May 23, 2011

EDMONTON — They spent hours at St. Joseph's Basilica adoring the Lord and praying for life. More than 100 people passed through the cathedral May 12 between 6:30 and 10 p.m. to pray for protection for the unborn and other defenceless members of society.

"(Lord) provide us with the resources to assist those whose lives are endangered by abortion, euthanasia, infanticide or any other means of destruction of and abuse," the congregation prayed.

"Mary, Mother of God and our mother, pray for all mothers so that they are able to fulfill their maternal responsibilities. Help them to be lovers and nurturers of human life from the moment of conception until natural death."

The archdiocesan Office of Family and Life hosted the vigil. The Red Deer band, Absolution, provided music.

Dianne Rouleau of the Family and Life Office said the event is "an evening to pray for life and respect for life from conception to natural death." The objective is to achieve a "culture of life" and prayer is the way to do it.

"Prayer is the foundation of everything," Rouleau said. "It's not a passive activity; it's an action and we are bringing our intentions to the Lord and asking him to bless the little that we are able to offer him."

Archbishops Richard Smith of Edmonton and Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan were present at the last half of the vigil, with Pettipas offering reflections on the meaning of life.

"Love, insight, family and Eucharist are necessary for the cause of life," he concluded.

"I came to pray for the dignity of all life from conception to natural death," said Beaumont's Katherine Banic, a mother of three who is currently expecting her fourth child.

"We are living in a culture of death right now but I do believe we are making headway in the United States and Canada with the people and the governments. I see signs of hope."

Darlene Breakwood received an email about the vigil and decided to come.

"I feel I haven't done enough for the unborn and so I decided to accept this invitation to pray for life," the mother of two said. "Prayer is very powerful, especially when it is done by many in front of the Blessed Sacrament."

Singles for Christ invited Ronny Sabegon, 25, to the vigil. "It's a good time to reflect on human life right now, especially the unborn and those experiencing euthanasia," he said.

"I believe prayer will change things because God is here listening to us."

Stephane Van De Walle, a Catholic teacher, came from Morinville to the vigil. "I'm here to pray for the protection of the unborn child and for all of human life from conception until natural death," she said.

"The right to life is a fundamental right and there will never be any peace in our world until true justice (for the unborn) is permitted in our society," Van De Walle said.