“Holy cow” whatta morning… Faithful Tom & Diane setup the display with great precision once again! I was joined by Shift Manager Emeritus Bill and the Mobile unit rolled in shortly thereafter. This morning’s picture is worth a thousand words, eh? The “innocent” leaves fallen and discarded resulting in a barren home… much like the lives discarded from their mother’s wombs at 933. Though the leaves will return, these babies will not – at least to this earth. But beyond this blue / gray / “spritzy” October morn, where it seems like Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse parade around 933, our faith gives us hope, the promise actually, of brighter days, of being reunited with all our brothers and sisters in the heavenly abode… Sorrowfully, it was an extremely busy and emotional shift… Lots of anger and /or indifference to the loving alternatives and help available to all – True Choices!!! The sidewalk eventually became full of prayer warriors and advocates as the shift came to a close, bringing the buds of love, hope and help into full bloom…
9-11 AM +++ Sue M. and Sue D.
The clinic was rather busy this morning. The Choices van was there, but unfortunately we could not convince anyone entering PP to use its excellent ultrasound services. A large group of very prayerful folks from St. James was there, and they eventually joined Chuck and Carol in their already-in-progress Jericho walk. A couple representing North Catholic brought some t-shirts from the school’s spring Pro-Life T-Shirt Day and prayed with us. Bill S., Bill H., Jim L., Sidewalk Advocate Joan, and a prayer group from the former Quigley High School rounded out our group. Rays of sunshine Barbara and Richard arrived for the next shift with their ever-present smiles. Joe, who stayed over a bit from his earlier shift, offered help to a young couple entering PP. The young man was angry and had some choice words in response. Another young woman exiting PP with her partner was in tears, but they would not accept our offers to talk or any literature from us. Dear Lord, please send Your Holy Spirit to these couples and to anyone who entered PP today for services. Let any lives be saved that still can be saved, and please help them to seek solutions to their problems and any needed healing in You.
11 AM-1 PM +++ Dean and Greg
There were a lot of women at P.P. today. Some women seemed willing to take the pregnancy support business cards. However, the security guard accompanied every exiting woman to her waiting ride which greatly reduced the opportunity for contact.
1-3 PM +++ Kathy and Nikki
We are praying specifically for B, beautiful mother of 3 children. She chose life for her 1 yr old twins. She feels her back is against the wall and she can’t handle a fourth child. Talked about adoption: couldn’t do. Her mom will support her decision. Talked about regret. Talked about the Holy Spirit. Please pray if she took the abortion pill that she will call the number on the back of the card.
It was a privilege to be a witness for the sanctity of life on the sidewalk today, and a joy to see shift manager Kathy use her talent for sidewalk advocating! She has such a warm and welcoming and non-judgemental demeanor, people just seem to want to talk to her. It was also a blessing to pray with my new hero, Johanna, who is 84 years old and comes to the sidewalk and kneels in prayer! She told me she has eight children living with two in heaven. You meet such wonderful people in this work! We had a large group of families come to pray from Saint James and the children were kneeling on the sidewalk to pray. What a heart-touching witness that made! We were praying specifically for a young woman who had left Planned Parenthood and had engaged Kathy in a long conversation before leaving. She told Kathy that she was just tired of waiting but that she would be coming back for her abortion. She said that she already had three children and could not handle a fourth. We were praying hard that she would not return, but sadly, she did. The exterior of Planned Parenthood seemed very quiet and calm, you would never know of the atrocities that were happening just inside those doors. But, we persevere and we do not give up and we were there for those babies as they lost their lives, they did not die without someone praying for them.
3-5 PM +++ Jeff and Billy
Jeff and I were accompanied by Steve and St. James Church from the West End. I wanted to say I counted 19 people total praying with us. We had prayed multiple prayers. We had a couple people who passed us across the street shouting pro choice and to put our facemasks on. Then a guy in a red jacket was sitting by us and he recorded us praying. Steve led the group in a prayer walk. You never know what you’ll get on the sidewalk
Prayer and sacrifice can touch souls better than words.
St. Therese of Lisieux
When our words of warning are ignored, when our offers of help are rejected, when we see the doors of PP swallow its victims, it’s time to fight discouragement by remembering that we are called to put it all into God’s hands. The 40 Days for Life movement is based on prayer, not because it’s the only thing we can do, but because it’s the most effective thing we can do.
Souls ARE being touched by our prayer and sacrifice. We may or may not see the results, but God undoubtedly does. We thank Him for generously allowing us to play a role in His plan for salvation. We ask for increased faith in Him and strength to continue our efforts.
