DAY 19: Thank you, Our Lady of the Lakes Parish (West Deer), Saint Francis of Assisi Parish; SHIFT BUDDIES Vince P., Jim and Cathy S., Steve and Denise M.; VOLUNTEERS Pat S., and Knights of Columbus George S., Rich D., David, and John; FUEL, The Passionist Nuns, The Sisters of Saint Joseph, The Carmelite Nuns of Latrobe; and our brothers and sisters who are praying, fasting and witnessing with us in memory of children aborted this fall in downtown.

Cathedral of Chartres
Gaston de la Touch (1854-1913)
MUDO-MUSEE de l’Oise, Beauvais, France
Copyright RMN-GP/Rene-Gabriel Ojeda


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
   It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
   It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
   And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
   And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
   There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
   Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
   World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ


No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

Hebrews 4:13

The Magnificat cover and the Hopkins poem splendidly portray God’s abundance.  Witnessing with 40 Days, I witness God’s abundance in action. It is necessary to repeatedly and publicly compare the paucity of abortion with the abundance of God. Abortion is an atrocity so terrible that “polite” people won’t even talk about it.  They scold you. “You might hurt somebody’s feelings!” Leaving control of the abortion debate in the hands of the abortion industry, delights the $2 billion abortion industry. Murmuring platitudes about women’s health, it sells abortions. It dismembers and sells the baby bodies and eviscerates the parents’ hearts. Pro-Life witness asks God to “solve” the mystery of abortion’s ghastly power. We pray at the aboratorium . We offer free, comprehensive, confidential and local material help for the parents. Let’s visit 40 Days‘ beginning days. Let’s watch God magnify what was at first as tiny as the Biblical mustard seed.

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
   World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

40 Days for Life: Discover What God Has Done … Imagine What He Can Do. David Bereit, Shawn Carney, with Cindy Lambert

(Shawn remembers) There I was in September, 2001, standing outside a ten-foot-high, wrought-iron fence on “abortion day,” which was every Tuesday at the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in College Station (Texas). I felt awkward and unsure of myself.

Then, I saw a girl about my age, eighteen or so, step out of a car in the parking lot.  Clearly confused, troubled, and uncertain, she scanned the group of pro-lifers on my side of the fence.  Her boyfriend was with her. Two hours later, they came out of the building and hurriedly climbed into their car. She looked up and met my gaze, her eyes brimming with tears.  Such a difference from two hours before.  She was no longer considering abortion – she’d had an abortion. A deadness in her eyes cried out to me.  There is nothing you can say to me now.  It’s too late for me.  Abortion ceased being a philosophical debate or political issue for me.  It was personal.

One day in June, 2004, David (Bereit) stepped out of his office.  “Would you come to work for the Coalition?  One more question.  After you graduate, would you consider doing this full time?” 

“Yes.  I’d consider that.”  The words seemed to have bypassed my brain and spilled out of my heart without thought or hesitation.”

Two weeks after David’s invitation, came the day when David, Marilisa, Emily and I prayed that momentous prayer around the wooden table.  Fast-forward a few more weeks, and somehow, by the grace of God, we were ready for the first-ever 40 Days for Life Campaign.

Planned Parenthood called the police the first day.  A police sergeant came to check us out – not just on the first day but for the first few weeks.

The Knights of Columbus led the night shift (7p – 7a) every night.  “The bond that has developed between the guys on the night shift is unbelievable.”  In fact, they named themselves the Knight Shift, and the name stuck.

For many volunteers, this was the first time they’d been involved in a pro-life event, ever.  Many were deeply moved by the sense of participating in a sacred moment, praying for the unborn children just before their deaths. Others were touched with compassion for the women who came and went. 

When the campaign was over, we realized that God had done something incredible.  People shared stories of spiritual breakthroughs, of conversations with mothers in crisis, of minds changed, of hearts transformed and lives saved. When the latest abortion numbers were reported by Planned Parenthood, local abortion numbers had dropped by 28 percent during that time.  More than 100 lives had been saved!  Our forty-day campaign had come to an end.  We thought it was over for good.

During that first Campaign David received a call offering him a full-time pro-life position in the Washington D.C. area.  He accepted. We kept in contact almost daily.

A few months after our first campaign, we got a call from some folks in Dallas. Marilisa and I were skeptical about whether the success of our first campaign could be duplicated elsewhere, but how could we say no?  We helped them coordinate their campaign. They had a hugely successful effort outside a notorious late-term abortion center.

Soon thereafter, a group in Kitsap County, Washington, got in touch with us. A campaign followed in Houston, Texas, and another in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I spoke at the Green Bay kickoff event along with a few people, including the local Catholic Bishop. 

