The early morning shift manager, Sally, wrote:
This was such a calm morning after yesterday’s spiritual warfare. No major problems or other things to report. PP was busy until about 10:30. About 50 people came to pray, including Fr. Tim’s people, the Ford City family, St. Vincent students & many from local churches. One lady drove by blaring her horn & giving us a thumbs down sign. She had a child in the back seat, so she must not be 100% pro abortion.
I saw 2 girls walking across the street, like they were coming from the parking garage. Although temperature was in the low 40’s with wind they wore short sleeve tops & no jackets, so I assumed they were coming to PP. But they turned and headed over Smithfield Street. Could they have changed their mind after seeing a large, crowd, singing and praying? I’ll never know, but we can hope that some people changed their mind this morning. It’s always a possibility. —Sally
The following photos were taken from the first shift, by Pamela:
Lindsay was the manager of the second shift and wrote:
Normally, I alternate with another 40 Days for Life Shift Manager, sharing the Sunday Vigil’s 2nd shift. Typically, I am not there on Saturdays, 2nd Shift, but so as to be there for the 4 hour shift which I had adopted for my parish Saturday, I swapped days. There is no comparison of the Sunday prayer vigil to the Saturday prayer vigil. The Saturday prayer shift is a much more hectic day, because the Planned Parenthood clinic sees a lot of “business” and the streets are very active with pedestrians enjoying their Saturdays. Sunday is a much quieter prayer day because the clinic is closed, and the streets are much less busy.
Sunday is almost peaceful compared to Saturday, and much less emotional. On Saturday’s, you can literally see tragic life and death “choices” being made right before your eyes. You can also see the permanently scarred women exiting the clinic later in the day, often sobbing openly, and usually escorted by a seemingly uncaring man friend. There is no comparison of Sunday prayer vigil times to Saturday prayer vigil times. None.
As the days drew closer to my parishes adopted Saturday Vigil slot, I found myself becoming very discouraged that only 2 people from my parish were able to commit to come pray, leaving 2 hours of vigil time “uncovered” by our parish. I shared my disappointment with our new pastor, Fr. C, who assured me that “God will provide; Yaweh yireh”. I knew Fr. C was right, and that I had to let go of my imagined outcome (which, in my selfish, prideful “minds eye” was our extremely busy new pastor surrounded by about 10 of his likewise busy “flock”, praying snug together downtown), and that I had to instead trust in God. So, Friday night I prayed that God would provide me with just enough parishioners to cover the remaining 2 hours, so I would not have to pray all alone. I asked God to “just send two”. And, lo! and behold, He did! First, God inspired my husband to come pray with me all day! Then, God inspired our former (now retired) pastor, Fr. J, to come down to the vigil to pray; Fr. J had no idea that his former parish had adopted that very time slot! It was Fr. J’s outspoken “from the pulpit” pro-life message that had initially led and inspired me to become involved in 40 Days for Life, in the first place. God used Fr. J to plant the pro-life “seed” within me, and if it wasn’t for Fr. J, I would never have been there at the prayer vigil to begin with (let alone have become a Vigil Shift Manager!) But, the pro-life “seedling” within me had recently begun to wilt with self-imposed discouragement… and on Saturday God healed this discouragement by first inspiring our new pastor Fr. C to “fertilize” God’s little pro-life seedling with Hope (“Yaweh yireh; God will provide”). And second, God inspired our former pastor Fr. J to become an answer to my prayers, by leading Fr. J down to the vigil to “water” God’s little pro-life seedling with Faith (yes, God DID provide, big time. Why did I ever doubt?!) God not only sent me “two” parishioners to cover the balance of our adopted prayer shift, but He also sent me “two” wonderful pro-life priests to help encourage me (and many others) to help God to deliver His pro-life message to the world! Lord, forgive me for all of the times that I have doubted in your Goodness, and have despaired in my lack of Hope and Faith! Amen!Lindsay Mitchem”
Chaplain Steve did the 3-7 shift, when St. Ferdinand’s in Cranberry provided the witness. He took this photo: