"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Canadian March for Life smashes previous attendance records: 19,500


Thu May 10, 2012 13:20 EST

Marching through the streets of Ottawa
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSitNews.com

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Under the constant threat of rain that failed to materialize, an exuberant and record-breaking crowd of nearly 20,000 pro-life activists gathered on Parliament Hill today in Ottawa.

The annual event marks the passage of Trudeau’s infamous “Omnibus Bill” in 1969, which struck down Canada’s ban on abortion and paved the way for abortion-on-demand.

As he does every year, Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, stood on the side of the road counting individual marchers as they walked by. Hughes told LifeSiteNews that he began doing the head count years ago because he was concerned about distorted estimates from both sides of the issue.

19,500 at this year's March for Life in Ottawa. Clearly one of the largest crowds to assemble on Parliament Hill
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

Today he counted a record-breaking 19,500 attendees, smashing the previous record, set at last year’s event, of 15,000.

“It was wonderful to see so many people dedicated to restoring the right to life to all human beings in Ottawa today,” Hughes told LifeSiteNews. “It is such a joyful and upbeat crowd. I want to thank all the people that made a great effort to get here. May it make for an even larger march next year and encourage all the provincial marches commemorating the death of four million Canadian children before birth.”

18 Members of Parliament came to greet the crowd and a few others, who were not available at that time, attended the Rose dinner in the evening.
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

A group of about 75 pro-abortion counter-protesters were also present.

The annual March for Life, which is now the largest annual rally on Parliament Hill, has steadily grown from a few thousand in 1999, to today’s record-breaking numbers.

Youth were exhuberant during the march
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

The boisterous and notably youthful crowd was energized with dynamic music by Survive 88, which blared out across Parliament Hill and into the streets. The young band are made up of alumni and students from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, a Catholic college in Barry’s Bay, Ontario.

Long-time March organizer Margie Mountain opened the event with a dedication to the late Fr. Bob Bedard, an Ottawa native who founded of the Companions of the Cross community of priests, and a revered man of faith with strong and outspoken pro-life convictions.

Youth made up a significant portion of marchers at this year's March for Life. Here, a few hundred are singing in front of Parliament after the march
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

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Masters of Ceremony Alissa Golob and Matthew Wojciechowski of Campaign Life Coalition then welcomed Sharon Milan to lead the national anthem, followed by Don Hutchinson, vice president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, who opened the event with a prayer.

“We stand together in awe and wonder at the miracle of life,” Hutchinson said. “And we pray that the day will come when this gathering will not be necessary; when justice will be restored for the innocent voiceless; and our nation will be renewed in its foundation of dignity and respect for all human beings.”

This group from St. Gianna Youth for Life traveled all the way from Prince Edward Island to attend the march
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

As always, the rally before the March featured addresses from numerous pro-life Members of Parliament, including Tory MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre), who has put forward an historic motion calling for Parliament to re-examine the humanity of the unborn.

The speakers’ list also included numerous pro-life leaders, including Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International; Steve Mosher, president of Population Research Institute; Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition; Bob Cayea, Supreme Director of the Knights of Columbus; Janet Morana and Angelina Steenstra of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign; Stephen Jalsevac, managing director of LifeSiteNews.com; and Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John Henry Westen (far left), Human Life International president Fr. Shenan Boquet, LifeSiteNews development manager John Fidero, Population Research Institute President Stephen Mosher on Parliament Hill
Steve Jalsevac/LifeSiteNews

Religious leaders that spoke included Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada; Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast, Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa; Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, and others.

The youngest speaker was 17-year-old pro-life activist Alexandra Jezierski, who launched a bold campaign in March called Letters4Life with the goal of sending 100,000 letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper by the March for Life urging him to reverse his stance against debating abortion.

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