The weather could not have been better last night In Ottawa as about 150 people gathered at the base of the steps leading to the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, to inaugurate the fifth 40 Days for Life vigil in our nation's capital.
Under a clear sky, warm temps, and a gentle breeze, coordinator Paul Lauzon greeted the eclectic crowd – priests and laity, of all ages including families with their spirited children.
Mr. Lauzon pointed out how appropriate it was that we were gathered under flags flying at half mast. He was not alluding to the death of Jack Layton, leader of the federal opposition party, for whom the flags were adjusted, but rather to the innocents who have had their lives shortened by the dearth of compassion in our country.
This absence of compassion was brought forward when Ms. Doris Gagnon, the first of the evening’s speakers, addressed to the crowd. She referred to the sentencing comments of the judge out in Alberta who had given a suspended sentence just last week to the mother who had murdered her new born upon delivering it in 2005. Ms. Gagnon leads a group who silently prays outside the Bank Street abortion mill in downtown Ottawa.
The next speaker, Ms. Ruth Lobo, staffer at the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, expressed sentiments that many pro-lifers could identify with – that she would rather not be there. The former head of the Carleton University pro-life group Carleton Lifeline elaborated; she was present last night with all of us because abortion is still present in Canada. Her discourse focussed upon the political climate in Canada permitting this.
After both women had spoken, I found it odd that neither had brought up the plight of the woman. I do not want to lessen the tragedy of the death of the unborn but it is important not to overlook the plight of the woman, either prior to and after the abortion. As the Elliott Institute documents quite well, many women are coerced into aborting their children; where is the choice in these instances. Further, more and more the harmful after-effects of abortions are recorded and compiled, effects that are both physical and psychological. Both speakers failed to note that we must be sensitive to these needs so compassion can take root in our societies.
This basis of compassion is found in the charity that has been given to us by our Heavenly Father. Appropriately to any inauguration, Mr. Lauzon then turned the mic over to Mr. Marcel Dion who led the crowd in evening prayer and worship and gratitude. Psalms and the Magnificat were chanted.
At the prayers’ conclusion and after the distribution of tappers, I was struck by two spiritually powerful incidents. The first was during the lighting of the tappers. At this time, divisions melted away as the crowd became one so as to either pass on or receive the flame. This desire for the light or to spread the light crumbled whatever barriers may have existed.
The second incident occurred during the procession to the abortuary. Participants had assembled in twos behind the Centennial Flame on the Hill and proceeded on to Wellington Street and then down towards Bank Street where the vigil location is located. I was particularly awed by the string of people walking silently in pairs along the poorly illuminated Wellington Street, tappers in hand aglow in their translucent blue cups, orderly stopping at the intersections to await the walk signals.
The evening came to a close, once again in silence, at the vigil location; here, the pilgrims stood and prayed, each leaving when done.Be the first to comment.
In the days leading up to the beginning of the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, I hope to profile the fourteen locations in Canada where vigils will be held. Today, I present the fourth in the series - Ottawa, Ontario.
In Ottawa, organizers are coordinating their fifth vigil. Visitors to their web site, click here, will be impressed by the novelty of several of their initiatives.First, the kick-off is set on the grounds of the federal legislative building - Parliament Hill. How many other campaigns can make that claim!
For the kick-off, set for Sunday September 25, vigilers will gather for 7:00 p.m. at Centennial Flame on the Hill. (Originally it was scheduled for the steps of the Parliament building but was displaced because Greenpeace protestors are awaited the following day and the RCMP need time to install barricades.)
Before proceeding in candlelight procession to the abortuary on Bank Street, those present will participate in prayer and listen to several invited guests. First, local Ottawa valley musician and artist Mr. Marcel Dion will lead those assembled in chanting Vespers - evening prayer. Afterwards, Ms. Ruth Lobo, Carleton University student and president of the university's pro-life club, Carleton Lifeline, and Ms. Doris Gagnon, founder and coordinator of local chapter of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, will address the audience.
A second novel feature of the Ottawa 40-day vigil is the Proclamation of the Word. Occurring daily, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., for the durationof the vigil and done across the street from the abortion facility, Holy Scriptures will be read. Beginning with the book of Genesis and running through to Revelations, proclaimers will announce the word of God to persons in the vicinity of the abortuary.
Campaing Life Canada (CLC) representative Paul Lauzon says that National Coordinator for 40 Days for Life, Mr. David Bereit, has taken an active interested in this project. He likes the idea and and is considering to suggest that it be done nationally.
A third twist to the Ottawa campaign is its outreach program. For various reasons, many persons are unable to visit the vigil location. Hence, two programs have been initiated to permit them to participate, in the measure that they can. The first allows persons to register on line for a specific prayer period, much in the same manner that those travelling to site can. The second initiative is a visitation program whereby volunteers with kits go out into the community to visit shut-ins and others to foster prayer.
Further details regarding these programs and the vigil may be had by visiting the web site or by calling the CLC office (613-729-0379) or by calling vigil coordinator Jennifer (613-835-4201).Be the first to comment.
The number keeps rising.
At this moment, beginning next Wednesday, September 28, the total number of 40 Days for Life vigil locations will be 301. This is up from the 297 of two weeks ago and the 247 from this past spring 2011. Quite an amazing growth considering the movement began only five years ago in a small college town in Texas.
Like a plant speading its roots and sprouting new stems, the pro-life vigil has arisen in 46 new locations. Thank God for the good sense of the ordinary citizen.
A full account of the activities at the 40 Days for Life site are available here.
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#CFDCDE">In the days leading up to this fall's prayer vigil, I hope to profile the fourteen other registered locations in Canada hosting the 40-day for Life gatherings. Today, I present the third in the series – Sudbury, Ontario.
Heroic can be the only qualifier that aptly describes Kevin Murphy and his wife’s effort during the first two 40 Days for Life prayer vigils in the city of Sudbury, Ontario. They spent the entire fall 2010 vigil and the entire spring 2011 vigil praying and fasting outside the abortion mill at the Sudbury Regional Hospital. Yes, that’s right, 40 days, twelve hours per day in the Laurentian climes. Heroic.
Local drivers along Paris Street would see the couple day in, day out, over the 40 day period and would “eventually get it,” says Mr. Murphy, meaning that his message that life is precious and abortions are not health care would get across.
Aside from courage, another virtue aptly describing Mr. Murphy is docility. On a couple of occasions he has listened to the advice from others thereby furthering the pro-life and pro-woman messages. In one instance, he heeded the group’s spiritual director suggestion on signs, emphasizing the notions that “Life is Sacred” and “Life Begins at Conception.”
A second time, hecklers, challenging his right to protest if he were not willing to aid women in distress, moved Mr. Murphy. A deeply feeling man, he rethought his work and Providence provided a solution during a trip to Toronto. There, he met with the Sisters of Life, the religious community founded by the late Cardinal O’Connor of New York City for the purpose of helping pregnant women in pregnancy crisis. These shared their experience with him, and he returned to Sudbury with materials and knowledge to put these new measures into practice.
As Mr. Murphy described the different events that had occurred during the vigils, I cannot help but see how God has blessed this man. Staff at the hospital occasionally drops by with coffee and donuts. Generally, he receives more thumbs up signs from passing motorists than the reverse. Visitors to the site are angelic sojourners - an elderly couple, an inquisitive 16 year-old, providing Mr. Murphy with inspiration.
A lamentable point, he shares, is the minimal support he has received from the institutional church. He is permitted to have bulletin announcements and display posters, but little more. He has been frustrated when he wanted to set up an information table in a church or make an after-mass public announcement. Also, the clergy have failed to come out to the site. Finally, and this is the kicker, the local bishop occasionally drives by and waves to him; could he not stop, even once, and give him an apostolic blessing?
One wonders whether with such little support if the vigils will continue. Yet, Mr. Murphy tells me that he and his wife will continue, though in a reduced capacity - two hours per day this fall. We pray that this fall’s annual Sudbury Right to Life banquet - set for October 1, will bring out sufficient people to aid the Murphys not only this fall but in the time to come.
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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 present the second in the series - Moncton, New Brunswick.
The fall 2011, 40 Days for life campaign in Moncton, NB, is in its second edition. After having participated in the 40-day vigil a year ago in neighbouring Fredericton, N.B., Mario and Rosalie Graziani, with the aid of a few friends, coordinated their first one in Moncton this past spring.
Despite being new to organizing 40-day vigils, Rosalie informs me that they intend to have full 24-hour coverage at the vigil location for the duration of the forty days, which is quite remarkable considering that more established sites like Montreal provide a 12-hour presence per day.
Rosalie credits this feat to the broad community support that the vigil is attracting. She estimated that up to 220 people from various denominations came this past spring. Among the latter were Roman Catholics - including members of the Knights of Columbus, Baptists, and Pentecostals.
This Fall the same vigil location as this past spring has been selected. The Dr. Georges L Dumont Regional Hospital is located in downtown Moncton, in proximity to the Université de Moncton.Further, Rosalie speaks about the positive effect of the first vigil. Awareness building is reaching the Moncton's youth. Many have been questioning why their classrooms are not as full as they had been in previous generations and why there are fewer children being born. They see increased levels of immigration to build up an otherwise diminishing Canadian population. As they come upon the vigilers praying for an end to abortion, they get it. They can connect the dots; ready access to abortion and hormonal contraceptives has had a devastating effect on their absent peers, insidiously cut short their lives at the very outset.
Rosalie also notes how a young woman, post-abortive, chose life when faced with a subsequent pregnancy and now encourages Rosalie and her team of prayers onward.
Yes, there are hecklers. The proximity of the univesity provides a stream of young adults, and a few teachers, who asperse them with derision. Yet we pray that the prayerful presence, in all weather, can soften their hearts and make them realize the tragedy which is befalling us all.
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Prayer warriors Wanted!
Start date: September 28.
Flex hours. Work at home, in church, or at the park.
Shifts: Morning, afternoon, and evening shifts available!
Work an hour or two, or as many as you wish!
To register, click here. (If you are a new user, sign in.) Peruse the schedule. Select an empty slot or one that works best for you. And register.
Not sure about registering, then just show up - Lahaie Park, opposite the Morgentaler abortion mill (30 Saint-Joseph Blvd. East, cross street Saint-Laurent.)
Pray silently alone or join the folks who are already there.
Cannot make it down to the park, pray at home, in your church, in your car, as you walk along. Any time – morning, afternoon, evening. lt all counts... for 40 days.
Make up your own prayer or use ours:
We pray that the scourge of abortion be lifted from our land,
That those who promote it may be brought to a change of heart,
That all who are tempted to abortion may be lovingly helped to protect the precious gift of life,
And that all who have experienced an abortion may be comforted with the healing gift of love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Get your family, your friends, your church involved.
The unborn need you. The mothers-to-be need you.
Remember what God said: “He who honours me, I will honour him.” - 1 Sam,
Don't hesitate; 40 days runs by quickly.
Start date: September 28Be the first to comment.
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.Be the first to comment.
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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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.Be the first to comment.
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.Be the first to comment.