A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘40 Days for Life

Recently, I had the chance to pray across the street from the Ottawa abortion clinic with people from my parish and another parish, as part of 40 Days for Life.

We said the rosary, read aloud from the Gospels, and prayed as we walked along the sidewalk.

I prayed for the fathers who would never know their children and the grandparents who wouldn’t get to hold their grandchildren. For the mothers who might come to regret aborting their children and would need healing. For the people working in abortion clinics, that they might have a change of heart, like Abby Johnson did.

On a busy workday, I hope our quiet witness touched someone who passed by.

But we can do more to witness to our belief in the sanctity of life.

We can educate ourselves on life issues through websites such as those of Action Life, Campaign Life Coalition, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and LifeSite News. We can follow the progress of legislation and court cases touching on abortion, adoption, reproductive technologies, stem cell research, and euthanasia and contact our member of Parliament or member of provincial parliament to express our views. We can support crisis pregnancy centres and palliative care programs. We can encourage parents who choose to adopt children.

And we can pray that more people would recognize that “Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God” (s. 2319 of the Catechism).

May we choose life and teach our children and youth to do the same.

Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.’

~ s. 2258 of the Catechism


I loved Halloween as a child, both the trick-or-treating and costume creation. But my family didn’t really decorate for Halloween, and it isn’t my thing now. I won’t be transforming our front lawn into a graveyard. At Christmas, my decorations will be up for a month, but at Halloween, the window clings and other items tend to go up just a day or two in advance and come down early on November 1st.

And I can’t say I’m keen on carving pumpkins either. Probably because the pulp feels slimy as I scoop it out. I’d honestly rather enjoy homemade pumpkin pie. But since it’s something my son and I do together, and my son’s braces mean all the good stuff is off-limits (no chewy or sticky candy or corn chips for him) and the thrill of trick-or-treating is gone, we’ll be carving a pumpkin in the next few days.

pumpkin drinking apple juice

Our pumpkin enjoying some apple juice

Usually we brainstorm ideas while I create a lid and hollow out the pumpkin. The past couple of years, we’ve had a horror-film theme going. In 2011, our pumpkin “vomited” pumpkin pulp into a bowl. Last year, our pumpkin used an apple as a juice box (shades of the Calvin & Hobbes snowman comic strip where a snowman uses an ice cream scoop on another snowman).

I know some Christians choose not to mark Halloween. But if you do find yourself carving a pumpkin, I’d like to suggest a wonderful idea I saw in the October issue of Catholic Digest: a pro-life pumpkin.

On its website, the American Life League offers pro-life stencils for pumpkin carving, including a silhouette of a baby sucking his or her thumb.

pro-life pumpkin

Pro-life pumpkin design from the American Life League’s website (http://www.all.org/plpumpkin)

Something as simple as this can be a kind of peaceful witness to our support for the pro-life movement, just as participating in a prayer vigil at an abortion facility is. And as Campaign Life Coalition’s 40 Days for Life page tells us, peaceful witness has been effective in the pro-life cause:

40 Days For Life has succeeded in shutting down 39 abortion facilities, and has documented saving at least 7,536 babies. In addition to the babies, 83 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry and thousands of women have been spared the suffering and trauma that comes with the decision to abort one’s own child.

With the 40 Days for Life campaign drawing to a close in just over a week, I pray that we would show our support for life, whether by saying a rosary for life or peacefully witnessing to our pro-life beliefs in some way. Even if it’s as simple as using a pro-life pumpkin design.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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