Day 10: St. Philip, Guardian Angels, SS John & Paul, St. Bernadette, Madonna del Castello and more…

Lord of All Hopefulness, Lord of all Joy, Whose trust, ever CHILD LIKE, no cares can destroy…

Friday Morning Musings by early morning shift manager Sally:   It was cold, but at least the sun was shining and it was dry!  PP did not seem to be doing abortions. 2 couples went in early, but one came out after about 15 minutes carrying a small bag that the man shoved into his pocket. Other than that, just a few workers went in & a few single girls. A tall woman went in with a bag.  We had seen her before.  Perhaps  she is an abortionist or staff member.  David, Terry & Maggie were there to pray from St. Philip and Guardian  Angels.

day 10, first shift, holy innocents and Guardian Angels

David Poliziani had a wonderful book of prayers & we used that through most of the morning.When Terry was ready to leave,  I asked  the three to stand together for a photo.  As we were getting arranged, a woman ran up Liberty Avenue and nearly ran straight into Maggie, who had her back turned.  None of us saw this woman coming.  She went into PP after screaming something nasty at us (and we said “God bless you”).  A few minutes later the guard came out, very apologetic, and asked  that we not block the sidewalk. We explained that nobody had seen the woman coming, and Maggie asked the guard to convey her apology.   The guard thanked us and went back inside. He was friendlier than he has been in months. Everybody else was very friendly and we were able to give flowers to a few women. Several passed the flowers on to their children, who were thrilled with them and with the baby models.    Sally Brunnfrom WV with Love...

from WV with Love…
Be there at our LABORS,...
Be there at our Labors,….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be there at our waking, and give us we pray, your strength in our hearts Lord, at the noon of the day…..

Day 10, second shift, ginny starts out alone...but not for long!

day 10, second shift, Patty from SS John & Paul and Kathy from Memorial Park Church
NEED HELP? Read THIS!

Nikki wrote:  When I arrived at 11:15, Ginny was by herself…but she wasn’t alone for long.  Throughout the afternoon, many prayer warriors came from many different churches to pray!  The weather was beautiful and it didn’t appear any abortions were being done.  Although we did see one couple walk in…they came back out five minutes later.  The girl was in tears…so I don’t know what that meant.  I’m hoping maybe a changed heart.   Joining us on the sidewalk today were Patty from SS John and Paul in Wexford.  Not long after Patty arrived, we were joined by Kathy (one of our shift managers)…holding an awesomely huge sign that she made, which was our pregnancy resource sheet hat she had enlarged!  (see photo)   Three more ladies stopped by during their lunch hour…two from St. Bernadette in Monroeville and Denise from St. John Neumann.  The seven of us prayed and sang together for a while.  Then a woman came from North Park Church in Wexford and she and Kathy decided to stand on the other side to pass out literature and engage folks that were willing to talk

Prayer warrior-ettes
Prayer warrior-ettes

…Your Hands swift to Welcome, your your Arms to Embrace…..

day 10, second shift, Brittany and AZ...Keepin' their baby!
Brittany , AZ & THEIR BABY!

About that time, a young couple exited the clinic.  I heard the woman saying to the man, “I am not having an abortion!”  I walked over to them and offered information.  They told me they were going to keep their baby, but didn’t have anywhere to live.  They didn’t even have cell phones.  I gave them my phone number and told them if I get any information that can help them, I will let them know if they call me.  They were excited to be given a fetal model, rosaries and flowers…along with the literature.  They were happy to have their photo taken.  They need prayer.  Please pray for Brittany and “A-Z”.  They told us they are in the process of recovery, but it appeared that they very much need prayer for deliverance from addiction.

Before I left, Sheila arrived with a group from Weirton, and Pastor Bryan was there to stay until 4…so the next Shift Manager Marie had plenty of company!  Thanks to all who witnessed and prayed today!  God bless you all!  Nikki B. 

 …Be there at our Homing, and Give Us We Pray, your Peace in our hearts, Lord, at the CLOSE of the Day….

And Closing out the day:

SS Peter & Paul with LOVE in our hearts...
SS Peter & Paul with LOVE in our hearts…

While the wind was pretty rough out there for the bulk of the shift, I kept a thankful attitude that I was managing a shift today and not yesterday.  The activity on the streets was lighter than normal for a Friday night.  Some of us surmised that a good number of people stayed away from the bars because they were “saving themselves” for revelry tomorrow.   (REMEMBER that our vigil ENDS AT 5pm tomorrow)     As for the activity at PP, all I witnessed were employees coming out and a couple of women – none of whom appeared to have shown the signs of just having had an abortion.    

day 10, third shift, many prayer warriors
I’m so thankful to regularly be able to pray and witness with this wonderful family from Saints Peter & Paul in Beaver: Nadi C., Esther C., Lisa C., Daniel C., and John C.

day 10, third shift, johnRegular John Mimms was there to pray and make a powerful witness at the beginning of my shift.  Then, at different times, shift managers Jim Flaherty and Bill Harrison also came by to pray.  I then had the pleasure of meeting Nadine and Bonnie from Madonna del Castello.  It was Bonnie’s first time there so it was real a privilege to be able to be there to orient her and pray with her.  And my Friday evening regulars, the Cahill family, although delayed by traffic for a long period of time, stuck it out with me again until the end.  So a special thanks to them.      Pat M. (4-7)

Day 6: St Bernadette – Monroeville

My church went to see the Son of God movie that came out last week, and I urge you all to see it if for no other reason than to show Hollywood that there is still a demand for movies that inspire faith.  Why see a movie where I know the plot and how it ends?  For the same reason you go to church on Sunday, to give God a chance to speak to you in a different way.

