Monday, July 8, 2013

Mapping Out A Pro-Life Canada: Part 1: The West.

Dear friends and supporters,

Here are some reflections on our experiences in the great Canadian West.

First, some thoughts on our great country's heritage. Canada is a Christian nation. By this I do not mean that this country was or is governed by theocrats, nor do I mean that all its citizens are on fire for the Christian faith. I mean that this land was claimed for God by the first explorers, and He blessed them in their adventures and missions by allowing this land to grow up in a thriving Christian culture. Conversions were made. Churches were built. Schools and hospitals founded. Canada was explored and built by Christians. We on Crossroads aim to revive Christian culture, especially with regards to respect for the dignity and sanctity of all human life. This land was claimed for God, and yet the light of faith has been dimmed. A simple look at abortion statistics (around 100,000 a year in Canada) shows that we have to turn on the lights again, as it were. 

The Canadian West was explored by such men as David Thompson, who was the first man to cross the Rockies. Everywhere he went, he proclaimed the Gospel. He mapped over 3.9 million square kilometers in his lifetime - an unimaginable feat accomplished by one man. Thompson read the Bible to Indians he met. He spoke of Christianity as "giving force to morality." This great man literally walked and canoed West, spreading the Gospel as he made his maps. Our Crossroads team started where he left off, and we are heading East towards the secular wasteland of Quebec and the battleground of Ottawa where abortion laws were struck down in 1988. Using GPS and atlases, we are trekking for life, like Thompson did.  

The western provinces have been very good to us. The response to our mission in British Columbia was moderate, though still more positive than negative. The mountains gave our legs and feet trouble but once we emerged from Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains into Alberta, we felt much better. The instant peace and quiet provided to us by our evening walks in the fields provided a refreshing change from the mountain air. The reactions of drivers were immediately more positive than in BC. We received many thumbs-up and honks. People stopped their cars and talked to us and gave us donations. Saskatchewanians were very generous, and the amount of positive responses topped Alberta's. Manitoba was good to us as well. While we were only there for a week, reactions were mostly positive. While praying at the abortion clinic in Winnipeg, things were much more confrontational than on the road, but we still got many honks and well-wishes. 

We are now in Ontario, walking out of Thunder Bay. We are almost one month away from reaching Ottawa, my hometown. This is the longest walk home I've ever experienced!

In conclusion, I am comforted by the fact that God willed Canada to become a Christian nation through explorers missionaries who quite literally walked and boated across the land. They went West. We are going East. A Christian culture, a culture of life, can happen again because it happened before. God is on our side. 

God bless you all. Please keep the team in your prayers!

Ian Gallagher
Walk Leader 

Life And Death - by Amy MacInnis

It is better to die than to live. There is some truth to this statement, in the sense that our heavenly life will be better than our earthly one. But our culture's infatuation with death does not seem to be motivated by a longing for union with God. Instead, death is seen as an escape from the excruciation of life, whether into bliss or nothingness.

The crux of the problem with the culture of death mindset is that suffering has been deemed to outweigh the joys life has to offer; life in and of itself isn't good enough to surmount poverty, disability, illness, or loneliness. Therefore, many people rationalize their choice to abort or euthanize: it is the loving and merciful thing to do because death is better than being poor, being disabled, being sick, or being lonely. It is better to die than to suffer.

But can we really put a quantitative value on one life experience and weigh it against another? An hour of tears versus a minute of laughter, blindness versus warmth, confinement versus imagination, a handicap versus a hug...? I do not think the suffering in each case outweighs the joy because there is such an inestimable abundance of goodness in even the most mundane things in life. If people saw life for the astounding gift that it is, they would realize that love is greater than death. Love wins, hands down, every single time. 
The culture of death has lost sight of the profound goodness and beauty inherent in each human life, regardless of condition. If we really stop and think about the miracle of our existence, it's easy to be overwhelmed by how full-to-bursting this life is with glory: the colours of a sunset, the sound of music, the smell of vegetation, the refreshment of water, a loved one's embrace...

Can you feel the weight of it all?
Just to exist. How wonderful!

And yet there is suffering in this life—agony, torment, pain—suffering for which there is no satisfactory explanation. We must look to the Cross to find that suffering can be answered only by the compassion of another, by an enduring love that does not seek to eliminate the sufferer, but to restore him or her to fullness of life.

To be pro-life is to know that love triumphs over suffering and death. With our own appreciation of the staggering goodness, beauty, joy, and glory of this life, we need to share with our culture that it is better to live
Walking on Crossroads has rekindled my appreciation for life, through the beauty of my surroundings, the simple pleasures of exercising, eating and sleeping, and especially through the people I see at Mass and those who have hosted us in their homes. All I can do is thank Life Himself that despite the culture's current captivation with death, love has already won.

