Message from The B.C. Catholic's editor Malin Jordan:
May is a big month in Canada for the pro-life movement as many events take place across the country. From the March for Life to Crossroads to the Focus on Life Gala Dinner, May is an important time for the pro-lifers to get their message out.
This year an added effort to restore some sanity to the divisive problem of unbridled abortion happened last week in parliament when Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312 was debated. (Read our coverage of the hour long debate in the May 7 edition of The B.C. Catholic).
The March for Life occurs May 10 in capitals across Canada, including Victoria, B.C. Last year's event in B.C.'s capital drew 3,000, and organizers are hoping for the same numbers this year.
The Crossroads summer walk for life begins May 19 (Read the full story Sunday, May 6, on The B.C. Catholic website).
The Focus on Life Gala Dinner happens at the end of May.
We hope you are informed and stirred by the information from The B.C. Catholic's "Culture of Life Coverage."
Organizers hope trek for life will draw 3,000
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic
MLAs at the B.C. legislature will soon have some company speaking up for life. On May 10 the fifth annual March for Life will bring Catholics together from all over the province.
Michele Smillie, coordinator of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, says groups from as far north as Prince George will be joining others from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Ten buses packed with students will also sail on the 9 o'clock "pro-life ferry" headed for Swartz Bay.
She thinks the experience is especially important for high-school students. "This has a different focus than standing outside a hospital or an abortion clinic."
She adds the emphasis is for students to have an encouraging and constructive time to define their faith. "They need to be pro-life witnesses while in high-school," before heading off to a possibly secular post-secondary experience where their beliefs might be met with scorn.
Students will shuttle to St. Patrick's Elementary in Victoria. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Church. Then, the marchers will congregate at Centennial Square at 2 p.m. After meeting with a police escort, pro-lifers will walk down Government Street, culminating outside the doors of the provincial legislature.
Smillie downplays the police presence, since public reception "last year was overall a positive one; we remind our students to be polite and we didn't have a problem last year."
She's hopeful for a higher turnout this May, after 2,500 joined in the march last year.
Pavel Reid from Catholic Family Services of the Vancouver archdiocese is to be master of ceremonies; speakers include Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria and Monica Roddis, the president of Life Canada. St. Andrew's High School band will add a musical touch.
Smillie explains why it is important to attend the March for Life. Pro-lifers, she says, are "not happy; we need a change in the law to protect the unborn. We have the right and the duty as Catholics to peacefully protest."
More information is available at www.M4LVictoria.ca.
Several pro-life clubs who are sending buses are welcoming people to join them:
-- Langley Pro-Life: reservations, 604-534-1195.
-- Port Coquitlam: Knights of Columbus of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish: reserve through Phil Stanyer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- In Port Moody the Knights of St. Joseph's Parish want to send a bus. Info: Mark Pan, email@example.com.
Helping to make the choice for life possible
Focus on Life Gala will be back for 14th time May 28 at Hyatt Regency Hotel
By Alistair Burns
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, host of the TV show 700 Club Canada, wants more pro-life funding to help pregnant women choose life. She plans to pass this message onto Vancouverites when she gives the keynote address at the 14th annual Focus on Life Gala Dinner May 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Thompson hopes that with more funds raised at the gala, it will be easier to highlight for a pregnant woman the "compassionate solution to show that it's going to be okay. Her precious baby will have the essentials for a wonderful life; we make the choice for life possible."
"That," she added, "makes a huge difference to mankind and to God."
She would especially like to see more financial support from those who consider themselves pro-lifers. She thinks the "Church has become more silent on this issue, and we must link our arms and our faith to stay strong and walk in unity."
A good way to start this involvement is by buying a ticket for the gala, since "Everyone who chooses to bless this organization with live-giving resources is saying they value His love for simple human beings from conception to eternity."
Thompson can definitely attest to surviving tough situations. Born to missionary parents in Uganda, she lived in the African country until the age of 8, and then dictator Idi Amin Dada's military forces began a heinous massacre of Ugandans. She recalls, "I barely knew I wasn't African."
The terrifying experience of nearby shelling and bomb explosions, added to her father witnessing a murder, forced the family to flee to Canada after her eighth birthday. The Thompsons settled far north of the equator, in the Northwest Territories, where the "ways and customs were very foreign; I stuck out like a sore thumb."
By 1999 she had gone through a painful divorce and thought, "How could God ever use such a broken person; but He kept calling." She heard the Holy Spirit's call while folding laundry, telling her to go onto television and "Tell people about Jesus." It was the farthest thing from her mind.
Remarkably, Thompson is now in the very place that God unexpectedly called her. On the 700 Club Canada program she presents the journey home of people God has called to serve, since "No one is disqualified."
The Focus on Life Gala will be held May 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver at 655 Burrard St., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at 1-877-774-4625 and www.focusonlife.ca.
These yearly abortion statistics for B.C., Alberta, and Ontario have been gathered from the B.C. Ministry of Health; Johnston's Archive, a web database (www.johnstonsarchive.net); and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (www.cihi.ca).
These numbers must be considered incomplete. Since 2005 some provinces have exempted private clinics. Quebec reported zero abortions in 2010.
Since 2006 B.C. Ministry of Health counts have been based on its fiscal year rather than the calendar year, and private clinics here have not been required to report statistics either.
Event links pro-lifers
Life Chain shackles truth to abortion lies
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
A human chain of pro-life activists will form in front of the B.C. Women's and Children's Hospital Oct. 7 to pray for an end to abortion.
"People have to stop sitting on the fence," said Betty Green, president of Vancouver Right to Life and an organizer of Life Chain in Vancouver.
The national event, organized by the Campaign Life Coalition, brings together pro-life activists who aren't afraid to witness to the horror of abortion.
Green said abortion "fence sitters" are the worst for the abortion debate because they're aware it's wrong but refuse to take a definite stand on the issue. "At least abortionists are open about what they do."
While the intent of Life Chain is to bring a peaceful resolution to the "culture of death," confrontations with opponents do arise. Green recalled a year when a group of feminists approached her and others yelling that abortion is a woman's right. Green saw that one of the feminists had brought her young daughter with her to witness the argument.
"How sad for this girl to see her mom act like this," she said.
Green also felt saddened this girl might grow up to believe abortion is acceptable.
A list of Life Chain events in B.C. is available on the Campaign Life Coalition website, www.campaignlifecoalition.com. Local organizers can be reached at 1-800-730-5358 and firstname.lastname@example.org.