The scene that spoke to me was Simon of Cyrene taking up the cross for Jesus on the way to Calgary.  He is shown as reluctant to do it at first ( why me), the same look I get when I am asking for help for the 40 Days vigil (note to self: consider Roman Centurion as recruiting coordinator).  But as he journeys with Christ, Simon witnesses firsthand Christ’s suffering, and by the time he gets to Calvary, he doesn’t want to let go of the cross, cause he knows what will happen if/when he does.

So it is with us on Liberty.  We know what will happen if we don’t pick up His cross.  We have seen His suffering through His children who are surgically and chemically crucified in the Place of the Skull.  But we also know the joy of Easter Sunday, the celebration of the defeat of death.  We may never get to celebrate the closing of 933 Liberty, but it’s closing (joyous as is may be) cannot compare to our eternal life with Him and his Liberty Avenue babies.

Thanks to St Bernadette Church for taking a shift early in March, and all of our individual vigil participants.  And thanks to Dean D. for covering the 7-9 shift.

9-11 am shift and Kathy writes:

My first time as vigil shift manager was very encouraging.  When I arrived Dean, Karen, and Gregg were there which, after greeting one another, we spent time in prayer together.

Karen and Greg
Karen and Greg

One gentleman passing by made a positive comment when we finished.  Bill W. appeared briefly to support us too.  Dean was willing to stand with me for the ten o’clock hour since no one signed up, but because of God’s kindness and Nikki’s e-mail plea, a group of six women showed up to pray with me.

our 40 Days for Life family answers the call to fill an empty hour
our 40 Days for Life family answers the call to fill an empty hour

God bless them.  Towards the end of the hour Sue R., accompanied by her five children, came to pray also.

Sue and her beautiful children also come to help fill the empty hour.  What great witnesses for life!
Sue and her beautiful children also come to help fill the empty hour. What great witnesses for life!

This outpouring of support is appreciated and needs to be demonstrated especially on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays–the abortion days.

day 6, first shift, women show up to pray

 

10-1pm shift and Rose writes:

I was able to go an hour earlier today before my shift and the 3 hours flew by. Kathy was not alone from 10 – 11 and she let us in various pro-life prayers.  Sandy, from Steubenville stayed several hours as well as Liz. We did lots of praying.  Later Jean, Winnie , Angela, Jerri, Regina and Dee as well as  Cherise and her 3 year old Mark, showed up from St. Bernadette in Monroeville and we prayed several rosaries and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  While I was kneeling for the sorrowful mysteries near the fetal model display a young girl stopped by to admire them.  I asked her if she was pregnant (yes) and if she was going to keep her baby and she said “yes” and I gave her a 10 week model of a preborn baby, the explanation card and a pamphlet.  She seemed very interested in the baby models, but also perplexed, so I assume she just found out she was pregnant.  Liz gave her a pregnancy resource sheet in case she would be tempted to abort and we asked her if we can pray for her.  She needed to rush to class but said “yes” as well.  Her name is Asia and immediately we added her to our rosary intentions.  A little later a man named Pray Deep (yes, that’s his name ) stopped to encourage us.  I gave him some literature to pass on and he also asked for our prayers.  He had just been interviewed for a better job – he hopes to earn more money so he can give more to causes like ours.  Please keep Asia and Pray Deep in your prayers.

Heidi and Chrishna, also  from St. Bernadette, came for a short while during their lunch break and  led us in one of my favorite prayers, “Jesus who is  . . .Shut this place down!”  There are four pages of the various names of Jesus from the Bible and it is a joy to say this prayer as it is a reminder of all the ways Jesus loves, saves, delivers and blesses us.  We had several people who encouraged us as they walked by and several who took pamphlets as well. It started to warm up as I was ready to leave and the sun came out.  What a blessing to pray at PP, meet some very devout pro-lifers, pray with them, and witness to others for life.

Cherise and Mark, Heidi and Chrisna and Dee

(one of the ladies from St. Bern) Cherise, Mark and Dee

Four ladies from St. Bernadette

More photos taken of prayer warriors from St. Bernadette:

 

Thanks to Beth and her sister for covering the 1-3 shift, as well as Rosalina and her husband Francis for covering 3-7.  This is a hectic time of day for most families, and knowing you can cover for us is a great comfort.

