CCN PHOTO | DEBORAH GYAPONG
Young pro-lifers who walked across Canada are greeted at the end of their journey in Ottawa Aug. 16.
August 25, 2014
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
Canada's prolife Crossroads Walkers finished their three-month trek across the country in Ottawa Aug. 16 with a small rally near Parliament Hill's Eternal Flame.
Eight young men and women, some of whom had completed the entire walk, others who had joined later for part of it, wore the bold prolife T-shirts they had displayed throughout their pilgrimage.
Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, Conservative MP Royal Galipeau and members of prolife organizations greeted the walkers as a light rain fell.
"We are proud of you," Prendergast told them. "You've done a great job, keep it up; you're motivating people to follow in your steps."
Jean-Pierre Giguere, 24, of Cornwall, Ont., said he received an email encouraging him to do the walk, so he quit his job at a warehouse and flew to Vancouver to begin the walk.
The highlights included speaking at parishes and "running into people who had no idea what we were doing," Giguere said.
At the parishes, people would tell them: "We are so moved by what you are doing," he said. "The hope we saw in their eyes gave us hope to keep on going."
On the road, they met "more and more people who were thanking us for what we were doing," he said.
In the Rockies, walkers encountered snowdrifts along the road "as high as the ceiling."
"We managed to survive a flood in Regina," Giguere said. "The whole TransCanada Highway was under water."
A story from the previous year kept him inspired.
A woman holding a three-year-old child greeted walkers in 2013 and told them she had met a Crossroads team while pregnant and considering abortion. Her encounter with the pro-life walkers on a previous trip had convinced her to keep the child she brought to meet them.
PIECE OF PAPER
Lindsay Sierhuis, 25, of Kelowna, B.C., said she decided to do the walk because she had met Crossroads walkers coming through her city in 2010.
"I kept a little piece of paper for four years; it was through them coming to my town I was exposed to the Crossroads mission," she said.
"It's been such a blessing," she said. "I'm just overjoyed with the providence of God and the immense gift that we have as Catholic Christians to be so bold for life."
Sierhuis appreciated the fact the walkers attended Mass every day. She said her spiritual life has grown as result of the pilgrimage, through prayer for the unborn and for conversion of those considering abortion.
GIFTS FROM PASSERSBY
Rachel Dennison, 24, recalled the joy of seeing so many people waving to them and offering them Gatorade. Someone stopped and gave the walkers a $500 cheque. Another time, a car full of young people stopped and handed them $20.
"As we walk, we witness," said Joseph Barrett of Montreal. He said he was surprised by the positive interaction and how they were told repeatedly: "This is a great thing you're doing and we're so glad you're doing it."
But the walk would not have been possible without the prayer support and encouragement of the people who stay in their dioceses "spreading the pro-life message day in and day out," Barrett said.
Colin Kaye, 21, said he expected much more confrontation. "I looked forward to it," he said.
But he joked that maybe because he's a "big guy with a big beard" people did not engaged him in arguments.
Instead he "took advantage of the silence" that allowed for "a lot of deep reflection."
Benjamin Dennison, 22, of Cobble Hill, B.C., said though it is a sacrifice to go on the three-month walk, "the only hard part is signing up."
"Once you start doing it, you are getting so much more out of then than what you put into it," he said.
Crossroads began in 1995 in response to Pope St. John Paul II's call at the Denver World Youth Day for youth to become more active in the fight against abortion. The first Canadian team set out in 2007.
Currently rated by 0 people