By Jose A. Carnevali
This is the first time 22-year old Ben DeYoung has walked 3,000 miles with Crossroads, a student pro-life, educational organization directed and operated by students at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
Thirty participants, in two groups, arrived in Washington Aug. 14 after a three-month walk from Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is the fifth year Crossroads has organized the trek.
DeYoung hopes to be a student at Franciscan University this fall. On Saturday, however, he was not in Ohio getting ready for school but in Washington. He badly wanted, he said, to witness to the right to life. Crossroads inspired him to do just that at the right time in his life.
“I couldn’t stand to be in silence anymore and when you have the power of prayer, all the more powerful,” he said in an interview.
Along the 3,000-mile Crossroads itinerary, DeYound and many more stopped in major cities, slept in tents, prayed, talked to many people and held vigils in front of abortion clinics all the way to the nation’s capitol.
Being in front of an abortion clinic, DeYoung said, is terrible.
“It is like walking to the gates of hell,” he said. “And the more I prayed, the more I knew I had to act.”
Elizabeth Daub said, “walking is a form of sacrifice offered to the victims of abortion.”
Daub herself walked with Crossroads in 1996 and 1997. The experience has greatly impacted her pro-life commitment. “You come to realize how pro-life America is,” she said. “It is our generation that has been murdered. We survived abortion.”
At the end of the walk, the group gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington to pray the rosary with Father Frank Pavone, international director of Priests for Life, a New York-based association of Catholic clergy who give special emphasis to the pro-life teachings of the Church.
Among those attending the gathering were Gary Cherone, lead singer of the legendary rock band Van Halen who is “the first contemporary rock star to publicly proclaim his support for efforts to protect human life.”