Co-authored with Thaddeus Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 8, 2014 ( – Young people from across Canada held a candlelight vigil Wednesday for children destroyed by abortion at Ottawa’s Human Rights monument one day before the National March for Life. They held candles, sang songs, and heard inspiring speeches from pro-life leaders, including a newly ordained bishop.

“It’s vital for us to remain connected to the God who made us and promises us that we will bear much fruit if we place our lives in his hands,” said Bishop Christian Riesbeck of the Companions of the Cross who spoke of the power of prayer and the importance of pro-life work rooted in Christ as the soul of the apostolate.

Riesbeck told that everyone is called to make a stand for life. “The most defenseless among us do not have any rights under the law in this country. Someone has to be their voice. Someone has to speak up for them. So, that’s why we’re here this evening.”

Sheldon Harrison, a student from St. Marcellinus High School in Mississauga, stunned the audience by saying they had failed in their pro-life efforts in the past year because abortion continues to remain a legal choice. But Harrison encouraged the crowd to keep up the fight.


“As I stand here, there’s more people, but the goal is the same: We’re still here to end abortion. Every time we come back stronger. The numbers are growing,” he said. 

“The unborn child cannot defend itself, but we are there to defend the unborn child.”

Attendees at the vigil came from near and far.

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Joseph Wenzel from Thunder Bay Students for Life flew with 15 companions to attend the vigil and march. “There’s really no way you can go wrong. It’s such an inspiring week to see how many faces and how many great young people share the same views you do,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

Colette Stang, president of Saskatchewan Pro-Life arrived in Ottawa with 15 young people from across the province. “It took a year of planning,” she told, adding that if “we can do it, you can do it.”

John and Mary Zwicker came out to the vigil with their 7 children — including four-week-old baby Rachel — to support the pro-life movement and defend life. The family has been attending the March for Life for thirteen years in a row, ever since their eldest was a baby.

The speakers gave inspiring messages.

Taylor Hyatt, who has cerebral palsy and is doing a linguistics degree at Carlton University in Ottawa, spoke of the fear she first experienced proclaiming the pro-life message.

“Fear is like poison. It can paralyze you. But the poison of fear has a cure,” she said, explaining that the cure is participating in pro-life events like the March for Life to gain both “knowledge and courage to face the inevitable confrontations with a culture that condones abortion.” 

“If you knew that you had the chance to change or maybe even save someone’s life with your words and actions, would you? So trust in God that he loves all human beings, and he’ll give you the courage you need to defend them.”

Steve Carlin, director of North American outreach for 40 Days for Life, ended the night, telling the crowd that Ottawa was instrumental in expanding the pro-life prayer vigils around the globe. He related that a visitor from the UK encountered the 40 Days for Life held in Ottawa and then began organizing the event in Britain where it is now held in over a dozen different campaign sites throughout the country.