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Tuesday, 20 March 2018 13:54

A Protestant-Eye View of the Day of the Unborn Child

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"Where are the people?" she said.

All we knew was that we were travelling to march with Sydney's Catholic community for "The Day of the Unborn Child", and we knew that it had something to do with the annunciation and something to do with carnations. (I now know it to be the 'incarnation' of Christ in Mary's womb, something that we evangelical non Catholics could probably spend a more time meditating on... but I digress).
It all sounded very foreign to us, (well, to me any way) and although we didn't know a great deal about exactly what we were getting ourselves into, we did know that we were marching FOR LIFE and WITH Pro-lifers, in the only annual event of it's kind in Sydney and at the very least we had that vital common ground with our fellow Catholic marchers - who were the conveners of the march and made up the bulk turnout of this important event.
So that was enough for these 3 protestants, to give this Day of the Unborn Child a rip-roaring go. We travelled in anticipation by ferry to Circular Quay, and walked from Circular Quay up to St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. We were pressed for time as we passed many of Sydney's famous sights; walking fast paced, we finally rounded the corner to St Mary's Cathedral- and wasn't that a sight to behold in all of its massive and magnificent workmanship?

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Take My Hand, Not My Life

As we came closer to the Cathedral, and we could see only a handful of people, all three of us were l wondering - but my friend CDP candidate Julie Worsley voiced it, when she said - "Where are the people"? This sparked the idea in me for both the title and theme of this article. Julie walked on ahead and asked a young bloke with a pram, who was standing on the steps of the cathedral, and who later marched with us, "Where do we meet up for the March?" He pointed, "Around the back". We followed his directions and as we rounded the corner, we breathed a sigh of relief as we saw hundreds of people of all ages, and stages, carrying pro life placards with slogans on them such as; "Take my hand, not my life", "The future is in your hands", "The Day of the Unborn Child" and "Love life".
As soon as we arrived I immediately went into reporter mode, noting numbers, attendees, VIP's and getting pictures of the event. And as I looked out onto the expansive courtyard outside St Mary's Cathedral I couldn't help pondering on the thought once again. "Where are (all) the people?". The stairs were filling up as people filed out of Mass, but alas, even as the church emptied, the courtyard was still pretty much empty. But even so, with every man woman or child that I saw, young old old, Catholic or not Catholic, my heart soared, for once again I was among my fellow pro lifers and we were here for one thing and one thing only - to MARCH FOR LIFE.
I take my hat off to every person there, in particular Paul Hanrahan and his organisation Family Life International - Australia, as these are seasoned pro-lifers who have given up their life for this cause and they are the only ones in Sydney who are doing anything like this March. I also take my hat off to each and every one who marched; in particular the elderly, the sick, the frail and the heavily pregnant and the very young. My heart leapt at the sight of each and every one of you, I love you and I was so proud to be a part of you. As we neared the beginning of the march, there were between one to perhaps two thousand people now waiting behind some VIP's, as some young men carried a cross, what I assumed to be a Catholic flag of some kind, and the Australian flag. Seeing the cross and the Aussie flag side by side made my heart swell with pride.

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As a non Catholic I was a bit shocked by a statue of Mary that turned up at pride of place to be carried with us in the procession; the idea of carrying a statue, let alone one of Mary, was all very foreign to me. But I tried to put aside any concerns about theological and denominational differences, as I took my place at front and centre of the procession and we finally began to march. I was pleased that I could join some of the liturgy, the Lord's prayer, the Nicene Creed and the parts about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and I found that I even knew a lot of the hymns that were being sung, which was great. 
Again, for those non Catholics who are joining with this event in future, I was surprised by the amount of time given to speaking about and praying to Mary, in comparison to Jesus, but nonetheless I joined in with the parts I knew and the bits I agreed with, took tons of photo's, said my own prayers for the Catholic Church, for our nation, Australia, and of course for the unborn babies and the abortion industry. As we marched through the city in our sombre procession, I found myself so grateful to be a part of this faithful witness of people as we publicly declared - we are for life, God is for life and we will NOT stand by idly acquiescing to the culture of death while hundreds of thousands of tiny children are murdered each year, in Australia alone, all in the name of choice. In the words of a friend, although, "it was very Catholic", we were so glad to be a part of it.
[Below: 3 pictures which you may or may not find controversial - Kathy]

As we entered Sydney's Domain, we stopped and the VIPs made some speeches, while the police surrounded us for protection, and as I looked out the the vast expanse of the Sydney Domain, of which our small group filled only a very small fraction, I saw in my mind's eye a vision of the whole Domain filled to the brim with passionate pro- lifers of all denominations: an indomitable, unstoppable force that will not be stopped until the killing is stopped. And I know that this is every pro-lifer's dream. And while the first part of the march to the domain wasn't really all that public, my spine tingled as we began to march past car after car of stopped traffic, and the general public, and for once they could not push this issue under the carpet. If for even for one moment, a few in Sydney were nakedly exposed and reminded of our culture's greatest shame, who knows?  Perhaps due to a somewhat awakened conscience, a few babies lives were saved on the march that day.
It was certainly worth any discomfort of denominational differences, and the occasional sniggering stare, to march through the streets of Sydney that day, and I hope to do it again next year. I was so proud and so privileged to be a part of Sydney's equivalent of the "March for the Babies" and to march for life, to march for the unborn and I will do so again at other marches throughout the nation and I will do so again at this march. And so this is my call to you today Catholics, Protestants, and any other pro-lifer who cares to join us, "Where are the people"?
Where will you be at the next march?
I, and others like me, will be there again and I, and others like me, long to see the courtyard out the back of St Mary's Cathedral overflowing. We want to see an escort of hundreds of police officers.
We want every pro-lifer to be aware of this event and attending this and every state's pro- life events.
We want the domain filled to standing room only. We want us all moving from march to march, and prayer vigil to prayer vigil, never giving up. I want us to march on parliament in Canberra; I want us to stand together and march together - UNTIL THE KILLING STOPS.
Rissa Hann

Blogger and mother

Rissa Hann is a conservative, Christian, wife, mother and writer in the culture wars. She has studied and worked in nursing, welfare, disability care and Christian counselling. After the birth of her only child, Rissa left work to become a full-time wife and mother and in her spare time continued her work with her local church. During Rissa’s work with the church, she took on Pastoral duties, set up and ran a 24/7 prayer room, and evangelised on the streets to individuals and at community events. During this time Rissa also became aware of abortion and other political issues of the day.

Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when her son was 4 and also looking after her son who has special needs, Rissa realised she would need to cut back on much of the external and physical work that required her to be out of the home, and after paring back on everything outside of the home, just over 2 years ago God rather unexpectedly changed the direction of her life and she began to speak out on and write in the “culture wars”. Rissa is now an avid online writer on Facebook and when she gets the time, on her website.