Principal Rick Townsend (left) and CLC president Jim Hughes helped launch a high school pro-life initiative in southwestern Ontario.

Principal Rick Townsend (left) and CLC president Jim Hughes helped launch a high school pro-life initiative in southwestern Ontario.

On the evening of April 17, Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition was the guest speaker at a special parents’ meeting at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School (HCC) in Strathroy, Ont. HCC principal Rick Townend, in conjunction with their chaplain, Marjorie Braatz, are implementing the HCC Pro-Life Project, in which students will engage in pro-life activates in the classroom. Hughes was invited to speak to interested parents to inaugurate this venture.

Hughes spoke of his 35 years of involvement in the pro-life movement. In 1978, upon a suggestion by his wife Ginny, Hughes interrupted a successful ten-year career in the wholesale importing business to become the Toronto chairman of the then fledgling Campaign Life.  Hughes spoke of the many blessings he has received in his work with Campaign Life Coalition and as a board member of the International Right to Life Federation. He emphasized the importance of prayer; that every morning he asks God “what do you need me to do?” Hughes said the response is always the same, “I don’t need you, I want you ….”

Hughes told many anecdotes. He recounted how Dr. Bernard Nathanson converted from being an abortionist involved in 60,000 abortions. One day Nathanson felt compelled to go into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NewYork. He slid into a back pew. During Mass, a couple offered the sign of peace handshake to him: “Peace be with you, Dr. Nathanson.” He was astounded that they knew who he was and what he did, yet they still offered the sign of peace. This small act of kindness was the beginning of his conversion.

Another story was that of a young girl who mowed the grass for an elderly woman. This woman told her one day that her granddaughter was going to have an abortion. The young girl responded “But why, when you have so much love to share?” This profoundly affected the elderly woman, who spoke to her daughter and granddaughter.  She now has a great-grandchild to love. A simple, caring statement by a young girl, not only saved a baby’s life, but strengthened a family’s bonds of love.

Hughes said such heart-warming stories are what the pro-life movement is about.

The CLC president concluded his talk with a promotional video of the upcoming National March for Life in Ottawa, May 8-10.

Principal Rick Townend then discussed the upcoming HCC Pro-Life Project. On Thursday, May 2, all teaching staff in period 1 will engage their students in a meaningful and age-appropriate discussion on the dangers of abortion.  The discussion will culminate in a literacy project such as writing a letter to the MP, designing a poster, or authoring a journal entry. These reflection pieces will be presented at their May 7 Respect for Life Mass. At this same time, those students who will be attending the March for Life in Ottawa will receive a special blessing and send-off.

Principal Townend showed various Youtube clips of pro-life songs that he has suggested may be used by the staff, such as “Canada – Silent No More” by canadasilentnomore1 and “Happy Birthday” by rapper Flipsyde.

Townend has spoken to CWL and Knights of Columbus groups to promote the Pro-Life Project. He thanked the local priests, in particular Fr. Matthew Bedard, for their help in getting the Pro-Life Project started. Following these presentations, there was a question and answer session.

The evening concluded with a prayer in the HCC school chapel.

The parents who attended this wonderful evening left feeling rejuvenated in their pro-life beliefs and excited for the pro-life education that the students are receiving at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School.