One walker on a highway in British Columbia greets the morning sun with the Rockies behind him.

After more than 5,600 kilometers, and less than three months after setting out from Vancouver on May 23, 12 pro-life students have ended their walk across the country to draw attention to abortion.

Crossroads sponsored the Canadian leg, plus four walks in the United States and, the first walk in Ireland. Crossroads was started in 1995 in response to Pope John Paul II’s challenge to the youth to take the pro-life message to the streets like the first apostles. Thousands of people have become Crossroads walkers and 16 years later, the 12 of us completed the third Canadian walk.

The walk has strengthened me, physically, psychologically and, most importantly, spiritually. A city boy all my 21 years, I knew I wasn’t afraid of the dark. But walking through the streets of Toronto is nowhere close to how frightening the mountains of British Columbia are at night. Its then that you realize what why the dark is so frightening, when you can’t see anything beyond the limits of your flashlight. And yes, there were bears, foxes, coyotes, elk, wolves, and moose out there.

It is through the scary, cold, stressful night shifts through the mountains of B.C. that you realize that there is one thing that will not fail – unlike the batteries of the tiny flashlight you carry at night – and that is God.

The first few night shifts I prayed. I prayed a lot. After a couple of nights of fervent (and many) rosaries I began to realize that I needed to put my safety, after my own precautions, in God’s hands.

The Crossroads walkers on the steps of Parliament at the end of their journey in August.

Another thing that the group and I have come to see is the generosity of host families on weekends, and parishes in small towns in all the provinces we’ve walked through. It is through their generosity and love that we are able to get a glimpse of the unconditional love of the Father and see the good that ordinary folks can do.

This walk has not only been a spiritual experience but also an amazing journey seeing the country, literally one step at a time. I’ve seen and taken pictures of the animals along the way: brown and black bears, mule deer, caribou, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, bald eagles, coyotes, and bison. I never knew Canada had such diverse wildlife. And that is to say nothing of the beautiful and varied landscapes.

On Saturday August 13, I knew that in a less than an hour I would complete my walk. As I waited for the group at an intersection, a woman came by and started screaming profanity and other words of hate at me and everything I stood for. It is through this very unsettling incident that I believe I received a new mission. The walk is complete, thousands of my fellow Canadians have seen us on the streets and highways, and heard our message at churches across this country, but there are still thousands of people out there who stand for abortion and the woman’s “right to choose.” And it is then that I knew that the 12 of us need to pass the torch on to other youth to continue this journey and this critical fight. I hope that next year, twice as many people take part in getting the pro-life message out to our country. A few blisters is a small sacrifice considering what is at stake.

To learn more about our journey, you can visit the blog of our adventures, including links to pictures, at For more information on Crossroads, visit

Mark Pinto, a student at York University and former intern at, spent his Summer with Crossroads, walking across the country to spread the pro-life message.