Wednesday, October 10, 2012 – Day 15
I could not help but notice God’s protective hand working at the vigil today.
At the outset of the day, the schedule appeared complete. Our regulars had slotted themselves through until 3 p.m. Charlotte and I took the early shift from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. At this time Vaclav and his wife were then scheduled for a ninety minute block. Carl was then slated for two hours. And finally John and his wife Celeste would follow. All set, right? Not quite.
I knew something was amiss when Carl showed up at 9:30 a.m. rather than his appointed time of 11:30 a.m. I approached him to inquire about his early arrival. He explained that his wife had made arrangements late the day before with friends visiting from out-of-town for a noontime meal this very day. Hence, this spelt havoc with my well-groomed schedule.
Not to worry for God is the vigil’s scheduler. Shortly after Carl’s arrival, Gabriel unexpectedly showed up. I greeted him and asked how long he was thinking of staying; he answered, until about 2:30 p.m. Problem solved! So a period of angst quickly evaporated. Praise be to God, the King of schedulers!
Else, I thank God for the different blessings He has endowed each and every one of us. On this day, I think particularly of two of our members gifted with the wonderful charism of loving and personal conversation.
John and Celeste travel into the vigil site once a week from their home on Ile Perrot, a forty-minute ride, if the traffic is good.
In the two weeks that they have come, I have looked on with awe at how passers-by are drawn to them and seen moving conversations follow. Last week, they spoke with a high school age girl for what was close to half hour.
Today, a young man, driving by saw our banner, decided to stop and come over to investigate. Who were the first people he meets at the site but John and Celeste. Again what seems like a pleasant conversation ensues, lasting well over thirty minutes.
This couple radiates a love that is easily seen some twenty yards away. I feel blessed to have them represent our vigil team during these 40 days for life.
Today's numbers: 21 visitors to the site logging in over 45 hours of prayer time.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 – On Day 14, about fifteen people showed up at the vigil location today, thirteen of whom stayed for an hour or more, logging in over forty-one hours of praying time.
In previous entries I have spoken of some of the spiritual battles we encounter while at the vigil location. Well, our perseverence is paying off.
At about 3:30 p.m., Rosina, a faithful prayer warrior, walked over and introduced me to a young woman. On doing so, she returned to her silent praying leaving me alone with this young lady. I listened to her teary account of her pregancy and the struggles she was experiencing.
Eighteen weeks pregnant and wanting to keep the child, she did not know where else to turn. First, her boy friend was pressuring to abort the child. Second, she desperately wanted some medical support but as a foreign national she is not entitled to receive Quebec health care services without paying for it. As her funds are limited due to working a meanial job for the specialized education she received in her native country is not recognized in Quebec, her anxiety is obvious.
In her desperation for obtaining some kind of medical evaluation, she visited the Morgentaler abortion facility. She left there aggrieved as abortion was the sole option offered, something she does not want.
As we were across the street she approached us.
I suggested that we call the toll-free help line: (514) 871-4442.
I dialled the toll-free help line and she was able to receive information about available resources for her. A second call followed, providing more specific aid for her situation.
At day’s end, I’m not sure what became of her as I returned to praying while she made the phone calls. So I ask all of you to keep this woman in your prayers.
Monday, October-08, Day 13 of the prayer vigil for the end of abortion had a little bit of everything: the reunion of old friends… the surprise arrival of others… the generosity of one.,, and a couple of close calls.
Ymelda and Marlene live on the furthest eastern point of the island of Montreal. Using public transit it is a long hike to travel into the city, let alone getting to the vigil location. I, on the other hand, live in the north end and rarely, if ever, cross paths with either. And so the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is an opportunity for old acquaintances to be renewed. Such was the case today and Ymelda accompanied by her other sister, Muriella, came by the vigil location for an hour of prayer.
Also, today is Thanksgiving Day Monday and two blessings came our way while at the vigil location. First, there was the unexpected visit of some of our regular prayers. Michel and his wife Lise often come on Tuesdays and Thursdays and so their arrival today was an unexpected Thanksgiving treat for Francois and I. They stayed an hour and half to pray.
