While attending this past Saturday's Springtime March protesting the Quebec government's plan to permit euthanasia, I eerily felt I had been transported to Holland.
First, the lanscape was awashed with tulips. Among the more than 1500 gathered on this sunny day to march from the Plains of Abraham to the National Assembly, I arrived at the legislature to be greeted by beds of tulips.
The walkways along the font lawn leading to the provincial building had been decorated with several beds as had the fountain with a ring of red tulips circling it.
Could there be a better symbol for this European country?
Well, yes, there happens to be a better, though more infamous, symbol of that country of 6+ million souls. It is its euthanasia policy.
Since 2002, when the "Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act" came into effect, Holland has gained the infamous distinction of being one of a few principalities worldwide permitting the legal killing of its citizenry.
Yet, on this day, I was not in Holland but in Quebec and yet our elected officials are determined to imitate its European ally in more ways than one.
I'm fond of tulips, despite its characteristic of wilting too quickly.
I'm not fond of "medical aid in dying," as the authors of the impending law have euphemistically referred to euthanasia. It amounts to the deliberate ending of a human life.
The Quebec Life Coalition was present on Saturday to lend its voice with the many other groups and individuals present against the plans of the current government. One such group is the physician outfit called "Total Refusal of Euthanasia." They have drafted a declaration found here, which I encourage all to read and sign.
For more photos and a story, click here.
THE SPRINGTIME MARCH:
Euthanasia, in our province, NO THANKS!
Quebec City, Saturday, May 18, 2013
Chartered Bus leaving Montreal
The Springtime March against the government legislation permitting euthanasia and assisted suicide will be held this coming Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Quebec City.
Would like to join us for this event? The Quebec Life Coalition is chartering a bus to permit you to participate.
The price per round-trip ticket is $35. Family discounts are available.
Our schedule reads as follows:
- Departures – 7 a.m. 895, De la Gauchetière West
- 9 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Cape – Trois-Rivières (French)
- Noon Gathering on Plains of Abraham – Québec City
- 1:45 p.m. Walk to the National Assembly
- 2:45 p.m. Arrival at National Assembly – speeches.
- 4:30 p.m. Closing Prayer
- 6:00 p.m. Board buses and return to Montreal
Cost: $35 per person, round-trip. Family discounts available.
Registering: Before May 17 at (438) 930-8643 or (514) 344-2686. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, bring a lunch! (There will also be a canteen on-site.)
Close to 100 people travelled from Montreal to Ottawa yesterday in two chartered buses to join the close to 25 000 who attended the 16th annual National March for Life on Parliament Hill.
These pilgrims came from all over - Laval, Ile-Perrot, West Island, Greenfield Park, and St-Hyacinthe, to board one of two buses leased by the Quebec Life Coalition (QLC).
A third bus chartered by the QLC came all the way from Quebec City carrying upwards of 45 pilgrims. These left the provincial capital at 7 a.m. and arrived in time to attend the mid-day speeches on the hill from leaders in the political, religious, and civil areas. A film about their travel may be seen here.
As for the Montreal pilgrims, here are a few pictures.
Famous Montrealers in attendance include Archbishops Christian Lépine of Montreal and Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.
QLC President Georges Buscemi was the co-Master of ceremony for the afternoon event, providing commentary in French.
Additional photos of the day may be seen here.
The television network EWTN, in attendance at the march for the first time, will rebroadcast the event tomorrow Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.
Finally, two local papers carried stories about the event. The Gazette featured two while LaPresse a single one - "Dissension sur fond d'avortement," a spin on the dissension within the federal conservative party. I didn't see any article in Montreal's largest daily - Le Journal de Montréal.
As prelude to the 19th annual National March for Life – Ottawa, on May 9, the Quebec Life Coalition is organizing an evening of pro-life activities on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
Two events will characterize this evening – a workshop on post-abortion healing and a mass in remembrance of the victims of abortion.
The workshop will be held at the convent of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary – 60, Laurier Avenue East, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The doors will open in the Marie de la passion hall beginning at 4:30 p.m.
A guest speaker will share her experience of healing after her own abortion. This then will be followed by hands on exercises by the participants.
The second event will be a Eucharistic celebration to be held in Saint-Enfant-Jésus church, 5039, Saint-Dominique Street, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The mass will be preceded by a rosary (7:00 p.m.) and will be followed by a Eucharistic procession (approx.. 8:30 p.m.)
The mass will be presided by the auxiliary bishop of Montreal, Msgr. Thomas Dowd.
