By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
VANCOUVER, June 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The third Canadian Crossroads walk for life got off to a wet start on Monday May 24. The 6 walkers - 4 seminarians from Christ the King in Vancouver B.C., and 2 students from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry's Bay, Ontario – went to Mass and then drove in the rain out to the very edge of Vancouver, where it meets the Pacific Ocean. They dipped their hands and feet in the ocean, then turned their faces toward Ottawa and began their 5,000-kilometer trek.
Crossroads was founded in 1994 by Steve Sanborn, a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The initiative was a response to John Paul II’s call to take an active role in the pro-life movement in order to establish a Culture of Life. The U.S. walk covers three different routes (North, Central, and South), starting from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and converges in Washington D.C. for a closing rally. The Canadian and American walks start and end on the same dates.
Brother Paul, a seminarian and the Canadian walk leader, has prepared the group well for the trials and challenges they will face, telling them in the pre-walk briefing that it was going to be hard. “Yet, we will do all in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and this knowledge will make all suffering bearable, even joyous, for we will be uniting our suffering to that of Christ on the cross for the saving of the unborn and the conversion of our country. How could we possibly spend a better summer?”
Jonathan Baker, one of the student walkers, remarked that there are 2 Michaels, 2 Jonathans, and 2 Pauls in the group. “You can’t help but think that there must be some reason for this,” he said.
The six walkers are split into two groups, with one Paul, one Jonathan, and one Michael in each. “We didn’t plan it this way,” Baker noted. “Again, a sign of God’s providence, I’m sure.”
The group will have walkers on the road 24 hours a day, with 3 people on the day shift and 3 on the night. “Since there are only six of us each crew will have to walk a minimum of fifty kilometers a day, and as a whole we will cover approximately one hundred kilometers every 24 hours.”
Each day begins with Mass after which the day crew start their walk.
Jonathan said the group gets both positive and negative reactions to the words “Pro-Life” which are written in large letters on their t-shirts.
“The big cities tend to have the most opposition to the pro-life movement, and it wasn’t long before some people were giving us funny looks, giving us the finger, shouting comments etc., especially since we were all men. We also got positive feedback, however, which helps to keep the morale up. People were actually indifferent most of the time, which is the Canadian way.”
Jonathan reported that, “For much of the first week we walked in pouring rain. Now we know why everything is so green on the West coast. I really love the natural beauty out here, but I don’t know if I could handle the weather. In the wintertime Vancouver is very warm by Canadian standards, but it’s very frequently overcast and rainy.”
“I think I prefer -30º and a blue sky,” Jonathan quipped, alluding to the winter weather in Barry's Bay.
“By the third day we started going through the coastal mountains,” Baker continued. “The views were stunning, but the walk became much harder. Our route along highway 3 climbed thousands of feet, and the constant rain not only soaked us but made most of the surrounding mountains invisible behind a shield of cloud and mist. What we did see was breathtaking, with snow-capped peaks, dense rain forest, and creeks and waterfalls everywhere around us. God’s country!”
The group walks for 5 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.
After the first week the group drove to Kelowna to take part in the regular pro-life vigil outside the abortion clinic at the General Hospital.
Baker noted the irony that “the same institution that is dedicated to saving lives is also dedicated to destroying them.”
“This is how it is in Canada. Unlike the United States, where so many abortions take place in facilities that specialize in that sort of thing, like Planned Parenthood clinics, here the death of the unborn takes place behind a wall of secrecy and respectability, helped by the vast indifference of the Canadian public.”
Baker said, “People do not want to hear our message. Even if they are ostensibly against abortion, in principle, they do not want their lives disturbed by the issue. It is sad, but true, that Canada has become a country of mediocrity. We have lost our passion, and this is one of the reasons why the culture of death is gaining such a foothold here. We no longer believe in God, in the value of human life, in our eternal end. We have become bored to death with life and as a society are slowly committing suicide.”
Baker concluded his “Walking Across Canada, Week One” report with a simple request:
“Please pray very much for us as we walk. There is a hard battle ahead. Yet, at the same time, we know that in the end love will triumph. Until next week, God bless you all.”
LifeSiteNews will be publishing periodic updates on the Crossroads Pro-Life Walkers’ progress across Canada.
Readers are also encouraged to look for updates on the Canadian walk here.
See related LSN coverage:
Pro-Life Youth to Walk Across Canada this Summer