Day 28: Thanks Divine Mercy Parish, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Individual Volunteers

Have you ever lost anything and asked St. Anthony for his prayers to help you find it?

St. Anthony, St. Anthony come around…I’ve lost my keys and they can’t be found.

I just finished reading a lovely book that a lady at my church wrote titled:

Discovering St. Anthony: If you ask for Miracles

It has 60 colloquial stories about how St. Anthony found lost objects. It reminded me of the time in high school when I worked at the David Weiss jewelry counter and bought myself a claddaugh ring. I used to wear it every day and it went missing after band practice in the parking lot…a parking lot the size of a football field. It was a gray, rainy day and we had been marching all over. I realized the ring was not on my finger when I got home. My friend and I went back to the empty lot, I got out of the car and said a prayer to ask for St. Anthony’s help. I may have taken a step or two…then looked down, and the ring was literally on the ground at the tip of my shoe!!

I’m guessing many people reading this have similar stories. And it’s true, St. Anthony has a special gift for lost objects. But I was struck by the reflection our Deacon mentioned in this book. He said, “Did we ever think of praying to Saint Anthony for lost souls, for somebody that’s gone astray, somebody that needs found, that needs to be brought back to God? Maybe a meaningful use of his intercession would be to pray for lost souls. There are plenty of them around. And it would be good to put him to work doing that.”

7-9: Tracy

Today we had a few more folks onboard along with our sidewalk counselors, Greg and Steve. Karen and Charles came with me from Steubenville, Jorge accompanied Steve, and MaryJo joined us, as well.
We began our morning with the recitation of the Rosary, using the Rachel’s Vineyard meditations. Midway through, a shirtless, mentally unstable man unsteadily passed by. Thank God the weather was a bit balmy and not as cool as predicted! (That was a first for me! Usually it’s bare feet we see.)
A few couples went in. One set, a mother and her daughter, gave us a surprise. The daughter looked the part wearing sweat pants, and yet it was the MOM there for the procedure!
Another woman walked by and stopped to tell us she’d been raped by a relative when she was younger and was brought to PP for an abortion. She was in the middle of her story when, all of a sudden, she looked up at PP’s brick facade, freaked out, and bolted out into the middle of Liberty Ave. Thank God the traffic was stopped at that moment, because she was NOT looking where she was going!
One final GOOD report. Steve handed a yellow card to a passing man. He accepted it, thanking him. He said he has a 2 yr old daughter because we were here awhile back when they were looking to abort. Steve thanked him for the great news and encouraged him to let other sidewalk counselors know! He said he never refuses taking one of the little yellow cards, passing them along to others who might need the help!
Kind of a crazy early morning shift!
– Tracy


9-11: Beth

Who says prolife people don’t go the extra mile! Besides Claudia and Claudia, the regular Tuesday morning prayers, and Bill, when we arrived, we had friends from Steubenville and Scenery Hill. And later, Gretchen and Ralph from Butler arrived to pray on a very busy and sad morning at PP . Your driving and witnessing is appreciated.  -Beth


11-1: Donna

It was a busy day on the sidewalk with many going in and out. Elsie was busy handing out materials to all going in and out and all passing by. One couple that she spoke with, the woman was just so angry and wanted nothing to do with Elsie. Her boyfriend however took the information and read it and talked with Elsie for quite a while. I’m amazed how Elsie gave information to a car that pulled up and dropped someone off. She is very persistent. Patty prayed quietly and played Amazing Grace on her phone. We had a gentleman stop by and pray for a few minutes and left. May God change hearts and minds and change our culture from death to life. May we shine our lights on the sidewalk and everywhere we go.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen

-Donna

1-3: Johanna Mike & Kim

We were blessed with a warm day and the rain ceased. More importantly we had prayer warriors from Divine Mercy Parish joined us today and I know our prayers were heard!  Praise God for His presence with us and His protection and His Love!  God bless all. -Kim

3-5: Nikki

Thank you to Larry and Murphy from the Ancient Order of Hibernians for being with me on the sidewalk today!  We kept our armor on, prayed pretty much the entire time. It seemed like an emptiness or hollowness surrounded that place today. The killing was done. We saw Beatrice, the abortionist, as she left. Many other workers, whom we have seen for years and whom we pray for, we prayed for them as they left. We do our best to be obedient. The most uplifting thing that happened today was when I first arrived, the shift buddy before me, Kim, told me that she received in prayer, right there on the sidewalk, that our prayers are touching the hearts of those going in and the workers. She said she felt the Blessed Mother tell her that the souls, at the moment of their death, will remember our presence today and will repent and will be saved! Those words brought tears to my eyes. -Nikki

3 to 5 shift, Nikki with Larry and Murph

Day 21: Thank you Ancient Order of Hibernians, Shift Managers and Buddies!

Most of us are not hard-wired for confrontation……maybe that is why people get nervous about coming to the sidewalk to pray, we generally like to avoid confrontation and confrontation is to be expected when we put ourselves out there. There is a lot of misunderstanding by the women entering Planned Parenthood, the employees, escorts and security guards.

But really, what we are about is CARE-frontation.

We are there to Care-Front with the TRUTH…..abortion kills a living, human being.

It is destructive to the mother, the baby and everyone participating in it. But we care enough for our brothers and sisters to lovingly offer other choices. We care enough to provide rides to doctors appointments, throw baby showers, provide material assistance and walk with anyone who will walk away from the death and destruction and choose life. We care about anyone working in the abortion industry, so many prayers are said for you, and we care enough to help you find a new job!

As Christians, we are ready to go to the sidewalk and engage in Care-frontation!

ABORTIONWORKER.COM

7-9: Tracy

We began our morning together by reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, using the Rachel Rosary booklet meditations. Very helpful for helping to remain focused on our ministry here at Liberty Avenue! No group was signed up to keep us company, so it was just the three of us.

Greg and Steve were fairly busy. It seemed there were more young ladies going in than is usual on a Tuesday morning. Sadly, most looked right past them, refusing to engage at all. Greg was fortunate enough to pass info onto a brother who dropped off his sister. Maybe it’ll prove helpful later?
God’s will be done!
– Tracy

9-11: Beth

Busy day at PP. People from St. Alexis and Bible Church witnessing by prayer and handing out lots of literature.  Here’s hoping that our first time volunteers become regulars.