The complete schedule for the evening reads as follows:
- 5 p.m. Stories : Post-Abortion Healing Through Sharing Experiences
- 5:15 p.m. Speaker - Ms. Dale Barr, Silent No More Awareness Campaign
- 5:30 p.m. Sharing Stories – 5 minutes each
- 6 :30 p.m. Closing
- 7 :00 p.m. Meditated Rosary - Saint-Enfant-Jésus Church
- 7 :30 p.m. Mass presided by auxiliary bishop of Montréal - Mgr. Thomas Dowd
- 8 :30 p.m. – 9 :15 p.m. Eucharistic Procession - Lahaie Park exterior
- 9 :30 p.m. Closure.
Our Guests - Profile
Mrs. Dale Barr is a spokesperson for "Silent No More Awareness Campaign." For ten years, she has shared about the impact that her abortion has had on her life. Various groups to which she has made presentations include Cornwall Pro-life, pro-life groups in the Maritimes, and gatherings at the national marches for life, both in Ottawa and in Washington, D.C. She participates regularly as a team member in Rachel's Vineyard retreat weekends. On this night, she will share how speaking about her abortion has been a source of healing for her, providing her with a greater sense of personal freedom.
Msgr. Thomas Dowd is the auxiliary bishop of the Montreal diocese. He was ordained to the priesthood in December, 2001 and elevated to the post of bishop in July, 2011. When elevated as bishop, he was then the youngest one in the entire Roman Catholic Church. Bishop Dowd is also known for his use of new technologies to carry on the Church’s evangelization mission - blogging, and using both Facebook and Twitter.
In outward appearance, this house in east end Montreal differs little from its neighbouring ones - one-story bungalows with a basement, red brick facades, and canted, shingled rooves. Yet, its claim to infamy lies less in its outward appearance than in its history. Some thirty years ago, Dr. Henry Morgentaler clandestinely performed abortions inside.
This past Sunday, twenty five women gathered outside this house to mourn not only the destruction of life that went on here but also the impact it has had on Canadian society to this day.
For close to an hour, these women chanted hymns, shared periods of silence, consoled a victim of this legacy. They listened to a native elder take back the land stained with innocent blood by ritually pouring water as an act of cleansing. Finally, each themselves then poured an ounce of red wine into the land, symbolic of the blood spilled on this site.
These women are all participants in the Back to Life Movement Canada. They number twenty-five because it has been twenty-five years since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada’s abortion law was unconstitutional and, thus, opened the door to abortion practice through the entire nine months of a woman’s pregnancy. A distinction that Canada shares with only two other nations in the world – China and North Korea.
On this day they will begin walking from Montreal to Ottawa and the Supreme Court – 222 km, not only to inform Canadians of this infamous distinction but also to help women. For abortion hurts women and our society has collectively denied this.
Nathalie is a case in point. After the ceremony in the east end, the group reconvened an hour later in Lahaie Park in central Montreal, where today across the street is the current site of the Morgentaler abortion mill. Here, as they prepared to begin their trek, the twenty-five met Nathalie - in the white jersey (below photo). A resident of the area, her presence in the park this day seemed more providential than happenchance. She shared with the women about her own abortion story and the struggles and chaos of her daily life since. She received support and strength from having been listened to and prayed over by the group. She gained some measure of healing.
The documented harm to women from undergoing one or more abortions continues to grow. This past week I received two emails to this effect. The abortion-breast cancer link was the subject of a series of four articles published by the group afterabortion.org. Second, the adverse impact of having one or more abortions on mental health was the conclusions of a New Zealand study.
The 222 km, 11 day trek of these women will end in Ottawa on May 9, the day on which the 19th annual National March for Life is scheduled. Last year 20,000 came to our nation’s capital to protest the lack of legislation protecting the most vulnerable within our society – the child in his or her mother’s womb. As these 25 women are showing, more and more Canadians are not remaining silent about the harm that abortion is doing to our society.
The former Morgentaler abortuary in east end Montreal shows little signs today of its former ignominy. Yet the impact of what began what it represents continues to haunt Canada and many women. Canadians need to awaken to the injustices affecting our land.
For information on accompanying us to Ottawa on a chartered bus, click here.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Dear Friends of Life,
“God is doing for me what I cannot do myself.”
This maxim, comforting to those who practice twelve-step spirituality, came to mind after I received a most unusual invitation. Let me explain.
Last week, I got a call from Betty, a new acquaintance and supporter of our work. She was telephoning to ask me whether I was interested in presenting the work I do and the academic path I had taken to a group of high school students as part of their vocational discernment studies. Needless to say my answer was “Yes.”
As you no doubt know, promoting the pro-life message in our society is a hard sell. We are met either with indifference or with derision rather than support seven times out of ten.
