For a second consecutive year, we at the Quebec Life Coalition will be hosting the crossroads walkers when they arrive in Montreal the first weekend of August - August 4-6.
The group of ten left the west coast five weeks ago and, as I write to you, are arriving in Regina to spend the weekend.
The following story was written by Thaddeus Baklinski.
SOMEWHERE on the prairies, June 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After walking through British Columbia in almost incessant rain, the team of stalwart Crossroads Canada pro-life walkers made it to the plains of Alberta and are now trekking through the vast expanses of Saskatchewan sharing their message of life in major cities and small towns along the way.
"It’s week 4 and we’ve hit the plains! After descending the Rockies into the plains of southern Alberta, we have since jumped north and continued walking east from the Calgary area. We are now in mid-western Saskatchewan heading to Saskatoon,” the group related on their blog late last week.
Patrick Wilson, leader of the group of 10 young people ages 18 to 30, said that blisters - the most serious physical hardship the walkers have experienced so far - are both a painful reminder and an inspiration to the walkers of the reason they walk, so the phrase “offer it up” is used often.
“I am happy to report that we have sustained no real injuries as of yet - despite some fairly bad blisters for some - but everyone is more than happy to walk, even though it may at times be painful,” Patrick said. “In that vein, the phrase “offer it up!” has already become a bit of a joking cliché term - and though we joke about how frequently we say it, there is still much truth in the idea of offering up any pain in our walking for the unborn and the intentions we receive along the way at parishes.”
The team’s daily routine involves walking in shifts through the night and day. They also attend daily Mass at the nearest parish.
The group walks for five days and then spends weekends praying in front of abortion clinics, visiting parishes to talk to youth groups and to drum up donations. The weekends also give blisters and sore muscles time to heal.
“One of the things which has surprised me the most on Crossroads - in a good way - is the importance of the parish mission on the weekends,” Patrick related.
“Visiting local churches, we share with parishioners what our walk is about, and ask for spiritual and financial support. I was initially reluctant to do this part of the walk, but have since found it extremely rewarding for both the parishioners, and our own motivation.”
“For them to see young people active and engaged in the mission, who care deeply enough about it to want to walk across the country for the cause, is very encouraging for many of these people. Their encouragement, in exchange, is very encouraging for us. To feel and receive this abundant support on weekends has helped to strengthen our resolve to walk with purpose this summer. Thank-you parishioners!”
Nineteen-year-old team member Lindsay Richey of B.C., said the positive response, especially from parishes along the way has been a highlight for her.
“I’ve noticed a lot of positive response. We get a lot of encouragement, especially from parish communities on the weekends, which really fills us up and keeps us motivated,” Lindsay told the Western Catholic Reporter, which caught up with the team in Edmonton.
“I’m walking this summer because I’ve come to realize how precious all human life is and I want to witness to how important it is especially for the unborn,” added Lindsay.
The team notes that, “The general response we have received so far along the road has been interesting.”
“While the majority of actual responses we visibly receive has been so far positive - friendly horn blasts, thumbs up and waves - it is still tough to gauge exactly what the majority of those who drive by us actually think.”
As participants in previous Crossroads Canada walks have told LifeSiteNews, their experience is that many Canadians are apathetic about abortion.
Patrick observed that, “Looking into the cars of passersby (we do not try to make it look obvious!), nearly all drivers notice us, and with some degree of interest. It is easy to notice the turning heads, or the glance, and the averted eyes. We very rarely get middle fingers, angry yells, or any negative response.”
“It is interesting to note,” Patrick said, “because I think it is sadly indicative of the typical Canadian tendency towards apathy on topics such as abortion. I feel that many of these people likely do not disagree with our cause, or respect us for standing up for it, but might feel that since abortion is not directly their problem, then they should not be concerned or excited about the movement.
“How do we reach these apathetic Canadians? This is not an easy question to answer. But I only hope that our shirts have at least got these apathetic passersby to think about the issue a little more, and maybe open their minds to consider that maybe there is something wrong with the genocide that we are inflicting on our future generation.”
Again, as has been the experience by teams in previous years, Patrick and the team agree that the level of support for the pro-life cause and for their cross-Canada walk was by far the highest in the province of Saskatchewan.
"So far, our experience in this province of Saskatchewan has proven to be most supportive overall, judging by the amount of positive response we are getting from passing cars and those we meet in the towns along the way. We have even got some donations on the road!” Patrick said.
Crossroads Canada will wind up in Ottawa on August 11 with a rally on Parliament Hill. The organizers and participants are urging pro-lifers to take the time to come out and show their support of the walkers, and for the pro-life cause in Canada.
The Canada Crossroads walkers are blogging their adventures here.
The schedule of the 2012 Crossroads Canada pro-life walk is available here.
Anyone wishing to donate toward the pro-life walkers’ expenses can do so online at www.crossroadswalk.org by phone at 1-800-353-8817 or by mailing a cheque made out to Crossroads Pro Life to:
Crossroads, Inc., PO Box 2219 Columbia, MD 21045, USA
As I write, the Crossroads walkers are skirting the Georgian Bay and making their way towards the urban areas of Ontario. Yet prior to venturing into Sault Ste.Marie ten days ago, the following blog entry was written by one of their group. (Others entries may be found at: http://crossroadscanada.blogspot.com/) Enjoy. - B.J.
Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ
In the beginning of our walk we, the crossroads members, spoke of suffering, or more specifically, the suffering we would endure. We discussed with people and parishes about the treks through the mountains, plains, and hills that were to be endured. We explained to all about the hardships, physical and spiritual, that we would bear for the sake of the unborn.
But talking about what you are about to do cannot be compared to the experience of the actual doing. We have now been gone for close to two months of our three month pilgrimage across Canada. We have traversed the mountains. We slept in the cold, sometimes in tents, sometimes crammed in the R.V. We met up with bears, moose, and other wild life, day or night, to which scared some of us half to death. There have been times when we thought someone lost, or we ourselves lost. I can attest to, as well as the rest of the crew, of taking a few wrong turns and going the wrong way (going west is not the same as going east). We have walked the long highways of the plains. There is a special challenge unique to the prairies: seeing the same thing for miles on end. The flood plains of Manitoba, though not too physically demanding, constantly reminded us of the suffering of others. To see whole fields swallowed up and replaced by vast lakes left an eerie sense of danger looming around every bend: what if our pathway was washed out, how would we continue?
Amongst these challenges there is always the threat of humanity: be he neighbour or self. We have come across with great guilt pent up inside causing instability and aggression. Trying to convince oneself of not being a murderer, or at least a conspirator of a murder, takes a toll on a man’s mind, heart, and soul. We have been yelled at, sworn at, and on the occasion swerved at because the lingering guilt bites at their inner most being. Our shirts, our cause, God’s truth breaks down years of lies and leaves one naked. Yet the truth does not only bite at their conscience, it bites at ours as well. I am pro-life, but what does that mean? How does this manifest itself in my actions? Am I being merciful and loving? Am I being self centered, prideful, or slothful even? Am I living my life in a manner befitting of a Catholic? If I do not live up to God’s call, I will be hurting all around me with my own sinfulness.
There are also personal sufferings that have been endured for the sake of our mission of mercy. I have suffered dehydration (by not drinking enough water) and strep throat. Others have suffered because of personal realizations, character defects, family problems, and the list goes on.
I write of these things to show the seriousness of our mission. It is not simply a little jaunt across Canada, where good friends hang out and have a good time. There are too many people who do not take us seriously. I have suffered, therefor I understand a little more. I came to Crossroads wanting a rest from life, and now, because of suffering, I want to fight to protect the sacredness of life.
Suffering is a great blessing to fallen humanity. It teaches us what not to do or what to do. Even more so it unites humanity. To suffer is to connect ourselves to others who also suffer. Most importantly, to suffer is to unite that which unites all humanities suffering: Jesus Christ. He suffered for us so that we may suffer in Him. We lift our sufferings, our burdens, our hardships, our toils to his cross. When we do this we suddenly gain supernatural strength, courage, love, and mercy. Ironically, that which was evil is turned into a great good. That which was dead comes to life. The obscenities that fly our way are turned to blessings as we pray for them. Our illnesses and stresses become causes of joy for they may save a child.
There are others out there who sacrifice themselves as well, not just the Crossroads crew. There are those who walk with us spiritually, and those who provide for us by giving us lodgings, food, and support. The Crossroads team members are only the head of the spear, there is still the whole shaft behind it giving support. Without the shaft, there is not weight for the head to fly and pierce its target. Without our supporters, those who provide for us both spiritually and physically, Crossroads would fail. Because we are united in our suffering in the same body of Christ, we are given the graces to reach out to the hardened and the broken, and God willing, to reach the hearts and minds of Canada.
Matthew J.J Hatchen (Friday, July 15, 2011)
Posted by p.taylor at 9:43 AM
Get ready to welcome some very special pilgrims. During July and August, we in Eastern Canada have the chance to meet a group of stalwart young adults carrying the pro-life message in a unique manner. Seven men and four women are currently walking across Canada as an oblation for the pro-life cause. Begun at University of British Columbia this past May 21, 2011, they have scaled the Rockies, endured hordes of mosquitoes on the prairies, and have just entered the Canadian Shield at Thunder Bay. Their trek will end in Ottawa on August 12, after travelling through Montreal.
These youth are part of movement called Crossroads, a prolife pilgrimage crossing America and Canada.
Currently there are five occurring – four in the US and one here.
Begun in 1995 south of the border, its founder was responding to Pope John Paul II call to youth to become more involved in the pro-life movement.
These pilgrimages “hope to convert the hearts and minds of others – at the grass-roots level – by witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death.”
The eleven, accompanied by a motorized mobile home, walk in shifts. They walk five at a time for a twelve hour period before taking a break in their mobile home for a snooze.
So 24 hours per day they are walking for the pro-life cause. Along the way they are hosted by various prolife communities along the way. For example, while in Edmonton, the Morris family welcomed them onto their farm. Here they were given a hardy meal and participated in a quite unusual activity - riding a llama.
Their trek inevitably takes on a more sombre note when they pass the different abortion facilities on their journey. Here they get to witness the destructive power of abortion as they kneel and offer their restorative prayers. One such account, again in Edmonton, may be found in their blog entry of June 25, 2011 - Their blog also provides access to numerous photos and descriptions of the journey.