7-9 AM +++ Barbara, Richard, and Rose
What a fruitful early morn this felt like. Rose arrived first, then Richard and me and Diane and Tom and Marie (new). The sidewalk was warming up. Lisa and Denise (new) and Al and Amy (St. Pat’s Canonsburg). I looked around for a plate of donuts, but none. These guys came to witness and pray for life. To witness for each little baby whose life abortion takes today. To pray for each abortion bound person. It seemed like a chorus of “God bless you!” from passers by. One young man stopped for awhile to talk about who we are. What a joy to share that story! Sidewalk witness for life just keeps on giving. Peace.
9-11 AM +++ Kathy and Mark
Thanks to all who came to pray, hold signs, and pass out literature. Katie had the opportunity to talk with “K” who accepted resources and a meeting with Regina from Birthright pregnancy center. Please pray for “K.” Toni, from Canonsburg and Marlene’s cousin, stopped by. Toni did sidewalk counseling while living in MD and stepped into that role today. We prayed Psalm 136, the thanksgiving psalm, together and prayers to end abortion.
11 AM-1 PM +++ Sheila and Dee
It was slow today, but at 12:30, a woman came by looking for the clinic, said she had an abortion scheduled. As I tried to counsel her, the guard came out and swept her inside. She said that this is what her husband wants. ☹️
1-3 PM +++ Elaine and Marilyn
It was Marilyn, Bernie, and myself who were present today during the shift. We offered up some prayers during the vigil. We received some thank yous from people who were passing by. One woman stopped and eagerly received some literature from Bernie. Also, there was a girl toddler who was with her guardian that passed by that even the security guard at PP smiled at. Miracles do happen!
3-5 PM +++ Pat, Val, and Mike
This evening’s weather was perfectly pleasant, but the mood of several passersby did not match it. We had one older woman who got very nasty with Amy who was praying on her knees at the time. She and her husband Vince, however, handled the matter beautifully. I’m so grateful that they’ve made the 4-5 PM hour a regular part of their week.
Also praying with us were for the first hour were Mary and Paula, both from the same yet-to-be named parish grouping in the Sharpsburg/Aspinwall area. In addition to them we had a large contingent of students, parents, and teachers from Aquinas Academy in the North Hills come for the final half-hour. They truly made a great witness.
I’ll close by asking for two things. First, for pray-ers to consider coming down to PP next Friday (the last Friday of the campaign), during the 3-4 hour so that my faithful shift buddies – Mike and Val – won’t be along during that time. Second, prayer for my two oldest daughters – Bridget and Colleen – who will be moving together to Chicago next week. I specifically ask that you pray that they may grow closer (and not further away) from Christ during this experience.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, Announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!” Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, For they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.
~Isaiah 52: 7-10
Two of my favorite little body parts of babies is often their little noses and their little feet. They are just so CUTE. The photo above shows such a chubby, kissable baby foot. So beautiful. And the Lord mentions “beautiful feet” in the above passage from Isaiah. Why are the feet in Isaiah’s passage beautiful? Because they bring good news. What is that good news? OUR GOD IS KING.
While chaos seems to reign supreme in our land these days, one thing is for sure. Our God is King. THANKS BE TO GOD.
Even when abortions still take place…. our God, though He is surely grieved over this, is still King.
Let us do all we can to bring His love and His presence to the sidewalk… to the abortion-vulnerable couples, to the abortion workers, and to the passersby. May they know by our prayers that our God is King.
This passage also tells us that “The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,” and that “all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.” We will all know. We will all see. We will all behold that our God is King. And we pray that this may happen to all those we encounter on that sidewalk- and to all those inside that horrid edifice known as Planned Parenthood. May ALL see… and know… and behold.
Reports from the Sidewalk:
Thursday mornings are my favorite shift! So peaceful and quiet and so many good people to pray with! It was wonderful to see the nice faces from Holy Family Parish who came and prayed on the other side of the circle, while Peggy and I prayed on our usual side. Deacon Tim also came from Holy Family, and he also prayed on the other side. Only workers entering the clinic. And it was God‘s timing, I think, that as Peggy and I were on our knees praying the rosary, I was just announcing my usual intention for the third decade. I was saying out loud that we were praying for mercy for all those who work or volunteer in the abortion business, for their conversion and repentance and salvation. As I was saying that, the security guard happened to be walking up from behind us and I am sure that with the city being so quiet, he heard every word. God planted some seeds. It is so important that we are there. Thank you everybody and God bless you!
Meredith, Chuck and I arrived for our shift and Debbie and Judi from St. Thomas More were already here praying. Jon from Holy Family joined us. More and more prayers were raised to heaven and we were joined by Bill, then Mary from Most Precious Blood of Jesus and by Janine from St. Alexis. Midway through our shift, we were joined by Loli. Loli has a company called Crosswalk Footwear. It is a Christian company and she manufactures shoes. The proceeds go to manufacture baby shoes to give women who are abortion-minded. She recently gave away her first pair of baby shoes to a woman who chose life for her baby.
