American Youth begin Walk to World Youth Day

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, – A group of 38 American youth, who recently completed three simultaneous walks across America at the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., will begin a 150-mile walk from steps of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. The organization is called Crossroads, and this will be the second time Crossroads has walked to World Youth Day.

“Europe is the cradle of the Christian faith. There will be roughly a million youth from all over the world here to see Pope Benedict, as he calls European youth to return to their Christian roots,” said Sarah Vyvlecka of Kearney, Nebraska. “This will be a unique opportunity to say to the European youth, ‘Don’t be afraid to speak the truth. We have reached millions in America walks over the past 11 years. You can do the same.’ But we know that we are discussing controversial topics, and that the reaction – even at World Youth Day – is not always going to be positive.”

“Most Europeans find it distasteful to discuss life issues in the context of any conversation – political, moral, philosophical, even scientific,” said Crossroads President Jim Nolan. “They think that because we’re Americans, we moralize and then politicize everything. But we are not here to make a political statement. We understand that the worst chapters in human history were accompanied by silence, and our generation refuses to shun this responsibility. Our message is moral and cultural, not political.”

Crossroads was founded over ten years ago in Steubenville, Ohio, in response to Pope John Paul II’s call at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 for the young Americans to take action in the defense of life.

“America sets the standard for most of the world, even in the places where we are unpopular,” added Vyvlecka. “If the rest of the world begins to understand that a great majority of Americans favor protecting human life at all stages, they might engage in honest and fearless dialogue on these topics.”

For more information on Crossroads, please call (800) 353-8817 or visit