The second came in the package of a Thanksgiving meal. Charlotte laboured in her miniture apartment to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for Francois and I. The meal consisted of a generous portion of baked chicken, along with an assortment of fixings – cranberry juice, sauce, potatoes including sweet potato.
Finally, near day's end, a couple of persons tried to mar our banner. First a young woman, brandishing a magic marker took sights on the banner in a menacingly manner; fortunately I was able to dissuade her from doing any damage.
The fate of the banner in the second attempt was not as trivial. A half hour after the first incident, a young man on a bike appeared and managed to sweep the banner twice with black streaks before I intervened.
Fortunatley, our clean up crew, led by Pierre and including little Camille, were able to remove the better part of the stains. On learning of the incident the next day, Francois perused the banner, saying afterwards that he was not able to see any traces. Thanks Pierre.
The vigil runs through Sunday, November 4th, and prayers may be found on site daily from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
So far, during the current vigil, over 130 children have been spared death due to abortion. Keep your prayers coming.
Day 12 was one of our busier days at the vigil for the end of abortion with 18 people coming by for an hour or more, logging in nearly 40 hours of prayer time among them.
Hector and his family dropped by for a second time since the beginning of the vigil this past Wednesday September 26th . He, his wife, and four children (18 years, 9, 6, and 9 months) spent an hour at the site. The cool autumn temperatures – about 14C, didn’t seem to bother him, as he wore a simple t-shirt throughout the sixty minute watch. He promises to return on Wednesday evening.
Also, a kind Samaritan dropped by with a box of Donuts and six coffees for those of us at the vigil location. He mentioned that he really appreciated our work and shared a personal story. Both he and his brother were both adopted as infants and he credits the work of persons like ourselves for having encouraged his natural mom not to abort them and put the twos of them up for adoption.
Finally, special thanks to Maria for dropping by at day’s end with a pot of hot carrot and squash soup. There were four hungry vigilers who devoured its contents in no time.
Under overcast skies, we experienced the largest turn out so far in this Fall's 40 Days for Life prayer vigil for the end of aboriton.
Twenty-two people showed up at one point or another today spending at least an hour on site in prayerful vigil. All together, there was about 41.5 hours in vigil time by these 22 persons.
The highlight was without doubt the presence of a family visiting from Lanoraie. Mother and father along with their four children came by, spending the last hour of the day at the site. They promised to return as early as this Sunday.
The total count of Saved Babies is up to 73.
Three hours had yet gone by in this Fall's 40 days for Life prayer vigil for the end of abortion that a surprising exchanged had already occurred.
Our eighth vigil in Lahaie Park, Montreal, across the street from the Morgentaler abortion mill, began as in previous campaigns. Our banner was up, vigilers were present, and the occasional passerby made some disparaging comment or rude gesture. Nothing unusual.
The surprising occurred when one such passerby actually came back for a talk! Earlier, on his bike, he had sarcastically shouted at me that he would be praying that I would go away. Yet within five minutes here he is, back in front of me, minus his bicycle.
Over the next five to ten minutes we had a respectful talk, he outlining his reasons for being pro-choice and I, pro-life.
He told me that it is preferable to abort a child than to see it live a life of poverty. When I asked him how do we know that of the child, he responded that we have a good knowledge who is fated to such a life.
Also, he believed that in many Asian countries, over-population is a major concern and so abortion is justified.
As for me, I pointed out to him the high rate of infertility among couples in Canada - 18% or so, and that carrying the child to term and then putting the infant up for adoption would bring join to some couple. He seemed to like this idea.
I don't remember how the conversation ended, but it was quite different than when we initially met one another.
The vigil runs through to Sunday, November 4th, 2012. Register or drop by daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Upwards to forty people gathered last night in Lahaie Park, Montreal, to kick off the Forty Days for Life prayer vigil for the end of abortion.
Forty Days for Life is a twice annual prayer vigil - one in the spring time and the other in the Fall, begun five years and has grown globally with 316 vigils - 18 of which are on Canadian soil, occurring simultaneously this Fall in six countries.
