In the last 10 weeks I have been on crossroads I have realized some things: In an RV with 13 other people there is no such thing as personal space, it is called shared space. Wearing tennis shoes up to 6-7 hours, with the sun glaring down on you, you will get a weird suntan. Stepping into a shower after a long day of walking out on the road is liking stepping into a part of heaven. On this walk you will find people from all over the US even the world since we have someone from Italy here.
In a few weeks crossroads will be ending, that means no more long hours of walking and sweating, no more speaking in front of parishes, no more having to deal with smelly shoes in the shoe bin, and no more trying to figure out where to sleep; however, with Crossroads ending that also
means I will have to leave the crossroads family I have made over the summer, who I have grown to love and cherish even though its only been almost three months since I met them. We have done so much together like talking, laughing, giving hugs, sassing each other, deciding who walks first or who speaks first at parishes, and arguing over who helps with cooking and dishes. Why when we get so closely stitched together as a family we have to leave to go back to our original
families? I guess its the way of life, but I shall always remember and cherish my crossroads family, and maybe, hopefully, we’ll see each other again in the near future. I love you guys!!!
Central Walk ’15
When I applied for Crossroads back in February I had a hard time finding information about the day to day life of Crossroads. This makes sense to me now, as I’m sure it’s different every year for each team. Anyway, we as a team have decided to give y’all the rundown of what our daily life looks like here in Northern America.
Part 1: Morning Shift
The title may have given it away but just in case you were wondering our team of twelve young adults is split into two shifts each day. You got it, a morning and an afternoon shift.
We begin walking each day as soon as there is full visibility, roughly a half hour after sunrise. Wake up time is depends on which time zone we are in. Some days we have had to wake up at 4:15/4:30am (Washington) or more recently 5:45/6:00am (Pennsylvania). As soon as that alarm goes off we get up so as to not wake up the afternoon crew. We quietly get dressed, roll up our sleeping bags, make the beds and grab a quick bite to eat. Then roll out…
On a good day we are only a couple miles out of where we need to start walking for the day. On a not so good day, we need to drive sometimes up to an hour. This has its benefits though because if you aren’t copilot then you can sleep. 😉 Which most of us can do just about anywhere, including the side of the highway. (See: Bear attacks on the Northern Walk)
Once we reach our destination the first two people hop out and start walking. The support van drives ahead two miles while checking the road to make sure there is a safe amount of shoulder. The van also checks for construction or anything that would not be safe to walk in. If it’s safe, see you in two miles; if not, the van picks you up and drives to where it is safe.
We walk in two to three mile increments. Eric always makes sure a guy and a girl are walking together. During each shift we try to pray 5 decades of the rosary or a chaplet of Divine Mercy for the end to abortion, for healing for all those affected by abortion, and for all the intentions that people have given us over the weeks. We quickly learned that we can pray a rosary in the time it takes to walk a mile granted that you aren’t walking uphill. For myself, it usually takes longer as praying makes breathing feel impossible.
We are very blessed that we get to attend daily mass; you just can’t beat starting off with Jesus! I don’t think it would be possible for us to continue our mission without the Eucharist every day. I think Mary Beth put it best saying, “We need our daily Jesus fix.”
Our seasoned and decorated walk leader Eric and his faithful sidekick Jelani do an awesome job of finding where and when the local masses are and deciding which one to go to (that is, on the days when we have options…) Usually Mass is between 7am and 9am which means we have to stop walking so that we can make it on time.
After mass we all pile into the RV to say Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Once we finish, morning shift again rolls out and continues to walk. We end sometime between 1:00 and 3:00pm. The time depends on how long of a break it was for mass and the drive to and from.
The RV will usually meet morning shift on the road and we try and switch teams as fast as possible. Granola bars, fruit and water are the essentials we have with us in the support van and we usually make ourselves sandwiches to take with or we eat once we get back.
As soon as everyone is seated we set out for our destination for the night. Normally, everyone in the RV is asleep shorty after we start driving. The driver and copilot keep each other awake either with music or conversation.
The two most important things to check for before committing to a campsite are the showers and laundry facilities. Laundry can build up for a few days without it being too big of a problem. On the other hand, you definitely don’t want to run into us after we haven’t showered in a couple days. You should take my word for it!
We are the lucky shift that gets to do the grocery run before heading to where we are staying. Therefore, we don’t have to leave in the RV once we’re there. Showers are usually the first thing that happens after we sign in. Then naps, exploring, and setting up the tent start until we need to start dinner so that it’s ready when afternoon shift gets home.
If you want to know what happens on afternoon shift, stay tuned for Part 2…
Northern Walk ’15
Everyone, when they come on Crossroads, brings a little of him or herself with them. The beauty is that everything we bring, ourselves as well as our experiences and perspectives, are not just accepted, they are embraced. As an Agricultural Economics student at the University of Kentucky, I sometimes compare my life to a train. For example, what usually happens when I need to study is that the train travels past the Motivation Station and stops right at the Procrastination Station. I had no idea that the number of stations would exponentially increase once I got to Crossroads and others would join in on the fun. I’ll show you what I mean.
Everyday we visit the Hydration Station by keeping our gallon jugs and plastic water bottles filled and with us. It helps us get through the Perspiration Station. We have a whiteboard in the RV labeled the Inspiration Station where people will write Bible verses or inspirational quotes. I don’t know if we’d be able to get through the day without them. We have two Transportation Stations. They are the Majestic, our RV, and the support van. The Relaxation Station is the time we spend in the bathroom or shower. This is one of the only times we get to be truly alone. At night the Hibernation Station is visited as we sleep. Each day, we attend the Transubstantiation Station as we go to mass and the Sanctification Station because, when we face the facts, all of Crossroads’ daily struggles are sanctifying. We are there for each other and visit the Affirmation Station when we encourage each other as we walk. The Information Station is our daily team meeting. We are the bosses of the Annihilation Station when we kill all the bugs outside and in the van.
On the weekends, we encounter the Inspiration Station as well, through the people we talk to and how they generously support us. After weekend masses we have the Presentation Station, where we share our stories with congregations. The families that host us are experts at the Accommodation Station.
And occasionally we visit the Decoration Station, as we decorate the side of the RV or a dessert for someone’s birthday. Sometimes we’re lucky and we see the Sanctification Station again through confession or go to the Adoration Station if the church offers it. And sadly, some of us have been at the Inflammation Station with sprained ankles or other injuries.
To me, Crossroads is the Transformation Station. We walk to change the hearts and minds of others. Through attempting to do this, and through God’s grace, we are significantly transformed as well.
Additional Stations provided by the 2015 Northern Walkers
Northern Walk ’15
‘Twas the night before Christmas (in July) and all through the RV, not a creature was stirring, not even the walk leader…
In tribute to the various elements which constitute a summer of Crossroads, the Central Walk team proudly presents:
Days Weeks of Christmas Crossroads.
On the first week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: A Walk Leader in an RV.
On the second week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Two Gatorades, and Walk Leader in an RV.
On the third week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and Walk Leader in an RV.
On the fourth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the fifth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the week sixth of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the seventh week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the eighth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Eight stubborn girls, Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the ninth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Nine road kill sightings, Eight stubborn girls, Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the tenth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Ten gallons of water, Nine road kill sightings, Eight stubborn girls, Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the eleventh week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Eleven alms a-given, Ten gallons of water, Nine road kill sightings, Eight stubborn girls, Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV.
On the twelfth week of Crossroads, my dear Lord gave to me: Twelve weeks of walking, Eleven alms a-given, Ten gallons of water, Nine road kill sightings, Eight stubborn girls, Seven bottles of sunscreen, Six blisters popping, FIVE HOURS OF SLEEP!!! Four tired guys, Three mile shifts, Two Gatorades, and a Walk Leader in an RV!
Inspired by true events. Not all figures are accurate.
Written by Ben(Jamin) Corbalis and Sarah Goodman
I hate when good things come to an end.
I guess really everyone does though, don’t they?
Leaving Crossroads two weeks ago was hard for me. Not only was I leaving some of my best friends, I was leaving the trip of a lifetime. Getting on the plane in Dallas and flying home was saddening but I knew I’d be back with Crossroads in future summers!
