By Stephen Lee
CENTRAL SOUTH DAKOTA – A dozen pro-life Catholics walking across America traipsed across Stanley County Tuesday, reaching — or getting pretty close — to Fort Pierre by sunset.
“Our goal is 60 miles a day,” said Ally Mechling, who just graduated from Ave Maria University in Florida. They walk in shifts, each averaging about 12 miles a day. They stay in a big RV and have a van that follows along.
The continental pilgrimage started from the challenge the late Pope John Paul II made at World Youth Day in Denver in 1995 for young people to create a “culture of life,” said Zach Sadusky, of Dover, Delaware, a student at Ave Maria majoring in economics and accounting.
“It’s very important to show people that people really care about pro-life issues,” he said. “But I also have a personal reason, to let God put me where He wants me to be.”
It’s mostly a Catholic event but non-Catholics are welcome, too, Mechling said.
Mechling said a family experience spurs her on the summer-long, nation-wide walk.
“I have an aunt who had an abortion a couple of years ago,” she said. “I hope through walking I will save some babies of other people and change some hearts of people like my aunt and uncle.
They started in Seattle and other teams started in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“We will all meet in Washington, D.C.,” Sadusky said.
Prayer is a big part of the walk and teams stop at abortion clinics for peaceful, prayerful protests and “sidewalk counseling.”
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