Witness of Sufferings…
Beloved: I exhort the presbyters among you – I, your fellow presbyter and witness of the sufferings of Christ, the partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed in time to come – tend the flock of God which is among you, governing not under constraint, but willingly, according to God; nor yet for the sake of base gain, but eagerly; nor yet as lording it over your charges, but becoming from the heart a pattern to the flock. And when the Prince of the shepherds appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. But the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish us. To Him is the dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 5: 1-4
As I reflected on this epistle reading last night, something jumped out at me that I had never thought of before when reading this very familiar passage. It was the phrase, “witness of the sufferings of Christ.” I guess I never thought that St. Paul had actually “witnessed” Christ’s sufferings. I thought he came along later, after Jesus had died, resurrected and ascended. If he had witnessed Christ being scourged, beaten, humiliated, carrying his cross and crucified…it would have been as one who was approving of it all. But whether he was traumatized at the time, or if the horror and sorrow of what he saw happened later, after his conversion…it reminded me of how we are witnessing the suffering of little ones here in Pittsburgh...and how witnessing such suffering can traumatize and discourage us as pro-life Christians.
The early Christians witnessed Jesus mocked and brutally killed before they saw him resurrected. Just like we in Pittsburgh are watching precious babies being tortured by having their organs removed while still alive.
We are witnessing something horrible, that we have NO CONTROL of, and NO ABILITY to change! Jesus’ followers could not help Him. They could not stop his executioners from doing what they did. We cannot stop the abortion business and the destructive, anti-God and anti-life agenda of institutions of higher education and medicine, or the influence of their political lobby. I have to believe that MOST (if not almost ALL) Americans would be horrified if they actually watched a baby being born alive and having his organs removed. No one is for this…yet it continues. It appears that hardly anyone really cares because we are busy going about our daily lives. There are a few people praying in front of Planned Parenthood a couple times a year, sure. But really…how does that look to those who are running this immoral and evil business of harvesting organs from aborted babies? They think we don’t really care and so they are emboldened to continue.
Even though most Americans (and all Christians) DO care, and DO believe it is wrong…we don’t do anything because we think it won’t matter what we do. We are powerless to stop it. Take fasting for example. We are told to fast in order to drive out demons…but we don’t do it because when it comes to the day we were planning to fast…we get up in the morning and our stomach starts growling, and we think to ourselves, “How is my hunger going to accomplish anything? I may as well eat.”
I firmly believe that if we had more FAITH in GOD, and less faith in ourselves…we would be out there letting all the world know that we will not be quiet. If we had more faith, we would not stand by silently while vulnerable, innocent children are being killed…especially in such brutal ways and used in such terrible and inhumane ways. I think the biggest crowd we ever had for a 40 Days for Life event was when we had 40 priests at the altar for our 2020 spring kick-off. Over 500 people came because they were so inspired that 40 priests were willing to lead them in a Mass and a Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood. For us, we thought that was a huge crowd! But really, what is 500 people compared the population of Pittsburgh? Think about the crowd size at a Steelers game and then compare the two. What does it seem that people care more about?
The reason that I am writing about this is because someone from my parish has decided to ask EVERY MAN, WOMAN and CHILD who is a Christian…to show up in front of the Cathedral of Learning at noon this Saturday, Oct. 30th for a Jericho March (seven times around) to pray and ask God to deliver us from this evil that is happening at Pitt. Here are the details:
JOIN US – JERICHO MARCH TO END PITT FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH!!! CALLING ALL PEOPLE OF GOD!!! Peaceful Procession Seven Times Around the Cathedral of Learning. Saturday, Oct. 30th at NOON! Meet on South Bellefield Avenue near Heinz Chapel. We will walk towards Forbes to Bigelow Blvd. to Fifth Avenue. Let us number well over 7,000 people to beg our Lady to destroy the efforts of medical institutions of using innocent human lives for scientific purposes and monetary gain. Protect vulnerable women and their unborn and newly born babies. EVERY AVAILABLE MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD SHOULD BE THERE TO STAND FOR THE DEFENSELESS UNBORN. (Bring signs, banners and pray with your own group as you peacefully walk.) PLEASE SHARE THIS EMAIL WITH ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. DO NOT LET THE BABIES DOWN. DO NOT BE SILENT!!!
I have to tell you that when I first read this invitation…I was stunned by the boldness of asking for 7,000 people to show up! To my knowledge, we have never even come close to one-tenth of that number at ANY pro -life event! But I like the boldness! I am sure that there are 7,000 Christians in Pittsburgh who think that it is wrong to dissect living babies for their organs. If all simply had the faith that St. Paul speaks of in the passage above…they would all show up!
We can see the horror of the sufferings of these little ones and just continue to go about our business as usual because we don’t think there is anything we can do to stop it. But if we do that, it will appear to the rest of the world that we don’t care. St. Paul exhorts us to be a pattern for others to follow. He says that if we are willing to suffer…it will only be for a little while. And we will win our crown of glory. He will perfect, strengthen and establish us…because His is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever, and we win in the end if we persevere with faith and do not give up!
I was set to work on Saturday, but I feel that it is so important to have as large a number as possible that I moved my customers around so I can be there. I hope you will join us and share this message far and wide!
