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.
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
Contact: John Jalsevac
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.