OTTAWA, April 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nine Canadian Catholic bishops are set to take part in this year’s Canadian March for Life, which will take place on May 14 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This is the first year in the March’s 11 year history that the March has been given the full support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). (For more info about the March, click here)
Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News said that she expects this to be, “the biggest and best March for Life ever,” with at least nine bishops confirming their attendance, as well as thousands of pro-life Canadians of all and no religious denominations.
“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Archbishop James Weisgerber after discussion among bishops at last year’s annual plenary, which was held September 22-26.
St. Catharine’s Bishop James Wingle first raised the idea of mass mobilization for the March for Life on the part of the Catholic bishops and he received strong backing from Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who will both be present at this year’s March.
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news of the participation by the bishops.
“That’s powerful,” Hughes said. “That’s probably the best news I’ve heard in 2009. It’s always wonderful to have the spiritual leadership and support of the bishops of Canada and we welcome this initiative on their part and we look forward to a long and growing relationship with them.”
Archbishop Weisgerber designated Archbishop Prendergast, who was the first Canadian bishop to attend the March for Life last year, as the coordinator for the bishops’ initiative.
Neil McCarthy, communications director for the Archdiocese of Toronto, said his diocese will have a strong presence at the March.
“The March for Life provides an ideal opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in support of life,” McCarthy told the Catholic Register. “Archbishop (Thomas) Collins will be attending this year’s march and the Office of Catholic Youth will be organizing buses to Ottawa so that our young people may join with others from across the country at this important event.”
As well as Bishops Collins, Ouellet and Prendergast, the other bishops that will be at the Ottawa March for Life this year are: Most Rev. Stephen Victor Chmilar of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto; Most Rev. Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke, Ontario; Most Rev. Nicola De Angelis, C.F.I.C., Bishop of Peterborough, Ontario; Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London, Ontario; Most Rev. John Stephen Pazak, C.Ss.R., Eparchial Bishop of the Catholic Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada; and Most Rev. Jean-Louis Plouffe, Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario.
This year’s event mourns the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in Canada. Organizers of the March are encouraging pro-life Canadians to go out of their way to attend the landmark event.
This year’s theme is Exodus 2009 – A Future without Abortion. Events begin on Wednesday, May 13th with a Mass at St. Theresa’s Parish at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Candlelight Vigil at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument in the nation’s capital at dusk.
On May 14th there are a number of ways in which Christians of various denominations might spiritually prepare for the day’s events. At 10 a.m. there is a Mass at both Notre Dame Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Basilica, a Prayer Service at St. George Anglican Church, and a worship and meditation service hosted by the Canadian Reformed Church at the Merivale United Church.
At noon, the gathering begins on Parliament Hill with the introduction of dignitaries and select speeches. The March will begin at 1:30 p.m. and lasts about an hour. When people return to the Hill, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will make a presentation at 2:45 p.m. The Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa will lead a closing Prayer Service at 4 p.m.
I heard about this announcement this past Sunday from a fellow Knight of Columbus who was attending a function where Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast was speaking. The archbishop announced that 10 bishops would be coming to this year’s National March for Life in Ottawa. (There are also regional rallies planned throughout the country to mark the 40th year abortion has been legalized in Canada, with other bishops participating as well.) By the time May 14th rolls around, we could have many more. Remember what I said at the 40 Days for Life kickoff rally this past campaign? The pro-life movement in Canada is a rolling snowball, gathering momentum. And there’s no stopping it now, either. We’re on the march. It’s just a matter of time before abortion falls. You watch. It’s gonna happen a lot quicker and unexpectedly than anyone could have imagined.
Why? Because God’s ways are not our ways. That’s why you can’t see it coming. So let us not be discouraged with mere political appearances, and keep focused and resilient in the battle.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”- Gal.6:9
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Archbishop Prendergast for his dedication to the pro-life cause and to moving this issue among the bishops. I think that the D&P scandal has put the issue of abortion front and center on the episcopal agenda. I believe that the bishops want to show that indeed they are on the side of life and they want to ensure there is no confusion on this point.
In that respect, the abortion scandal at Development & Peace has been a blessing in disguise. That’s what I’ve been telling people too: Don’t be upset. Rejoice! For the light is shining forth and piercing the hearts of many!
This is extremely good news. All of the prayers of the little hobbits are working overtime. The Rosarium continues to ask for more participation from the bishops. It’s not yet enough. We need to see more bishops hitting the pavement and leading us. (In fact, we need more clergy from every denomination to attend.) And we also need money to fight. So far the Church has contributed too little to this battle in proportion to other causes. This disposition must change dramatically if we are to make any advances. Your money and your resources is where your heart is. Money might not buy happiness, but it does save lives – babies’ lives to be exact.
