Thanks to everyone who made our 40 Days for Life Lenten campaign a success! Thanks to all the team members; shift managers and buddies! Thanks to the leadership team; Jen for managing the blog; Donna for keeping track of the volunteer schedule and Lisa for keeping the team’s schedule! Thanks to Megan for managing the fasting calendar; Dee for recruiting prayer from religious communities! Thanks to all the blog writers for keeping us inspired; and to all those who donated money to pay for our wonderful security guards who kept us safe! Thanks to all the church coordinators for taking time slots at the vigil and gathering groups from their churches to come to PP to pray! Thanks to Pastor Joe Stump for leading the Jericho March around PP tonight! Thanks to all the priests who took time out of their busy schedules to come and pray, and to be part of our kick-off Mass; and to those who came to our closing tonight! Thanks to Fr. Chris Donley and Fr. Joe Freedy for opening up Epiphany Church for our events and for being an amazing blessing to our downtown area…they are truly being Jesus to so many who need Him! Many thanks to our dear Bishop Waltersheid for faithfully bringing Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to Planned Parenthood to help us close our 40 days! And thanks to Pittsburgh’s Zone 2 police for keeping us safe as we have our Eucharistic Processions! We are very blessed here in Pittsburgh to have such amazing police!!! Above all, we thank our Loving God for keeping His Hand of protection on us during these 40 days, and for all the lives and souls that surely were saved! We know that many seeds were planted in hearts and minds, and we ask the Holy Spirit to bring forth much fruit to bless our city!
Thank you Lord for giving us an absolutely beautiful evening to end our 40 Days for Life, and for hearing and accepting our prayers of thanksgiving! We love you!!!
Enjoy the photos from this evenings closing events…followed by a reflection from me at the bottom of this post:
It began with a Jericho March around Planned Parenthood, lead by Pastor Joe Stump…
At 5pm, as our 40 Days for Life Lenten Vigil officially closed…JESUS ARRIVED!!!
Assisted by Pittsburgh’s Finest…we began our procession to the Church…
Arriving at Epiphany Church for a beautiful Mass! Thanks to Bishop Waltersheid and Fr. Brennan for offering the Mass, and to Ian and his talented Schola for providing the music and sacred chant!
Ken wrote in his shift report from early this morning about all the contrasts that he noticed during his time praying on the sidewalk this morning; the grateful comments contrasted with the hateful ones. Jen wrote about the man who was having a beer for breakfast as he humbly apologized for making fun of our fetal models earlier in the week. My impressions from tonight’s closing events are in the same vein. Here are some of the contrasts that struck me today:
- Walking on the Jericho walk in the alley behind Planned Parenthood…passing by the filthiest dumpsters you ever saw…slimy garbage strewn all around them. Yet, the walls of the buildings made the prayers of the people resound in a beautiful way.
- As we began our Jericho March, a man who was clearly either very intoxicated or very mentally ill (or both) kept wanting to get near to some of our people. As he came up to speak to me, I could see that he was in the process of peeing himself as he spoke. Urine was running down his pant legs onto the ground. Our security guard was able to convince him to keep his distance.
- When Jesus arrived in the Blessed Sacrament, carried by His Excellency, Bishop Waltersheid…I knelt on the sidewalk in reverence. As I was kneeling, I looked down and right in front of me was a used condom.
- As our procession began on Smithfield Street, we passed by dozens of homeless and drug addicted people. Many were laying right on the sidewalk and others were gathered in groups on stoops and steps and street corners. It looked like the land of the lost. Truly, I imagine this is what Hell would look like. Poor souls lost in darkness…living minute to minute…trying to make the pain stop by any means they can…no matter how destructive. Guns and Roses song, “Welcome to the Jungle” comes to mind. For a moment, their dark world of distractions are interrupted as they see something they have likely never seen before! Pomp and ceremony…reverence and respect…a priest in shiny robes carrying a large golden object with something white in the center! Although they most likely did not understand what it was all about…I like to think that Jesus was the salt healing the wounds of our city. One does not need to understand how the medicine works…it does its job anyway.
- As we processed up Centre Avenue towards Epiphany Church, we were surrounded by Penguins fans as they were having a procession of their own. We were outnumbered by far! There were about 80 of us, but many hundreds of them. We were making a pilgrimage to our Holy Land…they were making a pilgrimage to the Pens game. It appeared we were all going towards the same ending point…but our goals could not have been more different.
- As we neared Epiphany Church we saw the large banners in front that said “This Church harasses women” and we knew that our pro-abortion friends were there waiting for us. They screamed and chanted as we passed by them into the church. Their anger and hatred contrasted with our joy and peace.
So, to summarize my impressions from tonight, I would have to say that I was struck by the contrast between this present fallen world and the glory of the world to come...when God’s Will will finally be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. We live in the present, fallen world…but we keep our eyes on the world to come; the world that Jesus promises to those who love Him! He promises that He will be with us, even to the end of the age. He promises that He will come back to bring us to that place that he is preparing for us! It is amazing and beautiful and we get glimpses of it when we work alongside our brothers and sisters who love Him too!
We will continue to be salt in the wounds of our city all year round in front of Planned Parenthood! We need many more people to help us cover all the abortion hours! If you are willing to come and pray during abortion hours year-round, contact Jen at email@example.com.
I Hope to see you on Good Friday at 10am to pray the Stations of the Cross in front of Planned Parenthood!
I wish you a blessed Holy Week! God bless you!