A couple separate young ladies entered PP. Meredith was able to at least intercept both of them and offer alternatives which they did not accept. But we pray their brief conversation with Meredith stays in their minds and the Lord uses these words in their lives in the days ahead. Amazingly, one of the young ladies came out and spoke to Meredith for a while and took a card.
Today was one of the quietest shifts I’ve experienced in a long time. Very unusual, but also nice. I’ve been loving the prayerfulness we’ve been having on the sidewalk…. lots of silent prayer. I think it’s beautiful to pray together; there’s also something powerful about the witness of silent prayer as well.
Thank you to the parishioners of Holy Family, my parish! You are all wonderful and inspiring! Thank you also to those who said they would pray from home. God bless you all.
I absolutely love the strength of the people who attend the vigil. Bob, a regular, stops by at least every Thursday.. maybe more often. He is so unassuming and humble. And Tony has become a prayerful and faithful regular. And Marilyn and Peg are just veterans… they have been through a lot in life and it has made them the beautiful women of faith they are. I am so blessed to know such people.
One other thing to add…. As I was praying the Divine Office on the sidewalk, there were SO many Scripture passages about God being strong, God being our Maker, God being King….. and it reminded me of the reflection I wrote for the blog this week (above). God IS KING. No doubt about it. He is in charge- and we have nothing to do in the current state of world affairs but to put our trust in HIM.
It was a beautiful unseasonably warm fall day with bright sunshine, but the cloud of abortion was present and the dead leaves gathering at the door of PP speaks clearly of this. We persevere in prayer! Larry (AOH), Glenn (Most Precious Blood of Jesus), Judy, and I did just that. We prayed five rosaries and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We distributed literature and received many encouraging words, and a few of the usual suspects came by to greet us with their foul language… May God open their hearts to His gracious love and mercy.
When you spend time on the public sidewalk, praying and witnessing to end abortion, you really get a good look at the state of our culture. Just as this photo shows the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so do we see the devastation that legalized abortion has wreaked on our young people.
We see the differences in generations. The older people (my age and slightly older), who were actually brought up in a culture that knew right from wrong…but who rejected it wholeheartedly by embracing the sexual revolution and abortion…those people are hardened and defiant…and there is really no reaching them (outside of God’s grace, that is!).
But those who are younger, those are the ones that my heart truly goes out to. These are the souls who came of age after Roe vs. Wade, and who never knew of a time where human life was considered sacred.They grew up in an age that taught human life is only important if someone else says that it is important. This sad state leads to a sense of emptiness and hopelessness. After all, if God didn’t create us in His own image, and if He doesn’t love each and every one of us for that reason…then really…what is the point of living? The goal of existence then has to be one of two things, depending on personality type. For someone with a personality like mine, who is more passive and comfort-seeking…life becomes a constant search for happiness through pleasure. Alcohol and drugs, sensuality and entertainment…anything to distract from the meaningless that is this life. For others, who have a more aggressive personality, power and control become the driving force of life, and the search for material success is what motivates them.
It is so sad to see the damage that the loss of the awe and wonder of God, and His creation (especially human beings!) has caused in our culture.These poor young souls don’t even know how important they are to the creator of the universe!
If they only understood that the same God that keeps the planets in orbit, causes the sun to shine, the rain to fall, creates every particle of matter…from the tiniest atom to the largest galaxy…is the same God that has counted each and every hair on their heads!
If only they understood this important truth, their perspective would be completely changed! Life would then no longer be about seeking pleasure or power…it would be about loving and serving their creator. It would not be a burden to obey His laws. Rather, they would see that the moral law is our comfort and protection from all harm!
I write all this as a reminder (to myself), to have compassion on those who do not know right from wrong…those who think evil is good and good is evil. It is not their fault. They have grown up in the aftermath of a hurricane. All that is Good has been washed away. Because, really….there is nothing good except that which comes from God. And how are they to know God if no one teaches them? So, judging them or getting angry at them because of their twisted views on life, would be like walking through the devastated neighborhoods in New Orleans following Katrina, scolding people for all the trash scattered in their yards. It is not their fault.
This is why it is so important for us to be present on the sidewalk. We stand (and kneel), as a visible reminder that all human life is immeasurable precious and valuable. And we pray that God will use us to begin to rebuild a culture of life…even if it means He first needs to clear away some of the debris.
Now, on to today’s shift reports…
Peggy, Charlene & Beth report from the 7-9 shift:
Katie, Priscilla & Terri were there from 9-11:
The traffic in and out of PP was pretty average this morning. Many passersby took information, as well as a few people going in. Therese joined Priscilla, Terri and I for awhile to pray. Terri had several good conversations with people, and we got a thumbs up from a guy on a bike and no negative comments, just an eye-roll and one girl who came out and took post-abortion and abortion pill reversal info only to throw it on the ground. A man who was stopped at the red light asked if we were okay and I told him it happens all the time, which I probably shouldn’t have said because it seemed to make him discouraged. But the important thing is that she heard me mention abortion pill reversal, so if she is in the process of a pill abortion she can always look it up.