11-1: Fran

Although no one was able to sign-up today for the 11-1 shift, three individuals did stop by at different times to pray ~ it was good to have them with us.  Between the hours of 11am and 1pm you can usually count on a lot of traffic in downtown, both foot and vehicle, because everyone is scurrying to get their lunch.  This picture was taken at 11:34 am ~ completely deserted!  Unfortunately, the same thing could not be said for PP ~ there was a lot of traffic in and out of their doors.  Elsie and I stood on either side of the doors in order to reach as many people as possible.  Some took the literature as they entered and a few took it as they left.  Please pray that they will accept the help that was offered to them ~ there is always hope.”The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.”  Thomas Merton 


1-3: Johanna Mike & Kim

My wife Kim and Johanna were there from 1pm to 3pm. Beautiful weather. Quiet on the street. Many couples coming out with paper bags. Prayed multiple rosaries. Little interaction with customers of Planned Parenthood.


3-5: Nikki

The weather was beautiful to stand outside and pray with my faithful sidewalk partner, Larry from the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  We had a few negative encounters. One group of young women stopped by and were looking at the baby models and one of them asked me, I was on my knees praying at the time, what I thought should be done in the case of rape. I stopped praying and told her that we don’t punish the child of the criminal, and that the baby is innocent and does not deserve to be killed. She told me that she had been raped, but she was not pregnant and did not have to make that choice. I explained to her that the fact is that most women who get pregnant after rape and choose abortion end up being more traumatized from the abortion than they were from the rape. In fact, the birth of the child, whether or not they choose to parent the child, can be a way of healing, bringing something good from something bad. I don’t know if any of the seeds took root in her heart or not, but from the expressions of one or two of the other girls, I think they were thinking about it. Another young woman stopped later and was looking at the abortion pill reversal sign and she asked me why I didn’t go do something more worthwhile, didn’t I have a job? She had already taken the abortion pill and was hurting, I could tell. I told her how the abortion pill reversal works, and that it is very successful. She was not interested in listening, and walked away. Larry and I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet and rosary for healing for so many hurting people.

Larry, Nikki, Diane

Day 14: Thank you St. Peter Parish (Steubenville, OH), Individual volunteers and Ancient Order of Hibernians

YOU are a Work of ART

cre·a·tive adjective: relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

Each of us is an O-riginal idea, sprung from the imagination of God!! You are a work of art!!

Tracy

All was quieter this morning. No drama. We began with a group rosary and then took up our posts while Greg and Steve made efforts to help any entering PP. Beth, Masha, and Tracy from St. Peter’s in Steubenville were there along with a new Steubie neighbor, Karen. Karen did sidewalk work at one of the three (!!) PP’s in  Austin, TX. Glad to have a new member onboard!

Beth

Thanks to our great ladies from St. Peter in Steubenville,  Beth and her daughter Masha.  It was cold inside PP and outside on Liberty Avenue. Clients came, help was offered,the results we couldn’t see. But as Beth said that’s the way of the Holy Spirit. Later Bill joined us. Pretty quiet morning 


Fran

We were thankful for this beautiful, although slightly chilly, fall day.  In addition to two individuals who stopped briefly to pray, I was joined by Ken, Gerard, and faithful, faith-filled, Sidewalk Advocate, Elsie. 

We experienced mostly affirmation from those passing by but, sadly, our hearts were hurting with and for the abortion-bound women who were arriving today at planned intervals.  It was clear from the extreme sadness in their eyes that they will need all of our prayers in the days ahead. As the Mounted Police passed by I said a prayer of thanks for their service and sacrifice.  At any moment they might be called upon to selflessly risk their lives to protect ours.  When the Security Guard walked out of the doors of PP today I thought: If only we could ask her to go back inside and protect the babies… praying that her heart will be softened.     


Johanna Mike & Kim

When I arrived , Michael, Kim and Marlene were already there ready to begin our shift. We had a wonderful afternoon…people were very pleasant giving thumbs up and thanking us for being there.
Only one couple said something under their breath.
Kim and Michael were praying very devoutly as was Mary.

I was beginning my rosary when a woman named Patricia from New Jersey stopped and asked to pray with me.
I asked if she wanted to pray the rosary; she said that she prayed directly to God, so I told her to pray her way and I would pray with her.
She gave the greatest witness with her prayer. She spoke very loud, begged God to help all those who were going to have an abortion and how she had 4 abortions and regretted it and how, even though she knew God had forgiven her, it is always in her mind.
I began the Divine Mercy and she knelt down with me and prostrated herself praying with me. She gave me a hug and wished me God’s blessings  and went on her way.
I wish she would have stayed longer, because after she left two young girls entered Planned Parenthood. I prayed that neither of them were going in for an abortion.
Wow!! What an afternoon!
Thanks 🙏 be to God. Amen!!


Nikki

Larry and I were the only ones from 3 to 5 and we had a very prayerful and peaceful  shift. At the start of our shift, a young woman named Alba from London stopped with questions about what we were doing. She has a YouTube channel and talks about issues and so she was interested in knowing about 40 Days for Life. We had a pleasant conversation, she was very glad to learn about all the wonderful things happening in the pro-life movement and took some of our literature to learn more. We also saw a very young and very pretty woman who came to Planned Parenthood to check on where she is to go tomorrow morning when she arrives for her abortion. She seemed so callous and unemotional about getting an abortion, like she was going to be getting a tooth pulled. I talked to her briefly, offered her some of our information but when she realized it was information to help her keep her baby, she gave it back to me and said I don’t need this, I don’t want a baby, I want an abortion. I just blurted out, “if you are pregnant then you already have a baby, all you will do by getting an abortion is to kill your baby who is already there.“ That did not seem to affect her at all, she said that she wanted the abortion and she will be back tomorrow. I pleaded one last thing to her, I told her that her baby already has a beating heart, to which she replied, “no it doesn’t!“ I told her that at 3 1/2 weeks, a baby’s heart is already beating, to which she replied, “I am only 2 1/2 weeks. I said to her that it is not possible to get an abortion if you were only two weeks pregnant, and that was the end, she was gone. Larry and I prayed a Divine Mercy chaplet for that poor little baby, whose mother is so careless about its little life. All of the comments tonight were mostly negative, but nothing too bad. We just keep marching on and trusting the Lord!