 

Day 5:Church of the Assumption in Bellevue and St. Gregory Parish in Zelienople

I have been thinking about our presence on the sidewalk.  And as I watch people go by as we stand there I wonder:  What do they remember?  What catches their eye?  The signs?  The peaceful grouping of people?  The flowers?   The sound of praying aloud or singing?  It seems many people walk by,  just ignoring us as if we were just standing there waiting for the bus.  But the truth is, God is working on their memory.  And one small moment may return to someone who passed us on the sidewalk and change them.

Great are the works of the Lord;
    they are pondered by all who delight in them.
 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever      –Psalm 111

Here is the review of today’s vigil.  Thank you to Sue McGrath, Nikki and Patti for remembering the unborn standing out in the cold morning.

Nikki writes:

I woke up this morning and the first thought in my mind was poor Sue…standing on the sidewalk in the freezing cold.  It was 8am and my phone said it was 18 degrees.  I knew one person had signed  up to be with her, so she wasn’t alone.  But, it was just too cold to leave her for her whole three hour shift.  I quickly dressed and drove downtown, arriving at 9am to find Sue and Patty huddled together on the lonely sidewalk…both shivering.  After two hours of standing in the cold, Sue was grateful for my offer to relieve her.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful and dedicated vigil shift mangers!  Patty and I stood together and prayed…and as we prayed the sun began to shine right on us!  The sun doesn’t shine very often…or for very long on that part of the city, so we enjoyed praying with the sun on our face.  It was a very quiet and peaceful time in the city.  I was blessed to be there.  At 9:45 Roseann and Rich arrived for their 10-1pm shift.  I hope they didn’t freeze too badly!  It was still only in the mid 20’s.

Sue and Patty, First Shift 7-10am

Sue’s perspective on the morning shift:

TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL!

As I sit typing this blog entry for this morning’s 7:00a – 10:00a shift, I am still thawing out, with those icy-yet-wonderful feelings remaining in my legs that mean I am finally in the warmth and out of the cold!  I am typing this one whole hour earlier than I thought I would be able to.  More on this in a little bit ….

I arrived at 7:00 a.m this morning (which really still felt like 6:00 a.m. due to “spring ahead”) to find David already there and praying on his knees on the freeeeeezing cold sidewalk.  He stayed there for well over an hour, too.  Talk about inspiring!  Bill joined us for a little while on his way to church, and Patty also came around 8:00a.  Although we could tell it was shaping up to be a sunny day, it was reeeeeally cold.  A quiet morning on the streets – several passersby, all with whom I tried to make eye contact, but none of them really even seemed to take notice of us.

On a “prayer break,” Patty came over to my side to chat a little.  We talked about the building and how, despite its beautiful brick façade and stained-glass window (how ironic) at the top, it looks rather dirty and unkempt – certainly nothing like anywhere we would choose to go to have any kind of medical procedure at all.  She mentioned that she and a friend were heading this afternoon to see the new movie “Son of God.”   We talked about the creators of the movie, Roma Downey and her husband, and how they’d said in an interview that one of the reasons they’d made the movie was for their children.  Just when I was fondly remembering Roma’s role on the TV series “Touched By An Angel” and wishing it was still on, lo and behold – an angel pulled up to the curb in a car!  It was none other than our own Nikki.  She got out of the car and said, “Sue, it is just too cold for you to stand here for your full three-hour shift.  You go get a coffee, and I’ll cover the last hour.”  I cannot remember a recent time when I felt more grateful!  I did take her up on her offer.  I was so floored by the fact that Nikki went out of her way on a freezing cold Sunday morning to come down and relieve a shivering shift manager.  This Nikki of ours is one extremely special and dedicated lady!!!  And I finally now know who I want to be when I grow up!!  THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU, Nikki!!!

Thank you Church of the Assumption in Bellevue  for your presence from 11am-3pm.  Mary Thimons of Assumption parish shares this experience from today:

As my daughter and I were praying in front of PP today, a young lady came up to us confused and said “do they do abortions in there??” we said yes, and then she said “but I thought Planned Parenthood, meant they help “plan” your parenthood.  She was serious, she had no idea.  It is good to witness, even on a slow Sunday, if this helps educate even one person, it is worth it.

Thank you to Rich and Roseann King for keeping vigil as shift managers from  10am-12pm today!

Rich and Roseann King, shift managers

Jeff, the shift manager from 1-3 writes:

Cold in the shadows today. I was joined by Rick from Assumption Church in Bellevue and Stan from St. Sylvesters.  Town was busy with people going to the home and garden show. So we were getting our message out to a lot more people than usual. It may be one of the few times they even think of the plight of the unborn.

We are grateful to the parish family of St. Gregory in Zelionople for keeping the remembrance of the unborn from 3pm-7pm.  The 1 hour or more driving distance from Zelionople to downtown Pittsburgh is a sacrifice of love and commitment to the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters in the human family.  

Thanks for reading!!! Let us bless the Lord, and give him thanks:

Psalm 145:

The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.

Day 4…Holy Wisdom Lights up the Darkness!

Planned Parenthood thrives on darkness.  The last thing they want is for a light to be shed on them…exposing the truth about abortion.  As scripture tells us in John 3:20:

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Not that those who work at Planned Parenthood are evil…they are not.  They are hurting, lost souls in need of a savior.  Just like I used to be.

