Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Day 1 – 40 Days for Life, spring vigil
A blessed day witnessing for unborn life and God.
The temperatures warmed up as the day progressed: from a low of –12c (wind chill –18c) at the outset (7 am) to a high of –7c at closing time, 7 pm.
In addition to my familiar signs, I brought with me two other aids. The familiar signs read, in both French and English, “Choose Life” and “Pregnant? Worried? Call... 1-855-871-4442." The third item brought, again bilingual, was the 40 Days for Life “Pray for the End of Abortion.” The other item was, appropriate for Ash Wednesday, a simple wooden cross, about six feet in height.
Six people came to join me in prayer. Mary was the first to arrive around 8am and was joined shortly thereafter by Alexandre. The two stayed for about an hour. After a short interval of being alone, Charlotte came around 11am and she was followed by Jerome; the latter staying for a couple of hours while the former for a few hours. Jos arrived in the mid-afternoon, meeting me at the 2:30pm mass and staying until about 5:30pm. And finally, it was Denis’ turn to vigilate, arriving around 4pm and staying ‘til closing.
Several visitors stopped to give encouraging words. Linda and Sonia, regular commuters, greeted us with their smiles and kind words. Then came John who stopped by and snapped a picture of Mary and me. In mid-afternoon Sylvio stopped to share his concers about several societal woes. Maurice made a brief stop, sharing about a recent trip. Finally, Mario passed by after the afternoon mass to greet the prayer volunteers.
As to be expected the pro-life message was not unanimously welcomed. Detractors were present throughout the day. Early on, while I was praying with Mary, a middle-aged gentleman satirically acted out a rendition of the devil. Many grimaced in displeasure at the sight of our presence.
As for the abortion facility, it was business as usual. The receptionist arrived at her customary 7h40, while the administrator shortly thereafter – 8h00. As best as I could see from our 50m restricted zone that the courts have imposed on us, I spotted at least two couples whom I suspected were headed there.
During the twelve-hour vigil, we were able to cover for about eleven of these.