Another blessed day at the 40 Days for Life vigil location.
Spring is definitely with us. Beautiful sun. Warming temps. Snow almost all gone. With such conditions, the streets were chucked with people – motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, dog walkers and minglers in the park, … So it was a powerful day to get our message of Choosing Life out there.
Vigilers were also out in large numbers. First, there was a gentleman and his family – wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and their daughter, who had traveled from St. Hyacinthe to be with us. Next, there were ten or so teens from a traditional community, chanting hymns or giving silent witness. Finally a charismatic prayer group of six or seven adults spent a hour also hymning and praying. So, passers-by got quite a dose of pro-life witnessing.
Yet what impacted me the most on this Saturday was the witnessing done to ourselves. An incident occurred around mid-afternoon between two men in our group. As I watched what transpired and refrained from intervening in the dealings of these two mature men, I could tell it was not cordial. After the storm settled and feelings still raw, they separated and ministered in separate areas of the site – one along Saint Laurent and the near the banner on Saint Joseph.
At this moment grace intervened. The brouhaha was witnessed by another member of our entourage, a person known for her outspokenness, faith, and audacity to both pro-lifers and Free Choicers. Proceeding discretely and separately she approached both men. I'm ignorant of what she had said to either, but not to its effects. One hour or so after the initial incident, I saw both men seated at the picnic table, that has become a small haven for us vigilers, in what appeared to be friendly banter.
The apostle Paul reminds us in chapter 6 of his epistle to Ephesians that the battle between light and darkness rages within each and every one of us:
10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.12For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
May we all be open to the incidious trappings of the evil one working in our own lives and combat him with the armour of God.
p.s. I wish to solicit your prayers for our young “companions” who have been with us for nearly two weeks now. They are planning two events: a picnic today and a “send off” on the last day of our vigil – April 17. Lord, may our presence on behalf of the Gospel of Life awaken within them a conversion of hearts so that they see you as the True God, the True Lord of Life, and not remain blinded to the trappings of the evil one.
p.p.s. I'm pondering continuing the vigil after the Forty days are up. Interested persons are welcomed to contact me to discuss more about this – days, length of time, manner. ...Be the first to comment.
It sure has been a busy day at the site, with numerous people showing up. Jerome Fernandez and Charlotte L'heureux were both there early and together we got the banner up in record time, Jerry providing engineering insights and Charlotte some elbow grease and spiritual support.
Also, have a good look at the sign to the left. (By clicking on it, it will be magnified.) You may not see it around much longer. Thanks to a generous benefactor, we have received a new banner and it should be ready within a few days for displaying.
Charlotte and I provided the early morning coverage. It was a spetacularly beautiful day. Bright sunshine off-setted the cool temps. Needless to say; we spent much prayer time basking in the sunshine.
Around mid-day, we were delighted to have a group of five prayers arrive. These travelled all the way from Pincourt! After reciting a rosary, they left promising to return in early April.
Another group of visitors were young people. Numbering between five and twelve today, they have been with us since Monday of this week, with as many as twenty present at times. Yet, this groups is different than the previous one. They are countering our presence in front of the Morgentaler facility. With their own signs and waving to supportive motorists, they are advocating the culture of death mis-information.
Yet, I consider it quite a blessing to have these young people there. On the one hand, they elicit much favorable reaction from the motorists; this shows me how much education needs to be done regarding justice to the unborn and the harm that abortion does to women and to others within our society.
It is also a blessing to witness to them about the love of Christ. In the last of the triptich, three of our prayers - Charlotte, Marta, and Emilia, are seen praying in front of them. Further, because of either our peaceful co-existence with them or our more audacious souls such Charlotte and Phillipa who engage them in the occasional dialogue, we get to share the values that Christ encouraged us all to live by.
Finally, as 3 p,m, rolled around and I left the site, three other prayer warriors showed up - Egon, Gregory, and a member from a local religious community.
Thank you all for your support. Working together we are saving the lives of our children and honouring women.Be the first to comment.
