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40 Days for Life - Halifax

In the days leading up to the beginning of the prayer vigil, I hope to profile the fourteen other registered locations in Canada that will be holding 40-day vigils. Today, I begin this series with the eastern-most site - Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The 40 Days for Life prayer vigil campaign in Halifax N.S., is in its fourth edition. Ms. Julie Culshaw is coordinating the event along with Ms. Anne Ashford Hall.

Ms. Culshaw is finding good support for the project among the general populace. The site's log book, a register that persons coming to the vigil location to pray must sign, noted over 200 different entries during this past campaign, Spring 2011

The vigil has an ecumenical flavour to it. Both Roman Catholics and Christian evangelicals have responded to the call to protest the lost of innocent life and the harm being done to women inside the Victoria General Hospital. 

Two events will buttress the 40-day vigil. On the eve of the vigil, September 27, the ecumenical trait will be evident as the prayer warriors and others will gather for an inter-denominational service at St. Thomas Aquinas church.

The second event is a closing banquet. On Sunday, October 30, participants will gather in a Church hall to break bread and listen to guest speaker, Mr. Georges Buscemi! Yes, our own Quebec Life Coalition president.

In between both events, peaceful volunteers will gather outside the Victoria General Hospital. At least the prayers will be peaceful. Over the four vigils, Ms. Culshaw reports that she has seen an escalation in hostility towards the 40-days group, aside from the staple fare of slurs shouted at them by passers-by. For example, the first campaign was marked by a single incident of violence - a water-bombed hurled at the vigilers on the last day. On the other hand, on the first day of the last campaign this past spring 2011, an angry protestor violently grabbed and tore the signs belonging to the prayers. Further, a video of the incident was taken and then doctored to further discredit the vigilers; this was placed on U -tube. Fortunately, the Halifax Regional Police have provided professional service when called upon.

Photos and blog for the group may be found here.

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Three News Stories

Over the past week to ten days, there has been no shortage of excellent pro-life stories and articles. I have culled three from among these.

The first is about a courageous young nursing student - Anne Marie Dust. The academic institution, Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN, she was thinking of attending had the requirement that all nursing students needed to participate in abortions. This requirement gratted against her pro-life convinctions. Instead of applying to another nursing school, she decided to legally challenge this requirement as discriminatory. With the aid of some sound legal support, she did and won. So, now all nursing students at Vanderbilt can forego it. A fuller treatment of the events, including a video interview with the Anne Marie, may be found here.

The second story, an article, exposes the gargantuan problem that are chemical abortions, a.k.a. as hormonal birth control. The author, Ms. Jenn Giroux, a registered nurse, does a terrifc job explaining what hormonal birth control is and indicates how montrously a problem it is, particularly in light of the ready availability of contraceptives. Her article urges us all not only to fight the harm that surgical abortions are committing but also not to affirm the devastation that chemical abortions are doing to our younger brothers and sisters (not to mention the harm these hormones are doing to the women who are using them.) You can read here article here.

The third and final note, a story, illustrates the courageous pro-life spirit of a mother. Bernadette, a Michigan mother of 7 already, discovered that she was pregnant with her eighth. Prenatal screening revealed that the child had a genetic disorder - trisomy 18. Yet she did not buckle under the pressures to abort her child, carrying her daughter to term, who today is 4 years-old. Her interview may be read here.



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9 - 11 and True Security

In today's Journal de Montréal, writer Benoît Aubin reflects upon the consequences of the bombing of the World Trade Towers.

One effect, he argues, has been the rearrangement in the hierarchy of our values. “Security” has vaulted ahead of "individual rights;" individual privacy, freedom of movement, and presumption of innocence have been subordinated to detention and torture.

We in the pro-life movement welcome an all together different re-valuation of security, one having both temporal and transcendant components.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, temporal security needs to be tied in to solidarity.

2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.

Transcendent security finds its expression in the words of the psalmist. Time and again, he writes that our refuge is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and Earth.

The latter is no easy exercise. Witness the peoples of the Old Testament who repeatedly stumbled along, frequently failing to trust God.

Today, we are no better. I have often been told that it is preferable to abort a child because one will not be able to provide for its needs as well as those of the other members of the family?