Thank you to the selfless, dedicated prayer volunteers from Holy Wisdom parish for standing vigil for all 12 hours today!   I especially want to thank our own 40 Days for Life vigil shift manager and member of Holy Wisdom, for being at the vigil for 8 hours today!  Barbara, I don’t know how you did it!  You are an inspiration to us all!  Here are some stories from the vigil today.  More  photos and stories will be posted as they come in.

Early morning vigil shift manager Al and Bill started off the vigil this morning:

Sally wrote the following report from her 9-11am shift:

Not much to report today. Close to a dozen couples went into PP early  in the morning. By the time I arrived, only a very few single girls  were going in. There were 9 escorts. They left before 10 a.m.  Up to 11 a.m., about 15 people from Holy Wisdom had come to pray.  There were also the usual few early morning Saturday people.  Barbara  & Richard arrived about 10 a.m.  We were happy to see Susan  Judge & the ever faithful Ford City father and his 2 grown daughters.   The young women have beautiful voices, and they lit up the sidewalk  singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Passers-by could not help but  notice us.


Liz, who is a brand new vigil shift manager wrote this beautiful reflection of her time today:

God must have known I was not ready to be by myself as shift manager yet.  I was not ready for the yelling at us from cars, mean looks as people walked by, shown the finger, told we were “disgusting” and watching a couple I had sat across from on the train walk into PP via a back alley. ( I didn’t know there was a back entrance to PP.) 

What hurt the most was  when a fellow parishioner ( from my own church and leader of a prayer group) walked by and did not stop or acknowledge us (me) at all.  The day had turned dark, very cold, the streets seemed bare except for the traffic going in and out of PP and it was only 3:00 pm. Very few people showed up to pray with us.I don’t know how I would have done it without the angel that is Barbara Lewis.I was ill prepared, poorly dressed for the weather and getting sadder and more intimidated by the minute. Through it all Barbara seemed unperturbed, she didn’t seem to hear the comments or see the “gestures” directed at us and in fact APPROACHED a few of those that would glare at us ( explaining to me that they were really ‘hurting inside’).  She would even smile her encouragement to me, as my cowardly self seemed glued to the same spot beside a tree. I also didn’t tell you that Barb was there since 11 AM and was planning to stay until 7 PM ( I left at 5pm) All I can say is that I have a LOT to learn but I realized today that I also have wonderful individuals to learn from. However, not all was doom and gloom.  A beautiful family from Barb’s church stayed with us for an hour and prayed the rosary. And two lovely ladies ( who wished to remain anonymous) also joined us in prayer.

I have to say that reading Liz’s reflection, I was reminded of how I felt when I first began witnessing at Planned Parenthood in 2009.  I had never done any sort of pro-life activity prior to coming to pray on the sidewalk.  Talk about jumping right in!

In my readings last week I came across the verse from Matthew (10:16), which tells us:

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

I had always wondered why Jesus would have told us that he wants us to be “shrewd as snakes.”  That doesn’t sound very Christ-like!  But then during this daily reading last week (I can’t remember who wrote it)…I read that this passage can be related to the Holy Spirit being represented as both FIRE and a DOVE.  Isn’t that interesting?  Fire is intense.  It is powerful!  Doves represent gentleness and peace.

So…what the writer (who I can’t remember who it was) was saying was that We as Christians are called to a sort of “Powerful Gentleness!”  Weak, timid Christians…no matter how peaceful and gentle they are…would be no match for the spiritual warfare that surrounds abortion clinics.  We are certainly called to be gentle and peaceful and to love everyone we meet.  But we are also called to be STRONG in that love!

As Liz was today.  Liz, I am proud of you.  Well done, good and faithful servant!

Pastor Adam managed the vigil from 11am-1:30pm and wrote:

During my shift, we had seven prayer warriors attend in addition to those who were there when I arrived.  There was a light spirit and a bond of fellowship among the people there.  Barbara and Richard were definitely an anchor for everyone involved today.  What a blessing!

There was a fairly steady stream of traffic going into PP today.  We saw several girls who appeared to be going in for abortions.  There was a group of three girls who went in arm in arm, weeping.  When we offered resources and support, one of them informed us that they were going in for “birth control.”  I assume that the birth control of which they speak is really an abortion.

It seemed to me like today was really a day to make an impact on men who are affected by abortion.  I say this because I had the opportunity to speak with three men there today.  My heart goes out to all of them.  The first was Tom, whose girlfriend was in for an abortion.  I was able to have a long, serious conversation with him about the implications of abortion, and I believe that we really connected with each other.  He insisted that it was his girlfriend’s choice and that he had nothing to do with it.  I told him that he had everything to do with it as the father of the child and that he does have a say in the matter.  He seemed to really desire fatherhood and told me that when he was 14 his girlfriend had an abortion without ever telling him.  He was visibly hurting and I offered him encouragement and advice on living up to the high calling of fatherhood.

