It was a great National March for Life. It is inspiring to see everyone so joyfully witnessing to the great evil of our time and demanding justice for the unborn. At some level there seems something incongruent with that: joyful witnessing over abortion? It would be easy to come to Ottawa with long faces and focus on the grisly horror of abortion, but most people there are infused with the hope that some day this fight will be won. As Fr. Ross Bartley from Holy Name of Mary parish in St. Mary’s, Ontario, told me at the march: “No matter what it takes, we need to do whatever it takes to reverse this course. But we are on the winning side, so it is only a matter of time.”
That hope, as I’ve written numerous times in this paper, is a great gift. Without it, remaining vigilant and steadfast in defending human life – which almost every speaker on the Hill and Rose Dinner urged us to be – would be impossible.
The hopefulness and joy was apparent to anyone there on May 14. Despite a steady rain and gusts of wind, everyone was still smiling as the throng assembled on Parliament Hill or when they proceeded through the streets of Ottawa. No one would blame them for being unpleasant or upset. The weather was miserable. Garbage cans along the march route were filled with broken umbrellas from the wind. People’s clothes were soaked through to the skin. But the pro-life marchers weren’t unpleasant or upset. You cannot be when you are doing the work of the Lord, giving a voice to His tiniest brothers and sisters.
It has become a custom to say that the enthusiasm of the march comes from the young people. That may be largely so, but it is not the whole story. The veterans, some of whom have been coming to Ottawa for more than a decade, where just as energetic and joyful as the high school and university students there for their first or second time.
But there is a third group of people. As you can tell reading the “streeter” on page 12 in which The Interim asked people to tell us why they came to the National March for Life, I talked to a lot of people in the crowd, only about one-third of the responses made the paper. I talked with almost a dozen people who were not youth but who were new to pro-life activism and who were attending their first march for life. What got them involved in pro-life and why come to the march now, I asked them. Every one of them participated in 40 Days for Life – in Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto – and every one of them said they will be back to Ottawa next year.
That might be the fruit of the prayer of 40 Days for Life. And that should be a sign of hope for us all.
– Paul Tuns