Barbara & Richard were Christ’s hands and feet from 11-1:
The sidewalk was crowded with pro-life witnesses gathered in prayer..Terri, Katie, Priscilla, Richard and me and then Bob and Cathy arrived and stayed as others left for their busy day elsewhere..A woman came up and stopped and stood with us. She handed me a donation, said that was all she could afford, but she wanted to thank us. She was lovely and quiet and walked quickly away. Life on the sidewalk is always happening and quick and a mystery. Peace.
Chris & Elsie were in charge from 1-3:
Another good day praying, in front of the ultimate sad place, for the unborn and their parents. Again, the shift started with the sprinkling of Holy Water on the yellow semi-circle. Today, I was joined by two fellow parishioners from St. John Neumann, Diane and Marie. Joyce prayed with us again, a parishioner from Our Lady of Victory in Harwick. Tom and Dolores came from Divine Mercy parish, along with faithful John. We prayed Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary while Elsie was a dynamo handing out, potentially, life-saving information. As we were praying together, I looked down at the sidewalk and noticed the leaves covering the sidewalk. I thought that, like a tree discards its leaves, little lives are discarded within the walls of PP.
Joe K. and Virginia closed us up in prayer from 3-5:
Holly and Hope, mother and daughter team from Apollo were with us again for this shift.
Both are active in handing out literature, and trying to talk with persons exiting PP and foot traffickers, very helpful and pleasant.
Steve (Bob N.’s son-in-law) was also on this shift.
Several yellow cards and brochures were given out.
A gal leaving PP, cheerfully announced “ I just had an abortion.” The driver of her ride also made a comment that was inaudible.
Its unlikely this statement was true as she was in no discomfort whatsoever, physically or mentally, and was somewhat nefarious.
Another young lady, who had been in PP for a short time, left the building and when Joe approached her to offer brochures, she stopped, listened to him, took the literature, there was no audible verbal reply and somewhat of a blank stare, but walked away with no difficulty.
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14
This is one of my favorite Gospel readings. Peter was terrified. He needs Jesus, then he sees Him and Jesus invites him to come, to walk on water. Courageously Peter takes him up on it. Imagine the the courage to take that first leap. Yet he does. And then…he walks on water!!! Then like us, he loses his focus. He sees the big waves, the threats, distractions and concerns all around him. He starts to sink. Yet once again Jesus saves him as He does to us every time we are terrified, slip, fall, lose focus and start to sink. He invites us to come, to walk on water too. We walk on water when we take that leap and get out of bed or break away from the things of life and go to the vigil. When we reach out to those who are misguided, who feel lost, who are drowning. We see Jesus in each one’s eyes. We offer them a lifeline. We offer options and hope. We help them walk on water. Come. Be not afraid. There is still time to come to the vigil if you haven’t been able to make it yet or to come again. –Tim
Here are the reports for today at the vigil starting with Sue 7-9 am:
… that look on their little child’s face that, through a smile and a glance, manages to convey both the depth of their love and the strength of their own will. “I love you with all my heart,” this charming toddler seems to say to his foster father, “but I am me!” Pierre-Marie Dumont. MAGNIFICAT, May 2019.
To remain chaste is a struggle to greater or lesser degree for most men their entire lives. But chalking up this behavior to “boys will be boys” ignores the deep and varied wounds that are the inevitable consequences of this deceptively easy path. Shawn D. Carney. TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER: The 40-Day Companion to Live a Culture of Life
Pray unceasingly for the rest of men …. Give them an opportunity therefore, at least by your conduct…. Meet their angry outbursts with your own gentleness, their boastfulness with your humility, their revilings with your prayers, their error with your constancy in the faith, their harshness with your meekness; and beware of trying to match their example. Saint Ignatius of Antioch (+ c. 107) bishop and martyr. Bishop of Antioch for forty years, Ignatius was arrested and escorted to Rome, where he died for sport in the amphitheater. MAGNIFICAT, October 2020, Saturday 10/17
Abortion bound people expect love from the $2 billion PP enterprise. Abortion smiles warmly and mimics an aura of sympathy about a crisis pregnancy. Actually, a “crisis pregnancy” is a child. An abortion is a scheduled killing and removal of the body of the unborn son or daughter from the mother’s body. Mother gets up and walks out of the building. Abortion tosses the child’s little body into the trash – or sells its little body parts to the highest bidder.
Where is the Father? A father’s first reactions about a baby being on the way depends on his moral convictions and his relationship with the mother. Did he oppose the killing, actively encourage it, demand it, stand helplessly by or not even know about it until after it happened? Some fathers go with what the mother decides. Some fight for the life of their child. Many feel they have no say. They are right! The “head of the family” has no rights. American laws and culture “canceled” fathers.
