By Thaddeus Baklinski
After walking through British Columbia in almost incessant rain, the team of stalwart Crossroads Canada pro-life walkers made it to the plains of Alberta and are now trekking through the vast expanses of Saskatchewan sharing their message of life in major cities and small towns along the way.
“It’s week 4 and we’ve hit the plains! After descending the Rockies into the plains of southern Alberta, we have since jumped north and continued walking east from the Calgary area. We are now in mid-western Saskatchewan heading to Saskatoon,” the group related on their blog late last week.
Patrick Wilson, leader of the group of 10 young people ages 18 to 30, said that blisters – the most serious physical hardship the walkers have experienced so far – are both a painful reminder and an inspiration to the walkers of the reason they walk, so the phrase “offer it up” is used often.
“I am happy to report that we have sustained no real injuries as of yet – despite some fairly bad blisters for some – but everyone is more than happy to walk, even though it may at times be painful,” Patrick said. “In that vein, the phrase “offer it up!” has already become a bit of a joking cliché term – and though we joke about how frequently we say it, there is still much truth in the idea of offering up any pain in our walking for the unborn and the intentions we receive along the way at parishes.”
The team’s daily routine involves walking in shifts through the night and day. They also attend daily Mass at the nearest parish.
The group walks for five days and then spends weekends praying in front of abortion clinics, visiting parishes to talk to youth groups and to drum up donations. The weekends also give blisters and sore muscles time to heal.
“One of the things which has surprised me the most on Crossroads – in a good way – is the importance of the parish mission on the weekends,” Patrick related.
“Visiting local churches, we share with parishioners what our walk is about, and ask for spiritual and financial support. I was initially reluctant to do this part of the walk, but have since found it extremely rewarding for both the parishioners, and our own motivation.”
“For them to see young people active and engaged in the mission, who care deeply enough about it to want to walk across the country for the cause, is very encouraging for many of these people. Their encouragement, in exchange, is very encouraging for us. To feel and receive this abundant support on weekends has helped to strengthen our resolve to walk with purpose this summer. Thank-you parishioners!”
Nineteen-year-old team member Lindsay Richey of B.C., said the positive response, especially from parishes along the way has been a highlight for her.
“I’ve noticed a lot of positive response. We get a lot of encouragement, especially from parish communities on the weekends, which really fills us up and keeps us motivated,” Lindsay told the Western Catholic Reporter, which caught up with the team in Edmonton.
“I’m walking this summer because I’ve come to realize how precious all human life is and I want to witness to how important it is especially for the unborn,” added Lindsay.
The team notes that, “The general response we have received so far along the road has been interesting.”
“While the majority of actual responses we visibly receive has been so far positive – friendly horn blasts, thumbs up and waves – it is still tough to gauge exactly what the majority of those who drive by us actually think.”
As participants in previous Crossroads Canada walks have told LifeSiteNews, their experience is that many Canadians are apathetic about abortion.
Patrick observed that, “Looking into the cars of passersby (we do not try to make it look obvious!), nearly all drivers notice us, and with some degree of interest. It is easy to notice the turning heads, or the glance, and the averted eyes. We very rarely get middle fingers, angry yells, or any negative response.”
“It is interesting to note,” Patrick said, “because I think it is sadly indicative of the typical Canadian tendency towards apathy on topics such as abortion. I feel that many of these people likely do not disagree with our cause, or respect us for standing up for it, but might feel that since abortion is not directly their problem, then they should not be concerned or excited about the movement.
“How do we reach these apathetic Canadians? This is not an easy question to answer. But I only hope that our shirts have at least got these apathetic passersby to think about the issue a little more, and maybe open their minds to consider that maybe there is something wrong with the genocide that we are inflicting on our future generation.”
Again, as has been the experience by teams in previous years, Patrick and the team agree that the level of support for the pro-life cause and for their cross-Canada walk was by far the highest in the province of Saskatchewan.
“So far, our experience in this province of Saskatchewan has proven to be most supportive overall, judging by the amount of positive response we are getting from passing cars and those we meet in the towns along the way. We have even got some donations on the road!” Patrick said.
Crossroads Canada will wind up in Ottawa on August 11 with a rally on Parliament Hill. The organizers and participants are urging pro-lifers to take the time to come out and show their support of the walkers, and for the pro-life cause in Canada.