Sunday afternoon at the 40 Days for Life vigil site appeared propitious for prayer. It was a sunny afternoon, a picnic bench provided a spot to sit and meditate, and I was alone. So, I turned to the daily Scriptural reading, the Transfiguration of Our Lord. In no time, I was pulled out of my reverie not once but twice. "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
First, a diminutive young woman walked up to me, handed me a note, and left as quickly as she had arrived. My brief salutation - i.e., Bonjour, was returned in kind but no more was said for she had vanished. On the note carefully hand-written was the following message:
c'est mon corps
ce n'est pas le tien
tu as ton corps
I read it, meditated some, and two insights came. First, I found it odd how infrequently the tiny human being growing within the womb is acknowledged as having its own body. Yes, I have a body as you do. Also, in the pregnant woman, there is a third body, developing and dependent, as we all are to one measure or another. This child has a distinct set of chromosomes from either his father or mother. Sadly this distinct little body is largely forgotten in contemporary discourse.
The second insight concerned how anthropo-centric the note was. My body and your body. Absent was any acknowledgment to the hand of our Divine creator. How sad not to give no thanks to our alpha and omega, our source and our destiny.
Eventually, I returned to my contemplation, but not for long. Again, I was pulled out my reverie though in a more confrontational manner. A young couple stormed upon the knoll where I was seated and began to assail me with diatribes, alternating between one another. She cursed me, he attacked the Faith, she slung a sexist comment at me - the typical ad hominem argument, and he again criticized the Faith. Needless to say, I did not have time for any apologetics for the whirlwind that brought them quickly took them away.
An open docile disposition is a pre-requisite to learning. My prayer is that our society develops this virtue so that it may move out its moral torpor.Be the first to comment.
My pro-life involvement began after I had moved to Ottawa from Montreal, some twelve years ago. However modest it was, I am indebted to Mr. Bernie Langill.
I went to Ottawa to do graduate studies at the Dominican College. In my second year, I moved into the rectory of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, in the Somerset Heights area of Ottawa. The parish was a small, welcoming, inter-city one consisting of many older families and having a strong Filipino presence, due in large part to its pastor Father Glicerio Jimenez. It was there that I met Bernie.
Despite living in the west end of Ottawa, Bernie, along with his wife Yvette, attended OLPH regularly. He was an active attendee at the weekly Wednesday night novenas to Our Lady. Also, he was present at the weekend liturgies and participated in many of the social functions held in the basement of the church.
Also, Bernie was a very active pro-lifer. At Christmas time, he set up a table in the church lobby in order to sell Trappist fruit cakes, tempting would-be clients with samples topped with his homemade lemon sauce. In the Fall, he recruited people to be part of the life chain held in the numerous areas around the capital. In the Summer months he occupied himself dispensing containers used for the Pennies for Life collection. Finally, in May he was on the Hill as well as at the liturgies and the Rose dinner as part of the National Pro-Life March events. Inevitably, by contact with Bernie, I was awaken out of my pro-life slumber.
On one occasion he invited me to participate in a life chain. With some discomfort, I accepted his offer. Yes, I believed in the cause yet manifesting myself publicly is another matter. Spineless? Yes. I prefer to get along with others rather than ruffle feathers. So, with difficulty, I stepped out of my comfort zone to express a not so popular opinion, one that runs counter to our society; namely, the death of the innocent, unborn is wrong. Yet, doesn't Christ call us to life and to die to self?
So, with some trepidation, on the appointed day I went the Bank street rendez-vous spot, met other pro-lifers, gathered a not too offensive sign, and posted myself along the street some five meters from the next pro-lifer. I felt mortified. I remained there for an hour and half in quiet vigil, embarrassed much of the time, praying silently and enduring occasional slurs from passers-by. So, it was difficult.
Over the years, expressing myself publicly hasn't gotten any easier. Yes, at heart, I am a people-pleaser. Yet, this trait hasn't controlled me and I have endured the scorn of many by participating in other life-chains, not only in Ottawa but also in Mount Kisco, NY, and in the Bronx. Our Lord said that to follow him is not easy and there would be a cross for us to carry. He was not people-pleaser.
Next time: My meeting with Msgr. Trainor, pastor at Shrine Church of St. Ann, Bronx, NY.Be the first to comment.
Wild 24 Hours
The past twenty fours have been passionate ones at the vigil site.
First, yesterday afternoon Michel Cacchione and I went door-to-door. Community outreach is one the three points of the 40 Days for Life program. Along with praying and fasting, and constant vigil, outreach consists of getting the message into the neighbourhood about the harm of abortion. Previously, we had spoken to pedestrians at the site, but had not ventured further from Lahaie park. That changed yesterday. So, between 2 and 2:45pm, Michel and I visited ten or so households to inform them about 40DFL and to invite them to pray along with us. Several were not aware of the presence of the Morgentaler facility and said they would remember us in their prayers.
At this time, one person we had met asked us to pray for her. Maria had recently been diagnosed with cancer. This news was particularly disheartening for she had enjoyed very good health all her 60+ years and so was dumbfounded when her doctor had informed her. She grieved her loss of hair because of the chemotherapy. Also, tears came as she shared that surgery would only be possible in a year's time. I invite all readers to kept Maria in your prayers.
As for today, two incidents I will particularly remember. The first occurred while praying the rosary and typifies the universality faith. Four of us were huddled in the sunshine and coolish breeze, reciting the sorrowful mysteries each in a different language – French, English, Spanish, and Polish. The latter was done by Anna, who had come to Montreal from Toronto for a weekend visit to the Oratory. She would have returned yesterday but her car had broken down and so, while waiting for the mechanic to repair her vehicle, she came across us. Oh happy fault!
The other incident is more somber. Shortly as we foursome were disbanding, our group was approached by a young couple. A young lady in her late teens accompanied by a neatly bearded young twenty-something was obviously upset at our presence. She was the more articulate of the two demanding that we close down our site. My explanation about the importance of our activity and refusing to acquiesce left her to dismantle it herself, beginning with the guide-wires and then the banner. Any attempt from us to dissuade failed. I appealed to the young man to intervene, but to no avail; my words fell on death ears. (Rather he presented economic arguments to justify abortion – “living in poverty is worst - than being dead”, and thought that our presence was unsympathetic to the girls who have had abortions for many would feel remorse on seeing our signs. It did not occur to him that our presence may be curative.)
The incident ended as she tried to walk away with the rolled up banner. I grabbed one end without letting go. She tried to wrestle from me, threatened to punch me, did so. Somehow I ended up with the banner beneath me on the ground. At this point she and the young man left. Never in my five years of sidewalk counseling in the Bronx,NY, did I experience anything of the kind. I think that I will read more often Paul's epistle to Ephesians, particularly Ep 6:13-20.
Shook up, I invited two of my peers to pray. And so I do likewise with you all; please keep this young lady and her friend close to your hearts.Be the first to comment.
The Grandeur of Nature
One of the grander examples of God's creating hand is the weather. During these first three days of this year's 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, we have had quite a varied taste.
At the Tuesday evening kickoff, a dozen or so participants witnessed the pristine beauty of Montreal's Lahaie park. The grounds were covered in a thick coat of mostly undisturbed freshly fallen snow. The air was still and the temps a bit nippy; the passing motorists and pedestrians were soon forgotten to us gathered on an embankment slightly removed from the street.
Quebec Life Coalition President, Mr. Georges Buscemi welcomed us, mentioning that there were another 246 other communities participating in this year's vigil from around the world, ten of whom in Spain. Other speakers included myself, Mr. Lecomte, Andrew Horwood – who led the group in prayer, and Charlotte L'Heureux who added her typical dose of congenial joie de vivre. Yet, the highlight for many by far was the presence of little, two-month old Maximillien Buscemi. Nestled warmly in the arms of his loving mother, Natalia, he brought additional joy to this evening. Finally, in a candle light procession, the group then proceeded into a warm waiting hall where some libations were waiting; fellowship continued for some time.