In a HUFFINGTON POST article, Hugo Schwyzer wrote about his response to the abortion of his child. The title – The Child Who Wasn’t: Pro-Choice Men and Abortion Grief – is the first indication of the challenges the author faces in trying to understand his abortion loss. We learn that Hugo wanted to parent their baby. Society and friends and family can collude to complicate post abortion grief. They can dismiss and even shame those who share any painful feelings or regret after abortion. Note below how the friend coldly dismisses Hugo’s grief. The mother of his child ridicules and shames Hugo for his grief.
“A few years ago, I had a dream that I was hiking in the hills near my family’s ranch in the Bay Area. I was alone; it was a warm spring day, golden poppies and lupine carpeted the hillsides. I came to a summit, and my late father and a young woman in her late 20s were sitting on two rocks, talking quietly. They looked up as I approached, and I knew at once that the young woman was she who was never born.”
Kevin Burke noted,
I was struck by this scene because it is very similar to one of the more moving and spiritually powerful exercises on the Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend, entitled Meeting Our Children with Christ. As participants travel in this meditation through a dark forest, they come upon rolling hills of flowers …. They then discover a great meadow where they meet their children who appear gathered in joy with the Risen Lord Jesus. I hope and pray that one day Hugo, and all men and women wounded by abortion, will make the journey to this healing meadow.
RACHEL’S VINEYARD, PITTSBURGH PA – 2021 RETREATS Toni Jester 412-352-5348 email@example.com May 14, 2021 Friday – May 16, 2021 Sunday : November 12, 2021 Friday – November 14, 2021 Sunday
A FATHER GRIEVES THE DEATH OF HIS ABORTED SON The parents name their child and write a letter. Joe asked me to share his letter so parents can know there is healing after abortion. Fr. Hugo L. Blotsky, O.S.B.
My Dear John Peter, This past weekend I did something I should have done a very long time ago. I confessed to your death by abortion. John, you would today be a young man of twenty. By allowing your abortion I sinned against you and against God. Forgive me John. I was afraid. I thought, we can always have more children later. From that night onward I always had a “knot” in my stomach. I could not get you out of my mind completely. Little one, it is I who am saved by you and the mercy of God through the intercession of Jesus. You see, Little One, it is because of you that I finally sought reconciliation. Yes, I had confessed before, but I had done so to “be on the safe side” just in case what I learned was true. On Saturday as I confessed, I was crying. Your Mother may not ever have confessed to this sin. I would ask that you through Jesus work the same miracle on Sandy that you have worked on me. To her you represented this awesome threat to her chosen career. Please forgive her as well, John Peter. Please, my Little One, intercede for both of us through Jesus. I find it searingly ironic, Little One, that it is I who ask such favors of one whom I killed or rather, allowed to be killed. And yet I ask, Little One, for I have grown to love you in a way that is at once both deep and pure. I see you as you might have been, a little boy running and playing, scraping your knees from a fall. I shall miss, John, all that I might have gained from your life. My Little One, John Peter, I can only now ask you to forgive me as Jesus and God have done. May you rest in the arms of God. Dad
People hope for the company of holy men. Enjoy the lyrical beauty NEW YORK POLYPHONY so elegantly shares. Thank you, gentlemen! SICUT CERVUS. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music
Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.
As the deer longs for running water,
so longs my soul for you, O God.
NEW YORK POLYPHONY
Male classical vocal quartet based in New York City
Christopher Herbert, Steven Caldicott Wilson
Scott Dispensa, Geoffrey Silver
Saint Mary the Virgin Church, Times Square
NOTES FROM THE SIDEWALK
PAT M. 7-9 SHIFT MANAGER
On a rather cold morning, my brother Knights from Saint Regis in Trafford (my parish) came out in force – and it really felt so good to have them there with me. They are: Grand Knight, Lud S., Mike C., Albert D. (along with his wife, Yolanda), and first-time participant, Mike B.
After introductions were made, we were led in the recitation of all four sets of mysteries of the Rosary by SB Vince (thank you, Vince!), followed by the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet which was led by off-duty SM, Jen M. This took us right up to the end of our shift. During our praying we were joined by the always faithful Bill H., two friends and brother Knights of Vince from Saint Sebastian’s (sorry, I didn’t get their names), Pat from Saint Patrick/Saint Stanislaus in the Strip, off-duty SMs Andy and Ken (who took over at 9), and Bud and Sharron from Saint Michael the Archangel.
In all I think we had a baker’s dozen of prayers there by the time I left. I think word is getting around that Sunday morning is by far the most peaceful, hassle-free, time of the week to come down to pray at PP.
