TORONTO, May 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — “Be not afraid Canada!”
It’s an uncannily apt theme for Campaign Life Coalition’s 23 annual March for Life given the corona-crisis in which Canada — and much of the world — now finds itself.
And it’s in the spirit of “Be not afraid Canada!” that Campaign Life, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family national lobbying group is urging pro-life Canadians to join its first-ever virtual March for Life from May 10 to 15.
Organized by Campaign Life, the March and rally on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is the country’s largest annual pro-life event. It marks May 14, 1969, the day Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Liberal government passed the omnibus bill decriminalizing abortion under certain circumstances.
The Supreme Court of Canada subsequently struck down that law with its January 28, 1988, “Morgentaler” decision, leaving Canada with abortion on demand and no law protecting the unborn child.
With Parliament Hill off limits this year because of coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, Campaign Life has put together a remarkable five-day event that virtually replicates the March for Life’s traditional activities.
“The Virtual National March for Life is important because the killing of preborn babies has not stopped during the pandemic, so the pro-life movement cannot stop our efforts either,” says Josie Luetke, Campaign Life’s youth coordinator, who along with Campaign Life vice-president Matt Wojciechowski will co-host the May 14 virtual rally and March.
“While we cannot physically be on Parliament Hill, our obligation to call for legal protection for all human beings — from conception to natural death — hasn’t changed,” she told LifeSiteNews.
This year’s Virtual March for Life is also dedicated to Fr. Alphonse de Valk, csb, who died April 16 at age 88. The priest greatly influenced and contributed to the Canadian pro-life movement.
Longtime editor of Canada’s pro-life newspaper The Interim, as well as founder, publisher and editor of Catholic Insight Magazine, Fr. de Valk wrote the seminal history on the legalization of abortion in Canada, Morality and Law in Canadian Politics, and is reportedly the first to refer to May 14, 1969, as Canada’s “day of infamy.”
Moreover, dedicating the March to the beloved Basilian priest is particularly appropriate because “it was Fr. de Valk’s encouragement that led to the first March for Life in 1998,” noted Wojciechowski.
The virtual March for Life kicks off in five days on Sunday, the first of three evenings during which Campaign Life will stream pro-life films, and interviews those involved with their creation.
May 10’s showing is the Strings Attached documentary, followed by a conversation with Obianuju Ekeocha, producer of the film and founder of Culture of Life Africa.
Tuesday’s film is Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death, followed by a conversation with Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
The virtual candlelight vigil takes place Wednesday, May 13, and will be hosted by the man-and-wife musical team A Guy and a Girl Music. It will feature “special guests sharing their life-affirming testimonials, reflections, and prayers,” according to the March for Life website.
The candlelight vigil itself will be preceded by a broadcast of the memorial Mass for Fr. de Valk, which was celebrated May 2 by Fr. Louis di Rocco.
The full-day online program for May 14, the day of the virtual march, begins with the broadcast of a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral.
That will be followed by a “Be Not Afraid” pro-life special hosted by EWTN’s Doug Keck and featuring pro-life speakers Kevin Dunn, Stephanie Gray, and Campaign Life’s Wojciechowski, as well as guest appearances by other pro-life advocates and leaders.
Thursday’s program then moves to the virtual March for Life rally and March from 2:30 to 4:30, which will include a “great line-up of pro-life, religious, and political leaders and international guests along with very special appearances from Canadians across the country,” the March for Life website says.
The Virtual March for Life concludes with the May 15 pro-life webinar “run exclusively by youth,” which is organized by Campaign Life Coalition Youth and Niagara Region Right to Life, and takes the place of the annual March for Life Youth Conference, Luetke told LifeSiteNews.
“Attendees will have the unique opportunity to learn from and connect with pro-life leaders their own age,” she said.
The Virtual March for Life will wrap up Friday with a free one-time screening of the film “Because of Grácia” followed by an interview with film director Tom Simes.
Campaign Life hopes that the virtual March for Life will “accomplish everything the National March for Life usually accomplishes — that is, educate pro-lifers and grow the movement; inspire people to action and rejuvenate those already involved, so they can continue pro-life work throughout the year; and remind our elected officials that this issue is a priority to us and that we will vote and volunteer accordingly,” said Luetke.
“As always, CLC will be urging our supporters to take action and not just passively absorb all the events. Now is the time to be not afraid, Canada!” she added.
“Be not afraid to educate your peers on social media, to call your elected official and discuss any number of the items we're highlighting on our website, to buy a Conservative Party of Canada membership and encourage your friends and family members to do the same in order to support Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis,” she said.
“Let the Virtual National March for Life spur you to take your involvement in the movement to the next level — wherever that may be.”