Day 7: Thanks to First Evangelical Free Church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Ancient Order of Hibernians

This is a picture of the crowd that participated in the National Day of Prayer and Repentance in Washington, D.C. this past Saturday September 26, 2020.

(Photo: Virginia Allen/The Daily Signal)

“America and much of western civilization was founded on a biblical foundation stone, but it has turned away from that foundation,” says Jonathan Cahn, author of theNew York Times bestseller The Harbinger, in a video introducing The Return event. “We have not only driven God out of our public life, and have called what is good evil and what is sin good, but we have sacrificed the lives of over 60 million unborn children. And America’s fall from God is not only progressing—it’s accelerating—to the point that it is no longer just a falling away, but a war against the purposes of God.” Cahn continues, “We have a window of time, and the purpose of that window is return and revival. Without that return, America will be lost.”

The goal was to get the attention of our Father in heaven. Only He can turn the hearts of a nation. And only He can hold back His judgment and wrath.


Tracy

Diane and Tom were putting the finishing touches on the display when Kathy and I (from Steubenville, OH) showed up at 7. The van bringing parishioners from First Evangelical Free Church in McKeesport arrived, supplying a steady stream of prayer warriors for the next four hours.

The morning was uneventful, mostly staff arriving. I only noticed a few young ladies going in, and none responded to any offers of alternative help. The weather was kind – only an occasional light rain. Our prayerful presence numbered 13 warriors from 7 to 9 by the time lovely ladies, Claudia and Claudia, relieved me at 9.

Thank you Kathy, Kirk, Lisa, Norman, Carolyn, Nathaniel, Abigail, Jane, Dean, Rick, Dan and Timberly!
God is good!


Beth and Claudia


Fran

The sidewalks and streets were quiet today but, unfortunately, the doors of PP were somewhat busy.  Witnessing today from 11-1 were faithful Sidewalk Advocate Elsie, her son Gerard and myself.  Strategically positioned in a triangular formation around the semicircle, everyone would have to pass by at least one of us.  Ellen put her whole heart into offering hope and alternatives to abortion-bound women, but, unfortunately the women had been well coached by the staff of PP. 

  Midway through the shift, my heart was touched when I saw a familiar face approaching.  I have seen this gentleman very many times during previous campaigns: He never speaks and he never walks through the forbidden zone ~ he always steps out onto the street, turns to face the doors of the clinic, stands with his toes at the edge of the yellow line, raises his eyes to heaven and prays for a short time, before he goes on his way.  After he went on his way today, my mind wondered: How many other people might be offering a prayer as they drive by or maybe those who wanted to be with us today, but couldn’t, might be praying right now from wherever they are.  Although we cannot know the answer, our faith tells us that all of our prayers are offered together on behalf of the Innocents.


Mike, Kim and Michael

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel of North Hills: Ron, Joann, Diane, Dot, Libby, Sandy, Jim, Mary, Guy, Rita, Ed, Bobbi,

Lindsey
Croatia 40 Days For Life tote bag, feeling solidarity with our Croatian brothers and sisters

Nikki

What a blessing it was to be used as an instrument of God‘s goodness on the sidewalk today! Even though we had a mixup and the group that was scheduled was not there, we have such a great pro-life family here in Pittsburgh that even though it was a last-minute email that Donna sent out, Claudia and her husband Anton, from Saint Rosalia Parish, rushed into town to be with me so that I wouldn’t be alone. It was wonderful to pray and talk with them!

While I did have some time alone, it was very peaceful and I prayed. It was sad to see a few women leaving who were obviously post abortive. One very young woman was walking very gingerly, she looked as if she was in pain. A car was waiting for her and before she came out, the young woman sitting in the passenger side saw a brochure that somebody had left on the sidewalk and she actually went over and picked it up and took it back into the car. At that time, I did not know they were waiting for somebody to come out so I went over and gave her even more information, about postabortion healing and also about abortion pill reversal. I told her I was there to help if she needed any help, she took the information and said thank you. Soon after that, the young woman who was obviously in pain came out. I told her that God will forgive her if she asks and not to close her heart against God, to not be afraid to ask for forgiveness. She nodded and said she would. When I saw she was going to get in the car, I told her that her friend had postabortion healing information for her and she said thank you.  No matter what happens during our time on the sidewalk, God uses it for his purpose, and his purpose is always good!

Day 35: Thank you Christ the Divine Shepherd Parish and individual Prayers!

The last time I was on the sidewalk, a woman came hurrying past, juggling a child and several bags in her arms. She was joyful, but trying to make it to the bus station to catch her bus. Greg immediately scooped up the bags and she hoisted her toddler onto her shoulders and the three of them ran down the sidewalk towards the bus station!

When he returned, he reported that she did make it in time to catch her bus, but the other striking thing she told him was “She Saved Me”

Several hours later that day, I came across this American Idol audition. It is a beautiful story about a young woman choosing life and adoption for her baby, while still pursuing her dreams. At one point in telling her story, she says “She Saved Me”

In our culture of death society, I found these two women to be amazing witnesses to how choosing life for their unborn children had changed the trajectory of their lives for the good!! It is a message not often heard these days. I hope you have time to watch the audition!


Today’s message from Shawn Carney:


Greetings from Tracy and Charlene 7am-9am

Juju
Tracy and I had big plans for today. Tracy was going to Confession and “Mass at home”. I was really looking forward to Adoration at the Grotto…especially when I realized that the statue behind the altar was Our Lady of Guadalupe!! What a perfect place to pray for the unborn…other than the sidewalk. But it was closed!!! By order of the Bishop! I was so sad!! I saw one of the secretaries in the parking lot and expressed my sadness and she said, “Jesus is everywhere.” Thank you Lord, that was what I needed! I came home and prayed here… …with Jesus!!
Charlene

Christ the Divine Shepherd 11am-1pm

Christ the Divine Shepherd parish honored their 40DFL commitment and prayed all 20 mysteries of the rosary from home during their parish’s time slot of 11am-1pm. Their priests led the prayers and livestreamed them so that parishioners Lisa M., Lisa F., Carol, Suzanne, Lynda M, Emily, Linda V., the Knights of Columbus and the Men’s group could be united in prayer with them!

Nikki 1-3pm

Here is a picture of my little prayer area where I spent my prayer shift this afternoon.

For the first 40 minutes I meditated on scripture. The first reading was from the book of Daniel, and was the story of Daniel being thrown into the lions den. The gospel reading was when Jesus was being encouraged, out of spite and disbelief, to attend the festival of Tabernacle’s. He said that he would not go because it was not his time yet. But then, he did go, although he remained hidden. So, as I prayed, I thought about how God sometimes hides himself, and that reminded me of how we are all in hiding  in a manner of speaking. Evil is out and about, prowling like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Meanwhile, we are in hiding, waiting for God’s time. We don’t know what he is up to right now, but we wait and pray.  It was a reminder to me that although God has gone to such extreme measures as dying on the cross to save us, the majority of his people by far do not believe. It is a crazy time right now and very few people are even thinking of him or looking to him, let alone repenting. 

Chasing Down Exposition – Unsuccessfully
Since my shift buddy and I so enjoyed our prayer time last week at the Oratory Johanna checked on line and they did not say they were closed.  We headed there.  As I was getting off the parkway, Johanna called me with the unfortunate news that it was, in fact, CLOSED.I came home and watched the daily mass on Word on Fire.  My home parish, St. Colman, in this past weekend’s bulletin (available online) listed having Holy Hour Exposition 6:30 – 7:30 so off I went.  Unfortunately, that too was cancelled – CLOSED.  I am sure Johanna still prayed rosaries on her own and I will be praying my Rosary of the Unborn.  We will persevere. Blessings, Lisa

Day 21: Thanks to St. John Burry’s Church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Margaret of Scotland, Sts. Simon and Jude, and Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians

Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

I trust you, let me not be disappointed;

do not let my enemies triumph.

Those who hope in you shall not be disappointed, but only those who wantonly break faith.

Charlene 7am-9am

“Let your mercy be on us, O God, as we place our trust in you”

Coronavirus and nasty PP employees. Dark, empty streets…but smiles and warmth from our prayer warriors. Today we were joined by Tracey’s daughter, Lizzie and St. John (Burry’s) Church from Beaver County.

Pastor Win, Gregg and I were talking about the negative change on the sidewalk the last 2 campaigns. I would like to think that the devil has amped up the negativity because we are making a difference. Pastor Win said,”They don’t understand us…and so they hate us.” We have been there every day for years…rain, snow, and pandemic! We have to be crazy…crazy for trying to save babies because Jesus trusts us to do that and we trust that He will win this fight in His time!

Thank you, National, for Security!  Charlene

9-11: Beth

Cold, rain and way too many clients. But Ron and Win from Zeleinople brought warm hearts to keep Edith and me from the totally depressing atmosphere.

Later Michelle and son Joseph prayed with us as the rain stopped. Bill H stopped by. Gave out information cards and our prayers will take them to whoever’s in need . Thanks, faithful friends. 

Edith was able to offer literature to several women exiting PP. It seemed as though at least one of them had left PP because she had changed her mind, praise God!!!

Andy 11am-1pm

A special treat to spend some time praying for the babies during Tuesday lunch time. Saw a car get towed for being in front if the fire hydrant in front of the gyro place.

Downtown was quieter than usual, but sadly evil kept busy. One of the victims, a young mother, maybe high school age, who was brought in by her rough mom, just came out of the murder mill fresh from sacrificing her unborn child to satan worship. When a prayer partner offered the girl literature, she pushed our member back a few feet and let out a groaning sound. I told the mom to keep an eye on her Baby-less daughter and to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself of someone else. She is after all at a much higher risk of suicide attempt after the trauma she went through. 🙏🙏🙏

1-3: Nikki

 It was a very quiet time on the sidewalk today, and a very sad time as it was clearly and obviously extremely busy abortion day. Many, many young women who were obviously post abortive left during my shift. I stayed on my  knees for most of my shift  in quiet prayer with my eyes open, so I met all of their eyes. I did not know what to say, but my heart went out to them and I prayed for them. Sidewalks were extremely quiet, very different from a normal weekday afternoon. Everybody is thinking the same thing. I am grateful to Ken who signed up to be with me so I wasn’t alone.

It was just he and I for the first hour, and then we were joined by Julie who also signed up because she knew we needed help. She joined me on her knees, Ken prayed on his knees for a while also.  Given the tragedy that is happening here, this seems to be the most appropriate posture to take. It is unbelievable how busy they have been lately! I guess when there is a crisis like this pandemic, people panic and if they are pregnant and don’t feel secure, they think that they need to get an abortion. It is so sad and tragic.   All of us made sure to maintain our social distance while we prayed privately. I did want to know that when I first arrived for my shift, the shift buddy from the previous shift, Mary, had been shoved very hard by a girl who had just walked out of Planned Parenthood. Mary had offered her literature, the girl was upset because she had just had an abortion and I guess was not wanting to receive the literature but instead of  declining in a civil manner, she put her hand on Mary’s chest and shoved her backwards. Mary flew back into the arms of shift manager Dean who thankfully caught her. We did tell the police who were passing by about the incident but Mary did not want to file an official report.  One bit of good news, while I was on the sidewalk I got a text message from Fr. Jason Charron. His wife just gave birth to their seventh child, after six beautiful daughters, they now have a son! Praise God and congratulations to the Charron family! 

Dedicated group from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton with shift manager Michael and Kim and Mike

3-5: Michael

Today was great because this is our third Tuesday of the Vigil and the first one without any rain and heavy winds. Downtown was very quiet with many people not going to work due to the virus precautions and government restrictions, unfortunately  PP was busy and conducting their awful business as usual. Thank God there were no negative incidents to report during this shift. We had some terrific volunteers from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Carnegie and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Our shift buddies, married couple Kim and Michael, were present and fervently in prayer the whole time. A huge plus of being involved in this life saving movement is we get to meet so many fellow believers who are terrific people who never cease to amaze us. We probably would never have met if abortion was kept illegal. The Lord expects us to bring good when evil hits us and the pro-life community has done and continues to do just that. As much as we hate abortion, it has brought us together and made us stronger in many ways, especially our faith.   