Saint Regis Parish Knights of Columbus, plus one wife!
Bill H. and two Knights of Columbus from Saint Sebastian’s in the North Hills
Mike C., Saint Regis Knight of Columbus, off duty Shift Manager Andy, Bud and Sharon from Saint Michael the Archangel
KEN B. 9-11 SHIFT MANAGER
I have to confess that at times I believe we have one of the easier shifts in our 40 Days campaign. Sunday mornings from 9 – 11:00 AM are always peaceful on Liberty Avenue. PP is closed and there are few who pass by in these ‘Covid Times’ when few events are scheduled and fear of interacting, even in public, is the order of the day. One comment of a positive nature by someone passing: ‘Amy Barrett will help fix this’. I try to hope in the Almighty and not in mankind but it sure seems that once again God may humble the rich and powerful using the meek. A Catholic Mother of seven, with two adopted children of color. You couldn’t invent a better script.
We started the shift praying The Divine Mercy Chaplet with Pat, Vince, Jen, and members of Saint Regis Parish from the previous shift. Staying with us for our first hour were Jen, Rich and George, from The Knights of Columbus, joined in this picture with Pat and shift buddy Andy. We continued with the USCCB Rosary for Life Joyful mysteries. A beautiful meditation that encompasses all those in society touched by abortion. The Holy Rosary procession passed with several dozen participants pausing to pray for God’s Mercy on our church, our city, our nation and our world, and for an end to the destruction of innocent human life in the womb. Frequent participant for 40 days, Joe stopped to pray also. Andy and I spent the last half hour in prayer on opposite ends of the circle until Rich and Rosanne and members of Assumption Parish arrived a little before eleven to continue the vigil.
Andy, Frequent Participant Joe and Assumption Parishioners
RICH AND ROSEANN K. 11-1 SHIFT MANAGERS
Thanks to all who came to pray and witness. It was nice to have Father Joe to stand with us. It was calm and mostly peaceful today. We just had a couple remarks from people driving by. Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Probably like many of you, I listened to hours of the hearings to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. It was FASCINATING to see the theatre that resulted from giving politicians 30 uninterrupted minutes to speak during an election year. WOW.
One of the takeaways for me was the on and off discussion by the Senators and Judge Barrett of which Supreme Court Ruling could be described as “Super Precedent” rulings. I learned during the hearings that there are some decisions which once decided by the Supreme Court are sweeping, obvious, and NEVER challenged once decided and enacted. These include Brown V. Education that disallowed segregated schools, Marbury v. Madison that established the Justice system, and a handful of others.
SO what about Roe v. Wade?
Here’s what the INDEPENDENT reported online:
“Roe v. Wade, the landmark case making abortion legal across the country, does not meet the criteria of a “super precedent” and therefore is not settled law,” Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said, signalling she believes it could be overturned. The conservative federal judge made the comment under questioning by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former candidate for president, who pressed the nominee in an attempt to get her to signal or outright say she favours overturning Roe. “Roe is not a super precedent because calls for its over-ruling have never ceased,” Ms. Barrett told the senator during a debate chock full of legal jargon and focused on several hot-button election-year issues.
7-9 AM +++ Tim, Virginia, and Sidewalk Advocates
The crisp beautiful morning started with faithful Diane and Tom bringing all the signs and displays along with year-round Saturday sidewalk advocates Virginia and Joe. Nikki joined us with her beautiful signs. Two men, Mike and Denis, drove over an hour from St. Michael’s in Wheeling to pray.
We were joined later by Father Tim and his faithful Guardians for Life. Prayers were plentiful. It was a beautiful morning.
9-11 AM +++ Sue M and Sue D
Guardians for Life were on the sidewalk when I arrived this morning. It was wonderful to have constant prayer! St. Ferdinand’s Respect Life group signed up and started the rosary upon arriving. It was great to see our dear friends Benson and Bella along with Bella’s Dad, Michael, stand faithfully and witness with their signs. We reached out to as many women as we could and handed the resource card to many people passing by. A group of 3 waiting for the bus yelled to us for doing a good job. After yelling back, I crossed the street to give each of them yellow cards in case they know anyone needing help. The mom has 6 children and her daughter is a mom to 1. They were grateful for the information and I thanked them for their support! Bridget kneeled in continuous prayer.
11 AM-1 PM +++Dean and Greg
It was nice to see Barbara this morning. It had been a while since we last had sidewalk duty together. It was an otherwise quiet shift. More people than usual were accepting our yellow pregnancy support group cards.
Our heart was broken this Saturday morning as we watched a young woman in sweatpants hobble out of the PP doors, doubled over in pain, and escorted by the guard. It was obvious she had just undergone an abortion, and had refused our offers of help, both entering and exiting the facility. We prayed for her, both her unborn baby and this poor mother who will live with her decision for the rest of her life.
