Parishioners at St. Bonaventure Church in suburban Toronto were treated to a smorgasbord of pro-life literature November 2 at the community’s first Celebrate Life Sunday.

Born of an urgency to bring greater right to life information to a wider audience, the event was sponsored by the parish’s Small Christian Community Group.

“We would like to continue the tradition of organizing these Celebrate Life events,” said organizer Elmar Kremer. Kremer has long been involved in promoting right to life information. In 1974, he published the popular book, Death Before Birth, with co-author Father E.A. Synan.

Among the groups attending the Celebrate Life Sunday were Campaign Life Coalition, the Right to Life Association of Toronto, Birthright, Aid to Women, the Knights of Columbus, Life Cycle Books, Safehaven, and various natural family planning organizations.

Pro-life activist and writer Father Ted Colleton was the special guest of the parish for the Celebration of Life event. Father Colleton preached at the three Sunday Masses, and invited parishioners to visit the display booths after Mass.

He urged St. Bonaventure parishioners not to lose sight of abortion and its diminished respect for human life.

“The acceptance of abortion obscures our ability to make a distinction between right and wrong,” Father Colleton said. “It’s time we looked truth right in the eye and make a stand against this terrible evil.”

Centre of controversy?

Father Colleton was at the centre of some controversy at the time of the pro-life celebration. A recent article in a small Catholic weekly newspaper outlined how some parishioners at the neighboring Toronto church were upset by one of his powerful homilies against abortion.

The St. Bonaventure community however, had no such reservations. Those visiting the information displays after each Mass praised Father Colleton’s homily as a blunt but needed message on abortion’s harmful consequences. Most found the information compelling, and several visitors told presentors it was helpful to have such a wealth of pro-life literature available at one time.

Elmar Kremer was pleased with the success of the first-time event. He said the parish may consider staging the event on an annual basis. He also expressed hope that other parishes and congregations organize similar events in their communities.

“I think there is always a need to remind people why the church takes its position on abortion and respect for life,” he said.