The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few! We are praying to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to work alongside of us in this great harvest of lives and souls in Pittsburgh!
I am writing this on Tuesday, October 18th, the feast of St. Luke. The Gospel text is so totally relevant to our mission on Liberty Avenue that it is difficult to choose just one part of it to focus on, so I will reflect on the entire verse.
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”Luke 10:1-9
Doesn’t this passage sound like instructions to our 40 Days for Life team? After all, there are approximately 72 core team members (80 shift managers and buddies)…who go out every week, two by two...for their scheduled shifts on the sidewalk. These team members are faithful and dedicated and don’t mind doing all the work of the harvest themselves if they have to…but it can get lonely. There are practical disadvantages to having only two people as well; if one needs to take a bathroom break, they either leave their partner alone…or they do the little dance that I was having to do during my shift yesterday. They also have to decide whether to pray together on one side of the door and leave the other side empty…or spit up and pray alone. It is SO much better for our team’s morale when other volunteers sign up (or just show up) to boost our numbers on the sidewalk!
We are called to be lambs in the midst of wolves. Our defense is our prayers! We offer our peace to everyone we meet on that sidewalk. Some are blessed by it and some spew it right back to us through their angry words of rejection. Either way, we don’t get discouraged and decide to try something else. Year after year, we continue to show up…remaining in the same house, so to speak.
Even the verse before the Gospel is relevant for us today:
I have chosen you out of the world, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.John 15:16
Only God knows how long we will be able to continue our mission on the sidewalk. We will continue it until we can’t. But if and when 40 Days for Life as a public witness comes to an end someday…we can be assured that the fruit that we bore will remain long after we are gone. How? Well, maybe some of the little ones who were spared from abortion will become future saints of the church, such as St. Luke. Maybe those children that were rescued from the abortionist’s cruel instruments will help to bring about the restoration of our culture and our church, long after we are gone. I believe this with all my heart…that the fruit that we are bearing through our prayerful witness and sacrifices…WILL REMAIN.
So please join us! We need you! Our schedule is looking very sparse for the second half of these 40 days. Our team members are faithful and determined to be there, no matter what…even if it is just the two of them. But they would be so grateful for extra harvesters to work shoulder to shoulder with them. Contact Donna Goss to sign up as an individual at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can get a small group together to adopt a time slot, contact Fran Morrow at schedule40Days4Life@gmail.com.
Thank you, and God bless you!
Now, on to today’s shift reports…
7-9 Charlene, Peggy & Beth
Day 22…one word-COLD!! And windy…signs were flying so if we couldn’t wear them–we couldn’t use them. 4-5 went into PP and no one took literature. We were joined by Amy who led us in a beautiful prayer. Peggy, Beth and I are so used to our prayer routine that we need to be reminded of other ways! Thank you, Amy. We hope you will join us again. I also have to agree with the earlier blog about “pay for a protester.” It is snarky but it just means we are getting their ire up. Remember Matthew 5: “Blest are you who suffer hate, all because of me; Rejoice and be glad; yours is the kingdom; shine for all to see.”Charlene
9-11 Elsie & Linda
Sidewalk Advocate Elsie and I were joined on the sidewalk today by Dean and Kaitlin. It was Kaitlin’s first time on the sidewalk with 40 Days for Life here in Pittsburgh. A reminder to all the newbies: Be prepared for the cold! Figure it will be at least 10 to 15 degrees colder on the sidewalk than when you leave home. We used handwarmers today, and they felt good! There was activity going in and out of PP on our shift, including some couples who we assumed were there for abortions. No one accepted our literature. However, a number of people passing by offered us encouragement and smiles and thumbs up.Linda
11-1 Katie & Beverly
1-3 Chris & Judy
During my shift, Judy, my Shift Buddy, and Katie, Sidewalk Counselors both, continually offered fetal development and free resources literature to passersby. My Rosary prayer-buddy, Joyce, was back praying on the sidewalk after not feeling well last week. Joining us in prayer were fellow Knights of Columbus Fran and Walt from St. Raphael the Archangel Parish. Today we had to lift our voices not just above the din of the passing cars and buses, but also over a jackhammer a block away. But we persevered, praying the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.Chris
3-5 Eileen, Michelle & Steve…check back later
5-7 Joe & George
I was Blessed to have Alex and George fill in for this evening’s damp / chilly fall shift.
Generally quiet – little foot and vehicle traffic. A few folks exiting 933.
Caring, sharing, and praying filled and finished-off the evening portion of the vigil…Joe
With the evils that are happening here in Pittsburgh, with Pitt retrieving the bodies and organs of babies aborted at PP…I hope you will consider attending this important event to educate yourself!
As science moves with ever greater speed, research practices often advance before ethical considerations are examined. Dr. Stacy Trasancos, scientist and theologian, will look at embryonic and fetal research and their often troubling directions. Dr. José Trasancos, CEO of Children of God for Life and husband of Stacy, will complement the discussion with ways each person can defend the dignity of unborn children, who though small, are loved, known, and set apart by God! (Jeremiah 1:5). Cost is $5/person and free for students.
To close, our dear Barbara wrote this to share:
Kristan Hawkins, Students For Life, taped her presentations she gave at universities. Her presentations were fiercely resisted. I learned from her response. At one school she was about 1/3 into her talk. A pro-abortion woman went on stage carrying a poster and stood to her left behind her. Moments later, another pro-abortion student walked on stage, carrying a sign, and stood behind to her right. The pro-abort students continued to go onstage, one at a time. Eventually there were about 8 of them, silently filling the stage, crowding her. Kristin continued speaking, acting as she did not notice them. I forget for sure, but I think SECURITY people eventually cleared the protesters from the stage. Kristin continued to ignore them.Barbara
This Saturday, one clipboard-carrying escort guarded the PP door. The rest, 4 or 5, gathered loud and laughing on the bar side. They were around the book store. One girl started moving closer and closer to me. I never looked at her. Somehow it occurred to me to sing. There is a Blessing song I know. I sang quietly, confidently. She moved a few steps away. I sang the Our Father. She rejoined her friends. Our Security Guard arrived.
They didn’t do that again.