 - Amy MacInnis

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Saskatchewanian Hits The Manitoba Border - By Kelly Aalbers - June 25th, 2013

The trip has been a journey.  The road is long, the days are fun, and we are all growing closer to Christ. As I have journeyed into Manitoba for the first time, I am really getting a feel for the province and I wanted to share some of my thoughts. I was really impressed as we crossed the border from my homeland (Saskatchewan) to see the gentle peace of the province east of us. There is a stillness that covers the land here… I am trying to discern what it is; it seems to be brought about by a deeper respect for the created order and a love of all that God has given us. I would say that I didn’t expect this much of Manitoba. I had very few expectations, but the province has shocked me for the short 7 hours we have been here. The people are the friendliest that we have encountered and almost everyone slows down, and honks or waves. The west side of this province has been so good to us. I feel that my homeland is becoming polluted with riches-seeking gold miners who want a get rich fix. Manitoba seems to be still ever in tune with the divine. I feel that the support of our cause is very strong and the people seem to be amazing. I look forward to the rest of the journey ever onward and upward.

We are always amazed at the generosity of the people we encounter and we continue to be ever aware of the generosity of God, of His Love and His Providence. Our time in Carlyle and Manor, Saskatchewan last night was truly blessed for me personally, because I got to see family for the last time of the trip and the parish and Knights of Columbus treated us so well in Carlyle. We continue to pray for all those we encounter and once again ask for prayers as I know that the gift of those prayers is what gives us the grace to take the next step, to do the duty of the moment, and to love.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

He Has Vanquished Sin and Death? by Mariana Mazzarolo

We have encountered so many lovely people and experiences along our journey thus far. The presence of God is manifested to us daily in all that we see—beautiful skies, butterflies, and yes, even mosquitoes!  Crossroads is an adventure of so many seeming contradictions, much like the adventure of life and the inner journey towards God. For, we say that Christ has conquered sin and death, and yet, why do we still see so much suffering, selfishness, and hurt around us?

Throughout the past week we have encountered the theme of hope in so many little ways. At one of our host homes this past weekend, our hostess shared with us a story about a man who had a vision of aborted babies as he grappled with the horror of it all. The babies told him to not be afraid and sorrowful. While abortion is evil and they wanted to live their lives, the aborted babies rejoiced at the opportunity to offer themselves in sacrifice for their parents. Thus was revealed the tremendous power of God to bring good out of any evil, even abortion. For, by the power of Christ’s Cross, we are assured of victory.

But the battle is not over...

Christ invites us to enter into His suffering and death, that we may also enter into His resurrection. This is what it means to be pro-life. Crossroads really magnifies and reflects the reality that in order to come to the fullness of life in Christ, He calls us first to a personal encounter with Calvary. On Crossroads, there is much time to enter into oneself, to see things about oneself that were formerly hidden. This process is often painful, but it is beautiful to thus walk with Christ to Calvary. It is only when we recognize our own brokenness and lowliness that we can reach out to others. As we walk, it is not so much about getting publicity. Rather, it is about journeying with Christ through prayer and sacrifice, service to one another, and ultimately, love.

As Pope Francis said not too long ago, where there is no love, there cannot be truth. In Edmonton this past weekend, we really felt the spiritual warfare being fought around us. First, we were stuck in traffic right in front of the ‘gay pride’ parade, on our way to pray outside of an abortion clinic. Rather than being discouraged, we turned to prayer and offered up our suffering brothers and sisters. The hostility often received by such demonstrators illustrates their great need for love and healing, and so we love and pray for them, that they may come to accept the Truth of the Gospel of Life. After the parade passed, our RV suddenly overheated and we just made it into a gas-station parking lot to cool off. When we finally arrived at the abortion clinic, we were extremely late and Ian was waiting for us with his own adventure stories. While taking Lucy to the airport in the van, his GPS and phone both broke down and he got lost trying to find the clinic. But as soon as we came out of Saturday evening Mass, both started working again and the RV hasn’t malfunctioned since. These experiences serve to fill us with hope, for we know that we are fighting a battle—but in, with, and through Christ.

And so, we continue on in our days of seeming contradictions, but united in Christ. Hence, a horde of blood-thirsty mosquitoes become a gift when we see that God is giving us an opportunity to enter into His redemptive sufferings as we journey, one foot in front of the other, to Calvary—the ultimate sacrifice of Love. And thus we are faced with the amazing reality that our experience this summer is actually a micro-view of what God is calling all of us to in life.    

Blessed be God!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Mother's Love - By Corinne Kelley

“My whole life, I have been looking for the mother-love that I missed.”

-Dr. Morgentaler, The Globe and Mail, 2003

In his crusade to legalize abortion in Canada, Dr. Morgentaler's anguished life does not deny, but only serves to demonstrate the complex and intricate relationship between a mother and her child—a bond he would later make a living by destroying.

