Baby “A”, with mom “E” have fought valiantly for three months, and continue to need prayer.
I am only dust…but I am YOUR dust, God!Taken from lyrics of the pro-life song, “Anointing Oil”, by Croatian 40 Days for Life (linked below)
I am going to apologize right up front for my discombobulated (is that even a word?) blog post today. No clear theme or thoughts have come to me to write about. The only thing that has been on my mind is the horror and fear that consumes me when I see the terrible disregard for human life in our world…contrasted with the joy that I feel as I see the beautiful struggle that God’s children courageously endure to fight against it.
Baby “A”, pictured above, was born at just 24 weeks at Magee Hospital. She is just now reaching her due date and was going to be going home with her mom, “E”. Last week she suddenly went into cardiac arrest and is now on life support with no brain activity detected. (Although she did open her eyes and moved her body yesterday…so keep praying!). Many of us in this 40 Days for Life family have reached out to mom “E” with financial help, so that she has been able to keep an apartment close to the hospital in order to be at her baby’s side each and every day since the day of her birth. Thanks especially to Regina from Birthright of Pittsburgh for accompanying mom “E” throughout these past three months and for keeping us updated as to how we could help.
From the world’s perspective, Baby “A” should have never been born. Her mom’s doctors encouraged her to abort, due to a health condition. Mom had already experienced the terrible tragedy of her only child being murdered…another daughter…and she was determined to fight for her unborn daughter’s life. Although she experienced violence from the father of the baby, and was physically abused (which may have contributed to the early birth of Baby “A”), this mom did not give up the fight for her daughter. She stayed by her side around the clock, day and night, in the NICU…until donations enabled her to get a nearby hotel room. Now, after months of struggling…she may be about to lose another little girl.
So, with all this mind…what would the world say about Baby “A”? That she should have been aborted? That would have been so much easier, isn’t that right? If human beings are meant to be cold, calculating, logical and purely scientific beings…then yes, it would have made much more sense for Baby “A” to have been aborted 6 months ago.
How about mom “M”, whom we have been praying for? She is 20 weeks pregnant with twins, and is planning to abort because of pressure from her parents…who are threatening to never speak to her again if she gives birth. Please continue to pray that her heart will be changed before it is too late! Some of our pr0-life family members have already offered to support her and her babies financially if she chooses life and others have offered to adopt her babies if she would consider that option.
But the contrast is striking! Mom “E” has never left the side of her baby…born at 24 weeks…and is heartbroken over the prospect of losing her after her valiant struggle. And mom “M”…because of fear of parental rejection, is planning to have her healthy twin sons or daughters brutally and painfully dismembered within her womb.
Where am I going with this blog reflection??? I warned you that this was going to be a discombobulated post. I just can’t make sense of the contrast. Between life and death. Between those who fight so hard for life and those who so casually enter into death.
How about the man who randomly stabbed the 12 year old boy in the McDonalds downtown on Sunday? How much respect does he have for human life? Did he care about the value of this boy in God’s eyes? Did he care about the pain he would cause to his mother and father? Thanks be to God, the young boy is now in stable condition! Please join me in continuing to pray for his recovery.
I have to admit that I have been feeling shaken and destabilized by the tragic happenings of this week. However, at the same time, I have been encouraged by the united struggle of those who love God and all of His creatures. One thing that has really helped me was watching two videos produced by our 40 Days for Life friend in Croatia, Ante. Some of you may remember Ante and Kruno, who visited our Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life family two years ago. During their week-long stay, they took turns living with me, Lisa K. and Judy S. They became our “sons”…and to this day, they still call me “mom”. Here are a couple photos of them with three of our pro-life heroes: Al & Sally Brunn, and Helen Cindrich, Executive Director of PCUC (People Concerned for the Unborn Child):
Ante is a very talented film maker and sent the following two short videos (each under 5 minutes), to inspire us to continue this struggle of love. I encourage you all to watch. The music video (first link) does not have English subtitles, but the beautiful lyrics are shown in the image below. The second video is subtitled.
I guess I am finding so much inspiration and consolation from these videos because they show the unity of the Body of Christ all over the globe. And especially in Croatia, where they have suffered so much in recent history. With genocide and war in the 90’s and with terrible recent earthquakes, (footage of the destruction can be seen in the first video), these faithful pro-life brothers and sisters continue to show the beauty of the human spirit when we love the way that God loves. Not with human reason, or cold practicality…but with the kind of love that makes no sense to the world. The kind of love that God has for each of us. The kind of love that made GOD do THIS for us:
I hope that this reflection wasn’t too scattered. I hope that you were able to follow my thoughts. Bottom line is this: Life is hard. It is a struggle. It can be ugly and messy and we make mistakes all the time. But take hope and consolation in the knowledge that we have a God who became one of us, so that he could show us how to love and how to suffer. When we get to paradise, that will be when we rejoice and are glad. For now, we are on the Way of the Cross. If we lose sight of that, we will be tempted to make choices that make worldly sense, but are not worthy of our human dignity…as creatures made in God’s image and likeness.
Join us this Sunday as we close our 40 Days for Life vigil on the sidewalk at Planned Parenthood. We will gather at 6:15 pm for prayer and praise, led by local pastors.
On Good Friday, as always, we invite you to pray the Way of the Cross in front of Planned Parenthood. Helen Cindrich will be there at 10 am with the prayer books, and we will all pray together from 10-11 am on the sidewalk.