Back in March 2008, The Rosarium sent a letter to all of the country’s bishops asking them to 1) issue a clear affirmation of Humanae Vitae 2) formally retract the Winnipeg Statement and 3) participate in the March for Life rallies in 2009. (In our meeting with Archbishop Prendergast in November 2007, we actually asked him to invite the country’s bishops to Ottawa for the March for Life in remembrance of the 40th year of legalized abortion in Canada.) It appears therefore that everyone’s prayers and efforts might have been blessed to receive 2 of the 3 requests we asked for. The above story addresses the third request while the first was answered a day short of the 40th anniversary of the Winnipeg Statement. Like the song says, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”, but we’re not stopping there.
We hope that the bishops present at the Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral will ask for forgiveness for the past. For our neglect. For our laxity. For our complicity. All of us. Bishop, Priest, Laity.
Let us make May 14 the day of a new beginning for a new Canada!
National March for Life: Exodus 2009 – A Future Without Abortion
This year on May 14, 2009, Canada will mark 40 years to the day Canadian Parliament passed the infamous Omnibus Bill, C-150, the legislation decriminalizing contraception, abortion, and homosexuality, (Votes: 149-55). For the next 40 years, the moral and social fibre of our country has been steadily eroded as millions of unborn children have been mercilessly slaughtered in their mothers’ wombs. In Canada today, there is no law restricting abortion – even up to the moment before birth.The polls have consistently showed that Canadians do not approve of the status quo on abortion on demand in this country. They have consistently showed through the years that two-thirds of Canadians want some restrictions on abortion. (See Environics Poll – October, 2005, Environics Poll – October, 2006, Environics Poll – October, 2007, Environics Poll – October, 2008). But still, the government won’t touch this issue with a 10-foot pole. And year after year, our country dies a little more.In fact, whenever pro-abort forces faces off against concerned Canadians, they are resoundly defeated both in informal competitions and even ones hosted by the liberal media itself.Abortion clinics in Canada flaunt their late term abortion services (up to 23 weeks), all the while refusing to acknowledge the humanity of a child even at 20 weeks. And if the pregnancy is over 24 weeks, we ship our sisters and daughters to Wichita, Kansas for the “procedure” by Tiller the Killer, on the taxpayer’s dime no less. While our politicians and judges either mouth platitudes of opposition, or work actively to ensure this deadly sacrifice continues year after year and decade after decade, the cry of the innocents goes unheard. It’s the silent scream that we would rather not hear. Natural justice is denied to the most defenseless human being in the most dangerous place to be in Canada: a mother’s womb. Every societal indicator of a healthy society has shown that Canada is a social disaster zone. Abortion rates continue to skyrocket, as does family breakdown, drug abuse, violence, addiction to pornography, and every sort of social malady imaginable.And while Canada continues to disintegrate, the media pundits and the politicians promote foolish and idiotic solutions to the nation’s problems while willfully ignoring the real reason why Canada is destroying itself. Do we not have eyes to see what is happening to Canada today? Are we so blinded by our decadence and selfishness that we will let ourselves descend into the basest depravity before we are thoroughly destroyed as a country; where even now our basic civil rights and freedoms are being threatened because we refuse to rear our own children and pass down our traditions?
Without a genuine respect for human life and the natural family, and the concomitant reflection of that respect in law, the Canadian social fabric, like an unborn child’s flesh during an abortion, will continue to tear and bleed until there is nothing left. It is a fallacy to believe a nation can willfully and legally destroy its own children without also destroying itself. To be sure, it does not happen over night. It has taken decades for the consequences to come bearing down, but they do come. Once the effects are conceded among the elites and the chattering classes, no one will ever again try to argue that abortion does not have lethal consequences in every strata of our society.
Canada has become a barren desert of murderous self-indulgence. We’ve been on a suicide trip for the past 40 years, but we all know that it cannot go on indefinitely. It can only go on so long before some serious and rather irreversible consequences happen.
Is it too late? Perhaps. But May 14, 2009 may be a new beginning for this country. 40 years in the desert can come to an end — or at least the beginning of the end — if we really want to enter the promised land.
The March for Life has been taking place on Parliament Hill since 1998. The March has been steadily growing in numbers ever since its inception, reaching its high last year of 8,000 people.
The Rosarium wants to encourage everyone participating this year to make an extra effort to attend the March on Thursday May 14, and encourage your friends and family to participate too. This year’s March is entitled “Exodus 2009” in remembrance of the last 40 years of abortion in this country. With your prayers and participation, this year’s March can be the most dramatic ever.Please make every effort to attend, and be part of the greatest civil and human rights movement of all time!