As a young Jewish boy growing up in Poland during WWII, he became convinced that his mother loved his younger brother more. These feelings of rejection only amplified when he was exiled in the infamous internment camp of Auschwitz, the place where his mother was murdered. For five years, he struggled against the atrocities of the Nazis beneath the watchful sign, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (translated: “Work will set you Free”)—a euphemism concealing the fact that the prisoners were not working towards freedom, but were rather being worked to death in the form of slave labor. Sadly, Dr. Morgentaler would relive this message in his life's work of abortion, procuring the death of a child under the guise of 'reproductive rights' to give 'freedom' to the mother. By victimizing the unborn child, Dr. Morgentaler sadly continued the victimization he faced from the Nazis and the neglect from his mother.

In a sick and twisted defiance of Canada's protection of life laws, Dr. Morgentaler televised himself performing a live abortion on Mother's Day. His flagrant disregard for the law also translated into a profound disrespect and mistrust of women. Championed as a “woman’s rights” advocate, he was at the same time known for having multiple extra-marital affairs.

His rationale for supporting abortion as a professed humanist: “If I help women to have babies at a time when they can give love and affection, they will not grow up to be rapists or murders. They will not build concentration camps.” Yet, although he did not experience the “love and affection” he wanted from his mother and grew up during a horrendous time, he could reflect on his life and remark that he was “tremendously satisfied.” He defied his own justification for abortion when he examined his own life.

As Our Lady picks up the pieces of the orphaned three million plus unborn Canadians torn from their mothers' womb in the wake of Dr. Morgentaler's violence, we pray that she cradles him with the same compassion, enabling him to experience the love he never knew—the love of a mother.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Saving Face

Beside an empty Vancouver bus stop on Crossroads Canada's first official day of walking, I found a DVD of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even though someone forgot it, the movie features the problems we face as humans when trying to remember. For those who have not seen or heard of the film, the plot centers around Joel (played by Jim Carrey), as he struggles to undo a procedure that erases his ex girlfriend, Clementine (played by Kate Winslet), from his mind by hiding her throughout his memories.

As we survey Joel's desperate scurry through memory after memory to safeguard the last remnants of Clementine, an interesting phenomenon reoccurs that reminds me of what we as walkers encounter on the road: The faces of the characters warp and disappear when a memory deletes from Joel's mind. Just as Joel could not hold onto a memory when the faces slipped from recognition, so not having a face to place on the abortion debate creates a challenge when proposing that people should care about the issue. While ultra sound technology gives us a window into the womb and an opportunity to view the unborn child in her secret secure habitat, these pixelated portraits can sometimes portray the child as something more alien than human. This challenge of placing a face on the issue could stem from the fact that the human brain has developed a specialized area for recognizing faces and extracting them. Interestingly enough, every human face you see when you dream is a face that you have seen before, although you might not have known the person.

Trekking through Canada, many people stop to simply ask us, “What is pro-life?” They do not understand the issue of abortion or the humanity of the unborn child. Therefore, our mission as walkers involves not only spreading awareness and education, but being a representation of the faceless unborn child. In becoming the face of the unborn child, we hope people may recognize the dignity and respect the unborn deserve as members of our human family.

Joel identifies Clemintine on the beach even when the memory erasing was deemed a success and falls in love with her once more. Much like how Joel instinctively draws himself to the beloved through her image, perhaps the reason why the human brain places so great an emphasis on the recognition of face foreshadows the experience of one reuniting face-to-face with God. Whatever the reason for such strong facial recognition, we are now called to search out His face that we have forgotten by remembering that each human being provides a glimpse of His expression of love for us, no matter what they look like.  

 - Corinne Kelley 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Early Days in Beautiful British Columbia

Hello from Hope, BC!

We are at a campground under the shadow of snow-capped mountains covered by trees. BC is a great place to start our journey. The mountains, small farms, lakes and rivers provide excellent eye candy for us as we walk and pray! 

It is Day 3 of our cross-Canada walk. The team is getting along very nicely. There is much joy, laughter, and of course prayer! Our devotions include daily Mass, morning and evening prayer, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and many rosaries. We are praying for many intentions which we have brought with us, and also those intentions that come our way. 

We have met several individuals on the roads who support the pro-life cause. In Vancouver, we stopped on the sidewalk to chat with a doctor, who was ashamed of his colleagues who performed many abortions by day (even partial birth abortions).    

Please pray for us daily. This is a spiritual battle we are fighting which we are only just starting. There are months ahead of combat! 

Follow us on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @CA_Crossroads. 

God bless you all,

Ian, Mariana, Amy, Corinne, Anthony, Lucy, Bethany, Anna, Kelly, and Michael.