by Barbara Stinson Lee
SALT LAKE CITY — Just days after Cassandra Blanco, 21, of Deltona, Fla., walked off the stage of Florida State University with her diploma in her hand, she joined the Crossroads Walkers in their annual cross-country walk to end abortion.
Blanco and eight other walkers, led by Father Dan Pattee, a member of the Third Order Regular Franciscans, set out from San Francisco May 20 with a blessing by San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius Wang. They plan to walk to Washington, D.C., meeting up with two other Crossroads groups Aug. 11.
At a Mass June 9 in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Bishop John C. Wester of the Diocese of Salt Lake City recalled that he used to send off the Crossroads Walkers with a blessing when he was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. In his homily, Bishop Wester said, “Those who take, eat, and those who give, sleep.” He credited the Crossroads Walkers with giving of their valuable time to make a public statement about the value of every human life, from conception to natural death.
“As you continue on this walk, may each of you sleep well,” the bishop said.
Blanco told the Intermountain Catholic the eight-member core of walkers are joined off and on throughout their cross-country walk by other Crossroads members and pro-life activists from the cities, towns, and dioceses through which they pass. “Other Crossroads groups, one from the northern states, and another from the southern states, are also walking, as is a Canadian group.
“It takes us about a year to plan the walk, so we will begin planning for next year right after we finish this year’s walk,” Blanco said.
Fr. Pattee, director of Graduate Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, said he plans to make the entire walk, “by the grace of God. This is a real experience of grace. These young people are devoted to the Crossroads mission: Taking steps to save lives.”
Even to many healthy people, walking across the United States would be unheard of, Fr. Pattee said. “But we have a reason; a passion. We walk across America to save the unborn. We hope people will see us walking and praying in front of abortion clinics and they will remember that all life is sacred.”
The Diocesan Office of Family Life directed by Veola Burchett provided breakfast for the walkers before they set out again, and volunteers provided overnight lodging.
For further information about the Crossroads Walk go to the group’s website: www.crossroadswalk.org.
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