Day 1…Thanks to St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish and many individual volunteers and team members!

Jesus Vs. Planned Parenthood…We Know Who Wins in the End!

My son, when you come to serve the LORD, stand in justice and fear, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, incline your ear and receive the word of understanding, undisturbed in time of adversity. Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not; thus will you be wise in all your ways. Accept whatever befalls you, when sorrowful, be steadfast, and in crushing misfortune be patient; For in fire gold and silver are tested, and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation. Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way; keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall. You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost. You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. You who fear the LORD, love him, and your hearts will be enlightened. Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed? Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Sirach 2:1-11

I am writing this on Tuesday night, at 10:00 pm, after a long day of preparation for the beginning of our 40 Days for Life, and our kick-off Mass and Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood which we completed earlier this night. My day began this morning at 3am at the Oratory, in Eucharistic Adoration, where I read the daily scriptures for today and was especially moved by the Epistle reading above. How perfect is this reading for us! And how perfect is it for our beautiful kick-off event tonight! I have bolded the text in this scripture passage that especially struck me today. I think it speaks to what we do in this spiritual battle to end abortion.

First of all…“Prepare yourself for trials”. Yes! We face trials every day as we pray in front of Planned Parenthood, and we certainly faced them tonight as a counter-protest did its best to disrupt our beautiful Mass at Epiphany Church. While they were outside of the church doors, banging on drums, chanting and screaming angrily…we were uniting ourselves to our Loving Father and His Beloved Son…in the unity of the Holy Spirit. With the heavenly music of Ian and his choir, we were transported to a heavenly realm of peace, love and tranquility...while those on the outside of the church were united in their anger and bitterness. What a contrast!!! I was struck by it, and my heart went out to those who are outside of God’s love for them…of their own choice.

Wait on God, with patience, CLING TO HIM”! We are patient, praying for an end to abortion for years on end….clinging to HIM in the Church and in His most precious Body and Blood…Soul and Divinity….which we receive in Holy Communion.

We continue to trust in Him no matter what happens…regardless of what sort of results we may see. Whether we see lives saved or not. Whether or not we see souls converted…we know that this struggle is strengthening and purifying us…as gold and silver in the crucible. We know that He is our protector and that He will never forsake us or abandon us. He is compassionate and merciful. He forgives sins and saves us in our time of trouble! Just as He saved us tonight! He blessed us with a BEAUTIFUL evening! After the rain and strong winds of this afternoon….and before the rains begin in the morning…HE gave us a blessed calm, clear and peaceful night to process with His Eucharistic Presence from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood, where we gathered (200 of us!) in prayer on our knees before Him. It was an amazing, blessed night! Enjoy the photos and videos below: (Scroll down to the bottom for the stories and photos from Day ONE of our Lenten 40 Days for Life!)

The Mass…

We were blessed to have many seminarians serve the Mass!
Fr. Joe Freedy inspired us with his powerful homily! From the beginning of the creation of humankind, beginning with Lucifer, there has always been those who say to God, “Non Serviam!” (I will not serve) There will also always remain the faithful, like St. Michael, who say, “Who is like God!”


Jesus Leads us out into the streets…

Fr. Chris adoring our Lord before leading us out of the church.


Out into the Beautiful Night!




To conclude this post, I will leave by saying that my heart goes out to all those who are fighting against God. I wish they could know the love and peace that He gives to a soul who submits to His loving will. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. To those who cling to the age-old rebellion of Lucifer and say, “Non Serviam”…(I will not serve!)…you are not free. You are in bondage. Freedom is in Christ. Bow to him and submit to His love. He will welcome you with open arms…(arms that are torn open by nails for you).

Now for the photos and stories from Day #1 of our Lenten 40 Days for Life!

7-9am – Cathy, Mark & Anton

Our first shift of the “spring!” Bonnie, Mark, and Anton joined me in prayer and witness on this chilly, wet morning.  It wasn’t pouring, at least. It was a fairly quiet morning, though three too many women went inside, including an obviously pregnant woman and her husband. No one was interested in talking.


9-11am – Elsie & Linda

Elsie and I were alone for our shift, along with the security guard.

The shift started out slow, and we were hopeful that no clients would enter. Unfortunately, that was not to be. There were three or four couples who entered Planned Parenthood by the end of our shift. And very sadly, one young couple was accompanied by a woman who we presumed was the girl’s mother. 

Just a very sad morning in all, matching the grey skies, rain and chill.


