By Patrick B. Craine
OTTAWA, Ontario – A group of young Canadians concluded their 5,000 km. cross-country walk for life this Saturday in Ottawa, where they were welcomed on Parliament Hill by dozens of Ottawa pro-life supporters, including Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.
The group of six arrived at the Hill around noon, where they were awarded a certificate of accomplishment by Mrs. Audrey Lemieux, wife of pro-life Member of Parliament Pierre Lemieux. The group then processed to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Catholic Church for a reception. Mr. Lemieux eventually arrived at the reception to congratulate the walkers himself.
The group of walkers, sporting t-shirts that declared them as “Pro-Life,” set out from Vancouver on May 24, made their way as far East as Baie-Saint-Paul in Quebec, and then backtracked to Ottawa. They walked Monday to Friday and stopped in towns and cities on the weekend to speak in parishes, pray outside abortuaries, and witness in any way they could. Split into a day and night team, they covered an average of 100 km. per day.
Frances Platt, a teacher from Killaloe, Ontario said she enjoyed the walking, though it was often “gruelling,” particularly in the rain. She noted that the long hours gave the participants plenty of time to pray the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and to share spiritual conversation.
While they got a lot of positive reaction, and some negative, she said they were surprised at how little response there was in Quebec. “It’s almost like pro-life wasn’t even an issue for them,” she remarked, saying there was “a lot of puzzled shock.”
For Platt, doing Crossroads was important for the simple but sobering fact that “abortion is the killing of innocent babies. I think it’s important to get out there and say something, and I thought it was a very good way to witness and pray at the same time.”
She said many are struck when they realize that “there are people out there willing to give up their time, and offer prayer and sacrifice” for the sake of the unborn. “That people are willing to do that, I think makes an impression on people.”
Paul Lauzon of Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa praised the Crossroads initiative for bringing attention to the pro-life issue across the country. “Crossroads takes the pro-life message to places where it does not go usually,” he said. “So it got to a lot of new people who weren’t aware of the issue.”
Through efforts like this, “people are being born that would normally have not been born, and women and families are happier, because their child is born,” noted Lauzon, who attended the reception.
Lauzon emphasized that the walk can be excellent and life-changing formation for seminarians. “They have a lot of thinking time to do – three months almost of walking every day, whatever the temperature is, meeting all kinds of people,” he said. “It’s something that they are very privileged to be able to do.”
“I think it changes their lives and all the lives of the people that they speak to and that they meet on the way,” he added. “I think it radiates quite a bit more than we think.”