OTTAWA, Ontario, May 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since Canada’s National March for Life began in 1999 it has steadily grown every year to the point that it is now the country’s premiere pro-life event and is recognized as the largest annual rally on Parliament Hill every year.
But the Thursday rally and march, which drew a record-breaking 15,300 supporters in 2011, are only part of a host of events organized to commemorate and lament the anniversary of Canada’s disastrous decision to legalize abortion in 1969, under Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals.
As every year, this year’s events began Wednesday night with around 800 pro-lifers gathering for a pro-life Mass and Candlelight Vigil.
The Mass, at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, was offered by Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Ste-Marie, who was joined by 8 priests.
In his homily, Bishop Plouffe observed that the pro-life effort is “a cause for civilization,” that the movement is aiming to build and promote“ a different kind of world, a different kind of society” that respects life.
The bishop was clearly impressed by the youthfulness of the congregation. As he opened his homily, he said the growing number of young people in the pro-life movement “fills my heart with great hope.”
“I’m very moved whenever I come to the March for Life to see so many young people involved,” he said. “You are a powerful sign for people to see.”
After the Mass, the pro-life faithful processed by candlelight to the Canadian Human Rights Monument on Elgin and Lisgar Sts. for the annual Candlelight Vigil. The event commemorates the 4 million unborn victims of abortion since Canada’s abortion law was loosened in 1969, along with all victims of human rights abuses through the centuries.
At the monument, the Servants of the Cross, an Ottawa-based community of religious sisters, led the faithful in song and prayer.
As the vigil opened, Sister Melinda urged the group to remember that while we must seek change in society, we cannot forget the need for interior change. “Will you keep marching after today is over?” she asked.
Then Jorje Alvarado, a fifth-year seminarian with the Companions of the Cross community of priests, gave a keynote talk exhorting the high school youth to value life. “Your life is valuable,” he said. “You are not a mistake.”
When one values his own life, he will value others’ lives, he said. Those who advocate “choice” “don’t know how great life is.”
“What you are doing tonight is you are bringing transformation not only to the whole of society, but to the whole Church,” he added.
After the vigil, many of the Catholics then gathered for Adoration at St. Patrick Basilica, which ran from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The main rally on Parliament Hill begins Thursday at noon with dynamic music, prayer, and talks by politicians, and pro-life and religious leaders.
The thousands gathered on the Hill will then march through the streets of Ottawa’s downtown core bearing witness to the sobering reality that “Abortion Hurts Everyone,” as this year’s theme declares.
Before the rally, the morning begins at 10:00 with usually packed Masses at Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Patrick Basilica, and Paroisse Sacré-Coeur, as well as an Interdenominational Prayer Service at St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican Church and a Reformed Prayer Service at First Baptist Church on Laurier Avenue W.