WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Young walkers are taking their message of the sanctity of life all the way to Quebec City.
Walking kilometres a day under the rain can be challenging. Add to that some fairly bad blisters and some seriously sore muscles and you have a most unpleasant march.
Yet, despite pain and inconvenience, this group of 10 young people ages 18 to 30 is happy to walk.
They are walking for life, raising awareness about the sanctity of life. Their white T-shirts reveal their purpose and identity.
The group started walking in Vancouver May 18 and their goal is to reach Quebec City Aug. 11. The group walks during the week, Monday to Friday, day and night, and on the weekends they go to the major cities to pray in front of an abortion clinic and visit Catholic parishes.
They rotate to sleep in a motorhome that accompanies them. On average each member of the group walks 25 km a day.
"Walking can be very challenging. Apart from dealing with blisters, we have to deal with lack of sleep and bad weather," explained group leader Patrick Wilson of Toronto. "This year has been very rainy."
The group, sponsored by Crossroads Canada, spent time in Edmonton the weekend of June 10-11, at which point they had already walked 1,500 km, many of them in the rain.
They said they have to walk a total of 5,000 km to get to Quebec.
In addition to praying in front of the Edmonton abortion clinic, the group visited at least four parishes, including Holy Family in St. Albert, St. Thomas More and St. Alphonsus in Edmonton and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park.
They get spiritual and financial support from the parishes they visit. "Seeing the parishioners so happy to see us gives us a lot of motivation," Wilson said.
From Edmonton, the group drove back to Drumheller and then was to walk on to Saskatoon, where they were to spend the weekend of June 16-17.
Members of the group are from the United States, Ontario and British Columbia. Several have attended a small Catholic post-secondary institution in Barry's Bay, Ont. called Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, a "heavily pro-life and orthodox Catholic" institution.
Crossroads, a pro-life organization, visited their school one year and spoke about walking for life, which stirred many of them to do it.
The group expect to reach Quebec City Aug. 11 and then drive back to Ottawa for a large pro-life rally.
"It's been quite the experience for me," Wilson said of the walk.
"Sometimes it's hard to see exactly what good it is doing, but so far we've all felt that the walk is making an impact of some sort on people's minds, hopefully changing hearts along the way."
Nellie van den Enden from Milton, Ont., said she likes to walk, except in the rain. However, for a good cause, such as the unborn, she can walk to the ends of the earth – rain or shine.
"I'm walking to witness to the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death," the 22-year-old said matter-of-factly.
"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 Richey, 19, of B.C.
"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."