Last night I picked up Cardinal Marc Ouellet when the last flight from Quebec/Montreal arrived at 11:30. He was weary from a full day visiting the retired priests' residence in his diocese.
But His Eminence had bounced back by morning as we headed over to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill for an off-the-record conversation with MPs and members of the Knights of Columbus on Pro-Life issues.
Our meeting over, we headed back to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica for the Feast of St. Mattias and the Pro-Life Mass: the church was "blocked" as Newfoundlanders would put it--filled to overflowing (1100 capacity) and with an additional 200-300 seated in the parish hall where a giant screen allowed these faithful to view the Liturgy (the same was true at St. Patrick's Basilica).
Before the Final Blessing, Cardinal Ouellet and Toronto Archbishop Collins gave us brief encouragement to marshall the faithful to the cause of overcoming the ills of abortion and the justice of this cause.
The speeches from 12:30-1:30 on Parliament Hill were done in dripping, sometimes heavy rain--but this did not deter the 12,000 demonstrators who marched the parade route in good cheer: not troubled in the least by the pro-abortion counter-demonstrators on Elgin Street (the high school students behind me clearly outdid them in energy and joy).
The Rose Dinner at the Hampton Inn found close to 1000 banqueters (900 in the main hall and the others in the overflow room) delighting in each others' company, the testimony by ex-MP Tom Wappel on the importance of "sticking to one's pinciples"; the song composed by David MacDonald in honour of the late Frank Mountain, a militant pro-lifer in the Capital who always had a twinkle in his eye when we greeted each other and sparred; salutes to various individuals and groups by Jim Hughes of Campaign Life Coalition and by Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie recognizing the leaders from across Canada of the Knights of Columbus out in strength today and tonight; a testimony by Cecile Miller of the CWL (whom I know from my time in Nova Scotia); and a rousing presentation by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson who invited us all to put our shoulders to the task of building a civilization of love, a culture of life.
Now to bed....