Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Waters Gyapong has been a journalist and novelist for more than 20 years. She has worked in print, radio and television, including 12 years as a producer for CBC TV's news and current affairs programming. She currently covers religion and politics primarily for Catholic and Evangelical newspapers.

OTTAWA - The National March for Life drew almost 20,000 people to Parliament Hill May 10, making it the noisiest, youngest and most densely packed gathering in the March’s 15-year history.

An estimated 60 per cent of marchers were under 30, marching on the theme “Abortion Hurts Everyone.”

Marchers arrived on the Hill around noon to find police had barricaded about one-quarter of the lawn, reserving it for pro-abortion demonstrators. This forced the March for Life participants to crunch together, shoulder to shoulder, though only about 50 people appeared to represent the other side. The lawn reserved for pro-abortion demonstrators remained empty, as the counter-demonstrators formed a thin but noisy line along a section of the metal barricade.

OTTAWA - Archbishop William Aquin Carew, who served in the Holy See’s Secretariat of State under Pope Paul VI and represented the Church in posts around the world until his retirement in 1997, died May 8 in St. John’s, Nfld. He was 89.

A St. John’s native, he was ordained in 1947. He pursued further studies at the Vatican’s college for diplomats in Rome, the Pontificia Academia Ecclesiastica.

His extensive diplomatic career began when he was assigned to serve at the Holy See’s Secretariat of State from 1953 to 1969. In 1969, he was named apostolic nuncio to Rwanda and Burundi, before Pope Paul VI sent him on a special mission to Bangladesh in 1972 as an extraordinary envoy.

His next assignment took him to the Middle East. Archbishop Carew’s last assignment took him to Japan as apostolic pro-nuncio from 1983-97.

OTTAWA - Fr. Bob Bedard, founder of the Companions of the Cross, was entombed in Ottawa’s Hope Cemetery May 6 in a mausoleum one admirer expects will become a pilgrimage site.

As the sun was setting, about 200 people gathered on the grass as Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast celebrated the Eucharist on the altar of Bedard’s mausoleum. The entombment’s date, the first Friday in May, also marked the anniversary of the order’s founding 27 years ago.

“Fr. Bob let the Holy Spirit energize his faith, and he was then able to proclaim the joy of our Risen Lord Jesus, as the apostles did in today’s first reading,” said Prendergast in his homily. “A breath of renewal became present in his life and ministry.

OTTAWA - Contentious issues about human rights, even those of unborn children, can be discussed in public in a civil, intelligent way, said Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth. And you need look no further than the recent debate in the House of Commons on his private member's Motion-312 for proof.

On April 26, Woodworth was the only MP who spoke in favour of his motion that would establish a Parliamentary committee to examine the latest medical evidence on whether a child in the womb is a human being. Other MPs from across the political spectrum — including his own Conservative Party — spoke against it.

OTTAWA - Human rights activist and former beauty queen Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay told hundreds of religious leaders she felt blessed to be able to stand at a podium and share her faith without reprisals.

“This is not the case in all parts of the world,” she said, noting that in her native Iran, “we would be facing persecution for gathering like this.”

OTTAWA - Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion proposing a committee study the legal definition of when life begins is not likely to gain much traction in the House of Commons.

The Kitchener, Ont., MP’s Motion 312 was debated in Parliament April 26, but gained no support from other MPs, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has said repeatedly that he will not support the motion, which most believe is aimed at getting Parliament to reopen the abortion debate.

Chief Government Whip Gordon O’Connor made the case for the status quo — which is no legal protection for the unborn from birth until the baby leaves the birth canal.

OTTAWA - A bill that would make it possible for Canada to prosecute human trafficking offenses committed by citizens or permanent residents outside the country has passed in the House of Commons.

Conservative MP Joy Smith's private member's Bill C-310 passed a third reading vote April 27 and has gone on to the Senate.

OTTAWA - As religious leaders from Ukraine sat in the gallery, the House of Commons passed unanimously on April 24 a motion honouring Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky for his courageous efforts to save Jews during the Second World War.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's motion said Sheptytsky, who headed the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 1900 until his death in 1944, courageously spoke out against violence against Jews and sheltered and saved the lives of more than 160 Ukrainian Jews, many of them children.

OTTAWA - Archbishop Christian Lépine’s installation April 27 as archbishop of Montreal inaugurates a new era for the Quebec episcopacy, said a McGill University historian.

“Now there’s a new generation of bishops who are very much in tune with the needs of young people in their dioceses, and this is crucial for the new evangelization,” said John Zucchi.

A generation of bishops who were in their 70s, “many of them concerned with a 1970s and ’80s way of looking at the Church,” have retired, replaced in recent years by a new age cohort that has “rejuvenated” the episcopacy and brought fresh perspective, Zucchi said.

OTTAWA - Organizers are anticipating a record turnout of marchers and bishops for the 15th National March for Life to be held May 10 in Ottawa.

More than a dozen bishops participated in last year’s March for Life, which drew 15,000 people, the largest crowd in the event’s history. An additional 10,000 people attended marches in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We were absolutely delighted with the turnout last year and we’re looking forward to an even bigger turnout this year,” said Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas.