Participants hold signs during the 2019 Life Chain in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The annual event will be held across Canada and throughout North America Oct. 4, 2020, despite a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada's largest provinces. CNS photo/Paul Schratz courtesy B.C. Catholic

Life Chain a go, with enhanced safety protocols

By  Brian Dryden, Catholic News Service
  • September 29, 2020

OTTAWA -- The annual National Life Chain will be held across Canada Oct. 4 despite a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada’s largest provinces and warnings of a “second wave.”

The annual pro-life event will go ahead as organizers believe their pro-life message is more important than ever, with safety rules put in place to make the event as safe as possible for participants and the public.

Specific safety protocols and a new code of conduct have been developed to make the gathering of pro-life Canadians at about 200 outdoor locations across the country a safe event.

“There should be no problem for anyone who is generally healthy to take part in this year’s Life Chain,” said Josie Luetke, a Life Chain Canada committee member and youth co-ordinator for Campaign Life Coalition.

“Those who may be worried about the COVID-19 situation or for health reasons shouldn’t take part, we are asking them to put up a pro-life sign at their homes and pray during the hour.”

The National Life Chain is scheduled for between 2 and 3 p.m. local time on Oct. 4. Details about specific sites where a Life Chain event is planned and the safety protocols that have been developed for the event can be accessed at the Campaign Life Coalition’s website (campaignlifecoalition.com) where a special Life Chain tab has been created.

At the annual event, pro-life Canadians across the country “will demonstrate peacefully, praying and holding signs in support of the right to life from the time of conception until natural death,” said a Campaign Life news release.

“Although we’ve had to make some adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, generally speaking, the new restrictions don’t impede Life Chain too much, as this is an outdoor event, and participants have always been encouraged to stand a few metres apart in order to cover more ground,” Luetke said.

“We are urging all to abide by proper health and safety measures and we are confident that participants will be physically distanced.”

Luetke acknowledges that some community-based organizers have dropped out because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve always wanted and encouraged people to spread out at the Life Chain because it makes the chain appear longer and makes more of an impact, so we’ve always had a form of social distancing,” Luetke said.

The 2020 Life Chain has been endorsed by numerous Catholic bishops and other faith leaders in Canada, including the leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Muslims for Life.

Bishops across the country have endorsed Life Chain, including Kingston Archbishop Michael Mulhall despite the event not being held in that city this year. Luetke said organizers in Kingston decided not to hold a public Life Chain event, not necessarily because of the COVID-19 situation, but because of difficulties with counter-protesters in that city last year.

However, she said smaller Life Chains in communities near Kingston are expected to be held instead.

Last modified on September 30, 2020

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