Thousands of pro-lifers stage peaceful gathering outside provincial government building May 10
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic
As morning dawned May 10, busloads of exuberant youth peacefully invaded the Tsawwassen ferry terminal for passage to the March for Life. Students and teachers waited as B.C. Ferry ticket operators frenetically counted out a colossal amount of walk-on tickets for the 9 a.m. ferry bound for Swartz Bay.
Once on board the vessel, Vancouver College student Jason Pinto explained why he came back for his third march. "This lets people know that human life has to be preserved and cherished. Look how Mary said 'yes' to God when He called her? We're acting similarly when we stand up for life."
Fellow VC student and eleventh-grader David Cavey took time-out from playing cards to tell his pro-life story. "I was adopted right at birth, so perhaps this issue affects me more." He has attended the march since Grade 8 and smiled at the packed ferry. "There's an overflowing crowd now, compared to then."
Busses whisked the students to St. Patrick's Parish in Victoria where Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, concelebrated Mass with Victoria's Bishop Richard Gagnon amid a plethora of priests and an overflowing church.
During his homily, Archbishop Miller praised the students for showing their spirit in a polite way. "Despite the suffering and inevitable frailty that we experience, we know that life is beautiful, indeed a marvel. Every child conceived in the womb of their mother is a precious gift, a person called to eternal life."
He highlighted two virtues for the students to dwell upon, courage and love. "The Apostles, in the midst of opposition, continued to proclaim their faith, despite imprisonment and harassment. The joy that Jesus wants to share with us does not come without a price."
He said false promises in popular culture and that a pursuit of pleasure cannot be the sole reason for life. "The unborn are, frankly, abused. The value of life in itself is compromised."
Archbishop Miller said the establishment of a true culture of life would not come about without suffering.
"What we're doing today is a fostering of justice that must be a work of charity and a sign that our faith works through love. The real path to believers is to seek conversion of heart. As the Apostles did, we are not afraid to go out into the public space. Let us be strong in our faith, let us be strong in our love."
VC teacher Jim Canil pointed out the abortion debate is still relevant. "Look, we can't even have a debate on the debate, like the Woodworth private member's bill. With many divisions in our society, it's vital for young men to participate in the march."
Ann Marie McGrath, a teacher at St. Patrick's (Vancouver) thought it was important to show lawmakers about the sanctity of human life. She said the march should help mould her students' future. "When they leave their little Catholic enclave and go to a place where others don't share their views, they need to be confident in their faith."
One of McGrath's students, Isabelle Foy, marched for the first time. "I attended because I was curious about the pro-life movement. It's good to see young people trying to make a change."
The march ended in front of the B.C. Legislature and listened to speeches from Bishop Gagnon, Monica Roddis, president of Life Canada, and Anastasia Pearse, a former University of Victoria pro-life student.