Yet we need to trust that Our Heavenly Father who watches over us, will not abandon us in the carrying out of our duties. Witness the abundance with which we have been blessed; for example, our supermarkets overflow with fresh produce.

May the events of September 11, 2001, be a reminder how our lives have turned away from the one source of our true security.

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40 Days for Life - Planning Meeting #3

The third and final planning meeting for the upcoming 40 Days for Life prayer vigil will be next week.

All those wishing to participate in one way or another, or for those who simply want to know more about this lifesaving effort, show up on Wednesday, September 14 at 6PM. The meeting will take place at the rear of Saint-Emile church, 3330 Rivier (5 minutes' walk from the Joliette metro stop).

What: First 40 Days for Life meeting for Montreal

When: Wednesday, August 17 at 6PM

Where: Saint-Émile Church, 3330, rue Rivier, Montreal

For further information, call (514) 344-2686.

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40 Days for Life meetings -- Montreal and Quebec City

40 Days for Life in Montreal

For all those interested in participating in one way or another in the 40 Days for Life in Montreal, or for those who simply want to know more about this lifesaving effort, tomorrow, Wednesday August 17 at 6PM, there will be a first 40 Days for Life meeting for Montreal. The meeting will take place at the rear of Saint-Emile church, located at 3330 Rivier (5 minutes' walk from the Joliette metro stop).

What: First 40 Days for Life meeting for Montreal
When: tomorrow, Wednesday, August 17 at 6PM
Where: 3330 Rivier, at the rear of Saint-Emile church, 5 minutes' walking distance from the Joliette metro stop

Please respond if you plan to attend. 

40 Days for Life in Quebec City

All who are interested in participating in the 40 Days for Life in Quebec city are asked to forward their email address and phone number to Christina, who is the head organiser of the 40 Days in Quebec City. Her email is: [email protected]

A first organisational meeting will be scheduled very soon!

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Selective "Reduction" of Healthy Babies

First, there were abortions. Then came chemical abortions. And now, added to these "reproductive options," are the fertility abortions.

In an article appearing last week and accessed here, we read that doctors are generating more fetuses than they intend. Result: aborting the unwanted ones, a.k.a., the euphemism "pregancy reduction".

One thing that struck me about this article is how little reference, if any, is given to the fate of the unwanted child or children. Rather, it's the quality of life of the mother and/or the couple that trumps any consideration of the unborn. Here's an example of what I mean:

Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent.

Notice that there is no reference at all to adoption; the word appears only once in the entirety of the story. The paragraph continues with a quote from Jenny...

“This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” she told me (the reporter), referring to the reduction.

I have frequently heard this calculus argument. Namely, that it is better to kill one's child than to have it live without certain amenities. The flaw in this reasoning is that it undervalues life. Life is priceless; it matters little the socio-economic background of the child, its health status, nor how it was conceived.

Finally, the paragraph ends as...

She and her husband worked out this moral calculation on their own, and they intend to never tell anyone about it. Jenny is certain that no one, not even her closest friends, would understand, and she doesn’t want to be the object of their curiosity or feel the sting of their judgment.

This article strikes me as an argument for both eugenics and social engineering.

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Invitation to Pray at the Morgentaler Clinic

Hi Folks,

I experienced some very special and blessed moments earlier today.

Charlotte L'H. and I have been meeting twice per week over the summer months in Lahaie Park across the street from the Morgentaler Montreal abortuary.  Usually beginning at around 7:15 a.m. and lasting about thirty minutes, we pray for the cause of life and then attend an Eucharist service afterwards.

Over this period occasionally we have been joined by others. Well, this morning we were blessed to be joined by not one but two other prayer warriors - first, Jean R. arrived on his familiar bicycle and joined us without missing a beat.  Next, though arriving at the end of our pubic prayer, James accepted our invitation to accompany Charlotte and I to Mass and fellowship.

So, all are welcomed to join Charlotte and I weekday mornings - usually Tuesdays and Fridays, for prayer in Lahaie Park at 7:15 a.m. (Call me for details - (514) 344-2686. Next meeting: Wednesday, August 17)

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Like Life - Manhattan Declaration Video Contest Winner

Hi Folks,

Want a wonderful way to begin your day? Coffee and timbits? No, watching an award-winning pro-life video and listening to an interview with its producer - here (MPG file). Enjoy.