5-7: Lisa

Faithful Larry and Brian from the Ancient Order of Hibernians joined me. We had no incidents. Not many people in town because of Coronavirus. Anthony, a passerby, stopped to thank us and praise God for his goodness to Anthony. We told him we would pray for him. He said he was glad he stopped and thanked us for our kindness. Johanna

From Lindsay:

 No woman WANTS to have an abortion.  They feel they MUST have an abortion.  So when people say we are restricting a woman’s choice,  it’s not true. No woman WANTS an abortion.

Day 14: Thank you St. Peter Catholic Church (Steubenville), Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians and Individual volunteers

National 40 Days for Life daily intention for March 10: Pray that the abortionists and all workers in abortion facilities would be troubled in their souls regarding their work and would seek truth.

Perpetual Adoration Chapels Sts. John and Paul, St. Thomas More and St. Monica have agreed to specifically pray these daily devotions which also include scripture and a reflection, overnight from 7pm-7am to cover the hours when we are not on the sidewalk.

Pictures of the binder that volunteer Marie put together for the overnight pray-ers!

We are thankful for this off-site presence in the 40 Days for Life vigil… for supporting those on the street downtown and extending the presence of people praying to be around the clock!

7-9: Charlene

7am darkness and yet Tom, Nikki, Tracey, Beth, Shawn and Gregg were all “wide eyed and bushy tailed”…ready for the sidewalk. Beth and Shawn are from St. Peter Catholic Church in Steubenville…so you know how early they were up! The day had several bumps including a PP employee yelling at Gregg to get out of the circle. This happens but this attack had more venom. It truly felt like she viewed us as an enemy…not someone with different views. It gave me a very sick feeling. In last Saturday’s readings (Matthew 5:44-48) it said,”So be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect…for Jesus, perfection involves loving our enemies and praying for our persecutors”. I know we do pray for the employees of PP but this morning that was hard to do and I saw how far from “perfect” I can be. Charlene

9-11: Edith

Since my parish’s Respect Life Committee is having a diaper&wipies drive as a “Lenten Almsgiving Opportunity” (easy to do!  Just put marked bins at the church exits, place announcements in your Sunday Bulletin, and send out email blasts plugging both this and 40 Days) , I had the privilege of stopping by Catholic Charities on the way to my shift, to drop off diapers for their Pregnancy and Parenting Program.  

I joined a great group on the sidewalk, including Charlene and Greg from the previous shift; Tracey and a husband and wife duo who had come all the way from Steubenville; and Priscilla, the most faithful prayer warrior ever!!  Sadly, PP had a lot of victims this morning, but whenever someone leaves and accepts pro-life literature, there is hope that maybe she has changed (or will change) her mind.
Bill H stopped by, armed with holy water, to offer prayer and witness before heading to a Bible study at First Presbyterian. Mary Ann arrived very early for the next shift and was joined by Mary and another lovely lady.  Then a couple arrived spontaneously to pray a Rosary for the babies and their parents, and on the other side of the Bubble a prayerful young grad student appeared as well.  As my dear, sainted father always said, “You never meet anybody in the pro-life movement who isn’t NICE!”

11-1: Mary Ann

11 to 1 manager, Mary Ann with Ken

1-3: Nikki

 It was a terrible time on the sidewalk. I really do not like being there in the middle of the day. But, I guess this is not all about me and what I want, is it? So many precious lives were lost today, discarded  like  so much trash. It was so busy, probably 8 to 10 couples went through those doors for abortions just in the two hours that I  was there. I felt compelled once again to just stay on my knees in prayer the entire time. As terrible as it was, it was very uplifting to see Ken and Steve who had signed up for the two hour shift to make sure I was not alone!

Also, it was good to see Joan who was sidewalk advocating for the first hour, and then Michelle who came to sidewalk advocate for the second hour. Both of these ladies were very gentle and kind and offered helpful information to all who passed by and who went in to the clinic.  

As I was on my knees praying, one couple practically bounced into  Planned Parenthood, and in a singsong voice, exclaimed, “What a beautiful day for an abortion!” I felt such sadness for that little one whose life was being ended in such a callous and thoughtless way. That little one did not know that its life was going to come to a screeching halt within the next hour. The only thing that little one knew was the safety and the warmth of his or her mothers body. The only thing he or she had ever heard was the sound of the mother’s heartbeat and her voice. As I prayed, I thought about how tragic and pitiful the killing of these babies is. An analogy came to mind. Think of a young girl who is preparing for her wedding day. She is nervous, excited and full of anticipation for her big day and looking forward to her new life as the wife of her beloved husband to be. Imagine her in her room getting ready, making sure her make up is just perfect, her hair the best that she can make it look, and finally, putting on her wedding gown. The moment has arrived! She arrives at the church and prepares to walk down the aisle.    She is so excited and nervous and scared. Everybody is going to be looking at her and she is hoping her beloved will think she is beautiful. But then, as she walks toward him,  he  suddenly pulls out a gun and he shoots her dead, right in front of everybody in the church. It turns out everybody is in on it. They all laugh and clap their hands as the young woman sinks into a puddle of blood and dies. In my mind, that is what is happening to these little ones.  They are just beginning to develop, little hands and feet and eyes and mouths. Their hearts are beating their blood circulating, they are stretching and yawning and dreaming. Sure, they don’t know what the outside world is like, and they don’t know what to expect, but their soul is just as big as ours. There is no such thing as a baby soul. All souls are perfect and complete, made by God. So, her soul is anticipating the life that God had planned for it, and is anxiously awaiting the meeting of its mother and father, who are the very ones who have orchestrated her death…right in front of everybody, with everybody in on it. Nobody has pity for her as she dies.  I did see one couple leave, and there were tears streaming from the young woman’s eyes, while her friend patted her back gently, trying to comfort her.  At least somebody cried for that one. 

3-5: Michael

3 to 5 crew in a torrential down pour!

5-7: Lisa

Larry, Ray and Brian deep in prayer for those lost to the world forever today, the innocents aborted today. Thank you gentlemen for your presence today. 

Day 7: Thank you Divine Mercy Parish, Catholic Community of South Pittsburgh (CCSP), St. Paul Seminarians, Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians

Fear seems to be a really big part of life.

We all have fears…one of my biggest fears is of flying. It is an unreasonable fear that I cannot talk myself out of.