I also spoke with Pete, whose daughter was inside having an abortion.  He told me that she was an addict and already had one child who was taken away by CYS.  He said that he hates abortion and he wishes that she would keep the baby, but she wouldn’t.  He said that he would support her.  I told him about the valuable post-abortion counseling services that are offered and he took some information.

The final man with whom I spoke was Mike.  His fiancee, Barbara, has had two strokes and the couple already has three children.  He reported to me that a doctor from Somerset referred them to come to PP and consult for an abortion.  I told him what a dangerous place PP was and how they harm women.  He told me that he was pro-choice and then quoted some random, incorrect facts.  I informed him of the real statistics and offered him encouragement and resources.  He accepted the materials.

It was both heart-breaking to see these men who are being denied the rights, responsibilities, and privileges that come with fatherhood, but it was encouraging to talk with them, pray with them, and offer them support during this time.  Although they gave lip service to “not caring,” it was apparent in their behavior and language that they were broken, hurting, and powerless in the situation.

I pray that God will raise up godly men in our country who will take a stand and be the supportive men, husbands, and fathers that God has called us to be.

Thanks to Pastor Adam for being a light to men in our city today!  We are blessed to have such a wonderful team of dedicated and selfless vigil shift managers!  Thank you Al, Sally, Liz, Barbara, Pastor Adam and Maggie for managing the vigil today!

More stories and photos will be posted as they come in…

Your sister in Christ,

Nikki

 

 

Day 3: St. John Neumann, Guardians for Life, South Hills Assembly and SS Peter & Paul in Beaver

Saturday Greetings all Faith-filled Friends!

Please be sure to check out the Vigil Schedule.  We have IMMEDIATE NEEDS for a few days upcoming:

Sunday at 10am, Monday at 10am, 3pm & 6pm, Wednesday from 12pm to 7pm and Thursday from 9-11am.  We  especially need help on St. Patrick’s Day!  The entire 12 hours are empty! MONDAY March 17th.  ALL you irish eyes—- join us on MONDAY for a tribute to St. Paddy and the joy of Irish Life!

Notes for Friday, March 7 in Pittsburgh

Friday at the 40 ushers in the SONSHINE and a bit of Spring Fever, too:

FIRST SHIFT  has FOLLIES:

Babies go on a “field trip” to CAPA:

What a shock this morning when two young teen boys came down Liberty Avenue,  passed the fetal model display, and turned  quickly and each grabbed one of the larger models & took off down the alley!  We called the police and asked the guards to look in the garbage cans for our little ones who teach so many about life before birth.    We were lucky to give a very good description of the boys, and ultimately the babies were turned over to the police by the principal at CAPA  who had confiscated them.

We are sure these models would NEVER make their way in to our high schools today.  Maybe, just maybe God knew exactly who needed to see those little ones.   Have you ever picked up the models?  They have a unique and special feel– certainly memorable!    Let us pray that those who carried and held our babies on this adventure will be touched by the experience.

We had many opportunities for PRAYER this morning, for sure!- —Thanks to Shift Manager Sally Brunn for her report

Friday Morning Prayer Warriors from St. John Neumann brave the cold!

SECOND TO NONE-  Shift #2 

The 2nd shift today was marvelous. Fr. Tim had a crew of at least 10 people  with him. He brought chairs kneeling pads,  and blankets for his elderly people. They had their own prayer books. We prayed and sang many songs. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of being with him, Fr. Tim has the most marvelous of voices. It was like being with the apostles. I felt like I could have stayed for ever, with spiritual holiness in his group.- Ginny Dougherty, 2nd shift Manager. 

Smiles from SOUTH HILLS ASSEMBLY OF GOD members

We had many warm exchanges with fellow Pittsburghers today while standing in the sunshine in 50 degree weather! Lots of pedestrians – men and women, young and old — gave us smiles, thumbs up, and encouraging words that they are ‘with us’.  People were extremely receptive to the 40daysoflife brochure and seemed genuinely glad that someone cares enough to pray and intervene.

It was sobering to see two younger ladies, very professional looking, go inside together with such a cavalier attitude— we wondered how the human race can be so desensitized?  At one point, a 40 Days participant crossed through the “boundary bubble”  to avoid a melty ice puddle and immediately a PP employee stuck his head out the door and asked her not violate the boundary line.

A young couple went in and out a few times. We offered them the brochure with all the information about resources, hope, help, and facts about the terrible effects of abortion, but they refused.  They left and smoked awhile on the corner.  Eventually, they returned to PP and our hearts sank.  We can hope that our prayers for the path of Life for these two will be answered in some way .

— Special  thanks to  Susan Bluemling  for her thoughts… 

AND FINALLY 

PRAYERS PLEASE

1.       A girl named Nicole is scheduled for an abortion at PP Saturday March 8th!  Her mom asked us to pray for her.

2.       And a  girl named Sarah is also scheduled for an abortion at PP Saturday.  Her co-worker has been trying to talk her out of it…she has been to the pregnancy resource center twice, seen her ultrasound…was going to have the baby and changed her mind. Cancelled one abortion appointment last Tuesday because she had to work.

