Toronto Archbishop Joins 40 Days Prayer Vigil and Celebrates Mid-Point Mass
By Steve Jalsevac
TORONTO, Ontario, March 10, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Monday, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins participated for the second time in a Toronto 40 Days for Life event since 40 Days was launched in Canada's largest city early last year. As he did last year, Collins quietly prayed with other pro-life witnesses outside the Lawrence Ave. W. abortion centre for about 50 minutes and then celebrated the mid-point mass attended by about 300 40 Days regulars and other supporters.
The pro-life community was delighted to have the presence of Toronto's Catholic spiritual leader at the event. Although the archbishop did not refer to 40 Days during the Mass, he did make brief reference to the value of human life during his homily, which was mainly focused on the reading of the day.
Collins stated that "the little child is the most precious gift of God. The gift of life is the most profound reality there is. This is blessedness."
The current campaign is the third that 40 Days has conducted in Toronto. The Feb. 16th kick-off rally was addressed by Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministries of Dayton, Ohio.
Toronto organizer Nicole Campbell told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that on Monday there were "two turn-arounds," or mothers who changed their minds about having an abortion. That made for a total of five that are known to have occurred since the beginning of the current prayer vigil campaign. Campbell emphasized that although those are the ones that have been confirmed, she feels there have actually been more.
Campbell also told LSN that outside the three 40 Days events, the Lawrence Ave. W. abortion centre has been visited every Saturday this past year by pro-lifers following New York Msgr. Philip Reilly's Helpers of God's Precious Infants approach. Campbell reported that "at least 15 women have changed their mind" as a result of those Saturday efforts.
Other 40 Days participating Canadian cities include Montreal, Quebec, Guelph, Ontario, Red Deer and Edmonton, Alberta and Kelowna, British Columbia. There has also been pro-life witnessing during the day throughout the duration of the 40 Days for Life Campaign at Ottawa's "The Morgentaler Clinic" on Bank Street and in Toronto at the "Cabbagetown Women's Clinic."
Edgar Barreto, is a young Costa Rican Canadian who regularly counsels women outside the Cabbagetown Clinic and brings them into the Aid to Women crisis pregnancy centre next door. He told LSN after the mid-point Mass that there were three, and likely as many as five, turnarounds at that location on Monday as a result of pro-life efforts.
The Toronto 40 Days for Life at 960 Lawrence St. West runs from 7 am to 9 pm daily. Campbell said while there is usually an early enthusiasm for the campaign, the challenge is to maintain the regular vigils for the duration of the 40 days. At the end of the mid-point Mass she encouraged those in attendance to sign up online to participate at some time during the rest of the campaign. However, she stated, if that is a problem, "You can just show up. Just come and pray."
The closing event for the Toronto campaign will take place at 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 28. Campbell said that participants are asked to come to the vigil location at 960 Lawrence Ave W where there will be special prayers followed by a reception at a nearby location.