(That Catholic Bishop was our own Bishop, Most Reverend David Zubik.) 

Afterward, the Bishop pulled me aside and said, “I really hope this continues to spread throughout the country.  May God give you courage!” I gulped.

We helped coordinate a campaign in Madison, Wisconsin. Finally, Charlotte, North Carolina, organized the sixth campaign since our initial location in Texas.  Why was 40 Days succeeding and spreading?  We believe it’s because it is based around our culture’s most urgent need: prayer.

David and I conferred, brainstormed, prayed – and got very nervous.  What would happen, we wondered, if cities across the country simultaneously did what these other cities had done independently? We conferred with the leaders of these six cities. Could – and should – 40 Days be rolled out across the country to meet the need to fight abortion locally? 

The six campaign leaders all said yes, and their reason was simple.  The campaign, they believed, was driven by the Holy Spirit.

Since the first coordinated 40 Days campaign took place in 2007, we’ve reached over 1000 cities in 63 countries. There’s more: 19,322 lives saved; 222 abortion workers quit; 114 abortion centers closed; 64 nations; 1,000,000 volunteers; 20,000 churches; 8,028 local campaigns. Behind these numbers are numerous individual stories.

Be Thou My Vision | Celtic Worship featuring Steph Macleod


These consecrated women pray for us every day! The Carmelites of Latrobe, The Sisters of Saint Joseph, The Passionist Nuns



Pro-Life Pittsburgh was awake bright and early this Sunday morning.  Between 7 and 9 AM, there were nearly a dozen people praying and witnessing on Liberty Avenue!  Thanks to Tom, Diane, Vince, Bill, Marie, Rich, George, David, John, and Pat for carrying the light of Christ into the city.  May it penetrate hearts and minds, allowing every person to know Him and His love for each of us! 

Bright and early Sunday witnesses, Pat, Vince, Rich, Marie, George, David


Our shift started at 10:00 this morning due to a slight change in the schedule. When we arrived, we were greeted by two witnesses from the Knights of Columbus and Pat S. It was a little more interesting this morning than most of our Sunday shifts. A man from Tennessee who was at a conference this weekend in Pittsburgh stopped by and brought bagels and cream cheese. He said he has seen what 40 Days has been doing at Planned Parenthood and wanted to thank us and appreciated us being there. On the other side of the street a little later, a man was yelling at us and telling us how we should be praying. I don’t know if he was aware that we WERE praying.  He kept yelling and laughing which went on for about a half an hour. Thankfully he stayed across the street.  In the meantime, prayer warriors showed up from Our Lady of the Lakes Parish and we prayed for the heinous act of abortion to come to an end.  We had a lot of foot traffic due to the Steelers’ game and a lot of positive comments of encouragement.

Rich (shift manager), Mary Ellen, Ken, Pat and Bob from Our Lady of the Lakes Parish


It was actually a beautiful and prayerful time on the sidewalk today! It is my first Sunday afternoon shift of these 40 days and I forgot how pleasant it can be, being there to pray when the abortion clinic is closed! The beautiful weather helped also! And getting to pray with such prayerful sisters was also a plus! I was with three wonderful ladies, Margie who is a regular volunteer along with Joan and Judy from our Lady of the Lakes Parish. We had lots of encouraging and uplifting faith-filled conversation, along with praying all three Mysteries of the Rosary. A young man from Syracuse named David stopped and asked if he could pray with us. He prayed an entire Rosary with us. He is very involved in his church in Syracuse but is here in Pittsburgh for some sort of test so we prayed for him that he would do well. We had lots of positive comments and not very many negative, although one man walked by toward the end and screamed at us that he had five girlfriends who are currently pregnant and was going to have all five of them abort their children. Sure hope that’s not true. It was a very blessed time on the sidewalk today and I’m very thankful and grateful for all who came! It was great to see Jim and Cathy and Joe as they arrived to take the helm from me. Cathy and I look like twins. We have the same shirt on which you can see in the picture. What a great pro-life family we have in Pittsburgh! We are blessed!

Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, Judi and Joanne with volunteer Margie

Saint Francis of Assisi parishioners, a wonderful priest and a wonderful Nikki and Cecilia with Jim and Cathy, set the sidewalk ablaze in prayer!

Pro-life beauties from Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, including Shift Managers, Roseann and Rich


Blessing to share my shift with the beautiful people from St. Francis of Assisi parish, shift buddies with their friend Joe.They prayed, sang,  handed out literature, loving their neighbors all the while.
All glory and praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ.

And God saw that it was good.



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