Help us to end our 40 Days for Life fall vigil THIS SUNDAY at 6:30pm, with Bishop Waltersheid bringing JESUS in the Blessed Sacrament to the sidewalk!
Meet at PP at 6:30pm for closing prayer with Bishop Waltersheid, who will have the Blessed Sacrament. We will close our vigil the same way we opened it…with Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. We will have a Eucharistic Procession from PP to Divine Mercy Parish, Epiphany Church for a closing Mass (offered by Bishop Waltersheid) in thanksgiving to God for another successful 40 Days for Life campaign. See flyer for this event HERE.
Sorry for the length of this post, but I also want to share with you a website that was created by a young woman named Lucia Hunt, who is a freshman at Franciscan University in Steubenville. She has received a grant from Students for Life and feels that God is calling her to expose and end the fetal experimentation at Pitt. There are 13 other universities that receive fetal tissue from Pitt. As Lucia puts it, “Pitt is the head of the snake.” It all begins at Pitt. They have the “tissue bank”…thanks to the babies that are aborted at Magee and Planned Parenthood. She is planning a conference on Monday, November 8th at Pitt’s O’Hara Student Center. Here is the website for more information about her project, and the place to sign the petition:
To register for this free conference go to: Pitt Unethical Fetal Research Event (google.com)
I am planning to attend this conference and hope to see many other pro-lifers there as well. She hopes to have 350 in attendance. She is a fireball of energy and talent, and it is clear that God is raising her up for this task. She feels that God has clearly called her to this mission. Let’s support her!
Now, on to the shift reports for today!
Peggy, Charlene and Beth 7-9
The seasons are changing…hats and gloves now needed (and I had on long johns!) Diane as usual is ahead of our needs and has now added insulated ponchos to our supplies…just in case someone comes unprepared! The last shift of the campaign for our wonderful crew (Peggy, Randy, and joined today by Maureen) went like clockwork but with many patients entering. One young man came out to take a phone call and I managed to get a yellow card to him…and he kept it! Randy and I had a conversation about apathy and how many times on the sidewalk, it feels that people are not really with us or against us, they are just apathetic. A very good thing today was when a 17 year old girl stopped and asked Peggy why she was on the sidewalk all the time, Peggy said,”Because it’s important.” Good answer, Peggy!! So, at the end of this campaign, I leave you with this:
“The question is not ‘Will God prevail?’ The question is ‘Will you be a part of the team?'”
(Esther 4:14) see you on the sidewalk! God Bless…Charlene
Terri & Elsie 9-11
It is hard to believe that today is the last Wednesday of our 40 Days campaign. Elsie and I were to be alone, but we were happy to find Mary Ann who remained with us until 10:00. We were also joined by Ann who had read about 40 Days in her church bulletin. Also, Dan showed up and took his usual place on the street. Thoughtful Elsie had a bag of new gloves and hats for anyone who needed or wanted one. We did manage to give information to some who walked by and a few going into Planned Parenthood took a pamphlet. The most disturbing thing that occurred during our shift involved a non-English speaking woman who came with a man. Elsie was on their side and tried to reach out to them. The man walked in and I called the woman over to me. To my surprise, she came over to me and I tried to communicate with her. Her eyes were sad. He came out and called her inside. Would she have accepted help? Would it have been different if she were alone? It breaks my heart to see these women being taken there by men who should be loving toward them and their child.
Katie & Sharon 11-1
It was pretty quiet, I had to ask Sharon if anything noteworthy happened during our shift because it seemed to blur into the rest of the time I was there. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a usual amount of evil going on inside, however. Thank you to Joyce, Sharon, Dan and St. Raymond of the Mountain parish for being there on this chilly fall day!
Chris & Conrad 1-3
Today, I was joined by Barb from Mother of Sorrows Parish in Murrysville and, as always, by faithful sidewalk advocates Katie and Conrad, my shift buddy. Barb and I prayed the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries while they were lovingly relentless, approaching all passersby with brochures about fetal development and information on free pregnancy-help services available locally. For whatever reason, I noticed more women (3, nurses?) coming out of PP in scrubs today.
Virginia & Eileen 3-5
Eileen and I were on the 3-5 shift. (Steve was helping a friend with a medical appointment.)
This was a sobering two hours. The foot traffic, including the school children was uneventful, an occasional yellow card was accepted.
The persons coming out of PP were many. There were two brief conversations with exiting ladies. “Its a woman’s body, a woman’s choice,” etc. and “stop harassing people.” One “twosome” (a mom and a daughter) took post-abortive material. Four or five girls with backpacks came out of 933 after the security guard had left. They didn’t take any materials. Forty Days is over but the abortions are not.
In retrospect, the best place to stand for the entire time is at the top of the “yellow circle” so you have a chance to talk whether the person turns right or left coming out of the door.
Thank you and God Bless,
Joe, Charlie & Amy 5-7
The last Wednesday shift of the campaign–it was quiet and and the blue-gray October evening faded quickly…
A big huge thanks to all those during the campaign that scheduled or filled the void to pray, share, and witness during this super popular last shift of the day 🙂
Also, a big Thanks!!! along with prayers and blessings to the best Wednesday 5-7 PM Shift Buddies in the World–“sockless” Charlie and his wonderful wife Amy–Thank “yinz’!