Here in Montreal, this is our eighth vigil, all of which have been done across the street from the Morgentaler abortion mill.
Last night, the gusty winds of the day died to an imperceptible breeze as men and women recited prayers and listened to four speakers.
After about half hour, the group moved into a basement hall for some libations and received instructions about what etiquette to follow when present at the 40 day vigil site.
Paramount to our vigil is the maintaining a prayerful presence. To this end a code of conduct is given below to help to this end.
Code of Conduct
- I will show compassion and reflect Christ’s love to all.
- I understand that acting in a violent or harmful manner immediately and completely disassociates me from this vigil.
- I will not obstruct the driveways or sidewalk while standing in the public right of way.
- I will not block the abortion facility's entrance nor the path of anyone, including passersby, on the sidewalk; I will remain on the north side of Saint-Joseph Blvd.
- I will not litter on the public right of way.
- I will closely attend to any children I bring to the prayer vigil.
- I will not threaten, physically contact, nor verbally abuse anyone.
- I will not vandalize private property.
- I will cooperate with local city authorities.
- I will not picket nor carry any signs, pictures, displays, nor wear clothing bearing any words or images, without the consent of the organizers.
- I will maintain a spirit of prayer and refrain from judgments, debates and quarrels.
- I will refrain from unnecessary discussion with the public and with the other prayers.
- I will maintain a physical distance from others at the site whose tactics would be considered contrary to these guidelines.
Although our purpose is to pray, we are not adverse to talk with persons not associated with the vigil who approach us to ask questions or make comments. The following may help in these exchanges:
How to Share the Pro-Life Message
What is the pro-life message?
At its most basic level, the pro-life message is this:
An unborn child is a human person
whose life has value and deserves to be protected by our society.
But we also have an important message to share about how abortion harms women – and men – and about how committed the pro-life movement is to helping women face untimely pregnancies and choose life for their babies.
Ultimately, our message is a message of hope. We believe that, working together, we can transform our society into a place in which no mother will ever resort to abortion, where every child, regardless of the circumstances of his or her conception, will be welcomed and loved.
10 Guidelines for sharing the pro-life message
1. Listen – and pay attention;
2. Take time to think – and pray;
3. Always be respectful;
4. Seek common ground;
5. Make it personal;
6. Give the benefit of the doubt, and never take offense;
7. Don’t interrupt others’ conversations;
8. Pick your battles and keep it simple;
9. Admit when you lack information; and
10. Always leave the door open.
Earlier this afternoon, members of Parliament, on both sides of the House, rose to speak on M-312, MP Stephen Woodworth's motion to start a committee to update Canada criminal code on matters related the definition of a human being in light of contemporary science. The hour-long exchange was more balanced than its first hour of debate this past Spring; at that time, nearly all of the speakers spoke against the motion whereas today, I thought it was balanced. Below I include two statements from Mr. Woodworth's office - the first a press release and the second the MP's presentation. Also, as I viewed the proceedings live on CPAC, I presume the network will provide a video recording of today's exchanges shortly. (Mr. Woodworth's web site). Here's a link to a governmental site containing the transcription of the speeches. (B.J.)
Media Release - For Immediate Publication - September 21st, 2012
Motion 312: Woodworth’s Plea to MPs
OTTAWA, Ontario ? MP Stephen Woodworth today urged Members of Parliament not to shield Canada’s 400 year old definition of human being from democratic review or from advances in modern understanding.
“This law, by denying the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, is the most unimaginably unjust law possible and has no place in Canada” he said. “Parliament should not treat it as frozen in time forever.”
When challenged about abortion, Woodworth points out that even Justice Bertha Wilson, who championed abortion rights in the Morgentaler decision, wrote that Parliament should review this question by “informing itself from the relevant disciplines,” the very proposal embodied in Motion 312.
“I’ve heard that some Members of Parliament are wrestling with their consciences over Motion 312,” Woodworth remarks. “I say give in to your conscience; you are only useful to your Leader, your Party, and your constituents when you bring your conscience and your ideals to your decisions.”
