OTTAWA, Ontario, May 13, 2013 ( – The National March for Life Youth Conference with 1000 participants kicked off Friday morning with a 7:30 Mass with Fr. Paul Burchat of Madonna House Lay Apostolate. Fr. Burchat delivered a rip-roaring homily that let the young people know what they were up against in the fight against abortion and what they could do to make a difference.


“You have a right to be heard in the public square and don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t. You have a right to do exactly what you did yesterday and to keep on doing it and to not allow anyone to silence you,” he said.

Burchat called the abortion issue the “most important fundamental issue of justice in our times,” adding that the right to life is the “most important right that a person has”.

“No other right takes precedence over it. It is not simply one right among others, all of which are equal. No, the right to life is paramount. If you don’t have a right to exist, who cares if you have a right to a job, or health care, or housing, or anything else. There is no life there to which you can apply those rights. The right to life is fundamental.”

“And when it is not respected, we are not living in a civil society anymore: It’s the new barbarism that we’re living under.”

Burchat called abortion a “sophisticated” barbarism since it takes place in “clinics hidden away” or “in homes with the morning after pill,” adding that when compared to bloody public executions from societies long since past, “it’s just as barbaric and it’s just as real.”

He told the young people that standing against the “new barbarism” means to fulfill “our God given duties and responsibilities.”

‘Change the world; do not let the world change you’

Burchat set forth the two “most important” priorities in life for people striving to be effective pro-life witnesses.

1. “Make sure the world does not change you.”

Burchat cautioned the young people to hold fast to the “virtues and the values and the beliefs” that they have experienced during the conference. “Guard your heart, guard your mind, guard your soul,” he said.

To stay pro-life for “365 days of the year for the rest of your life,” Burchat encouraged the young people to find and stay in the company of like minded friends and to maintain a life a prayer. “You need other people around you who believe what you believe. You’ve got to go out and find those friends, if you don’t have them already.”

“If your friends are not of the same mind as you, and believe the opposite of what you believe, if you hang around with them long enough, sooner or later they will corrupt you. St. Paul makes this point very clearly in his First letter to the Corinthians were he says: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Don’t think you are going to go and run with the wolves and not want to howl with them after a while.”

Regarding prayer Burchat said: “You can’t do this work without the grace of God. You can’t be effective in this field without Jesus Christ by your side. You need the grace of God. You need a solid stable prayer life, because in fact, Jesus Christ is your best friend. Even more than that, he is your savior. You need him with you in this work. If you don’t have him, you will be like a ship without a rudder, blowing every which way.”

2. “Go out and change the world.”

“So it’s up to us, to me and to you,” Burchat said, “to do what we can to change this and to keep doing it until our last breath has gone from us. And future generations will judge you on whether or not you have understood this and have acted accordingly.”

A simple good life lived well

Burchat said that the world will be changed when enough people begin to live well a “simple good life”.

“You have no idea of how staying faithful, that ‘fidelity’ in your example, has power far beyond your own life to effect the world, to build the Kingdom of God. Don’t ever underestimate the value of what you do just by living your faith well, simply every day. You probably won’t see many results of it in this life. You will see it in the next life.”

“Don’t look for results. Just look to stay faithful, one day at a time. That’s crucial,” he said.

Reflecting on the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Abraham bargained with God to spare the cities if only a small number of virtuous men and women were found to be living there, Burchat said that “good people [have] the power to stay God’s hand and save those cities.”

“So don’t underestimate the value of a life lived well, whatever little simple things you might be doing to live your faith well today, tomorrow, or the next day. This has immense value and power in God’s kingdom to stay his hand and to save other people.”

Burchat concluded: “So please, take what you have received here these few days, take it home like a seed planted — hopefully planted in good soil in your heart — and work at it and bear good fruit in the days ahead. Go home. Find some good friends. Pray. Work hard. And you just might be surprised by what you can accomplish.”

The young people spent the rest of the day in intensive pro-life workshops that provided them with expert knowledge and communications strategies to turn the tide in the culture to one that favors human life in all its stages.

The young people were challenged by Campaign Life Coalition Youth to work to end taxpayer funded abortion.

Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, spoke about her efforts to expose forced abortion, gendercide, and sexual slavery in China.

Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation, shared with the young people his story of how his biological mother was raped yet courageously chose to continue the pregnancy, giving him life. He encouraged the young people to fight for a nation without abortion so that adoption or parenthood become the only viable choice for women who are pregnant.

Also giving presentations were David Bereit, National Director of 40 Days for Life Campaign, and John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of who spoke of the role of the media in the fight against abortion.

Yoli Singson of Campaign Life Coalition told that the conference was a complete success. “Everything that we have heard so far is very positive.”

“The young people were so hyped about it. They went in there with a lot of expectation and according to the young people and their teachers, the conference exceeded their expectations,” she said.