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Promoting Life - Notre Dame de Montréal

Hi Folks,

I trust this blog finds you all well.

Well, reactions continue to be written regarding yesterday's incident at Notre Dame de Montréal Basilica. (See links at end of blog.)

Crossroads Canada pilgrims were making their final Montreal visit before heading out to Ste. Anne de Beaupré, outside Quebec City that same day. The twelve pro-life pilgrims had arrived Friday afternoon from Cornwall and had spent the weekend praying and witnessing to Montrealers about their cross-Canada walk that began in Vancouver this past May. Friday they were received at the St. Joseph's Oratory with a sunset picnic. Saturday, after a 10 a.m. mass at the Oratory and before a picnic in Lahaie park, they prayed for a solid two hours in front of the Morgentaler abortuary. Finally, Saturday evening and Sunday they meet various parish groups both in Montreal and on south shore Longueuil sharing their experience.


On Monday the young adults and their hosts gathered for a mid-day Mass at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. Afterwards the group processed through the busy streets of Montreal with stops at St. Patrick Basilica and Bonsecours Chapel prior to arriving at Notre Dame. The walk proceeded fairly well, with the occasional heckler mouthing off. Fortunately there were also a few affirming honks and waves.

The pilgrims were warmly welcomed at Notre Dame. Quebec Life Coalition president Georges Buscemi greeted them with a special gift - T-shirts for each participant emblazoned with the pro-life message in French. This will be fitting attire for their trek through La Belle Province. After a photo shoot of the group with their new wear, 

the lot of us proceeded to the basilica for prayer, oblivious to what awaited us.

In a nutshell, we were denied entry. (Personnel are posted at the entrance to greet and direct both visitors & pilgrims - the former, after payment, are admitted into the church while the latter into the small frontal chapel, free of charge. The latter is a glass enclosure in the nave set aside from the church for small Eucharistic celebrations, containing space for about 30 people, an altar and a tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament.) We were told that our PRO-VIE t-shirts were inappropriate. A half-hour later and after some private negotiating between the pilgrims' leader - Michael Hayden, and the presiding clerical official, we eventually gained access into the chapel.

Once inside, the experience was spiritually powerful. It is difficult to recount. We were alone in the chapel. To a person, we knelt in silent meditation for some time. Afterwards, we recited the rosary and then listened to one of our group share how she had been divinely touched during the prayer with a message for all of us.  Namely, that our trial at entering the chapel this day was akin to the reception He had received in the synogogue in his home town. Upon exiting, I felt invigorated.

In conclusion, I understand that the basilica has been the site of disruptions in the past. Persons with political messages had entered the church and disrupted proceedings.  And so, norms have been set up to prevent future repeats. Yet, I think a revision is needed to the guidelines, permitting a distinction between a political message and a pastoral one.

Interested folks, can read further about this incident - here from the Lifesitenews article and here from the Crossroads pilgrims' blog site.

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God's Sense of Humour

"Did you hear the one about the two Catholics praying for a new bishop, ...?"

I'm convinced that God has a sense of humour. Almost daily I see signs. I see it in my own life as well as that of others.

A recent incident illustrates the point. For some time, a friend and I have been aware that the local archbishop, Msgr. Jean-ClaudeTurcotte, had reached retirement age and had submitted his resignation to the Holy Father. So, we added to our prayer intentions one for his successor and that he be ardently pro-life. Well this prayer had been answered in a most unexpectant way, not to say abundant. Whereas when I prayed, I had focused upon the head of the Church here in Montreal - i.e., the archbishop position, and yet God surprised me by answering this prayer with not one but two pro-life bishops.

On July 11, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named two auxiliary bishops to Montreal. Father Christian Lépine is regular attendee at the National March for Life. I saw him there this past May and I am told of his presence in previous years.  Further he has attended other pro-life events such as the October, 2010, pro-life conference also in Ottawa. A brief description of his life in ministry may be found here.

The second appointee as auxiliary bishop is

Father Thomas Dowd. Father Dowd, the second youngest bishop in the Catholic Church. He is also profiled at the same link as Father Lépine, yet a more exhaustive meeting with him may be found on his blog found here.

So, as we all know our Heavenly Father heeds and answers our prayers and at times answering these bountifully and unexpectantly.

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