By SPECIAL TO CITIZEN-TIMES
By Henry Robinson
ARDEN – Last summer, Matt Maes was working in the shipping and receiving department of a large Wisconsin firm, but his thoughts were fixed on the issue of abortion. So he decided to do something about it.
Liken to the early apostles, Maes is leading a band of Roman Catholic missionaries on foot across America spreading the gospel and witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of life.
Maes and two others were in Arden Thursday to offer their thanks and appreciation for the support of the congregation of St. Barnabas Catholic Church. Four of the walkers stayed at the home of a St. Barnabas parishioner while the others traveled to Charlotte. The church helped provide financial assistance to the project.
Maes said the 3,200-mile trek is not a protest.
“We are first and foremost missionaries,” he said. “The way we share is by walking from town-to-town and offering our sacrifices up as prayer.”
The group, he said, walks in two shifts – a day shift and a night shift. Wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the word “prolife” in large type, walkers on each shift hoof it an average of 10 hours, covering a total of 20 miles per day.
“Most of us are broke college students,” Maes said. “We are depending on God. We find that people across the nation are very generous. Lots of time they will give us donations to support the cause and at other times, they will take us into their homes. Right now, we have an RV we can stay in, but the first two weeks of the walk, we didn’t have the RV and we had to sleep in the desert.”
St. Barnabas Deacon Art Kingsley met with the walkers during their stop Thursday.
“It’s a nice group of kids committed to what they believe in,” said he said. “Our parish is a prolife parish and we’re committed to the prolife cause as much as they are.”
Maes said the walk is part of Crossroads Inc., an independent Roman Catholic organization founded 10 years ago by a student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, who wanted to do something dramatic to witness to the dignity and sanctity of human life. “He found it very important at the time to really take that call to the streets and to take the message to the people where it is happening,” he said.
“We are declaring the gospel message and it is very clear that abortion in this country is wrong and we all have to do something to fight it. We are fighting it the way Christ would want us to do it,” Maes said.
Maes is heading the Southern group that started May 19 on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. The journey will end Aug. 14 in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Supreme Court Building. Maes’ group will be joined by a Northern group of walkers. They will hold a prayer vigil at the building. They also will attend Mass in the Washington Cathedral.
Henry Robinson is a retired Citizen-Times staff writer. Contact him at HENRY163@aol.com.
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