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National March for Life.

On Thursday, May 13, 2004, Campaign Life Coalition will sponsor the seventh annual National March for Life to take place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Hopefully, the good Lord will bless us with a sunny, warm, rain-free day. Should the weather not be to our liking, we still thank God for the privilege of joining our voice to thousands of others to proclaim the sanctity of all human life. Before I continue with the March, and a description of other activities that are very much part of the March, allow me to go back to a kinder, and more caring Canada.

I grew up in a small town on Cape Breton Island. My father was a coal miner. My mom and dad were blessed with sixteen children. (Sadly, there are so many people today who would say cursed with sixteen.) We never went hungry, without clothing or shelter, and even by age fourteen, I had never heard the word abortion. Looking back now, I'm sure there were some mothers who murdered the child in their womb but they were few in number. How did we ever get to the present state of affairs where, in the last thirty-five years, we have murdered over two and a half million babies? How did we ever get to be the only nation in the Western Hemisphere that has no law to protect the child in the womb? Now an abortion can be performed for any reason, or for no reason, and be done at any time during the pregnancy.

Did we fall asleep during our watch? Some perhaps, but not all. Our lying, liberal media took up the abortion banner, and relentlessly did all in their power to silence all those who opposed them. But they could not silence everyone! Truth and justice can be threatened by bullies, but only for a brief moment. The pro-life movement began; it grew, and it is still growing. God, and His unchanging commandments, cannot be mocked for long. But we must work and pray day in and day out, and God willing, Canada will become a nation that respects and protects all human life.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this will be the seventh National March for Life to be held in Ottawa. The idea of having such a March was the brain-child of Father de Valk, the editor of Catholic Insight. Campaign Life Coalition gladly offered to host the March. We attempt to have the March on May 14, (or a date as close to May 14 as possible) to commemorate the abortion bill passed in 1969, which permitted abortions to be performed under certain circumstances and after "committee" approval. The roaring lion was let loose, and the millions of babies murdered by abortion have never been enough to satisfy his appetite. Thus we have the legacy of the late Pierre Eliott Trudeau, our Prime Minister in 1969, and Mr. John Turner, the Minister of Justice.

The gradual erosion of the traditional protection given the child in the womb to the present situation of abortion on demand did not take place in a vacuum. Many, except the very young, will remember the hype and euphoria of 1967. We had the year-long celebrations for Canada's birthday. We had grown up. We were a hundred years old. We had become adults. Many wanted the greater freedom that comes with adulthood, but did not want the responsibilities.

We had the "birth control pill," the ultimate liberator. No longer would wives and husbands be shackled with unwanted pregnancies. And if the pill failed, we needed abortion to be readily available. Besides, was it not our civic duty to drastically reduce the size of our families? The media relentlessly hammered home the same message of over-population. Billions (not millions but billions) would die of starvation because the world would not be able to produce enough food to feed the burgeoning world population. The over-population propaganda was a blatant lie. No matter, any excuse would do. Babies were no longer looked upon as a blessing from God, but an unbearable burden.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of men and women (many of them still actively involved) who joined the pro-life ranks back in 1969. They faced a monumental challenge. And those times were similar to the present; they did not have a multitude of supporters breaking the doors down to join their ranks. But what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm, and dedication. However the death-peddlers were unstoppable, and the Liberal government under Pierre Trudeau was a willing ally. The largest petition in Canada's history of 1,027,425 signatures was presented to Parliament in May, 1975, asking for protection for unborn babies. It was disregarded. Probably it ended up in some land-fill site.

There were other factors in 1969 that influenced the clamour for universal abortion. And as always, the media controlled the message. For instance, the Globe and Mail claimed that thousands of Canadian women were dying every year because of back-alley abortions. They had not a shred of proof, but the media never need proof. Their statement of thousands of deaths was totally false. The Globe also claimed that the number of illegal abortions was probably 300,000 yearly in an absolutely unsubstantiated claim. The media, the Globe, MacLeans and Chatelaine (always the champion for the pro-abortion zealots) clamoured that the government had to ensure that women had access to safe abortions. All these factors combined aided the government in its plan to make abortion available. The final factor was the way the Liberals buried the abortion section in an Omnibus Bill to get it passed. Even the religious leaders were deceived by this tactic.

