MILLENNIUM CROSS— The Millennium Cross stands alongside Highway 41, northeast of Saskatoon. (Yaworski photo)

Annual pilgrimage to Millennium Cross held

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski

ABERDEEN, Sask. — Prayers to end abortion and for the recognition of the sanctity of life at every stage were offered during a living rosary held recently as part of an annual pilgrimage to the Millennium Pro-Life Cross which stands alongside Highway 41, northeast of Saskatoon.

The 15th annual event was held Sept. 7 at the site of the 100-foot steel cross, which was erected as a Knights of Columbus millennium project. The event again included a group of pilgrims who walked portions of a route between Saskatoon and the cross site near Aberdeen, Sask. The afternoon program included prayers, hymns and speakers.

Speakers from the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association included past-president Marcy Millette and president Colette Stang.

“Pro-life people have got to be the most persistent, the most patient, the most hope-filled people on the planet,” Millette said. “What else could explain us being here proclaiming the sanctity of human life from these mountaintops? Against all odds, we continue on.”

Millette described lobbying efforts underway, including one initiative requesting that the provincial government pass legislation requiring parental consent for minors to have an abortion.

Research shows that where parental consent is required, abortion rates are lower among teens, Millette said. “This will not stop all young girls from having abortions, but it will cause many families to choose life. When parents are involved, rather than coercive friends or self-centred boyfriends, other options are explored.”

Millette also noted the importance of getting involved in the political system and the nomination process to promote the pro-life cause among elected officials. “Election day is too late.” Millette noted that materials are available on the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association website to assist with advocacy.

Addressing the pilgrims, association president Colette Stang of Macklin, Sask. stated that “true social justice is making sure that the born and the unborn have the right to life, defending life from conception to natural death.”

Stang described an ever-increasing involvement by young people in the pro-life movement, introducing several who were part of a Saskatchewan delegation to the March for Life in Ottawa earlier this year. The theme of the May 2014 march was “RU-4Life,” a counter reference to the abortion drug RU-486.

The May trip included a youth conference and a chance for young pro-life advocates to network and draw on the experience of others, Stang said, noting the inspiring words of a postcard circulated at the youth conference: “We are the generation that will end abortion.”

Youth participant Andrew Schwark said that the March for Life involved a wide spectrum of some 23,000 participants, representing many faiths and backgrounds, “realizing that life in the womb . . . is real, human life.”

It was encouraging and eye-opening to see how many are working for the protection of life, he said. “It will change the world.”

Other speakers at the pilgrimage were Marilyn Jackson of the Saskatoon Pregnancy Options Centre, Denise Roth of Campaign Life Alliance, and Louis Roth of the Knights of Columbus.

The Millennium Cross site was established in 1999 as a project of Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Knights of Columbus Council 11775, on land donated by the Bayda family. The first 33-foot wooden cross was built on the hill in October 1999, and an annual pilgrimage to pray for victims of abortion was first held Oct. 15, 2000. In July 2006, the larger steel cross was erected. Lighting installed at the site illuminates the large white cross at night.

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