Rather it is the opposite ideology that is readily seen and heard. The promotion of promiscuity is favoured by the media, both print and television. Our politicians at both the federal and provincial levels advocate a similar pro-choice ideology; Justin Trudeau is not untypical of our leaders.
So, the opportunity to express our view, particularly to a youthful audience, is a rare godsend.
I approached the exercise in fear and trembling for two reasons. First, I am not a public speaker. I prefer one-to-one encounters. Addressing larger groups frequently flusters me, leaving me out of breath and tongue tied.
Second, I was not quite sure of my audience. The topics of abortion and euthanasia can evoke strong emotions – the first, irrational anger and the second, confusion. Yet, in my years, I have been encouraged of the openness of our youth to discuss the first of these.
On the appointed day, I joined Betty and six other community members in an empty room, seated about a large oblong table. My peers included two nurses, a school teacher, a seamstress, a priest, and a clerk. Several among us were mothers or fathers, and readily shared their experiences of juggling priorities as hard-working parents.
In no time, the room was filled with 25 fourteen and fifteen year-olds, boys and girls, accompanied by their teacher. They listened respectfully for fifty minutes.
My seven-minute spiel went well. Yes, I was nervous, yet remained undaunted, describing my work here at the Quebec Life Coalition and my path from early days in Montreal.
I mentioned that I was born in a hospital not far from their school. Studied in schools many of which they were not unfamiliar with, excelled in math and physics and eventually graduated with an engineering degree. A pivotal moment in my life was accepting an invitation by my parish vicar to participate in a children’s liturgy program. This altered the course of my career – spurring on my interest in my Faith, both academically and inpractice. In time, this journey impacted me professionally.
In the end the students left, I believe, with a greater sense of differing careers, thereby helping them to discern where God may be calling them to earn a living.
We seven are invited back at week’s end for a Q & A with the students, who have been assigned each to formulate a question.
“God is doing for me what I cannot do myself.”
With at least 30,000 abortions per year in Quebec, God alone can change this state of affairs. And He is, through gestures like that of Betty’s.
This past Sunday, countless from around the world gathered in diverse locales to celebrate God’s Divine mercy. So too, in the foothills of Mount Mansfield in Vermont, I was among a dozen people who met to thank God for his mercy in a very special manner. We met to memorialize children, entrusting them to God and thanking Him for the gift of these lives cut short due to either a miscarriage or an abortion.
This memorial service was a pivotal moment in a weekend long retreat aimed at recognizing the dignity to these often forgotten members of our human family. Throughout the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, participants were led by a skilled team of facilitators to grapple with the turmoil that frequently accompanies parents, family, and friends touched by an abortion or a miscarriage.
Participants were encouraged to reflect on their intuition of the child's gender and name each child. I came to give homage to Ezekiel and Catherine. An older sibling, Ezekiel had his life shortened due to a miscarriage.
You preceded me into my Mother’s womb;
You preceded me into our Heavenly rest.
I’m sad’ned we have never met;
Sad’ned at the shortness of your life.
Important you are to me,
Not forgotten, ever wanted,
Accompany me now, ‘til we be ever together.
Catherine, the daughter of a close friend, had her life shortened by an abortion.
The weekend was a difficult one. Those of us who had come to mourn our losses laboured longhours, well into the late evenings.
In preparation for the memorial service, the weekend was punctuated by several workshops treating Sacred Scriptures. Called “Living Scriptures,” these retelling were quite moving. For example, I was particularly moved by the treatment of when Jesus was asked to judge a woman caught in adultery. After having the biblical passage read, a facilitator exhibited a stone, symbolic of how “justice” was meted out to adulterers. Its size, its jaggedness, evoked a visceral reaction of the barbarity of the act; quite distinct from the mercy with which I characterize God.
Then we were given one and asked to carry it throughout the weekend until that time came when we recognized our own intransigency, lack of mercy toward someone in our lives. It was a humbling exercise.
Despite the intensity of this weekend, The loving support of the facilitators permitted me to deal with a difficult topic and permit some measure of closure. For this reason, I encourage others marred by either an abortion or miscarriage to follow in these same footsteps.
For further information about Rachel Vineyard click here.
For further information about post-abortion healing click here.
Programming note: During our Triduum for Life series, this coming May 2013, the Quebec Life Coalition will present a workshop on post-abortion healing. Details to follow.
National March for Life in Ottawa May 9, 2013:
chartered buses from both Montreal and Quebec City.
The National March for Life will be held this year on Thursday, May 9 in Ottawa. Last year 20,000 people crowded onto Parliament Hill for this event. Many dignitaries from various walks of life were present to inspire the crowd including MPs, senators, religious and pro-life leaders.
