12,000: Canadian 2009 March for Life Smashes Previous Attendance Records

Under the threat of dark clouds and sometimes through pouring rain, a record-smashing crowd of 12,000 Canadians today gathered on Parliament Hill for a rally and then marched through the streets of Ottawa in protest against 40 years of legalized abortion in Canada.

The number of participants significantly exceeded last year's record-breaking crowd of 8,000, making it by far the largest crowd in the 12 years that the march has taken place.

Those in attendance included 18 Members of Parliament.

Jim Hughes, the president of Campaign Life Coalition, the pro-life group which organizes the annual event, told LifeSiteNews that he was thrilled with the turnout. "It's a real blessing," he said, "especially the growing number of young people that are here."

"This is going to make a difference," said Hughes, who pointed out that pro-life Canadians are beginning to mark the date of the march on their calendars, and are going out of their way to make it every year. "We're having a real impact here," he said.

Today's events began in the morning with interdenominational prayer services at the Canadian Reformed Church and St. George's Anglican Church, and two Catholic masses at Notre Dame Basilica and St. Patrick's Basilica.

Eyewitnesses at the Catholic masses said that both churches were filled to, and beyond, capacity. Approximately 900 people squeezed into St. Patrick's Basilica, while over 1,100 overflowed Notre Dame. As well, an additional 200 or so at each location had to watch the mass on a screen in the basement of each church, due to the lack of space.

Hughes said he was especially pleased by the unprecedented show of support from the Canadian Catholic bishops, with 11 bishops celebrating at the masses. This was the first year in the history of the march that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has thrown its official support behind the event.

At 3 p.m., after the rally on Parliament Hill and the march, representatives of Silent No More Awareness Campaign began delivering powerful testimonies about their personal experiences with abortion, repeatedly moving their listeners to tears. Just as the clock on the Hill was striking 3:00, many in the crowd marvelled that the sun suddenly broke through the clouds for the first time that day and soon afterwards the sky cleared with hardly a cloud in sight. Also, some pointed out that as each of the Silent No More Awareness speakers was introduced, as if on cue a strong wind would blow, with the strongest occuring when the Canadian leader of the group, Angelina Steenstra, was introduced. 

John Jalsevac
Source: LifeSiteNews.com
Publish Date: May 14, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.


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