.- An estimated 12,000 Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday to rally and march against legalized abortion in Canada.
The participants, part of the Canadian 2009 March for Life, included 18 Members of Parliament. Their numbers exceeded last yearâs record-setting turnout of about 8,000.
Jim Hughes, president of the Campaign Life Coalition which organizes the march, said the turnout was "a real blessing," especially in the crowdâs "growing number of young people."
The March has taken place annually for 12 years, LifeSiteNews.com reports. Events began with interdenominational prayer services at the Canadian Reformed Church and St. Georgeâs Anglican Church, while Masses were celebrated at Notre Dame Basilica and St. Patrickâs Basilica.
About 900 people attended the Mass at St. Patrickâs Basilica, while over 1,100 crowded into St. Patrickâs Basilica. About 200 additional people watched each Mass from the basement of each church due to lack of space.
According to LifeSiteNews.com, Hughes said he was "especially pleased" by the show of support from the Canadian Catholic bishops, with at least 12 bishops celebrating the Masses. The 2009 March marks the first time the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has given its official support for the event.
Abortion has been legal in Canada for 40 years.