Wednesday morning greeted the first vigilers with cool temps in the mid-negative teens, with a steady wind blowing. The first order of business was preparing the site. To this end, Charlotte had showed some forethought for she arrived shovel in hand. Working together, we cleared between six to eight inches of snow and using a dandelion-remover, again which Charlotte had brought, to clear the old dug-out holes used at last Fall's vigil. Afterwards, the banner support frame, with some coaxing, fitted into these. At about this time, Carl Brièrre arrived and lent a hand to fasten the banner onto its frame.
Finally, today --Thursday--, we saw it all: steady snow in the morning, freezing rain at mid-day, and rain in latter parts of the afternoon. As for the next couple of days warmer climes are forecasted with some wet stuff becaue of the above freezing temps.
Through it all – snow, cold, and rain–the vigilers come and go. Our sacrifices and our prayers continue and God replies with graces both for us and all those for whose intentions we remember. We are thankful.Be the first to comment.
Helpers of God's Precious Infants
We at QLC are planning to establish a sidewalk counseling ministry in Montreal. The sidewalk counselor is the last person who can reach out and offer an alternative to the woman planning an abortion and to save her child. The counselor waits peacefully and prayerfully on the sidewalk near the abortion facility, anticipating the arrival of the girls. A successful model of sidewalk counseling is that established by Msgr. Philip Reilly, Brooklyn, NY, and transplanted into numrous communities around the world. The following excerpt, taken from the Ottawa Helpers, describes the three-fold approach of vigilers, sidewalk counselors, and spiritual helpers. Hopefully one day, with your help and that of other benefactors, we will have our own sidewalk program ministry.
The Vigilers come to the abortion mill to pray for an hour or more, on any day that the babies are going to be killed. They carry on a most important spiritual battle, as they stand outside the mill. They pray in a spirit of reparation: for their own sins; the sin of abortion; and particularly for the deaths that will occur while they stand outside on that day. They pray for women going into the abortion mill: for the abortionist and his staff; for the neighboring community; for their legislators; for the religious leaders of the nation; and for all who, through indifference, do nothing to try to stop abortion.
The Vigilers provide spiritual and moral support for the Sidewalk Counselors. They are essential. Before a mother is able to physically abort her child, a 'spiritual abortion' must take place within her heart. By the time she arrives at the abortion mill, she will have already rejected her child. This 'spiritual abortion' must be overcome by spiritual means, before the mother can change her mind about the physical abortion. By their sacrifice and prayer, the Vigilers obtain the grace of God that is needed to reverse the 'spiritual abortion'; while at the same time the Sidewalk Counselors are working to prevent the physical abortion of the child.
The Sidewalk Counselors are the ones who approach the woman going in to have the abortion and ask her to reconsider her decision. It is surprising that the woman often has not been given much factual information about what happens in an abortion. The Sidewalk Counselors educate her about the baby's biological development in her womb, and help her to understand the exact manner in which the abortion will kill her child. They will also warn her of the physical harm the abortion may cause to her own body. The woman will be provided with literature telling of all the help available: financial, medical, and spiritual.
The Sidewalk Counselors will also talk to the father of the baby. If the woman decides to go up to see the abortionist anyway, she will be reminded that the Helpers of God's Precious Infants will pray for her and be outside waiting, if she, like others before her, changes her mind while she is upstairs and comes back out again.
There are some people who want to be present at the abortion mill but are physically unable to come. These Spiritual Helpers are present with the Helpers of God's Precious Infants in spirit. They contribute prayers and sacrifices made during the week, and offer it up for the work of The Helpers.
Some of the Spiritual Helpers are small children who are still in school. They make small sacrifices, such as giving up one night of television. They pray the Prayer Card of the Precious Infants for the work of those who go out to the places where the babies are being killed.
Other Spiritual Helpers are 'shut-ins' or terminally ill patients in hospitals, who offer their sufferings and the pains of their condition to God for the purposes and intentions of the Helpers. There are also religious communities, called to a life of contemplation and prayer, providing powerful spiritual backup.Be the first to comment.
