Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Full Day Engagement: the "March for Life"

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....


  1. Hello, Your Grace. Thank you for showing up at the March for Life. Perhaps you could add some spiritual pro-life thoughts on your blog? We need your leadership! The Church needs to be reminded that all human beings are equal, that they all must be loved, and killing is not loving. It's not just a "moralizing" message, it's a message of love and respect.

    The Feast of Visitation is coming up. I hope you can share some thoughts on that!

  2. You Grace, I am delighted to find you in the blogosphere - your blog will definitely be added to my blogroll. All the best and God bless, Elena Afelskie (nee Culshaw).

  3. Thank you for your great work in mobilizing the bishops, your Grace. The pro-life community hopes that this participation grows every year, and that the bishops come to understand that we need all of the bishops to take a more pro-active role in the struggle against abortion.

    The Fathers need to lead. The children cannot do it alone.

    This year's March for Life was a good first step, but there needs to be better co-ordination between the bishops and the lay people in this fight.

    Abortion and contraception has led to an impairment in the unity between the spiritual fathers and their children. The unity needs to be restored.

    Restoring that unity is going to cost us. There will be much pain and suffering within the Church. But it must be done. There is no other road but the way of the Cross.

  4. Thank you for your prayers and presence yesterday, Your Grace.
    You were such a visible and obviously humble yourself held the umbrella for Cardinal Ouellette - this image of leader-yet-servant was a striking one.

    We hope to see you and all of the other Bishops for future Marches. Your attendance is a strong message to the thousands who were present. Same time next year....

  5. Chiming in from Nova Scotia, where you are still missed, your Grace. So good to find your blog and will be letting others know about it. So that we folks down-east can keep in touch with you!

  6. The saying "setting the tone" best describes the increase of Bishops at the March for Life. Your Grace, thank you for fully participating in last year's March for Life including hanging around on the Hill, listening to the speakers, and mingling with the crowd. Most importantly, you marched through the streets of Ottawa along with 8,000 participants. You are a true shepherd of the church.

  7. Hello your Grace. Thank you for coming to the March for Life . Cannot wait till you post your pictures! See you again next year.
    God bless
    Connie M. Vella