’t seem to have a big problem with.  I found his advice for overcoming this fear pretty enlightening. 

He first let us know that we should never, never, ever ask God to make us less afraid.  Instead, we should ask for courage. Pat M.   

Before we go on to today’s shift reports, I want to let you know that the Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood that was cancelled last Tuesday because of the rain HAS BEEN RE-SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25!!! Bishop Waltersheid will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Epiphany Church at 7pm and immediately following Mass we will process to Planned Parenthood. The rosary will be prayed as we walk and Bishop Waltersheid will lead us in prayer in front of Planned Parenthood. The procession will return to Epiphany Church for short benediction and to repose the Blessed Sacrament. For a bulletin announcement to post at your church, CLICK HERE! All are welcome to attend!

Now…on to Today’s stories from the sidewalk….

Peggy & Beth 7-9

Peggy and Beth were joined with extra prayer partners Joe and Charlene who came to boost the ranks this morning. Also pictured are faithful Diane and Tom

Cathy & Priscilla 9-11

As the Peg and Charlene told me it appeared that there was a meeting.  A few women/girls went in, some for quite awhile, but not near as many as last week.  After about 10:45 or so it picked up. At least 2 couples entered.  Linda, Therese and my shift buddy Priscilla were all there to pray and offer help

Cathy Z

Hank & Judy 11-1

A morning filled with prayer as is always the case when the Guardians of Life are on the street even in reduced numbers.  While they typically bring 15-20 people, today there were four including Rudy, Terri, Lisa and Brian.  The smaller numbers did not affect the power of prayer which included three rosaries, Stations of the Cross, several litanies, Divine Mercy and songs of praise (if you can call the noise we made singing).  Also present and faithfully praying on the opposite side of the circle were MaryAnne, Monica and Mike from St Catherine of Sweden.  We distributed a good amount of literature and we had many positive and encouraging comments today along with lots of smiles; and we are appreciative of the good weather.  God is good ALL the time!!

Hank & Judy

Chris & John 1-3

I was joined by prayer warriors Will and Cynthia from St. Catherine of Sweden, my shift buddy John from Most Precious Blood of Jesus, and Diane from St. John Neumann.  When I arrived, Hank, the previous shift manager, said that he thought it was an abortion day, but during my shift, I didn’t see what appeared to be abortion-bound women enter PP.  Together, we prayed multiple Rosaries, using the Sorrowful Mysteries.  Several passersby said, “Bless You” and there were several negative comments.  There was also a work crew doing work inside PP.  Another emotional moment today- a woman stopped by to ask questions and we did our best to answer them.  She was interested in abortion statistics, so I provided the numbers for this abortion clinic, the United States, PP’s share in the U.S. number, and the worldwide number.  She seemed to be taken aback at the magnitude of the numbers of unborn babies whose lives were cut short.  She then talked about a friend of hers who had had an abortion and that she, the woman talking to us, tried to talk her out of it.  At one point in that conversation, the woman said she wouldn’t get an abortion if her friend (the woman with us) would take care of the baby.  She started tearing up and told us that she told her friend she couldn’t.  She started sobbing and I gave her a long hug.  She asked, “Why couldn’t I have said yes?”  She was distraught over the loss of her friend’s baby and felt regret that she hadn’t said yes.  We said we’d pray for her, her friend, and the lost child.

Chris
Will and Cynthia from St. Catherine, with shift buddy John

Jeannie & Virginia 3-5

It was a chilly windy rainy and sometimes sunny two hours on the sidewalk. —- Kind of like four seasons all at once! We were delighted to be joined by Patty and John from Saint Titus in Aliquippa. A highlight of the time down on the sidewalk was when a woman walked by and pointed to Virginia and John and said “You are awesome, just awesome–thank you for being here.”

Jeannie
Patty and John From St. Titus in Aliquippa, with shift buddy Virginia

Joe K & Thao 5-7

“Volunteers for Life,” “Politics,” and “Conversion” seemed to be tonight’s theme…
I was overwhelmed by the “Volunteers for Life” that made today’s shift simply Blessed! God is Great!

Thao, my Shift Buddy was there again at the beginning of my shift as well as John & Patty who were holdovers from the prior shift.

Thao and I prayed on one side while John & Patty took the other side.

We were then joined by Theresa and Ken, first timers, who are on fire for life from Saint Benedict the Abbot.  They brought a huge 40-DFL Banner that they proudly displayed to all the passersby on Liberty Ave.
An unusually quiet night for passerby comments, but there seemed to be a lot of bus traffic through the whole shift.
One gentleman did stop to try and talk politics and to discuss what party affiliation Jesus would have / who Jesus would vote for… but it ended up being a fairly good, civil, but short, pro-life discussion…
Thao and I were also approached by a couple of nice young men that wanted to convert us to the Church of Latter Day Saints.  Thao’s responses to their questions were absolutely thoughtful and loving.
The night ended with some sharing about the pro-life movement / activities with Ken and Theresa until Faithful Servants Tom & Diane packed away all our “stuff” as a pro-life puzzle to be “solved” again tomorrow…

Joe