If you wish to be part of this vibrant day of support for the life of the unborn, the Quebec Life Coalition is chartering buses that will permit you to participate.
The fare is $35. Family rates are available.
Our schedules read as follows:
07h00 Departures (2)
- Montreal - Downtown (895, De la Gauchetière west) followed by a second pick-up at the Cremazie metro station - 8753 Lajeunesse.
- Laval - Holy Name of Jesus church (899, Chomedey Blvd.) followed by a second pick-up at the Fairview shopping centre (Sears Canada)
10h00 Pro-Life Mass (bilingual) Notre-Dame Cathedral.
12h00 Gathering on Parliament Hill.
13h30 MARCH through the streets of downtown Ottawa
14h45 "Silent No More Awareness Campaign" testimonials (Parliament Hill)
16h00 Closing Prayer Service by Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa (Parliament Hill)
QUEBEC CITY DEPARTURE
07h00 Departure (1073, René-Lévesque Blvd., QC)
12h00 Arrival in Ottawa
12h00 Gathering on Parliament Hill
13h00 March through the streets of downtown Ottawa
14h45 "Silent No More Awareness Campaign" testimonials (Parliament Hill)
16h00 Closing Prayer Service by Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa (Parliament Hill)
16h30 Departure from Ottawa
21h30 Arrival in Quebec City
Cost: Tickets are $35. Family rates are available: $20 per family member.
Registration: Before May 6, by calling (438) 930-8643 or (514) 344-2686, or by email email@example.com
- Québec archdiocese promotional video may be seen here.
- Download the 2013 March for Life brochure
- Downlaod the 2013 March for Life poster
- A lunch may be brought along or vendors are available inOttawa
- For Quebec City travelers, a supper break is planned.
Hope to see many of you.
Into the desert
The lenten period ends this coming Saturday. It commemorates the 40 days in which Our Lord spent in the desert, there fasting and praying and undergoing temptations by Satan.
During our own 40-day vigil for the cause of life, many of us turned to Our Lord for solace and identified with his desert experience.
First, how did he endure the weather while in the wilderness of Judea? In Lahaie park of Montreal, the varying climate provided trials. Here are a few pictures of our changing landscape, none of which can convey the biting humidity that frequently accompanied us. (The second and third were taken 24 hours apart.)
Prayer was an integral part of the vigil. I estimated that over the forty-one day period - including the kick-off mass, over 200 people visited the site, logging an incredible 1900 hours of prayer. Here are a few of those who came out.
As for the temptations, both in gesture and in word, no day went by without insults hurled at us. Particularly trying were the volleys that did not permit any chance at a rebuttal – e.g., a youth shouting that we should be ashamed of our actions (is it any more shameful that the dismembering done by the abortionist to the defenseless child in his mother's womb?), an elderly woman's rebuke that we are blithely ignorant of the modern woman's experience (Does not our toll-free help line attempt to support the mother in her trial?) , …
Yet, as with our Lord, we sought the live the truth and abide in the truth, and for such, we were amply rewarded. Many motorists gave "thumbs up" gestures as they drove pass us. Also, several groups of teens came forward wanting to understand our position.
The vigil ended this past Sunday and I praise God for these and other blessings and look forward to repeating this exercise this coming October.
Vigil Schedule – Many thanks to all those who participated. There were over 900 separated visits to our vigil location over the 40-day vigil period, amounting to about 1900 hours of prayer time for our 12-hour days.
Number of Saved babies? As of March 30, 659 babies have been saved from the scourge of abortion. That is, of the 261 vigil locations worldwide during this vigil, there has been slightly more than two babies saved per site. And since the vigil began in 2004, over 7300 have been saved. Bravo!
- Sunday’s closure drew close to 70 people, many of whom stuck around for the pot-luck meal celebration that followed afterwards. The latter had good food, wonderful fellowship and a couple of speeches - one by Georges Buschemi, Quebec Life Coalition (CQV) President, and the other by Michel Cacchione, prayer warrior who, along with his wife Lise, readily filled empty vigil time slots.
- Monday Mass for Life of the Unborn – Father Peter Sabbath, pastor at Holy Name of Jesus parish (Laval) congratulated the participants of the 40 Days for Life in a mass sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, district 91. Between 80 and 90 people attended.
A look ahead:
- Daily hour-long vigil outside Morgentaler mill.
- Triduum for Life – watch the CQV website for details.
- Tuesday, May 9, National March for life – Ottawa. Chartered bus leaving Montreal, return same day.
