By Thaddeus M. Baklinski and Steve Jalsevac
TORONTO, February 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The 40 Days for Life campaign got off to a successful start across Canada as kick-off rallies and events took place yesterday to prepare for the beginning of the forty days of peaceful vigil and prayer for an end to abortion.
Nicole Campbell, coordinator of the 40 Days for Life Toronto, told LifeSiteNews that over 350 people gathered at St. Charles Borromeo Church for a rally yesterday at 3 p.m. The crowd was addressed by several speakers and encouraged by music provided by a group of musicians who assembled for the occasion.
Angelina Steenstra and two other members of Silent No More Awareness Campaign spoke on the disastrous effect of abortion on the mental and physical well-being of women. The very personal and often heart breaking testimonies of the three women captured total attention and here and there listeners could be seen wiping tears from their eyes. One listener told LifeSiteNews she could hardly breath during the testimonies because she found them so riveting.
Two Toronto based Sisters of Life were present. Sister Monica Faustina shared a moving success story from a previous 40 Days for Life campaign in New York city and spread the Sisters’ usual infectious joy and exuberance to the crowd.
Nicole Campbell, spoke on the need to put faith into action by coming out and participating in the silent vigil kept at the abortuary, and of the need of constant prayer support for those keeping vigil and for a conversion of souls to the culture of life. She emphasized that the actions of those who participate in the 40 days for Life are intended to reach out to women with love, both before and after abortion, and to those who come to the abortion centres with them. Conversion, the changing of hearts and minds, as well as saving women and babies from abortion, were emphasized to be the primary goals of 40 Days. She also urged all participants to pray for abortionists and their staff.
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes gave a brief history of the efforts of CLC to bring 40 Days for Life to Canada, its great success in Ottawa last fall and the expansion of the 40 days to other provinces.
In Ottawa a Vesper service was held at St. Patrick’s Basilica yesterday evening as part of a “spiritual launch” of the 40 Days for Life in the nation’s capital.
Paul Lauzon, coordinator of 40 Days for Life Ottawa, told LSN that over 250 people attended the service, which was presided over by Archbishop Terence Prendergast, who was accompanied by The Rt. Rev. Carl L. Reid of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.
In a short homily during the service Archbishop Prendergast spoke of fasting, prayer and personal conversion as the essence of Lent and as being integral to the 40 Days for Life campaign.
One unique initiative of this 40 Days for Life campaign reaches out to those who do not have an official campaign in their city or cannot make it out to the Vigil outside of the local abortion facility. The initiative is a prayer support registry called 40 Days for Life @ 180º
The idea is similar to the one used for recording who will be holding vigil in front of the abortion centre at a particular time. Each participant can register for one or more hours of the available 960 hours of the Campaign, indicating the Church or Group and the City they represent.
The goal is to cover the calendar completely with prayer warriors and is a way of acknowledging the participation of Canadians across the country, from north to south (hence the 180º), who want to participate with their prayers and sacrifices to build unity and momentum and strength for the 40 Days for Life global campaign.
The registration form is available here: https://www.40daysforlife.com/ottawa/index.cfm?load=page&page=200
All five Canadian cities hosting the campaign will have kick-off rallies to begin the Vigil on Tuesday evening, February 24, near the abortuary where pro-lifers will hold vigil for the 40 days of Lent.
At this time there are still lots of uncommitted hours to be filled and the campaign organizers are encouraging everyone to contact their local 40 Days for Life coordinators:
Ottawa: Paul Lauzon, [email protected] – 613.729.0379
Toronto: Nicole Campbell [email protected] – 416.204.9749
Montreal: Georges Buscemi [email protected] – 519.569.0369
Winnipeg: Maria Slykerman, [email protected] – 204.452.2459
Edmonton: Karen Richert (Edmonton Pro-Life), [email protected] – 780.425.1637
To learn more about the 40 Days for Life Campaign, please visit the website: https://www.40daysforlife.com/ottawa/index.cfm?active=1