Most pro-life groups have members from all religious denominations. We also know that the Catholic Church is the only main-line church that has never wavered in its total opposition to abortion, nor could it ever, since it is an unchangeable truth of our Catholic Faith. It must also be said that without the constant involvement of Catholics, there would not be an effective pro-life movement. However, it is very shocking to see that in polls asking Canadians their religious affiliation, and their position on abortion, the number of Catholics who are pro-abortion varies little from non-Catholics. I find it incomprehensible that practising Catholics, who I presume believe that God created all of us in His image and likeness, would allow the murder of the child in the womb. We also have large numbers of Catholics voting for pro-abortion political candidates, and the equally heinous practice of Catholic politicans advocating abortion. Our former pro-abortion Prime Minister Jean Chretien, a Catholic, bragged that the abortion question was settled, finished, and needing no more discussion. And so we continue to bring the pro-life message to Parliament by way of the March for Life.

The National March for Life has five very important activities. It begins with the celebration of Mass on May 12, Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at St. Theresa's Church in Ottawa. At the conclusion of the Mass, people proceed to the candlelight vigil. The following day, Thursday, at 10 a.m., Archbishop Marcel Gervais will celebrate our pro-life Mass at Notre Dame Basilica in Ottawa. At the same time, an interdenominational service will be held at St. George Anglican Church. After Mass people gather on Parliament Hill. Our youth program will be held on Friday, May 15.

The Mass at St. Theresa's has been very well attended, and very important. It is necessary for all pro-lifers at the very beginning to beg God's blessing and guidance so that whatever we do, we do it for His greater honour and glory. Otherwise our efforts will be fruitless.

When the Mass is ended, we proceed to the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument to hold our candlelight vigil. In the first few years the number of people was usually about fifty. Last year 200 joined in the vigil. Many lighted candles will be placed at the Human Rights Monument. The vigil lasts about forty minutes, consisting of prayer, singing, and a few short speeches. It is a time to ask God's forgiveness for millions of babies murdered by abortion. It is also an opportunity to tell others that millions of babies were denied their human rights.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers across Canada who are unable to take part in the vigil can symbolically join their prayers to the prayers of those at the Human Rights Monument. The vigil takes place between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Candles can be pledged for a minimum of $2.00. To get a candle pledge form, please phone 1 800 730 5358 or call any CLC office. Your pledge donation will be a tremendous help to cover the expenses of the National March.

Thursday morning at 10:00, Mass will be celebrated at Notre Dame Basilica by Archbishop Gervais of Ottawa. This is what we refer to as our pro-life Mass. Last year there was standing room only. Bishop Durocher was given an honour guard of thirty Knights of Columbus. The music was magnificent, and the pro-life homily was inspiring.

At the end of the Mass people make their way to Parliament Hill. The first year 850 took part in the March. Last year 3500 participated. Twenty pro-life Members of Parliament were on stage and each briefly addressed the crowd. This year, Archbishop Gervais, along with other bishops and clergy, will join the marchers. I am sure that many of you have experienced the feeling of excitement to be in a crowd of thousands and all of one mind. LIFE IS THE ONLY CHOICE. The actual March through some of Ottawa's streets and past Morgentaler's abortuary takes about forty minutes.

We hope our annual banquet will attract at least 400 people. During the past years, we have had some excellent guest speakers. Our speaker this year, Mrs. Sandy Rios of Washington, is the President of Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization, with 500,000 members.

Last but certainly not least, our youth program: activities are planned, excellent guest speakers are provided and a youth dance takes place. Accommodations are arranged and we have set an affordable price so that all the young people can attend the banquet. Our youth are enthusiastic and energetic, and they are the future of the pro-life movement.

Finally, Campaign Life Coalition extends an invitation to all pro-lifers across Canada and the United States to join us in Ottawa on May 13 for our seventh annual National March for Life. We may belong to different pro-life groups with our focus on separate aspects of pro-life, but we must always speak with one voice. Choose life now, always, and forever. If God be with us, who can be against us?

Mr. Frank Mountain of Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa, is co-chair of March for Life 2004.
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Author:Mountain, Frank
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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