 Please keep these young women and all those facing a pregnancy in fear, in your hearts and PRAYERS!

40 Days Pittsburgh Family Prayer:

Create a clean heart in us, dear God.  Make love the only reason for our witness as we stand here on the sidewalk.   Sustain us as we explain that abortion is never a solution.   Strengthen us to faithfully supply real solutions.    

Barbara Lewis, Shift Manager

 

 

Day 2: A Day of HOPE! Thank you to St. Anne parish in Waynesburg and Triumph of the Cross in Steubenville!

“…[W]e rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”  (Romans 5:3-5)

Dear brothers and sisters, I emphasize the above portion of Scripture so that we can keep this in mind throughout this campaign.  There are people with whom we come into contact every day who need to know this message!  Our God is a God of hope.  And His hope DOES NOT DISAPPOINT.

Before we begin with today’s stories from the vigil, please take a look at the following up-coming vigil needs to see if you can help us to fill one or two, so that our shift manager’s will not be alone:  SUNDAY at 10am  (Shift Mgr. Sue) MONDAY 10am (Shift Mgr. Kathy), 3pm (Shift Mgr. Rosalina) & 6pm (Shift Mgr. Francis)  TUESDAY 2pm (Shift Mgr. Sheila), WEDNESDAY 2pm until 7pm (Shift Mgrs. Cathy, Nikki & Barbara), THURSDAY 9am & 10am (Shift Mgr. Marie P.)  Please reply to this email to sign up to help during one of these hours, or go to http://vigilcalendar.com/pittsburgh/admin to sign up online.  THANK YOU!!!  Now, on to today’s stories…

Let us consider today’s vigil.  Shift Manager Sue was the brave early morning soul out there in the cold today:

Brrrr!  It was cold this morning!  I’m sure it’s been said before, but isn’t it true that if there’s one thing we pro-life folk have become used to, it is cold.  Not only the frigid temps that visit us on so many (seemingly most!) of our outings, but also — and way more hurtfully — the coldheartedness with which we and our witness are so often met.

Well, some of that did happen today, but let me begin with the positives! On this chilly morning on which few vigil participants were expected, there were a total of seven of us for the 7:00-9:00a shift!!  I am always so excited to see any number of fellow pro-lifers, and the more the better.  Pictured in order are Brian, Ben, Rose, Kathy, and Bill (unfortunately Susan left before I could get the photo), from a mix of churches.  We welcomed Ben, a friend of Brian, as a first-time participant.  I hope he will join us for some more prayer time in the future.  Diane dropped off a bucket of gorgeous fresh flowers along with the sandwich-board signs and fetal models on her morningly delivery. I think people right now are so overflowing with spring fever that the flowers are really serving as an especially effective point of attraction.

One passerby told us what we were doing was “disgusting.”  Hearing things like this always make me more sad than offended.  As we were praying, we saw about 3 or 4 employees enter the building, including Kim, the director.  At one point a tall, pretty young blond lady pulled up and parked her car at the curb.  She got out & entered PP; Kathy and I said hello but she did not respond.  We could clearly see in her back seat a large book that looked like some sort of reference book on human reproduction.  This led us to believe she may either have been an abortionist or perhaps an intern to one of the abortionists.  Please pray for her. 

But now for the positives: several passersby thanked us for being there and said “God bless you,” and one man stopped on his way to work to pray for a few minutes.  One lady came by asking for a flower, and although I didn’t get the specifics of what she said, she seemed very happy when we gave her one.  Another lady, who identified herself as a social worker, stopped and was talking to Kathy about pregnancy care centers.  Kathy gave her some information she had, and the lady said she would stop by at a later time with some information she has to give to us.

So there we were.  Again, as always, I was so blessed by my shift.  My prayers are with all of you wonderful witnesses to Life — not only that your prayers and witness are effective, but also that you too may be abundantly blessed!!!

Sue

Shift Manager Marie P. was also there in the cold, and she shares her story with us:

It was very cold this morning on the sidewalk.  I was joined at 9:00 a.m. by Jeanne F. and John M.  It was good to have such warm company in the bitter cold air.  During the 9 o’clock hour Jeanne and I were approached by a young man, “D,” who asked us, “Is there a law that helps me?”  We weren’t sure what he meant by that, and as we began to talk to him he told us that the mother of his son, an 18-month-old, has told him that she is pregnant and that she is going to tell the doctor to “put it in a jar.”  He is not sure that it is his child, but he does not want her to have an abortion as he does not believe that it is right.  He is also concerned about his relationship with his young son.  We talked to him about what he should do and gave him contact information for WCN and encouraged him to get in touch with them.  He then went into PP to see what they could tell him but he came out immediately and told us they wouldn’t let him inside.  We again encouraged him to call WCN for guidance.  Please keep “D” and this mother, “S”, in your prayers that she will see the value of the life inside her and not abort.

Another woman stopped and told us about her niece who is pregnant.  She was smiling as we talked.  We gave her information about fetal development and a resource sheet to give to her niece.  She was so grateful for the information and said she would give it to her.

