By Kimberly Gray
The Reporter Lifestyle Editor
Wednesday morning a group of young people came through Sweetwater while on a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. They started out at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 19 with a goal to share their pro life message with others.
The group, called Crossroads, was started in 1995 and it has become an annual event. It is a sponsored summer pilgrimage that spans the entire continental United States. It is a group that is based in the Catholic faith. Those that are on the walk call themselves survivors of the “abortion holocaust,” or those who were born after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
According to the organization, these young people are “walking in atonement for the abortion holocaust and prayerfully seeking the conversion of our nation.”
In the communities they stop in, they try to educate urban, rural and roadside Americans about abortion. Most of their weekends are planned out, and they will speak to groups in communities all over the nation. During the week, anything can happen.
The walk is a challenge for them. They must rely on the provision of God for food, lodging, gas and other needed items along the way. One walker said “God has provided for us.” Churches, other organizations and individuals have donated to them and purchased meals for them along the way. Breakfast was provided for them in Sweetwater at Oak Street Caf/ by a church.
Another young female walker said that it is hard but worth it. There are nine walkers and they are living with one another 24/7, which can make for tension at times. But when that happens, they say they offer it up to God, suck it up and press on.
Those that walk realize they are making a sacrifice of themselves to be part of something they believe is very important. Some of the walkers said they quit good jobs and dropped classes to join the team this summer. One young woman even sold her house to go on the walk. In fact, she found out with great jubilation that she had sold her house during their interview with the Sweetwater Reporter.
Each summer over 40 young people, mostly college-aged, volunteer to walk on one of two 12-week, 3,200 mile pilgrimages.
There is a southern walk, which is the group that came through Sweetwater, and a northern walk. This group of nine is made up of people from six different states.
While on their pilgrimage, each walker is to walk an average of 17 miles per day. For the southern group, there is a day shift and night shift so others can get some rest. The group travels with an RV and mini-van so those who are not walking can sleep.
One of the walkers commented that he felt very fortunate to live in a country like ours and have the freedom to do what they are doing. “We couldn’t do something like this in China,” he said.
The group plans to convene in Washington, D.C. Aug. 14 where they will meet up with the northern team. It is their hope that by then they will have made some difference in the fight against abortion and put a dent in the 4,400 abortions (one out of three births) that take place every day in our country.
“We are fighting for those who didn’t make it,” a walker said.
For more information on Crossroads, log onto their Web site at www.crossroadswalk.com. Anyone interested in volunteering to go on a future pilgrimage and is 18 years or older, is invited to apply on the Web site or at P.O. Box 896, Steubenville, Ohio, 43952, which is also the address you can make donations to this cause. The administrative offices are located in St. Louis, Mo.
Crossroads also has a pregnancy helpline at 1-800-672-2296.
Area travelers may get the chance to see the walkers. They were planning to start up again Wednesday near Roby and will stay in Abilene for the weekend.