Wednesday March 3, 2010
March for Life Canada Expects Biggest Turnout Ever
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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
OTTAWA, March 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The organizer of Canada’s National March For Life, Campaign Life Coalition, is predicting that, with the help of a massive turnout from Ottawa area Catholic schools, 20,000 people will participate in this year's annual pro-life march on May 13th, 2010.
On February 22, 2010 Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) held a meeting to discuss strategies to bring about Ottawa Catholic high school participation at the National March for Life (NMfL).
Chris Murawsky from CLC's National March for Life organizing committee chaired the meeting, which brought together representatives from the Ottawa Catholic District School Board, Catholic high school teachers, student pro-life activists, the
Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League and the Ottawa archdiocese.
Chris explained the need to start putting in place concrete plans to bring Ottawa high school students to the NMfL, which last year drew more than 12,000 people, the largest crowd in the event’s 12 year history.
Students and young people made up over half of last year's participants, but the meeting was informed that only about 200 students from Ottawa high schools attended. The thousands of students who participated in the March in recent years have so far overwhelmingly come from schools outside the Ottawa region, some from as far away as Windsor and Sudbury. The largest contingents came from the Hamilton/Wentworth and Halton region Catholic schoolboards.
Murawski mentioned some of the reasons the committee members have been given over the years as to why students could not participate, which included concerns about offending other students who may have had abortions, the March for Life's "political" nature, a negative view of the pro-life movement, students coming from broken and abusive families who do not practice their faith, and transportation problems.
“It’s not easy running a pro-life team in a Catholic high school,” said Matt Dineen, a religion teacher who guides the student pro-life club at St. Joseph’s High School. “Abortion is a sensitive issue,” he said, adding that the St. Joseph Respect for Life Team focuses on euthanasia, the treatment of the handicapped and all aspects of the culture of life, as well as on abortion.
“For us the big struggle is to prove we are loving and we are promoting a Gospel of Life,” he said.
Janet Bentham and Brad Moleski from the Ottawa Catholic District School Board Religious Education Department, however, mentioned that they have met with Ottawa's Archbishop Prendergast regarding the NMfL and they are committed to it. They are working towards increased participation from every high school.
Several Knights of Columbus Councils came forward to offer help with some of the bus rental costs associated with transporting students to the NMfL.
Mr. Murawsky said overall the meeting was very positive and a further step towards increased student participation from Ottawa high schools.
This year's National March for Life theme is "Abortion - a Crime Against Humanity." Events will begin on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, with the march beginning with a gathering on Parliament Hill at noon on Thursday, May 13, 2010, followed by the Youth Conference on Friday May 14