Because I still get on a plane and fly, it does not mean my fear has gone away.

I muster enough courage to outweigh the existing fear because I know the destination is worth it…vacation, visiting family/friends, or a new city. And I get courage knowing my husband will be there to hold my sweaty hand at the first hint of turbulence.

I have read testimonies that the overiding reason women seek abortion is paralyzing fear….of circumstances, finances, health. We stand on the sidewalk praying they will have enough courage to outweigh their fears and to tell them that they are not alone!

If you are considering participating in 40 Days for Life, but are afraid to come down to the sidewalk for whatever reason…please allow courage to outweigh your fear. You will not be alone and you may just give someone else the grace to let courage outweigh fear and choose LIFE!

Charlene 7am-9am

Today was day 1 for me this campaign. This partial reading seemed appropriate:

Is 55:10-11 “ Thus Said the Lord:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
……
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
Achieving the end for which I sent it.”

We stood in the rain, Tracey, Gregg, and I, doing what the Lord has asked…praying for babies, moms and dads and an end to abortion.
Charlene

Beth 9am-11am

If a picture is worth a thousand words then maybe my pictures will make up for the fact I didn’t write down everyone’s name. Surely God took note. Lots of clients, lots of sadness in the rain. Everyone was offered help, some took literature, but PP made their $500 per woman today. We can pray that some clients felt the prayers and left by the back door. Beth

Mary Ann 11am-1pm

When I arrived, late for my 11am shift, I saw a police car and ambulance in front of PP and thought there was a “botched” abortion. Thank God that was not the case. A man had some kind of seizure so paramedics were treating him. The brave prayer warriors were already hard at work. Lots of positive comments today “thanks for being here and God Bless you’s”. The rain even stopped from 11 to 1pm, probably because I wanted to try out the new rain poncho I got for my wheelchair!

My shift buddy, Chris took some nice pictures but I realized after I got home that I did not get their names. Thank you to all who prayed today especially my shift buddies Chris and Mary.      

Nikki 1pm-3pm

This was my first Tuesday afternoon shift of the 40 days, I forgot how chaotic and noisy the hustle bustle of the afternoon is! It is very difficult to remain prayerful. It was wonderful to see Deacon Dan and his dedicated group from  Holy Angels. They were busy at prayer the entire time!

When they left at two, a wonderful group of seminarians showed up for their 2 to 4 shift.  Those guys were very prayerful, they prayed the rosary together and then prayed on their knees for a good long time.  

There was a group of young people who came out of Planned Parenthood and were standing inside the circle looking at the baby models. I struck up a conversation with them. The young man’s girlfriend was in the recovery area, she had went in there for a D&E  but he said the baby had already died and they were just removing  him or her.  They were intrigued by the baby models and pointed out the 18 week and said that was how far along she was. They seemed surprised to see the development. I gave them some information on postabortion healing, although they said it wasn’t an abortion, it was the loss of a child and there will be grief.  Up to this point the sidewalk was very chaotic and unsettling. I found it got much more peaceful when I got on my knees. That seems to be the only way I really feel comfortable there anymore is if I am on my knees. Otherwise, I feel like I am being too casual or too callous about what is really going on there. I cannot express my sadness when I am standing and people are chatting with me. It is easier just to kneel . The body language speaks  more loudly than words. And really, it is the best way to show that we value these little lives, even if the world doesn’t. Nikki

Michael 3pm-5pm

Today was our first Tuesday 3-5 shift of this 40 DFL campaign. We were blessed to have 3 fine young seminarians (Sean, Dan and Eli) from St. Paul Seminary who prayed unceasingly on bended knees. Marissa from Mosaic Community Church in Jeanette joined us as well as a new volunteer and first timer, Michelle. It is hard to believe today was Michelle’s first time at PP because she is a natural and really connected with passersby with most of them accepting brochures and cards. A gentleman named Tim just happened to be walking by and said he was vehemently against the killing of the unborn. Tim decided to join us and stayed even though we received a downpour of rain and fierce winds. Four gentlemen (Brian, Larry, Michael and Raymond) from the Allegheny County Order of Hibernians arrived to the vigil and said they will be returning once a week during the campaign. It is so obvious that our presence at PP is fruitful and awe inspiring to many of the passersby who support life.    –Michael

The four Hibernians, Tim, and Marissa

Lisa and Johanna 5pm-7pm

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND

This is a common saying; theme for our State, title of a nice old James Taylor song and most importantly, we know we have a friend in Jesus.

How about the friends we have made through our pro-life work?  Well, today I was able to count not only on my dear shift buddy Johanna but also on a new volunteer to our shift who promises to be with us throughout the campaign and he brings with him fellow Allegheny County Ancient Order of Hibernians.  What a relief knowing the shift would be covered as I remained home in bed under the weather.  Lisa

 Brian, Ray, Larry, Michael and Johanna also Tim, a fellow who stayed for a while.

Johanna reported:
It started to pour down rain before the guys got there and Michael from the three o’clock shift called Diane and she came around 5:30 and took everything. The guys and I stayed and prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy. This great bunch of men walked me to my car and said they would be back next week.

Day 35: Thank you St. Peter Church (Steubenville) and Individual prayer warriors!

In Omaha, Nebraska there is a suburb called “Boys Town” that was founded 100 years ago to care for wayward, homeless boys. Many will remember the film in which the famous actor Spencer Tracy played Father Flanagan, who founded the town.

Father Flanagan’s belief was that “every child deserves a future”.

The most famous scene in the film is a 10 year old boy carrying his little brother on his back as he knocks on the entrance to Boys Town. As Father Flanagan opens the door, sees the exhausted boys and reaches to help them, the older brother says “He ain’t heavy…he’s my brother.” This phrase is the driving force behind the town as it continues it’s mission 100 years later, to serve unwanted, neglected children.

