Here we are on our first Thursday of this fall vigil. My reflections from today are based on some passages from today’s Mass readings for the Feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as “Padre Pio.”
Padre Pio was a holy Franciscan priest who lived in Italy from 1887-1968. He is well-known and loved by the faithful around the world. One of his famous quotes that is especially inspiring is, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
Often easier said than done, right? But this morning, as I was listening to WAOB radio and was reminded of Padre Pio’s feast day, I recalled this famous phrase attributed to him. I realized that the things he admonishes us to do have an intentional order to them. For example, the phrase is NOT simply, “Don’t worry.” Advice like that can seem trite and disingenuous. But Padre Pio specifically tells us to PRAY first. And with that thought this morning, I pulled out my rosary and began there first.
When we fight this battle against abortion, it is really, at the most basic level, a battle against evil. And would Jesus or any of the saints suggest to us that in the face of evil, we should simply “not worry?” No. Only if we employ spiritual weapons will we be able to BEGIN the fight. And PRAYER is that first spiritual weapon.
Next, Padre Pio tells us to hope. How can we hope when facing the evil of babies being butchered in the womb? Because we serve a God of great love and mercy. And although He does NOT love our sins, He DOES love us and desires us to turn from our wickedness so that we can live with Him forever. In that, we can and should have HOPE.
And only then, after hearing our Lord speak to us when we pray…. and after securing hope in our hearts… can we NOT WORRY.
7-9 AM +++ Nikki and Joe
It was a very quiet, peaceful and noneventful first shift of the fall campaign for me. It was great to see Tom and Diane when I arrived setting up the materials. Faithful Mary Ann had signed up to make sure that I wouldn’t be alone. She relies on Access to bring her, as she is in a wheelchair, God bless her for her dedication! We prayed together for a while and shared some uplifting conversation. If you don’t mind, please say a prayer for her as she is being treated for cancer. It was such a blessing to see Pastor Joe, his wife Judy, Meredith, Chuck, and Carole from Lincoln Place Church of the Nazarene as they arrived for the 9 AM shift. While I was there, it did not appear that the clinic was open yet for business although at least one worker entered in scrubs so maybe it will be busier later today, I hope not!Nikki
9-11 AM +++ Judy
11 AM – 1 PM +++ Beth Ann and Barbara
The sidewalk was windy, cloudy and chilly. Pastor Joe’s greeting was immediate, warm and hearty. At first we didn’t recognize him in his hoodie. On the far side of the bubble were Judy, Meredith and our Shift Manager, Beth Ann.Barbara
It was good to see Diane and Tom’s abundant supplies. We watched carefully and offered help to people going into and out of Planned Parenthood. Prayers are never wasted.
Christ Our Savior parishioners Johanna and Barb prayed and greeted passers by with, “God Bless You.” The Blessing offerings were accepted and given back with a smile almost 100% of the time! Meredith gave us a bouquet of spicy colorful fall flowers to scatter on the pavement in remembrance of the babies Planned Parenthood kills here in Pittsburgh.
A man stopped and we prayed for his son Stephen and his wife who have been trying to start a family. He returned later and gave us money. We handed that on to one of the people who sometimes ask us for that kind of help.
That first moment quickly moved on and … in what felt like a whooosh … we completed our 2 hour shift.
Cecilia and her friend arrived. We love the company of our 40 Days for Life family. Thank you, Nikki!!!
1-3 PM +++ Cecilia
It was a bit chilly in the ‘burg today. Gave us a chance to “offer it up” for the PP victims and workers. So glad to have Caroline back with me. Thankful that Patti could join me, that Billy had a free day and spent much of the shift with us, and that Marlene signed up to come. Rosaries and a litany were prayed. Several men “in suits” came by and plan to stop again. The one wants added to the blog. Two guys came by to encourage voter registration. I told the one that we didn’t need to do that but asked if he knew someone pregnant and in need of help. His face lit up as I gave him resources. He said that he had a need but then asked if it was for a free abortion! I told him it was better than that and explained why life was a better choice, we would help and God would be pleased. He took more material. When I asked for a name to pray for, he said, pray for me and bowed his head. The Lord gave me words, he thanked us before leaving. Praying that he will help someone choose life! A woman in her SUV pulled up, rolled down her window and had a rather long conversation with me about why we were there “harassing” people. I said helping was a better word but she wouldn’t take any of my material. She said she works in an abortion clinic but she was sadly misinformed about the development of a child in the womb. She believes the baby is not alive until born and takes first breath. Crazy that people think this way. Praying that she does the research and finds the truth. What a way to jumpstart this vigil!Cil
3-5 PM +++ Pete and Regis
5-7 PM +++ David and Charlie
Crisp evening–you can really feel the chill outside the abortion mill tonight. Our spirits were lifted by Dave and Mary as we got to pray and share our experiences on the sidewalk. We were blessed tonight by being able to share our mission with two others that stopped by and asked us what were were there for. Both responded positive to us so another positive end to the day. May GOD bless all our work there as we keep moving forward.Charlie