11am – 1pm – Terri & Katie

Katie and I were joined by five parishioners from Saint Teresa of Kolkata. Claudia, Chris, Mary Ann, Loretta and John stood in the pouring rain and prayed. We were later joined by Billy and Carlos. Carlos knelt on the wet, hard sidewalk and prayed with his rosary. There were a few who walked into the doors of PP and none would take literature. The women who came out all had bags in their hands. Elsie told me of a mother who walked in with her daughter. During my shift, a woman came out and was crying. I am guessing that this was the mother Elsie referred to and that her daughter was inside aborting her granddaughter or grandson. She did not want to talk to anyone, but it was obvious that she was upset. I couldn’t help but think that both she and her daughter will suffer even more in the future. It was nice to have more than just 2 sidewalk advocates with us today. There is a well-dressed gentleman that walks by during the lunch hour. I believe that he works nearby. He always blesses himself and thanks us for being there. He sometimes has a rosary. Today he came back with ashes on his forehead. He had gone to the midday service at the cathedral during his lunch hour. I commented on it and asked him if the service was crowded. He smiled and said, “Standing room only.” I hope that someday we will have “standing room only” in front of PP as more good people raise their voices to end the taking of these precious lives.


1-3pm – Maggie & Judy

     It rained off and on all day. There were several ladies and a few gentlemen who spent their hours in peaceful prayer.  Around 1, I had been talking to Katie for a few minutes. As I turned around, two people were passing in front of me, a short blonde and a tall thin man who appeared to be in their early/mid twenties.  The blonde stopped in front of me and gave me this very exaggerated smile.  I naively thought she was going to say, “Thank you” to the pro life prayer warriors.  I was wrong.  She leaned towards me and said, “Why don’t you just shut the ****up!” The young man next to her gleefully said, “We’re going in to have another abortion!” They went into the facility. Katie and I tried to figure out what was actually going on.

   As it approached 3 p.m.,  a  few ladies were still standing quietly saying the Rosary. Judy was on one side of the sideway and I was on the other.  The young pair came out of PP and approached me (and the praying ladies.) The young man grinned and said he had just had his abortion.  I grinned back and said, Well, son, that’s not biologically possible.”  The girl pulled her blue mask down from her face.  “Since you guys are always harassing me, I’ve got to ask you a question!”

I told her that we don’t harass anyone.  I complimented her on her nice smile and tried to be friendly, despite the obvious hostility.

     “Why the **** do you all do this?  I’m a volunteeer here, and I want to know why?” Everyone was quiet on the sidewalk for a few moments. I prayed silently that the Lord would give a fool like me some wisdom. All I could think of was one answer.

      “Love,” I said.  “We’re moms. We love people, we love, that’s why we do it.”

       She looked at us, and the two of them started to turn to go down the street.  “I was just in here making sure my IUD was in place.” I told her to be careful walking home. It wasn’t a win, but it wasn’t a loss, either. In those last few moments, it seemed that despite herself, the angry young activist saw us as human beings, not just enemies. If she is actually a volunteer, we will see her again.  May God bring the walls of hatred down in her heart. Only love can do that.

Thanks to these three ladies for braving the miserable weather today! Sue, Susan, and Mary Jane.

3-5pm – Eileen & Larry

It was just Larry and I from 3-5pm. One young man thanked us for being there and he asked for literature to give any young girls he might meet. Another girl took our 3 sided sign and threw it into the trash. Didn’t see it happen and neither did the guard but I did see her throw something in the trash, laugh, and walk away. Later I noticed the sign missing so I checked the trash and  returned it.  Two school kids asked for babies but we weren’t able to locate them in the bins.


Regina of Birthright asked me to share her note of gratitude for all who donated diapers at the kick-off! She wrote:

Dear Prolife Pittsburgh,

Today, Ash Wednesday begins the season set aside by the church for fasting, prayer and almsgiving. You, the inspiring, and inspired Prolife prayer warriors of our community do this year round, and last night’s kick off was clearly no exception! Thank you to Nikki and her team (40 Days), Jen (40 Days 365), Greg, Conrad and Katie (Sidewalk Advocates) Bonnie and friends (Birthright), and Elsie (for the inspired idea and directing traffic) and ALL who so generously donated to the diaper drive benefitting the babies and families served by Birthright of Pittsburgh!!! We literally couldn’t accomplish our mission to ‘love them both’ without you! We are all of one heart and mind to save moms babies and families from abortion, and it is through year round prayer, sacrifice (fasting from comfort in its various forms) and almsgiving (donations of time, talent and treasure…and diapers!) to pregnancy resource centers that we accomplish this! Never underestimate your contribution and participation in whatever capacity, for we are truly ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

With great love and gratitude,

Regina Ranelli

Executive Director, Birthright of Pittsburgh

(412) 621-1988

6 thoughts on “Day 1…Thanks to St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish and many individual volunteers and team members!”

  1. We got soaked today but God is good! Just saw an awesome movie called The Jesus Revolution at Phoenix theater in Bridgeville. Based on true story from the 70’s God’s Love can save anyone.

    1. Thank you for your sacrifice of being in the rain today Mary Ann! And thanks for letting me know about that movie! I have been waiting for it to come out but had not heard…will go see it tomorrow!

  2. Maggie, your explanation of why we’re on the sidewalk was EXACTLY right and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for allowing God to reach out through you to that young woman with His message of LOVE!

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