God was good to us to allow us to share information and be a source of help and hope to these individuals today.

Thanks for Pastor Matt for joining us in prayer at 10:00 a.m.

Marie

Thank you to Shift Manager Cathy, who filled in for us today, and gave us this report:

There were a number of pray-ers during this shift today – a group from Waynesburg, individuals from North Hills, South Hills, Uniontown and Harmony – all praying, individually or in a group, for the babies and their parents.  A woman pushing a stroller with a beautiful baby girl stopped for a few minutes to talk.  She shared that her stepsister had had many abortions.  I gave her some literature about Project Rachel to share with her sister.  She said she did not believe in abortion, though she could understand it in the case of rape.  One of the pray-ers shared that many grown children of rape, and also many women who had been raped and still gave birth to the child have been glad they did.  Women who are raped and have an abortion suffer twice.

CathyZ

Kim, the coordinator of the group from St. Anne in Waynesburg shared her experience at the vigil today:

I thought our group of three would be the only ones there from 11 to 3 but I was so happy and grateful that many others joined us in prayer throughout the afternoon.  It was very cold.  I laughed when I went to pull out a flower for a mother and her baby and the flowers were stuck, frozen in the bucket!  God did bless me greatly that day.  I think he blessed us all.  I know the two other people who came with me from St. Ann’s feel the same way.  It is always a blessing to pray with 40 days for Life.  I know God is awesome and heard our prayers.  It was a very powerful experience hearing the story of a man whose girl friend had an abortion some 30 years ago and his journey that brought him to us that day.  We all cried for his loss and for the joy of God’s forgiveness and in thanksgiving for his witness.  Thank you for coordinating this heroic effort and thank you to all of the other volunteers who commit to many, many hours helping us.  Everyone was great.

 

The following is a report from Shift Manager Lisa’s shift (that’s me):

Today’s shift was amazing.  I was blessed to be participating in prayer with the beautiful parishioners from St. Anne in Waynesburg, and another man joined us for a while as well.  I’ll call him “Dave.”  He was praying with us for a while as we used a pro-life prayer booklet, and then felt led to pray one with a title something like, “A Father’s Prayer After Abortion.”  Dave began to weep as he read the prayer, and I knew that he was the one in need of the prayer himself.

In the next few minutes, Dave began to humbly and gently tell us his story, of how he got a girlfriend pregnant some thirty years ago.  He didn’t want to be part of the situation for a couple weeks, and the girlfriend ended up having an abortion.  Dave went on to tell us of the pain he has lived with for all these years, from losing the girlfriend and the child… but also he shared about the beautiful healing process the Lord was bringing him through.  He has undergone a lot, and has a story of hope to share.  We all encouraged him to share it with others who need to hear this message of hope and healing.

Personally, I feel so blessed to have been there.  I cannot describe what I sensed was going on there in any other way but FAMILY.  I told my husband on the way home, “These people down at the vigil… they’re really FAMILY.”  And this scenario with Dave illustrated that in the beautiful way that he shared with us, and the loving and supportive ways that we responded to him.  May we all share that kind of HOPE with one another.

Lisa

One of our afternoon Shift Managers, Dee, had this report and photos to share with us:

We had a wonderful group from Steubenville today from 3 to 5 and some stayed to 7.  Many were parishoners from Triumph of the Cross (formed from 6 parishes), also from Holy Family, and St. Anthony.  They were very prayerful, caring, and patient.  A passerby, Terence, stopped to chat with us.  He told us he is one of 16 children.  He is number 15.  His parents were very “pro-life.”  He has many, many, nieces and nephews –I believe he said over 130.  That is one Family celebration!!!!

Weather was sure good for us–still a bit cold, but, bearable.

 Dee

Shift Manager Julie shared this reflection from her shift:

I was with the fine folks of the Triumph of the Cross parish in Steubenville, Ohio this evening.  We prayed and sang a bit, and all was very quiet.  One of the ladies was offering  beautiful red roses to passers by.  I watched quite a few young ladies exit the building and I was praying for them.  There was only one familiar face, but it seems maybe to me that Planned Parenthood has some new employees.   I continue to pray that we could befriend them and show them the love of Christ.  Thank you also to Jim who stopped by for a bit after his work day.  The Lord is with us, to refresh and strengthen us.  Amen.

 

Finally, we would like to send a thank you to Leslie Park Floral in Lawrenceville and St. Paul Cathedral for donating flowers for us to have on hand to give to people (and to beautify) our vigil!  The flowers themselves are a symbol of beauty, life and hope in front of a place that feeds on ugliness, death and despair.  Thank you!!

 

 

Day 1…Victory on the Sidewalk this morning!

There truly was victory on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood today!  Thanks to Fr. Rodolph Wakim from Our Lady of Victory in Carnegie…along with other hardy prayer warriors braved the cold weather to pray for an end to abortion, and to witness to the sanctity of all human life! 