Planning is in full swing for the next 40 Days for Life vigil. Materials have been printed, phone calls made, and visits done, and more.
40 Days for Life is a twice-yearly 40-day vigil outside of an abortion facility. Participants are asked to pray and fast so as to bring an end to abortion. This year there are 246 registered groups worldwide, up from the 238 from this past Fall, 2010, and up from the 1 when it all got going in 2007, in College Station, Texas.
Here in Montreal, the vigil begins with a kickoff on Tuesday, March 8, at 7pm in Lahaie park, across the street from 30 Saint-Joseph E, where the Morgentaler clinic is located. This is a full month later than last year and so we will enjoy greater daylight hours and, hopefully, warmer climes. The following day, Ash Wednesday, vigilers will show up at 7am and will replace one another throughout the day until 7pm. This pattern will continue through until Sunday, April 17, 2011 – i.e., 40 continuous days.
Praying and fasting are the order of the day during this span of time. We take our lead from Christ who directed his disciples to pray and fast so as to augment one's faith and to exorcise certain demons, of which, we know, are plentiful.
Leading to March 8, numerous visits have been made. In addition to contacting local pastors, on Friday, February 4, 201, four of us from the Quebec-Life Coalition – CQV, visited the church of St. Vincent de Paul in Pont Viau, Laval, to promote the vigil. We were invited to attend the monthly prayer group. The evening began with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel followed by rosary for life. Afterward, fifteen or so of us gathered in an adjoining room where a brief presentation was made about the Forty Days for Life concept and the experience here in Montreal. The laptop of Georges Buscemi, CQV president, facilitated the presentation, permitting those in attendance to get a glimpse of the pro-life movement both here in Canada and in the U.S.
Yet, more is left to be done. We continue with our meetings and follow-ups and our core group is set to meet. Numerous church groups have been contacted ; so, if you have not heard from us, do give us a call.
Also, if you are unable to attend because you live far away, consider organizing your own vigil? We'd love to help and make our resources available to you. Contact us to find out how you can start up your own 40 Days.
Also, you can visit the official page of the 40 Days for Life in Montreal for updates, flyers, etc. as they become available: www.cqv.qc.ca/en/40daysBe the first to comment.
In September, 2008, the Conseil pour le statut de la femme deposited a study1 shedding light on the availability of abortions in the province. We, at the Quebec Life Coalition, thought it worthwhile to highlight some of its findings and to point out its lacunae.
First, let’s look at the statistical information as found in the first of the study’s four chapters. The wealth of data, presented in tabular form, principally covers 2006, though contrast is done with the previous four years. These tables describe the distribution of abortions according to sixteen regions of the province, according to the type of facility where the abortions were performed, according to both the kind of procedure used and the age of the recipients, and more. For example, the following notes some of the numbers:
- Abortions – yearly, province-wide: 28 198 2
- Abortions – daily average: 80
- Abortions – daily average, Montreal: 30
- Number of abortion facilities in Montreal: 20
- Percentage 1st trimester abortions – prior to 14th week: 92 %
- Percentage of late-term abortions: 8% (2256)
- Percentage of abortions in women (15-34 years): 80%
Note that these figures are on the underside. The study’s author lamented that the statistical information was drawn from the record keeping branch of the provincial health agency – i.e., la Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec – RAMQ. As this latter is primary interested with health care, their record keeping plays second fiddle. « …l’Institut de la statistique du Québec estime, dans une de ses études, que l’écart entre le nombre réel d’avortements pratiqués et celui qui est comptabilisé s’établit à 6 % .»3 Hence, we may be looking at another 1700 abortions per year in Québec.
A second troublesome point concerns repeated abortions. These latter are understood to mean when two or more abortions occur within the past five years. The author rightly points out the strong link between repeated abortions and violence done to women – whether psychological, sexual, or physical. Yet, as this study purports to be for the province of Québec, no data for the province is given, but only that for Canada in general, the United States, and France. Hence, an important lacuna exists.4
2. Ibid., p. 3.
3. Ibid., p. 13.
4. Ibid., p. 18-19.Be the first to comment.