- Saturday, May 18, March against Euthanasia – Quebec City.
Payer Intentions: Two couples have asked for prayers in their efforts at conceiving a child.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
An Eerie Silence. Good and evil are realities we are all well familiar with, realities that battle one another and no better place to see such a battle is outside an abortion mill. I was reminded of this in light of an incident from a week ago Saturday.
The afternoon began peacefully enough - with a community picnic. Michel and his wife Lise had brought lunch for those of us at the vigil site; a welcomed soup. During the meal, as I was standing next to our banner, an eerie silence caught my attention. For those of you unfamiliar with the intersection of Saint Joseph and Saint Laurent boulevards, where the vigil is taking place, silence is not a word that readily comes to mind. Rather, cacophony is more apt as there is a steady stream of cars and trucks and buses, screaming sirens from the emergency vehicles, and the blowing wind through the plentiful trees. Not silence. Yet, for a brief moment, all was quiet. Eerie, I thought. An omen, perhaps?
The afternoon passed. Michel, Lise and others left. We were no more than seven or eight when three youth, in their early 20s, one guy and two girls, showed up and for sixty minutes performed a horrific skit. The lad with several props - a doll, a rosary, and a statue of Jesus, began to twist the doll’s head round and round while screaming, with his peers playing their parts - cawing madly like crows.
The skit was macabre. A three year-old in our group as well as her mother cringed at the performance and not before long father led them away. Another two in our party withdrew to a nearly coffee shop. I remained, alone, praying!
Prayers Answered. Along comes one of our more colorful prayer warriors. Not unfamiliar with street theater himself, with his ghetto blaster and electric guitar, André charges up to the three youth and begins his religious rhapsodies. A theatrical battle ensues. Who won? In time both camps tone down their acts and conversation begins between them.
Finally other angels arrived. Miguel and his family have a knack for showing up when there is some kind of spiritual battle going on. During the fall 2012 vigil, his wife Monica appeared out of nowhere to confront a youth who had been confronting me. On this day, she dawns a pro-life sign and unabashedly strolls with her youngest around the site. As for Miguel, he joins me in prayer. In time the youth leave.
Here are my heroes:
Vigil Schedule – The vigil is blessed to have a wonderful crew closing the site each night. Thanks go out to Philip, Andrew, and Pierre. As for the middle hours needing coverage this coming week, here are the intevals where your assistance is needed: Tuesday (1-4 p.m.), Wednesday (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.), and Thursday & Friday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
Number of Saved babies? As of Day 33 of the vigil (March 17), there have been 417 babies saved from abortion.
- Thursday past marked the three-quarter point of the vigil and we celebrated with an evening of Eucharistic Adoration. The evening began at 7:30 p.m. after closing the site and continued until midnight. During this period, up to twenty people came and went from Saint Enfant Jésus church. Thanks to Fathers Pierre and Louis for their participation and to those among you for sharing your gifts of song.
- Wild Wednesday – This day had something for everybody. On the one hand, there were educational opportunities; Yves and then I hosted discussions with students visiting the area with their school. Next, two police officers appeared warning us not cross into the abortion mill’s bubble zone; they had received a (false) complaint that one of us had. At mid-day I was interviewed for close to an hour by Diana Deboe live on her weekly pro-life radio program on Dominion Air (Virginia) WYRM. Finally, despite two no shows in our schedule, we were blessed to have a good number of visitors appear and fill the empty slots; as I said previously, God is the vigil scheduler and not yours truly.
- Way of the cross – This past Friday, the way of the cross went on as scheduled in the park despite the flurries. Mary and Alexandra accompanied me. Next week will be the final chance to experience this unique event – outdoors and across the street from an abortion mill; hope to see many of you.
- Sunday's sunny skies yet cool temps did not discouraged vigilers from filling every time slot of the day. Praise God.
A look ahead:
- Tuesday, March 19, Movie Night: “Restless Heart: The Life of Saint Augustine,” Decarie Square, 7:30 p.m. $10.
- Friday, March 22: Way of the Cross (3:00 p.m.)
- Sunday, March 24: Closing ceremony (3:00 p.m.)
- Monday, March 25: Closing Mass – Holy Name of Jesus, Chomedey (7:30 p.m.), sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, District 91.
The young lass who came to visit us last fall after leaving the abortion gave birth this past Friday (March 15) to a 2.9 kg boy. Both are doing fine.
R.I.P. – Mr. Jean-Marie Courbon. Mr. Courbon was a resident at Résidence Saint-Dominique, the senior residence bordering the park in which the vigil is being held. He would occasionally come by and chant the Angelus and sing the Salve Regina.