1-3 PM +++ Fran
When I arrived, Barbara, Johanna and Marianne from Christ Our Savior Parish had already been praying for two hours. I would have been tired but these ladies showed no signs of slowing down. Nikki joined us very early in the shift and she, too, was going to be praying at the vigil for four hours. Diane came along not long after to pick up the supplies. After Diane’s car was loaded we continued in prayer starting with the Scriptural Rosary. When we finished, Johanna had a wonderful idea. Her car was parked curbside so she got in, opened her car windows, turned up the volume, and we sang along to the most beautiful musical rendition of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. So many people walking by smiled and nodded in affirmation ~ so many hearts were touched. Unfortunately, the hearts who needed our prayers most moved quickly past and into the doors of PP. The only thing we can do is continue to pray and trust in God. Also today, there was a very small group of protesters who gathered across the street. Other than some unpleasant noise, they were of no consequence. Hopefully our prayerful presence will help to soften their hearts. And, on a more positive note, a young woman stopped to talk with us and she was saying that she feels called by God to share the Gospel with others. Her loving gentle nature was so welcoming. Nikki encouraged her and prayed for her to persevere in her calling.
3-5 PM +++ Jeff and Billy
We had wonderful participation on the sidewalk today! I expected it to be just me, Billy and Jeff, but we actually had nine people during the 3 to 5 shift! A group of wonderful people, including our sidewalk advocate Joan, came all the way from Canonsburg. We were also blessed to have Karolina join us. A group of folks were holding a little rally for Biden across the street, they were trying to target us, I believe. Even though we have no political signs. We just prayed the entire time. During the first part of my shift, Johanna was there and she played the Divine Mercy song while we sang the Divine Mercy prayer. That really helped create a peaceful atmosphere to counter the protesters from across the street. Our vocalist was also back. He did not sing Lord of the Dance this time, but was singing other songs. He does have a beautiful voice, although it is very clear that he does not like us! I tell you what, pro life work is never boring! God is with us! We just have to stay with Him!
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.
Luke 12: 6-7
The little sparrows that hop around on the sidewalk while we’re praying at the vigil remind me of those comforting words of our Lord, shared in today’s Gospel reading. God knows each of us intimately, down to the number of hairs on our head. And we are worth something to Him. Not just any something, but the ultimate Something: the life of His own beloved Son, whom He sacrificed to save each one of us.
That goes for each person standing outside praying.
And each person passing by.
And each person inside PP…including every small person carried in to be killed.
We know all too well that our presence does not stop most of those murders from taking place. But we also know that there is great value in being there in solidarity with those children as they lose their lives. Each of them is worth infinitely much to our Lord. Each of them is certainly worth our time spent praying on the sidewalk.
In case you missed it, here is the president & CEO of 40 Days for Life worldwide, Shawn Carney, making that point beautifully in a podcast.
7-9 AM +++ Barbara, Richard, and Rose
Friday morning’s forecast threatened rain. Rain never came … such a blessing!
PP preys on women. Plenty of young women came and went through its gaping doors.
They all looked like staff. Staff is abortion’s prey.
Diane, Tom, Rose, Lisa, Bill, Nikki, Richard and I all shared the sidewalk bordering those voracious PP doors, together for at least a moment this early morn.
God willing, we will never surrender any of our sisters to the PP arms.
9-11 AM +++ Kathy and Mark
Thanks to the above folks and also to Dan, Bill H, and St. Joseph the Worker from Swissvale ladies. A mother and daughter stopped to share their views on abortion to Katie and me. The mother asserted the separation of church and state as reason to keep abortion legal. The daughter listed her reasons. The daughter listened to me read a paragraph from Psalm 139 re God’s creation of us in our mother’s womb. Both women thanked us and politely left. A young woman walking her dog turned around and challenged the Swissvale ladies by asking if they’ve ever adopted children and do they know their presence is contributing to the emotional pain of women who are making hard decisions? A gentle response of “Yes, one” came from the group, but the young woman countered “You should adopt all of them!” She said some other hostile things before leaving. Several women entered PP. One accepted a yellow card and said she would tell her sister about it.
11 AM-1 PM +++ Sheila and Dee
Check back soon!
1-3 PM +++ Jeannie and Elaine
Another beautiful afternoon on the sidewalks of Pittsburgh. We rejoiced at the prospect of having a pro life mom of faith join the Supreme Court today. Elaine and Marilyn, the core of the 1 to 3 team, anchored our vigil time.
We were joined by Henry who prayerfully knelt outside the circle.
There were a few negative comments but nearly a dozen affirmations of support from passersby. We even had a couple of young Black girls ask to take a picture of the “Unborn Lives Matter” sign. God is good.
Just a reminder to everyone it is particularly chilly near Planned Parenthood — Overdress! You can always take that extra layer off but the devil will get your nose and your fingers in no time.
