Participants hold signs during the 2019 Life Chain in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The annual event will be held across Canada despite a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Canada's largest provinces. In the U.S., National Life Chain Sunday has been moved to Nov. 1 this year, although some cities will observe the Oct. 4 date. (CNS photo/Paul Schratz courtesy of B.C. Catholic)      

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- The annual National Life Chain will be held across Canada Oct. 4 despite a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada's largest provinces and the prime minister warning of a COVID-19 "second wave."

Organizers said they believe their pro-life message is more important than ever. They said the rules they have put in place make the gathering of pro-life Canadians at about 200 outdoor locations across the country as safe as possible for participants and the public.

One of the event's key organizers told Canadian Catholic News that COVID-19 safety protocols and a new code of conduct have been developed.

"There should be no problem for anyone who is generally healthy to take part in this year's Life Chain," said Josie Luetke, a Life Chain Canada committee member and youth coordinator for the Campaign Life Coalition.

"Those who may be worried about the COVID-19 situation or for health reasons shouldn't take part; we are asking them to put up a pro-life sign at their homes and pray during the hour," Luetke said.

This year's National Life Chain is scheduled for between 2 and 3 p.m., although there may be some time differences at some sites across the country. Details about specific sites where a Life Chain event is planned and the safety protocols that have been developed for the event can be accessed at the Campaign Life Coalition's website, where a special Life Chain tab has been created.

Luetke acknowledged that some community-based Life Chain organizers have dropped out because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but for the most part Life Chain gatherings will be held across the country as they have been in the past.

"We've always wanted and encouraged people to spread out at the Life Chain because it makes the chain appear longer and makes more of an impact, so we've always had a form of social distancing," Luetke said.

A Campaign Life Coalition statement that was to be released Oct. 2 said pro-life Canadians across the country "will demonstrate peacefully, praying and holding signs in support of the right to life from the time of conception until natural death."

The 2020 Life Chain has been endorsed by numerous Catholic bishops and other faith leaders in Canada, including the leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Muslims for Life.

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