By Steve Jalsevac
TORONTO – The Crossroads Canada team of young pro-life walkers spent a very busy weekend in Toronto last weekend. They prayed at a Toronto abortion clinic and were well received during their speaking engagements at four Catholic churches, a Catholic lay ministry event and an evangelical church at locations all over the Greater Toronto region from Friday to Sunday.
Friday afternoon, walkers Cyril Doll, Ben Broussard, Tom Woodard, Wendy Macagno and Cheryl Gallaher also paid a visit to the main office of Campaign Life Coalition, in downtown Toronto. They were treated to a long luncheon get together with the editor of the Interim newspaper and the several summer youth students working at the office. They also spoke with and met the many workers present at the national pro-life organization’s headquarters which arranged most of their speaking engagement in the Toronto region. Right after this visit the walkers continued their walk across Toronto.
Friday evening three other Crossroads team members were special guests and spoke at the Friday night gathering of the Gethsemane Ministries lay Catholic movement. Walkers Greg Roth, Jeremy Fraser and Etienne O’Toole were warmly welcomed at the gathering of about 250 adults and over 100 youth at a West Toronto Catholic High School.
Each team member took a turn addressing the attentive crowd and they impressed those present with the simplicity, pronounced humility, and strong spiritual focus of their presentation.
Greg Roth of Saskatoon said “What does pro-life mean? People ask this. We live in a free country. Freedom means having as many choices as possible but to choose abortion is not freedom.” Roth compared abortion availability to illicit drugs. He said, “Abortion enslaves you as do drugs. It affects so many women’s lives”.
Greg noted that the group walks day and night and covers about 100 km. per day. He recalled when he was asked to participate in the event and his response was “There is no way I can walk across the country.” And yet now, he said, “you would be surprised at what you can do.”
Jeremy Fraser stated that the walkers “hope by our example we will inspire others to become involved in the pro-life movement.” Fraser said he “had to really trust in God” that by taking the summer off for the walk and not make any money to pay for college that things would work out for him for next term. And, he reports, it has. He said, “It’s amazing how people have come forward to help me with this coming year of college.”
Etienne O’Toole, a University of British Columbia student in math and physics stated that it is a “love for the child in the womb that moves me and the others on this pilgrimage. We think of Jesus in the womb at 1 month, 2 months and so on.” Etienne explained that he had never been involved in pro-life before college but was inspired at UBC by the witness of other pro-life students. “Crossroads is only God’s work”, he said. “Our hope is to put an end to abortion” and “we pray for those involved in abortion.”
The Gethsemane youth responded by asking, “What can we do to help?”
Gethsemane leader Suresh Dominic reported, “we had very good feedback about them from the Gethsemane members. Many were inspired by their faith and then their commitment to the pro-life movement and they were encouraged to take part in the pro-life cause in a big way.”
On Saturday the walkers prayed across the street from the Scott abortion clinic on Gerrard St. E. in downtown Toronto. Cyril Doll reported they “were there for about an hour and a half. We have a set of prayers that we always do for the people working in there and the women who go in. We stand in a row and pray the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross and so on”. Doll said they “expected a lot nastier reception in Toronto but it was actually pretty tame”.
Their reception at the two branches of the evangelical Church Without Limits “was unbelievable” said Doll. The team members who spoke there said “they were blown away” by the enthusiastic support of the pastor at the Church’s two locations, one in Don Mills and the other in Pickering.
Sunday evening, the Crossroads team continued their walk. At the time of this writing on Friday evening they had crossed the Quebec border a few hours earlier and were on their way to Montreal.
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