3-5 PM +++ Pat, Val, and Mike
Today things were quiet on the sidewalk. But what distressed Val and Mike (my SBs) and me was seeing three women during our time there who seemed very likely to have had abortions here today. We prayed for their conversion of heart.
I was blessed to have Vince and Amy return (from Wexford and Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church), and even more blessed to have had them bring Amy’s friend and coworker, Carol (from St. Kilian’s in Mars), who came to pray at the vigil for the very first time.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.
St. Paul tells us in the above passage that Our Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. He loves us and cares for us, as a human father does- only our God does it perfectly. May we strive to trust Him as Our Father.
He has CHOSEN us to be alive.
He has CHOSEN us to exist in this moment in time.
He has CHOSEN us to be in a particular family.
He has CHOSEN us to be holy and without blemish before Him. May we strive for that.
Reports from the Sidewalk:
It was good to be with my faithful buddy Peggy this morning! We prayed for just about all of our two hour shift, and were blessed to be joined by three men from the Manordale Knights of Columbus in Murrysville, Vito, Dennis and Dave. There was no business happening at Planned Parenthood; only a couple workers went in and no clients. As we were praying in the stillness, I sensed that we were praying beside a sleeping beast. A beast who has gluttonized for the past two days on the bodies of precious babies and gotten drunk on innocent blood and now lays sleeping quietly. We prayed beside that beast this morning. It was inspiring to be greeted by a large group of young men from the seminary who were there to pray as I left! May God bless them and all who come to pray today!
Five students from St. Paul Seminary joined us this morning for prayer. Then we were joined by two more at 10 am. They were a blessing to us with a powerful prayer presence.
Bus driver gave us the thumbs up. Many people were cordial and responded to our greetings and blessings.
Two young girls stopped to talk, and said they were going in for other services. They listened to information about free women’s services and took a card. They listened to all the information I told them about PP but went in anyway.
Mom and daughter went in for condoms and were standing inside and facing the door. Pastor Joe kept beckoning them to come out. They did come out and looked at all the material and they were very interested and took information with them.
A couple came by for prayer for addictions and spent some time talking to us. The lady had seven children. They are coming by next week to get Bibles to help them in their spiritual journey.
Some potentially important things to share today. First, thank you to my wonderful prayer partners, Shift Buddy Beth Ann, Tony, Bob, Judy, and Fr. James and Deacon Paul. God bless you all!
The shift was generally peaceful for the first hour and a half. Then as we were toward the end, an unusual occurrence took place. A man and woman came around the corner from the alley, the woman dressed in black clothes and long silver gloves (photos of the couple are below). She began to pose in front of various spots around the vigil, opening up a folding hand fan that had the bold obscenity “C _ _ _” on it. The man took photos of her in each place– in front of the signs, in front of the baby models, etc. My prayer partners and I just watched and stood silent… until… they began to approach the images of the Blessed Mother. I instinctively went over and told them they couldn’t do that THERE. (I know that they can LEGALLY, but I meant, not in front of the holy images.) The woman angrily said, “Yes we can! This is a public sidewalk!” I calmly but firmly responded, “I’m just trying to defend the Blessed Mother.” She yelled back, “And I’M just trying to defend my right to choose!” I knew that this would go nowhere, so all I could do was try to cover the holy images of Our Lord and Our Lady. Of course, that meant that I’d be IN their photos, but so be it. They seemed to get a sort of sick thrill from seeing me try to protect the dignity of what is holy. As they left, Beth Ann heard the woman say, “It’s too bad we didn’t bring the guys with dresses…. but we’ll be back.”
I’m sure you all understand that all of this is perfectly legal. But none of it is appropriate. I told Nikki what we might be expecting next, and she asked that I make this publicly known on the blog- not to dissuade anyone from coming, but just to make you aware that the “sleeping beast” Nikki mentioned above seemed to be stirring a bit today. Just be on your guard, stay calm, and PRAY.
Pleasant weather and the company of faithful prayer warriors Glenn (The Most Precious Blood of Jesus), and Mike and Larry (AOH). We prayed the rosary circuit (all mysteries) during the shift, and distributed literature. Foot traffic was light, and there were few individuals entering and leaving PP. We had some positive comments and some negative as well. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom 12:12)
Today (October 15) is also a day to remember St. Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite reformer from the 16th century. She lived at a time when those in her Carmelite order were needing help to get back to what they should be about: their true Faith.
We Christians today find ourselves in a similar situation, don’t we? Let us always remember what it is to be a follower of Christ, and to live accordingly. One way to remember this is with the help of the prayer below, known as “St. Teresa’s Bookmark.” May it bring you peace as it did her.
He has CHOSEN YOU. He has CHOSEN me. May we live in the knowledge of His great love for us in CHOOSING us to be HIS.