At our kick-off event last night, Fr. Larry Adams of St. Louise de Marillac in Upper St. Clair spoke.  He told us about an experience he had as a youth while attending a March for Life in Washington DC.  He said he came to realize how important the fight against abortion truly is during an especially frigid march.  He was surprised there were none of the usual “counter-protesters“.   He said he realized that for THEM…this was simply a POLITICAL cause!  And…who is going to stand out in the cold for a political cause?  Political causes can wait till it’s a little warmer…at least in the 50’s!  But when it is single digits outside, who in their right mind is going to witness in that kind of weather???

WE ARE!  WhyBecause this is NOT just a political cause to us!  We understand the importance of this cause!  We understand that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT cause of our time!  Each human life is created by God for a unique purpose and is loved by God.  What could be more important than trying to stop the intentional killing of innocent human beings?  How could we let a little thing like frozen noses, fingers and toes stop us?  If it were OUR CHILD…would we let the cold stop us?  Well, as Christians, we recognize that we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ…and these babies that are being killed ARE OURS!  We are all God’s children and so are all part of one family.  One of these babies that we save could someday grow up to marry one of my grandchildren…and their offspring could be MY descendant!  So, I could be saving my own great-grandchild by witnessing in front of Planned Parenthood.  You just never know!

Anyway, enough rambling from me.  Let’s get on with our stories from today’s vigil!

At 7am Dean was the vigil shift manager and had Bill and Jeff to keep him company for the first hour on the frozen sidewalks.  I think it’s wonderful that our 40 day vigil was kicked off by three men!

Fr. Rodolph joined them from 8am-11am and brought his big, beautiful sign with him!

Dean wrote:

First of all, thank you Andy for taking over my shift at 9:00am. I’m just about completely defrosted as I compose this. You all know Jeff and Bill, who are in the first pic from the first shift.

Thanks guys for standing with me. There seemed to be traffic through the doors of P.P. than usual for a non-abortion day. So, prayer warriors, our work is cut out for us. God hears all our prayers and answers in his own time. Don’t let this frustrate or defeat you.

Patience as we come together as a 40 Days for Life family and be a voice against abortion.  Dean

Jeannie and Pete also joined the little group of prayer warriors on the sidewalk:

 

Cathy managed the vigil from 11am-1pm and was joined by Pete.  My friend Maria and I arrived to do the 1-4pm shift, and were joined by another Cathy…sister of one of our 40 Days team members (Patty):

Pat and John Mihm came to pray later in the afternoon:

And then Johnny Adams arrived at 2pm to make sure that Maria and I had company until we left at 4pm.  He stayed with the last shift manager, Barbara until 5:

While Johnny, Maria and I were praying, a woman exited Planned Parenthood.  I asked her if she would like some information and she said she would.  She told me she just found out she is 7 weeks pregnant but has decided not to abort!  She is planning to give her baby up for adoption!  She has a boyfriend but just doesn’t think they are ready to be parents.  She said she knows this baby was (as she put it) “Put there by God” and would be treasured by adoptive parents.  She also mentioned that by continuing her pregnancy, she would still have the option to change her mind (meaning that she might decide to keep the baby herself).  We prayed with her and for her, gave her all sorts of resources.  I offered to walk her down to Catholic Charities to talk to them about adoption, but she said she needed to wait until her boyfriend was with her.  I referred her to Bethany adoption services and gave her all the information for the crisis pregnancy centers, and a 12-week fetal model along with pre-natal development information.  She was thrilled that we were there for her and said that it was “meant to be”!  Please pray for “R” and her boyfriend “M” that they stay strong in their decision to bring this child to birth!

We didn’t get any negative comments during my shift.  Quite a few folks stopped to thank us for being there and one man even asked if he could buy us some coffee to warm us!

I think our witness is even more powerful when it’s cold outside!  Our numbers will probably be small during these first few weeks of our 40 days…until it warms up.  But, as I said during our kick-off event last night…God prefers to use a tiny number to accomplish His mighty deeds.  I compared our tiny (but powerful) numbers to the edge of a razor.  Just as a surgeon uses a very sharp (tiny) edge of a blade to cut cancer out of healthy tissue…so God will use us to cut the cancer of abortion out of our culture!

Barbara arrived for her 4-7pm shift:

She wrote:

Ash Wednesday…and this is the last shift of the first day of 40 Days for Life in Pittsburgh, Spring 2014.  Everyone agreed that the weather was cold. The chill crept down and in past our collars and up and into and past our wooly socks.  Traffic roared.  We prayed.  Staff passed in and out of Planned Parenthood.  Passersby walked, children following parents, commuters bussing back to Rochester and Murrysville, students hugging books, everyone looking chilled and tired.  Our first day witness for love and life is accomplished in 12 uninterrupted hours. Joining in prayer were Richard of Holy Wisdom Parish, Ron of Resurrection Church, Jim of Hilltop Baptist Church and Dan of Holy Family Parish in Steubenville. 

Create a clean heart in us, dear God.  Make love the only reason for our witness as we stand here on the sidewalk.   Sustain us as we explain that abortion is never a solution.   Strengthen us to faithfully supply real solutions.    Barbara Lewis, Shift Manager