This past Thursday, May 12, 2011, I led a small group of faithful pro-lifers to Ottawa to participate in the National March for Life. It was a full day and add some, for we only got back at around 2 AM Friday morning. 24 plus hours later, I can now say that I feel recovered from the exercise. Despite the soreness from the long hours of standing, I am glad to have gone and look forward to participating again next year.
The day began with an early departure for we wanted to arrive in Ottawa for the 10 AM mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral. This meant leaving Central Station at about 7:30 AM and rendez-vous'ing with a second group awaiting us in the west-island, at Fairview Shopping Centre. We weren't disappointed by the early departure for we arrived at the cathedral some ten minutes before mass time. Further, several of us - Donald Kondusky, Johan Distler, and myself, were fortunate to have reserved seats waiting for us; the Knights of Columbus had several cancellations and one invited three of us to join their ranks. Lucky break!
The mass was presided over my Archbishop Pendergast of Ottawa along with several of his bishop brothers. Once over, we proceeded to Parliament Hill for the opening ceremony. On the way, Charlotte L'Heureux, Jack Coyne, Marcel Givogue, and myself, took a short cut through Major Hill park and while there paused to eye the tulips and eat our lunch. Charlotte and I tested the delicacies at one of the finer greasy spoons. I wolfed down the fries and chicken pita.
Finally we arrived on the hill as the speeches were being made. I don't know if it was because of the beautiful sunshine and the cool breeze, but the turnout was large. Later that day I heard that the crowd was estimated at 15 000 people, that is 3000 more than last year.
This year's theme was "Abortion Kills a Human Being." Our own Georges Buscemi, Quebec Life Coalition president, was interviewed by the French side of the CBC; his interview made be found at: http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2011/05/12/001-manifestation-avortement-ottawa.shtml.
Eventually, when all was said, we proceeded to walk through the streets of Ottawa, led by many banners and the Knights in full regalia. The walk proceeded up Wellington to Elgin, passing along its way both the cenatath and the human rights monument. At this point our path crossed a large group of protesters and what appeared to be a jostling exercice began; the youth in both camps attempted to outshout the other with their various slogans. Call be bias but I think our own won out. We snaked through the streets to Bank street and back to Wellington and the hill. Our own Irene Camilli appears here. The afternoon on the hill ended with several members of "Silent No More Awareness Campaign" giving personal testimonies of how abortion had affected their lives and an orthodox prayer service.
Here are some pictures of the day :