More than double the anticipated crown showed up at an event leading off the Kitchener 40 Days for Life at the Royal Canadian Polish Legion Hall.

More than 120 people participated in the kickoff rally for 40 Days for Life in Kitchener to hear several guest speakers and hear inspirational music as they prepared for the Lenten vigil to pray for an end to abortion.

Retired auxiliary bishop Matthew Ustrzycki of the Hamilton diocese and Debbie Fisher of the Silent No More Awareness campaign spoke and Critical Mass provided musical entertainment.

Bishop Ustrzycki said abortion and other social ills are the result of living in a culture of “state sponsored atheism” as he drew parallels between Canada today and Soviet Russia, “both militantly atheist and anti-Christian” societies. He said, “Like communism, our society is trying to create a society without God.”

Fisher told the audience about her own abortion experience and said, “Don’t be fooled about the abortion industry,” because “they are not interested in helping women. It’s all about the money.”

Debbie Fisher of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign speaks at the kickoff for the Kitchener 40 Days for Life

Organizers expected about 50 people to attend the Kitchener 40 Days for Life kickoff and were surprised to see more than double that number at the rally.

The good news picked up from there with one confirmed turnaround in the first week.

In Toronto, there was also good news, with three confirmed cases of women changing their minds about abortion and choosing life. Organizer Nicole Campbell continues to make presentations to church groups and schools to drum up support for the vigil.

In Montreal, a 40 Days for Life organizer was assaulted. Brian Jenkins of Campaigne Quebec Vie grabbed a 40 Days for Life banner that a teenage girl was attempting to steal after an angry confrontation in which the teen and male acquaintance demanded they leave the Morgentaler abortuary. When Jenkins tried to get the sign back, the unidentified woman punched him with enough force to knock him to the ground. He wrestled back the banner but the assailant fled.

Jenkins said he urged three fellow pro-lifers praying at that time to direct their prayers for the woman who assaulted him.

40 Days for Life with 12-hour daily vigils are being held in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Toronto, Kitchener, Guelph, Oakville, Windsor, and Sudbury.

Participants in 40 Hours for Life in Saskatoon

Daily one-hour vigils are taking place in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan as part of 40 Hours for Life.