Limited by Parliamentary rules to five minutes, Woodworth’s closing remarks are attached. (see below.)
The vote on Motion 312 is expected on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. To view the proceedings, please tune in to your local CPAC television channel or visit www.cpac.ca for a live podcast.
Closing Remarks – S. Woodworth
2nd Hour of Debate – Motion 312 - September 21st, 2012
Mr. Speaker, our great democracy was founded on the promise that two founding nations in conflict could reconcile their differences peaceably. Generations of Canadians have lived - and died – to defend the dream of universal human rights and honest laws so necessary to fulfill that promise.
These ideals created unity out of diversity and made Canada a bright beacon of hope.
The sweep of history for 400 years has brought ever greater recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. That bedrock foundation anchors Canada’s essential character.
We are here in Parliament to honour that vision of Canada. We are here to seek out a spirit of compromise amid passionate debate. We are here to embrace advancing knowledge in the service of universal human rights.
Motion 312 honours those essential duties. Motion 312 seeks merely to shine the light of 21st century knowledge upon our 400 year old law which decrees the dehumanization and exclusion of a whole class of people, children before complete birth.
About abortion, I say this: recognizing children as human before the moment of complete birth will not resolve that issue.
Even Justice Bertha Wilson, who championed abortion rights in the Morgentaler decision, wrote that Parliament should “inform itself from the relevant disciplines”, the very proposal embodied in Motion 312.
Recognizing the reality that children are human beings before complete birth will affirm the hallowed principle that human rights are universal, not a gift of the State which may be cancelled by subsection 223(1).
It would be a triumph of leadership to insist that our definition of human being must not remain frozen in time forever, immune from the light of advancing knowledge, immune from democratic governance, and immune from the spirit of open dialogue.
It would honour our commitment to honest laws to recognize a child’s worth and dignity as a human being before the moment of complete birth if the evidence establishes that as fact.
It would fulfil our shared vision of Canada to allow, despite extreme and intransigent opposition, a mere study about human rights even if modern evidence might cause some to question our laws.
Or will Parliament reject those Canadian ideals? Is THAT what Parliament has come to?
I thank, and many Canadians thank, the Members who stand with me against that dismal view.
Yet we in Parliament cannot ourselves sustain - we cannot protect – we cannot without help safeguard – this great vision of Canada. The hope of a Canada governed by honest laws rests in the heart of every Canadian. The pledge offered by countless Canadians to the high principle of universal human rights will not be overcome by any decision of this Parliament. We may safely place our confidence in the certainty that Canadians will not rest content with the perpetual absence of open dialogue on this issue.
There is no more noble undertaking than to fulfill that essential promise of Canada. Join me in the conversation so necessary to reconcile Canadians.
OTTAWA, Ontario ― MP Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre this week made clear his hopes for Motion 312. Motion 312 proposes a 21st century look at Canada’s current 400 year old definition of human being. In preparation for the 2nd hour of debate and final vote, he is making a final plea to all supporters of Motion 312 to make their views known.
In meeting with journalists, Woodworth delivered a passionate argument identifying important questions he would like Canadians to address.
“Should such an important 400 year old law be frozen in time forever? Should such an important 400 year old law be forever immune from democratic review? Should a 400 year old definition of human being be forever immune from advances in modern understanding?. These are questions that need to be addressed by all, including opponents of Motion 312” said Woodworth.
Woodworth hopes for a constructive second hour of debate following seven months of preparation including dozens of interviews and speaking engagements.
“Although there is significant support among MPs for Motion 312, it does not yet approach 50%. Consequently I’m keeping up my efforts, and ask others to do so too” said Woodworth. “Tens of thousands of Canadians have expressed their support for Motion 312 and I hope that this support will also be reflected in Parliament at the vote.”
The second hour of debate on Motion 312 will occur on Friday, September 21st, 2012 at 1:30p.m. followed by a final vote on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012. Woodworth also encourages Canadians to visit his website at www.stephenwoodworth.ca for more information about Motion 312.
For more information:
Office of Stephen Woodworth, MP