Standing up for life at 40 Days for Life

  • February 26, 2010
{mosimage}TORONTO - For 21-year-old Gabriel Bacani, standing outside on a chilly Friday afternoon isn’t a big deal if it’s to stand up for life.

Bacani was joined by Josh Canning, a pastoral assistant at York University’s Catholic Chaplaincy, at a vigil for the 40 Days for Life campaign on Feb. 19. The campaign kicked off two days earlier on Ash Wednesday.

Bacani volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta last summer at a home for children with disabilities. He said he was inspired by the late Mother Teresa’s strong pro-life stance against abortion and her work in helping babies who were abandoned by their parents in the streets of Calcutta.

Canning said they had received a few waves from passersby and also a lot of stares.

“I’m very proud to be Canadian but there’s a deep wound in my heart that my country has the scourge of abortion,” he told The Catholic Register.

There’s a “false sense of peace” in Canada because of the reality of abortions in the country and the absence of a law protecting unborn children, he added.

Bacani and Canning were at the vigil spot on Lawrence Avenue near Dufferin Street, across from Women’s Care Clinic where abortions are performed. On this day, Bacani and Canning were the only two volunteers at the vigil together for a one-hour stint.

Campaign organizer Nicole Campbell said about 15 groups have signed up for all-day vigils from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Although it’s been “surprising” to not see more people at the vigil in Canada’s largest city, with so many faith groups represented, Campbell said it’s generally been a challenge to get people to publicly support pro-life causes even if they believe in the cause.

But she added there have been success stories. So far, 55 women have decided not to go ahead with an abortion among the 167 cities across Canada, the United States, Australia and Northern Ireland hosting the campaign of prayer, fasting, community outreach and peaceful vigils.

In Toronto, there has been at least one reported success story, Campbell said. A counsellor from the group had spoken to a woman who was on her way to the abortion clinic. The volunteer started praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, told the young woman he was praying for her and encouraged her not to have an abortion. The young woman said she would consider it but went inside the clinic, Campbell said, only to come out and tell the volunteer that she had changed her mind.

Toronto is one of six Canadian cities participating in the pro-life campaign, running until March 28. Other vigils are taking place in Montreal, Guelph, Ont., Edmonton, Red Deer, Alta., and Kelowna, B.C.

On March 8 at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will celebrate a mid-point Mass for the campaign.

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