VANCOUVER, British Columbia, October 17, 2011 ( – On a cold evening two Sundays ago, a Canadian archbishop made his stand beside a number of young people to witness to the value of human life in a mother’s womb as part of the 40 Days for Life campaign.


“I’m heartened when I see the strong commitment to life that’s shown among our young people, such as St. Francis Xavier’s Youth Group (SFX),” said Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver to LifeSiteNews (LSN).

Teens and young adults from SFX Youth Group prayed for two hours on October 9th to raise “awareness of the Church’s stance on LIFE,” said Jenny Ng, SFX’s Youth Coordinator to LSN.

Ng said that when the youth group travelled to World Youth Day in Madrid in August they took seriously Pope Benedict’s final words to “evangelize the world with our joy in faith.”

“As Pope Benedict keeps telling us, there is much hope and joy in Christ.”

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The young people took time out of their studies and family commitments to participate and pray for something that they felt was much bigger than themselves, Ng said.

“They humbly and obediently prayed for Life, even as it got chilly outside the clinic.”

Archbishop Miller told LSN that he was “honored” to be asked by the youth group to join them. “I’m proud of the strong representation we’ve seen by Catholic young people, groups and parishes in the Archdiocese,” he said.

“It’s important that they receive support from their families, their friends, and of course the Church community.”

The 40 Days for Life campaign has been in the news in Canada recently, after the principal of a Catholic school in Winnipeg was put on leave for promoting the campaign, and proposing that students be allowed to count time spent praying at the pro-life event as community service hours. The school and the principal were accused of giving the community service hours for “political activity.”

LSN asked the archbishop if he considers standing as a witness to the dignity of the unborn child to be political activity, or service to the community, or perhaps something else. In response he referred to Psalm 139, which says that God “knitted us together in our mother’s womb, and saw and loved us while we were still without form.”

“When we stand in witness to life, we are proclaiming the Gospel of Life, which is the heart of Jesus’ message — ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,’” the archbishop said.

“This is a generation that is dealing with the effects of the culture of death all around them, and they are truly exhibiting the ‘hope for a better world’ that we pray for in our Archdiocesan Prayer for Reverence for Life.”