Finally, I will leave you with this thought: Our struggle to save lives and restore the God-given right to life to all human beings will not end on March 28th! Our 40 Days for Life 365 program will re-launch on Tuesday, April 6th! We strive to maintain a prayerful presence each and every abortion day (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) from 7:30-4:30. If you feel called to be a part of this life and soul-saving initiative, please contact me for more information.
May God bless you all!
Nikki Bruni, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, on to today’s sidewalk reports…
7-9 Charlene, Peggy & Beth
The last day of the Spring Campaign for us. We were rewarded with spring weather, only 2 patients entering PP and a Nice conversation with a delivery man. I said,”We are praying that you change routes.” He smiled and said,”I am and I don’t think my new route has PP on it.” Thank you, Lord. Tim’s blog came to mind…” all you have to do is show up…God handles the rest.” “Prepare me. Send me. Use me. I am eager to do my part.” (40 Days for life…national blog) See you on the sidewalk!!!Charlene
9-11 Katie, Sharon & Terri
The traffic into PP started out slow, then picked up. Sharon did an amazing job of reaching out to people. She talked with two girls; “K”, the one who was there for the abortion, was unsure, and her friend was trying to encourage her to keep the baby. They left, but soon came back. Terri talked with a new father who needed help with baby items. He lives farther away from Pittsburgh, but she circled his nearest pregnancy center on a resource sheet. She has been there before and said it’s very nice. Then during Barbara’s shift, but when she was talking with someone else, a girl at the red light yelled out something I couldn’t understand, followed by something about “in the backseat” (pointing to her children), and gave a thumbs up. Then another woman who was in the backseat with the two children rolled her window down too and said something. Could it have been a possible save from years past??? There are many children walking (or crawling) around out there because of the wonderful pro-life family we have in Pittsburgh. Some of them we’re blessed to know about, and others we don’t. A couple months before the campaign started I went up the street to try again to talk to a young woman, afraid I was going to get yelled at, and instead got the beautiful news that her precious baby was still alive! (I think because of Kathy and her ultrasound videos.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you just never know, on a day when you’re feeling especially discouraged, and wondering if we’re doing any good out there, you may have just changed the world forever. It doesn’t matter if you know it or not, the baby gets to live their life, and that family gets the most priceless gift anyone could ever ask for. As our dear Beth always says, we gotta “just keep going!”Katie
11-1 Barbara & Katie
9-11 Shift Manager Terri, irreplaceable Shift Buddy Katie, Denise and Dan were at work when I arrived. Many people were going into Planned Parenthood. Many pedestrians passed to and fro. Our team was busy. Dan, retired Steubenville pharmacist, prayed continually. John arrived 2 hours earlier than his parish group that was due at 1:00 because he read that our shift needed more witnesses. He brought his Crucifix, elegant and beautiful. After Terri left, Denise and Katie shared armloads of pro-life literature and encouragement with every person. We wished a “God bless you!” to each. Elsie came, arms and heart full. God is generous. Peace.Barbara
1-3 Chris & Elsie
What a fervent group of devout pray-ers joined me today! Nine parishioners from St. Agnes in Huntingdon, accompanied by their very pro-life priest, made the trip downtown to pray for those with no voices. David, Ann, Kathy, Mary, John, Audrey, Msgr. Paul, Ken, and Bill prayed Rosaries non-stop along with a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Ever-vigilant Elsie, and Bill, handed out life-saving literature to all who would take it. A woman bicyclist riding by, stopped, pulled out her Rosary, and joined us in prayer. What a memorable shift during the last week of the campaign.Chris
HOUR OF MERCY
Thank you to Msgr. Paul for praying at the hour of mercy today! God bless you!
3-5 Virginia & Claudia
There was the usual amount of foot traffic during this time. Claudia, Dave, Mimi and members of the St. Raphael parish from Greentree, Carnegie and Scott Township, myself were present. Three young ladies left PP with brown paper bags, and refused any information. The last gal to leave with a “brown bag” got into a car that had been there for the beginning of the shift and probably before the 3-5 shift. Ironically, the back window of this car had a sign STUDENT DRIVER please be patient. Sue D. joined the group and stood on the opposite side of the door with fellow parishioners. At some point a man “joined” the group and started to harass people in the group. When one member tried to take a picture, he blocked several people, Sue offered him a yellow card, he tore it up and offered it to passersby as “trash”. Sue called the police, (non emergency number) gave a statement and a physical description of the man, who left as she called (he apparently received a call on his phone) and left. As I was leaving the shift, a police car had pulled up, Sue and a member of the group were talking to the officers.Virginia
5-7 Joe K
Blessed with a beautiful spring evening that started off with a bang with a “mostly peaceful” anti-life protestor acting out… All remained prayerful and peaceful! Otherwise it was generally quiet as most Wednesday evenings have been…Had a strong and prayerful showing from the men of St. Raphael the Archangel (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Margaret of Scotland and Ss. Simon & Jude), John from St. Michael the Archangel and Matt from Most Precious Blood of Jesus. What a powerful way to end the Wednesday Evening Vigils with all praying the Sorrowful Mysteries in unison until Faithful Diane & Tom packed up the vigil to begin again tomorrow morning…Thanks, prayers, and blessings to all that make and sacrifice for this vigil! Vivat Jesus!!!Joe K