I have noticed lately that I just do not feel comfortable being in front of Planned Parenthood anymore UNLESS I AM PRAYING! Which is rather ironic, because when I first started leading Pittsburgh’s 40 Days for Life back in 2010…my little secret was that I really didn’t think praying was all that important. I thought that prayer was just an excuse so that we could be there and visibly witness to the injustice of abortion. I thought it was more important for us to be seen, to change hearts that way. The prayer part…well, that was just secondary.
It occurred to me when I was standing on the sidewalk this past Saturday, trying to be polite to those who wanted to engage in conversation…that I just didn’t feel comfortable. It was like being inside a burning building without protective equipment. I realized that the only way I can feel comfortable on the sidewalk is if I am praying or engaging in some sort of edifying conversation, including building up the faith of other Christians, witnessing to non-Christians, or reaching out to abortion-vulnerable parents. Prayer truly is our “protective gear” when we stand so close to the satanic flames that are spiritually enveloping that building located at 933 Liberty Avenue!
It is funny how my faith has grown, deepened and matured because of this pro-life work, and I suspect that I am not the only one! Because of the sacrifices that so many of us have made over the years, many of us have grown in our love for God.
It’s like someone who has had a baby, and has begun the exhausting task of tending to a child 24 hours a day, giving up sleep…feeding and changing them, worrying when they are sick or get hurt, etc. It is the suffering and the sacrifice that makes that child so precious to us!
If we all had nannies to take care of our children…to get up in the middle of the night to feed them and rock them back to sleep, I don’t think we would have as strong a bond with our children. Similarly, when we give ourselves completely to the Lord, and to the work that He calls us to…it is that sacrifice of time, sleep, energy, comfort, pride, etc….that bonds us more closely to Him!
Our Lord was present on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood to begin our 40-day vigil. Last Wednesday, our three rivers at the Point (along with the city of Pittsburgh) were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph. The picture above is of the sun during the consecration. I have no doubt that God is preparing our city to play a role in the amazing work of salvation that He is accomplishing through our pro-life work here!
Keep the faith, keep your protective gear on while at PP…and trust in the Lord! He will carry us through any difficult times that may be ahead. Thanks to everyone who prayed and witnessed today!
Before we go onto the shift reports from today, I want to let you know the exciting news that we will close the 40 day vigil at Planned Parenthood on November 1st the same way that we began it…with our Lord, Jesus Christ…on the sidewalk in the Blessed Sacrament! Thanks to Bishop Waltersheid and Fr. Chris Donley for making this happen! Come to the sidewalk at PP at 4:45pm on Sunday, November 1st for a short time of prayer before the Holy Eucharist, and then join our Eucharistic Procession through Pittsburgh, ending at Epiphany Church for a Mass, in thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings, protection and for all the lives that He saved from abortion during these 40 days! The Mass should begin around 5:30, or as soon as the procession gets there. CLICK HERE for a bulletin announcement/flyer with all the details!
Now…on to the sidewalk happenings from today’s vigil…
Peggy, Charlene and Beth from 7-9
Unfortunately it was busy today. One young woman took material but preceded to go in anyway. Charlene & I prayed right by the window where she was sitting. Prayer partners were very strong today. We look to the Lord to change hearts.Peggy
Katie, Terri & Priscilla were in charge from 9-11
It was bittersweet to be back on the sidewalk after 3 weeks of quarantine. (Don’t worry, I tested negative 12 days ago so I’m not contagious anymore!!!) On the one hand I’m grateful to be able to do something to try to help put an end to this violence, but it’s heartbreaking seeing mothers refuse our offer of help. 7 or 8 people went in during my shift, although two came back out after only a couple minutes. One girl accepted literature and I was able to talk to a man whose girlfriend was having an abortion, but as far as we know neither changed their minds. We had a few positive comments and only one negative. Thank you to Andy, Pete, Nancy and Seamus from St. Louise de Marillac, Priscilla and Bill for being there to give a voice to the children today.Katie
Faithful Barbara & Richard managed the vigil from 11-1
Andy and Katie greeted us on this balmy day just an hour before noon. Very soon, Bob arrived. Andy led us in prayer. Later Mike, also from St. Louise de Marillac Parish came … and then Marie. We had so many witnesses praying with us. We needed them. Women arrived one at a time and just kept coming today. It felt relentless. It felt very bad. One guy called me over to the car his woman companion had just returned to from inside PP. He asked me a series of rapid fire questions. In the end he said I should not assume they had come for an abortion. A woman arriving at PP for an interview told me I should get a life. Oh, the responses that occurred to me! I kept quiet. It was Sarah’s first time with us. She is a Pitt grad student. Elsie and Chris came and we left.Barbara
Chris & Elsie were the managers from 1-3
More glorious weather sent by God for today’s prayer warriors. I started my shift by sprinkling Holy Water on the infamous yellow semi-circle. Today, I was joined by first-timer Sara, a grad student at a local university. Welcome, Sara! Chris and her mother, Joyce, came from Our Lady of Victory in Harwick. Karen and Mary Ann came from St. Valentine’s. Tom, John, and Dolores, Wednesday afternoon regulars, joined us in praying multiple Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Elsie lovingly tried to hand out information to every passerby and had a long conversation with a man concerning his girlfriend who was inside PP. Sadly, 3-4 women came out of the building during my shift with brown paper bags most likely containing abortion pills. When two of them came out, at separate times, we paused our Rosary and dedicated the next Decade to them, their developing child, and the child’s father. We also prayed for the abortion doctors, staff, and clients. There were two highlights during my shift- the first, a group of small children being shepherded (like the Good Shepherd) by two women caring for them, and, the second, a mother who stopped to talk with us and her five adorable children. I believe God sends the little children to us on the sidewalk to remind us of his precious gift of Life.Chris
Joe and Virginia closed us out from 3-5
It was a beautiful sunny, pleasant afternoon, unfortunately standing in front of PP dampens any beautiful day. There was a steady amount of foot traffic this afternoon, some regular workers that usually pass by PP during these hours, but lots of new faces. We handed out several yellow cards and other leaflets. A mother-daughter team, Hope and Holly, were there before I arrived and stayed till about 5 PM. They are from Apollo. The Mom, a nurse has been involved in pro-life for several years, this visit was a return after some time being away from pro-life work. Holly was very persistent in pursuing women coming out of PP (several workers), unfortunate only a very few took any information. Several young ladies wearing Florida State tee shirts were in the area, they turned out to be soccer players scheduled to play the Pitt women’s soccer team tomorrow. Tom and Diane arrived to take down the booth a little before 5.Virginia