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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
12 thoughts on “Day 41…Thanking God at our Closing Event!”
WOW….. what a reflection. Thank you for this, Nikki– and for ALL.the ways you have led this campaign. You always lead with grace, strength, and dignity– like the Proverbs 31 woman. We thank you for your leadership and we LOVE and APPRECIATE you.
Thanks, everyone, for your witness and friendship
Beautiful reflection Nikki! Thank you! I agree with everything Lisa said too! God bless you!
I hardly know what to say. It is no surprise what our society and cities have become after 50 yrs of legalized abortion. Against Godard the innocents. Jesus is the answer and it is so fitting to honor and worship him in the procession and Mass for the closing of 40 days. May God continue his blessings on the ministry of 40 days. Nancy Gimbel
I hope, that in light of all of the suffering you have seen today, your group will consider packing up clean clothes, hygiene kits with socks, underwear and/or food/water to distribute to the homeless lining Pittsburgh’s streets when you drive in to stand in front of Planned Parenthood. You mentioned that many on Smithfield Street would not get to meet Jesus if your procession did not pass their way. Jesus would have taken the time to care for these desperate souls. He would have stopped, and told his followers to wait, so he could have heard what the man who was urinating had to say. Perhaps the man approached your group because he thought you might help him because you were from a Church. Lastly, any Christian who would take issue with a church that displays a rainbow fish would welcome members of the LGBTQ+ into its community to worship is the real irony here. This is a church that probably ordains women as well, and treats them as equals in the church. Imagine that.
ngrid, thank you for being respectful and posting your comment. It appears that you most likely would not consider yourself pro life but I thank you for being polite. If you would like to meet me down at Planned Parenthood any Thursday morning at 10 AM, let me know. I will bring some Clean socks and items for the homeless and you can bring some also and together we can go and distribute them on Smithfield Street and we can talk more about our disagreements. God bless you!
Nikki, you are welcome. I would be happy to meet you to continue talking when I get to Pittsburgh. I am in New York and can tell you from long time work with our city’s homeless, most have been raised with religion and many are religious still. We bring food, blankets, clothing and have physically helped them be as comfortable as possible on the streets. There is no better feeling than putting clean socks and shoes on someone who cannot do it for themselves, or tucking them in with a clean blanket as they lay on cardboard. We have handed out soup, sandwiches, tacos and hot dogs and helped them mark time and holidays. We listen to stories about their lives before they lost mental health, jobs, homes and/or hope. Many talk about their children and grandchildren. It is heartbreaking. During the pandemic we drive into the city weekly for two years. Now we are able to commit to going monthly. No, I am not Catholic-and not even Christian any more, but the Jesus I grew up with lives in those faces. I in fact, am not pro-abortion and I am always pro-adoption. However, I am pro-choice because life is complicated and I have seen women whose lives have depended upon the right to safe access to abortion. And because I am not a health care provider. I have had friends who would have died in childbirth had they not been able to get an abortion. It is not my choice to make for other families. Not everyone is Christian/Catholic. Also, Planned Parenthood provides so many other services-free and low cost reproductive health care, birth control-to avoid abortions, men’s health, HIV support and care. Not everyone who walks through those doors is getting an abortion. If your faith does not allow you to make certain decisions about your own body, ie, birth control, whether or not to have an abortion, then that is a personal choice for you to make. Many who live in a cycle of poverty do not have that choice. A 30 year old married woman who has learned at 5 months that her pregnancy will result in a baby that will suffer and die or live for a short while in pain before passing deserves that choice. We disagree on this. And Catholic women, who do the heavy lifting on in the Church, deserve the right to be priests, bishops cardinals and even Popes.
Ps. I am happy, too, to meet you downtown when you are in the area, dear Ingrid. -Maggie K
Ingrid, since you are in New York City, you might be interested to know that the church that the Eucharistic Procession ended in has a homeless ministry that provides three meals a day, five days a week, and also provides tents, blankets, clothing, and personal hygiene products.
This has been an amazing, heartbreaking and also hope-filled 40 Days for Life! Thank you Nikki, Lisa, Donna and all the wonderful loving pro-life warriors!!
I appreciate Ingrid’s comments and can assure her that many days on the sidewalk in front of PP, we talk with many homeless, drug addicts, and desperate people. I have personally witnessed our volunteers offering gloves, hats, jackets, umbrellas, gift cards, friendship, information on available resources, food, and love to those in need. Some of our volunteers also help out at the food kitchen/shelter a few blocks away. I’ve also met several volunteers who have either adopted or helped foster children and those who financially assist women in crisis pregnancy get the help and support they need, no questions asked. Pro-life for them is not lip service or bragging rights, They love through their deeds.
As for the people we meet on the sidewalk near PP, We consider each one our neighbor (even the angry ones who spit curses and insults at us). We consider the people going into PP for whatever reason our neighbors. We consider the women and men who mistakenly believe abortion is their best option our neighbors. We have deep compassion for their pain and struggles. Yet, no one is more helpless and defenseless than the unborn and they, too, are our neighbors. Drug addiction dehumanizes. Homelessness dehumanizes. Abortion dehumanizes and takes a life before it can ever take a breath or see the light of day or the beauty of a sunrise or sunset or has the right to make any choices at all.
All these situations ROB souls of their God-given dignity.
Even putting faith aside, modern science proves that an unborn child IS both alive AND a human being. Violence in the womb has led to a more violent degrading and throwaway culture. Painful as it is, They are issues inextricably tied.
We pray that our love, witness, and support will in some small but palpable way, help our neighbors recognize their genuine dignity and the dignity of all persons, born and unborn. Life IS sacred. Peace begins in the womb.
P.S. I am happy, too, to meet you downtown when you are back, dear Igrid!
Yesterdays procession felt more like a Good Friday of a suffering than a Palm Sunday celebration. I can tell you seeing the Penguins fans going the same direction definitely felt intimidating I saw them before my Saturday shift too, and I am a semi fan but I thought some were hurling insults, same with the people on Smithfield, and I should have expected the protesters up but I know a lot of women in 40 days and thought are these people who are appalled by harrasing women not harrassing women? I am still moved at what Bishop Waltershed I am going to misquote it, but saying that Abortion is wrong and it was not healthcare. I am so blessed to know all you lovely people and be a part of a Post Roe World and a Post Planned Parenthood Pittsburgh, one day! Happy Holy week all.