March for Life taking virtual route for pro-life cause

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  • May 6, 2020

OTTAWA -- Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa has been a key figure and participant at every National March for Life since he arrived 13 years ago in the nation’s capital.

This year will be no exception, even though almost everything about the National March for Life will be different this year.

The annual pilgrimage to Ottawa by pro-life Canadians that normally culminates in a rally and march on Parliament Hill will instead be an Internet experience shared across the country.

Prendergast will celebrate the March for Life Mass on May 14, but this time the Mass will take place in an empty church as, like most places of worship in Canada, Catholic churches in Ottawa are closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A ‘virtual Mass’ from Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral is being prepared. Year in and year out, this Mass and others have been a springtime highlight of Catholic life in the capital,” Prendergast said.

For the first time in its history, the March for Life will not involve thousands of pro-life Canadians gathering in Ottawa and marching through the streets but instead it will become an online event.

Campaign Life Coalition, which has organized Canada’s largest annual pro-life event since 1998, starts a week-long online program on May 10 that will run through May 15.

“This initiative will also bring awareness to the killing occurring at the other end of the spectrum, near the end of life, with a focus on the proposed expansions to Canada’s euthanasia law,” according to a statement from the march organizing committee.

The online activities will be available through MarchForLife.ca. A pro-life film festival will run May 10-12 at 8 p.m. (all times ET) each night, including a May 12 showing of Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death that will include a conversation with Euthanasia Prevention Coalition executive director Alex Schadenberg.

The film festival will be followed by a virtual candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. on May 13 and online Masses and religious services on May 14 that will include a live-streamed virtual rally with guests from Canada and around the world from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

There will also be a pro-life special titled “Be Not Afraid” broadcast May 14 from 1-2:30 p.m. on EWTN (www.ewtn.com) hosted by pro-life speakers Kevin Dunn and Stephanie Gray.

The online events will conclude May 15 with a virtual pro-life webinar geared towards youth from 12:30-3 p.m.

“For all those who have always wanted to attend in the past but couldn’t, now they can participate,” said Debbie Duval, national capital organizer for Campaign Life Coalition. “And for those who were going to attend, they can still participate this year.”

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