May 9, 2012
Marching For Life...Every Life!
This week in Ottawa, thousands of people of many faiths or not faith at all will participate in the annual March For Life. The event has grown year after year to bring together those who want to publicly display their support of life at all stages, from the moment of conception to natural death.
A number of bishops, including Cardinal Collins, will also take part in the "March" this year, which includes participation from many different groups within the Catholic community, students from schools throughout the province and service organizations including the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women's League and many others.
Much of the organization is spearheaded by folks like Campaign Life Coalition include their youth wing, Campaign Life Coalition Youth, featured prominently in the Toronto Star on May 9. It's not often we see stories about the pro-life movement in mainstream media - certainly an interesting profile that's worth a read and demonstrating that a whole new generation of young people are taking up the cause. You can find the article here.
In addition to the march through the streets of Ottawa, there are prayer vigils, the celebration of bilingual masses and other faith gatherings that take place throughout the week in the nation's capital. There is also a special youth conference that continues to grow in popularity.
Sadly, Canada continues to have no law on abortion with the procedure permitted at any time during pregnancy. Stats would suggest that close to 120,000 abortions occur in our country every year. What a tragedy. It's also unfortunate that whenever the issue seems to be raised publicly whether formally through government private members bills or even in casual conversation, the topic is quickly changed. It's uncomfortable. If there is discussion, it can often quickly disintegrate and resort to name calling, labelling and shouting one another down. We need respectful dialogue and events like the March for Life demonstrate that there is a sizeable segment of the population willing to walk the talk literally and serve as a public witness for those without a voice. It's moving to hear women who take to the stage later in the day, following the march, as part of the Silent No More Campaign. They share their stories of living through an abortion, coming to regret the choice and sharing the psychological impact it's had on their lives. We should be listening intently to these stories. There's also Project Rachel, an initiative that is in many dioceses throughout the country, ministering to those who've had an abortion.
For those who are pregnant and looking for counselling or support, groups like Birthright or the Sisters of Life are actively engaged throughout our Archdiocese to provide counsel and care. Other organizations like Rose of Sharon, Rosalie Hall, Rose of Durham and Vita Manor provide hands on support for single/teen parents in all corners of our Archdiocese. A list of some of the community resources available can be found here.
A few years ago, Archbishop Collins was outspoken in his critique of our country awarding longtime abortionist Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada. In addition to encouraging Catholics to voice their displeasure with the appropriate government officials, he offered a special intention that was shared in every parish throughout the Archdiocese that is as relevant today as it was then:
"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."
Our thoughts and prayers to all those who will participate or help organize this year's March For Life. This week in a special way we remember the precious gift that is life. For those who have gone before us, those who have yet to experience the beauty of the sunrise and sunset of each day and for those struggling in their final days. Each one sacred, each one loved. May their voices never be forgotten...
Posted by Neil MacCarthy at 4:36 PM