March 3, 2009
Today was another frigid day. At noon, the temperature at the Ottawa Airport was -12º C with a bone chilling wind-chill of -19 º…..not the best conditions to do the vigil outside the abortion mill. I was wondering how many people I would greet when I arrived at the site, and to my surprise there were four: a couple with their toddler and an elderly lady, perhaps the grand-mother. What a powerful prophetic witness, I thought, on one of the busiest intersections of Ottawa, with numerous pedestrians and buses. Two were proudly holding signs while praying. What a sacrifice on such an icy day! But hey, it’s Lent, and you’re supposed to make sacrifices. And this francophone family was certainly setting an example of what a Lenten pilgrimage should be.
I was alone on my vigil shift between noon and 1:00 pm as the family hustled off to the 12:15 Mass at St. Pat’s Basilica, with toddler in a stroller. I held the “Pray to End Abortion” sign while I recited several rosaries, and strolled about 10 metres up and down Bank Street to keep from stiffening out. I was into my 2nd decade when a husky youth gave me two thumbs up as he spotted my sign while crossing Bank. Several other people gave me a sympathetic nod, and one cheerful gentleman greeted me with a “good-day”.
Two other encounters occurred while I was on my second rosary. An elderly lady, who having just disembarked from the bus, after spying the sign, exclaimed “oh no!” … and hurried off. I don’t know what she meant by that, but she didn’t look too pleased. A well dressed, middle aged lady spotted the sign and smiled at me. She said we should add “to end wars” on the sign. I responded that we pray for that as well. In retrospect, I should have reversed the sign which had a picture of a fetus in the womb, and paraphrasing Mother Teresa, should have said “we can only end all wars when we stop killing these”. I’ll remember that for the next time.
As I was ending my third rosary, my feet started to feel numb. Hence, I put my sign into the empty crib, and walked up Bank to the hot air vent to warm up a little. As I was standing there, Sharon, my replacement had arrived and was looking for the log to sign in. Sharon takes a one hour break from work four days a week to do the vigil…another inspiration to end my shift.
Pictures from Day 7:
Pictures from Day 7: