Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 27, 2007
Pro-life Crossroads Walkers take their message cross-country
Young evangelists ran into tremendous support, some apathy
- CCN photo by Deborah Gyapong
Crossroads Walkers finally reach Parliament Hill following their cross-Canada walk.
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
A group of young people wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Pro-Life" ended their cross-Canada journey to promote the culture of life on Aug. 11 on Parliament Hill.
The Crossroads Walkers, aged 18 to 30, left Vancouver in mid-May, and averaged about 100 km a day, walking day and night. This is the first time a group has crossed Canada, though Crossroads has been sending teams of young people across the United States since 1995.
"This is not going to be a one-time thing," said team leader Cyril Doll of Calgary when the group reached the Centennial Flame where they were greeted by about 40 supporters, including Ontario Conservative MP Pierre Lemieux.
"I want to give thanks to Jesus Christ for watching out for us, for keeping us safe, for keeping us together and for keeping us motivated," Doll said.
Prayers and suffering offered
He said the team offered not only their prayers, but also their sufferings, their blisters, their aches and pains to Christ for the sake of "those who have no voices."
Lemieux thanked the walkers on behalf of Parliament and Canadians. He told the crowd that Crossroads' purpose is to "help bring a culture of life."
In 1999, Doll walked across the U.S. from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. He said it was an honour to lead the team on Canada's first Crossroads Walk, describing it as "a great experience, the best one of my life."
The walk ended in Ottawa because most of the walkers are college students who only have limited time available. Future Canadian walks may have a team coming from the east, and another from the west converging in Ottawa.
Sarah Gallaher from Manassas, Va., is a veteran walker. Last year, she trekked from Seattle to Washington. What struck her this time was the apathy of Canadians.
"It took me aback," she said.
Most of the time people would say nothing about their T-shirts, while in the U.S. people would honk or strike up conversations.
Doll said they met with great support in each city. They relied on donations to pay for meals, the van accompanying them, and other expenses. They also spoke at churches.
Though Crossroads is an official Catholic organization, they were often welcomed in non-Catholic churches.
Jeremy Fraser of High River, Alta., said one of the best aspects was seeing the great spirit of hope in the pro-life movement, even though many have been fighting for a long time.
You, the Lord, and bears
Greg Roth of Saskatoon said the walk has had a "huge impact" on him. At night, they walked one by one and that makes for lots of solitude.
"You really get to know yourself better. It's just you and the Lord and a couple of bears and deer."
Roth used the time to reflect on whether he is called to the priesthood. He plans to enter St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont., this fall.
Crossroad Walkers information is available at www.crossroadwalk.com.