Canadian pro-lifers reflected on the importance of their efforts Dec. 27-28 in masses, prayer services and public demonstrations marking the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

For the past several years, the Feast of the Holy Innocents has become the inspiration for masses dedicated to the thousands of unborn children lost to abortion. This year’s Holy Innocents feast coincided with the Feast of the Holy Family, a time when Roman Catholics and other Christians look to the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a model for their own family life.

‘Most in danger’

During a Dec. 28 mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic described unborn children as “the human lives most in danger in our society.” Several members of pro-life, pro-family organizations, including a number of students from Ontario Students for Life, attended the celebration.

In his homily, Father Robert Nusca, a professor of New Testament scripture at St. Augustine’s Seminary, urged pro-life workers and their supporters to persevere in the struggle despite continuing setbacks and bleak prospects of success.

“The future of all the world depends on many hands raised in prayer,” Father Nusca said. “We should never lose sight of the importance of prayer, not only for those active in the pro-life movement, but also for the conversion of people who promote abortion, mercy-killing and other anti-life practices.”

Father Nusca warned against the “institutional anti-life ethic” which gains strength as society loses its sense of sin and error.

Other cities throughout the country organized similar celebrations to remember pro-life work.

In Vancouver, Archbishop Adam Exner celebrated the fifth annual Mass for Life Dec. 27 at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

He called for a new emphasis on freedom grounded in moral truth as a means of overcoming the burgeoning culture of death in society.

“To counteract the death culture, we have to restore the concept and the idea that every human being has rights regardless of his or her condition,” Archbishop Exner said. “It is not only the strong that have rights, the weak have rights as well.”

Prayer services were not the only activities marking the feast of the Holy Innocents. A small group of Vancouver pro-life supporters used the occasion to stage a public demonstration outside Every Woman’s abortion clinic.

The group, members of the Seamless Garment Network of Canada, attempted to set up a mock daycare centre outside the clinic. Their aim was to encourage more government funding for life-affirming daycare centres, rather than abortion clinics. Two of the protestors were arrested Dec. 28 for violating the province’s “bubble-zone” law against pro-life demonstrations.

In Kingston, Ont., more than 40 pro-lifers staged a Dec. 28 candlelight vigil outside Kingston General Hospital, the scene of thousands of abortions since 1971. Participants prayed and sang hymns on a hill across from the hospital before taking part in the one-hour vigil.

‘Little saints’

Organizers of the Kingston activity said the Feast of the Holy Innocents is an ideal time to remember the unborn. The feast commemorates the newborn children who were ordered killed by King Herod at the time of Christ’s birth. “We pray to these little saints for help in ending the slaughter of the innocents of our time
— the preborn,” said event organizers.

Other dioceses contacted by The Interim did not celebrate special pro-life masses to mark the Holy Innocents feast. The Halifax archdiocese, for example, has scheduled a pro-life mass in May. Other dioceses are awaiting word on a common date for a nationwide pro-life mass remembering children lost to abortion.