40 Days for Life also believes that “every child deserves a future” The work and sacrifices of 40 Days for Life can be exhausting, but may we too continue to be inspired and refreshed as we witness, with a brothers courage: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”

Charlene

Today was my last day on the sidewalk for this campaign…and what a way to go out!! First Jeannie showed up with lots of roses!!! We made a memorial in front of baby pictures and put some around the circle. Then it happened!!! A couple was trying to get into PP but the door was locked…it was 7:30!! Tracy said, “ Charlene those people are trying to get in!” So I put all of my prayer books down, grabbed some cards and went up to them. I said Hi and I saw you were trying to get into PP…we can give you help. The guy assured me they were looking for a friend who worked there. I said ok, would you like a card in case you or a friend might need it? He said he had plenty of cards. So I said,” ok God Bless” and left them alone…they walked away. The rest of the shift I wore no signs and stood right inside the circle but I kept missing people…I’m not very good at this. I did not think that the Holy Spirit was calling me to be a SA but maybe I wasn’t listening. Today he made sure I heard. I WILL take the training before the next campaign!!! I was joined by Tracy (my buddy) Beth and Shawn, St. Peter’s, Steubenville, Bill (and his son stopped by) and Mark.

Today I learned,”I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you!”(Psalm 32:8) He will make sure we hear loud and clear!! Charlene

9-11: Beth

Thanks so much to the faithful Tuesday crew, it’s an honor and inspiration to have joined with you praying and witnessing to end the heartbreak that is abortion

Sean, Tracy and Beth drove from Steubenville doing their usual 4 hour shift, 7 to 11.

Karen, from Penn Hills Claudia, Claudia and Beth Ann from the North Hills made sure this shift was well covered.  Lots of positive comments including prayers from a pastor and his friend from Canonsburg.  On the negative side  PP was very very busy this morning.  It’s hard to think about the babies that will be missing from our world and such sadness for whole generations. We’ll just keep going, we know abortion will stop even though we may not be able to see the end right now, we’ll just keep going…
We’ll keep going and save 

11-1:Fran

When I arrived there was a good number of people keeping prayerful vigil on all sides of the circle.  Although some of the group had to leave, Beth Ann, Claudia and Claudia remained to pray for another hour.  Passersby were very pleasant but, sadly, there were several young women, accompanied by their support person, who went inside without accepting assistance.  A young woman stopped to ask about the models and she was surprised to learn that late term abortions are legal. She said that she and everyone in her family are pro life and she has one child and she is hoping to soon have another one.  A short time later a young man came by and proudly stated that he is from Ohio — ‘where they have defunded PP’ — and he hopes we will soon be able to say the same thing.  Then a gentleman who looked to be retirement age, but who was still very fit, stopped to talk.  We learned that he had served our country as a Marine.  One of the ladies said, “Once a Marine, always a Marine!” and we all thanked him for the sacrifices he made.  We also learned that he was raised by his mother – his father had recommended that she have an abortion – so he is very supportive of our efforts.  Around Noon, Sue and Patty from Our Lady of Grace in Greensburg and Tony from St. Thomas More came ready to pray and we were joined by Jim and Cathy who stopped by during their lunch break.  Shortly before I left, a Policeman (possibly lieutenant?) went out of his way to thank us for what we are doing.  It meant a great deal to all of us to know he is with us along with the many others who offered kind words and smiles of support as they passed by us today.  Nikki and Joe came and I was on my way…

1-3: Nikki

 It was beautiful weather to stand outside and pray today, but as always, it was a very sad time to be there. At least three abortion bound couples entered and quite a few left during my shift. It was really nice to have a bucket of fresh roses to hand out to people entering and people leaving. Whoever brought those, thank you! My husband Joe accompanied me to my shift because there was nobody signed up for my second hour. He enjoyed handing out  roses to passerbys.  I was glad to have the company of Suzan and her friend from Greensburg for our first hour. We prayed a rosary and a divine mercy for the babies whose lives were taken today.

One young woman who looked to be accompanied by her mother and a friend, or a sister, did take a rose and the information but went in anyway. I pray that the Rose touched her heart. I trust God that lives are saved when we don’t even know it. There was a little bit of excitement as we saw  what appeared to be some sort of crime. A young, very obviously athletic man came running past at TopSpeed with someone who was not nearly as in shape chasing him. The one who was chasing him clearly had no chance of catching him. Soon after that police showed up and there were flashing lights everywhere. I don’t know what happened, but I thought about an analogy of how we are trying to fight abortion. The devil is strong , Sort of like that athletic criminal. He is very fast. If we are going to come against him in this battle to end abortion, if we are out of shape and overweight like the man who was trying to pursue the thief, we won’t stand a chance. We need to be lean and strong from praying and fasting and being uncomfortable and doing  things we don’t necessarily want to do. If we are going to stand a chance at winning this battle. Thank you to whoever left the recovery bags for us to hand out! It is so nice to be able to give them to girls as they are leaving after their abortions! 

3-5: Michael

5-7: Lisa

A beautiful evening weather wise for the last Tuesday shift of this campaign.  There were only good interactions this evening so we were able to pray uninterrupted for the many lives that were ended today inside the doors of death of our city on Liberty Avenue.I want to thank my faithful team, my CDA sisters, Johanna and Denise as we made sure the last shift of every Tuesday was covered.  I also want to nominate Thao as the newcomer extraordinaire of this campaign.  This beautiful young woman would not just show up to pray on our weekly shift when she saw a need for more pray-ers but she showed up on a lot of shifts that were “lean” in numbers.  Thao, your peaceful, prayful presence was always greatly appreciated.We know we are fighting the good fight.  May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us as we finish this Fall campaign strong! Blessings, Lisa

Day 28: Thanks St. Matthias and all the individual Prayer Warriors

It is my habit to walk and trace the thin yellow line that marks the buffer zone at the PP building as I pray and witness during 40 Days for Life. As I was doing so during my shift, the guard appeared at the door and cautioned me about stepping over-the -line. I acknowledged him and moved a step back while continuing my path of prayer.

As I walked, I thought about this line that separates us and creates the “buffer zone.” A yellow line…which is ordinarily meant to caution, warn and protect from harm, here is ignored by those who cross it to enter a building where 50+ human babies are killed every week.

How ironic it is, I think, as I continue my path, to be cautioned to stay on the safe side of the line; while a pregnant Mother is allowed to step over-the-line to place herself and her unborn baby in danger as she ignores the yellow caution line.

Let us continue to pray, witness and walk-the-line in the sure hope that by our Faith and with God’s help, we may caution, warn and protect from harm, those that come with the intention to step over-the-line.

7-9: Charlene

Today was a confusing weather day on the sidewalk…warmer than it has been for my shift this entire campaign. But with rain…warm rain. Maybe it wasn’t the weather but our attitude as we celebrated the court ruling!!!  Dick and I and Greg (SA)…arrived first and discussed it…than Jackie(SA)…then Claire (a pray-Er who still has the same rules). Jackie and Greg were carefully testing the waters but then Jackie walked with a young woman to the door. Even though the woman still entered PP, Jackie felt the woman heard her! It was a very uplifting day!!
 
My meditation this morning said, “Remind yourself that God’s grace is so much more—so much more abundant, so much more powerful, so much more effective—than the sin you see. And then choose to immerse yourself in the grace that God pours out, which he does always and without fail.” He will stand with us against the evil of Abortion today AND tomorrow. Praying for safety tomorrow and enjoying a little celebration today!!Charlene

9-11: Beth

Discouragement is the devil’s strongest weapon but God sends encouragement when we need it!
When I arrived Dick and Charlene were properly drenched as were Claire, Jackie and Greg (whose supplies are in the red fios bag underneath the fetal models).

There was an enormous flatbed trailer with excavator on the back. Big burly guy goes up to Claire and tells her to move because he is pulling out,  but then he says that he really respects us standing in the downpour trying to help.  He said what we do is right and what abortion does is wrong! Encouragement
And Jackie took a young lady to Catholic Charities, they are closed tomorrow, and although the young lady wasn’t pregnant  she took the literature and was glad that Jackie spoke with her.  Dean,Claudia, friend Claudia and Lisa prayed as it poured, a couple walked to the alley and when approached the father smiled and said it was too late although they later went back into PP, laughing, I guess because they fooled me.
Discouragement
So I can either think about encouragement or discouragement. If I pick discouragement, the devil wins.  If I concentrate on encouragement maybe a baby will win. It seems that the most important thing about being prolife is Showing Up! We don’t always know what to say or do, doing nothing is worse. Nine out of ten times we’re not successful but if you don’t show up that tenth time the baby may be lost.

And Claire had placed a rose by the picture of a baby. Two women asked if that was a memorial for someone who had died.  Claire said it was, people do die in PP every week, babies 

Jackie taking a client to Catholic Charities.

We followed the court’s guideline, peaceful, one-on-one conversation, and we did walk through the yellow  circle and no one said anything as far as PP is concerned. Don’t know if this is their policy or no one wanted to come out in the rain.

11-1: Fran

As always happens on rainy days, fewer people were on the sidewalk, and the ones who were there, passed by quickly.  But, even in the rain, many people were willing to pause for Elsie to accept the literature she offered.  Also, I have to say, I wasn’t prepared for the rush of joy I felt when, for the first time, I saw the results of the new law that was passed on October 18th: A Sidewalk Counselor walked inside the half-circle (censorship zone) and spoke face-to-face with a couple entering the facility.  Being able to approach the couple made a difference in the quality and length of the conversation.  We were all praying that they will consider what was spoken to them.  Quoting an article from the Alliance Defending Freedom: “Every American has the right to speak on public sidewalks — including pro-life sidewalk counselors.”  Thank you to everyone who made that happen!   We have new reason to hope that soon, every American will once again be assured of their inalienable right to life – the central prayer of our campaign.  Our mission continues….. The rain in no way dampened the prayerful spirits of Claudia, Claudia, Elsie, Maggie and Karen.  Thank you so much for the silent prayers, rosaries and intentions that were all offered on behalf of those who are unable to speak for themselves.

Use the link below to read the Alliance Defending Freedom blog about the buffer zone!

    https://adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2019/10/18/the-supreme-court-struck-down-anti-free-speech-buffer-zones-so-why-does-pittsburgh-still-have-them

1-3: Nikki

It was a prayerful shift with the wonderful and dedicated Christians who came all the way from Greene County today!

 The rain stopped soon into my shift, we prayed for pretty much the entire time, although I did have opportunity to talk with one abortion bound woman. She accepted my information and let me talk to her, she was polite, but she did not want to accept  any help and her and her boyfriend went in anyway  and never came back out. It was very sad to see how busy it was today, with many abortion bound couples entering and many obviously post abortive couples leaving. That’s why I stayed on my knees for most of my shift, that somehow makes it better. I felt the Lord’s comfort and presence with us on the sidewalk today. He is with us and he loves us and even though this breaks his heart,  we are close to him when we do this. 

Young man showed up and prayed an entire rosary on his knees

3-5: Michael

The rain stopped prior to our shift and the sun came out to crown us with a little warmth for awhile. Shift buddies, Kim and Michael, were there since 1 pm, along with three ladies from their church in Greene County. A lady stopped to ask me if we get paid to do this and I said no. I should have said we get paid “big dividends” when a pregnant woman decides to keep her baby and not abort. Four young teen girls stopped to chat and criticized us for being there. They said we harassed women and we should not be there to make women feel worse than they already feel. They said it is not a baby until it is born. We listened and tried to instill the truth, but they were closed minded and did not want to really listen openly to what we had to say. They were sarcastic and did not think we had a right to be there. Another passerby stopped and sounded a little like the four teens, but she was a better listener and was more open minded. She said she was transgender and thought we would hate her for being that way. I told her we don’t hate her and we love her and everyone.  She appreciated and thanked us for accepting her the way she was. I thank God I was there today to be a defender of life in the womb.

5-7: Lisa

Do Not Be Afraid!  Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.    Pope Saint John Paul !!     Feast Day October 22. Thank you to my buddies Johanna and Denise once again for their prayerful presence.  Elizabeth also was welcomed again this evening.

Inspired by the words of our dear Pope St. John Paul, I believe he was watching over us this evening.  We were Not Afraid, but, I can say I was irritated!  One bar patron in particular came outside frequently and hassled me each time.  I prayed to the Holy Spirit to give me words of rebuttal but they appeared to fall on deaf (inebriated) ears.  I felt very unsuccessful in handling the situation(s).  I prayed for help and here comes my angel, Johanna over to the side of the circle I was on and showered this woman with so much of God’s love and positive affirmation  that I’m sure that seeds of hope and love were planted this day by Johanna.      Johanna ended up giving this grieving soul a big reciprocated hug.  Johanna, you are so loved by me and by God.  You are a great role model to imitate!