Now that I’m home, people always ask if I enjoyed my trip, if I liked it.
Sometimes, I don’t even know what to say. I mean, how do I even begin to articulate the immense blessing that Crossroads was in my life?
How do I explain to someone, in passing, that I met Christ everyday in the other walkers and the people we met?
When we were in El Paso, I saw a superhero. You see, we were at the abortion clinic there, praying as usual.
Many people came in and out. Most ignored us, some stopped and spoke with the sidewalk counselor there. She offered them post-abortive healing – something they desperately needed. After a while, a woman came out sobbing. She and the sidewalk counselor embraced, then began to talk.
We assumed the woman needed healing – her abortion had obviously left her distraught, so we began to pray for her. She eventually left, and we hoped that she would stay in contact with the sidewalk counselor.
I remember having respect for this woman- it’s not easy to admit that you are suffering, especially after something like an abortion. I mean, aren’t we told it’s “okay” and it’s “no big deal”? So to ask for help, especially from a pro-lifer who is targeted as “the enemy”? That’s almost akin to admitting you were wrong, which takes courage and humility to do.
As we were leaving the abortion clinic though, the sidewalk counselor explained to us what had happened that day. Our assumptions had been wrong – God be praised, the woman wasn’t searching for healing post-abortion. Instead, she had been in the palm of the Enemy, in the abortion clinic itself when she had turned around, walked out the front door, and saved her child’s life.
As I said, I saw a superhero that day. I only wish I could have met her.
It’s easy to say “well she didn’t save a life, she simply didn’t take one”. But surrounded by lies, by people telling her that her child’s death was the only way out, doesn’t it take a superhero to see through these lies? Doesn’t it take a superhero to “no” even under such extreme pressure? Doesn’t it take a superhero to walk away from the “easy path” and choose the unclear one?
I pray for that woman. I pray for her child. For their safety, health, and well-being, but most of all that she always know she made the right choice.
We met so many amazing people at every parish, at every stop. I’ll never forget the doctor we called our “guardian angel”! Two weeks into the walk another walker and I developed bronchitis. Well, technically I developed bronchitis then managed to infect him. But that’s just a detail.
After a trip to urgent care, we hoped that we were on the mend. It wasn’t to be though. After another week of coughing and coughing and coughing, a family at a parish we were speaking at stopped us. The mother of the family had heard me coughing and told me that her husband, who was a doctor, would see me! This amazing family ended up opening their home to me and my sick compatriot. After listening to our cough, our guardian angel doctor prescribed us some antibiotics and sent us on our way. Luckily, they did the trick and eventually the walk was well again.
I wish I could write about every host family we had, every person who really was Christ for us. But this is a blogpost, not a book, so I’ll have to leave it at this: every host family we had was a blessing. Some woke up at 5 am to cook us breakfast, others let us use their pool and warm towels. Still others set up air mattresses and Netflix for us and they all cooked absolutely amazing food. No matter where we went, we had a little family.
(photo by Will Callaghan)
Even now, I keep in touch with the amazing people I walked with. They were all like my older siblings – loving, great role models, and just a little bit weird! I’ll always remember my late night talks with them, and the advice they gave me about all aspects of life.
Through all the people I met this summer, my life was changed. I’ll never be quite the same, and I’ll never look at the world in quite the same way.
Before Crossroads, I thought I had a strong faith. I prayed at the local abortion clinic 4-5 times a year, I went to mass every Sunday and every Thursday, I had even started praying the rosary while I drove. But now I truly understand how much more my faith can grow. I learned how much God truly loved me at Crossroads, and I learned how much I truly love him and my Holy Mother. Now I feel lost without daily mass, I ache to go to adoration and confession, and morning and night prayer are an integral part of my day. I’m already applying to be a volunteer with my local crisis pregnancy center, and I hope to be trained as a sidewalk counselor one day.
I’m not saying this to pat my own back, to say what a good job I’ve done. Because truly, my faith is so little compared to others. I’m still so lost in this world, and I still find myself believing so many of Satan’s lies. But I tell you this to try to explain how much Crossroads and the people I met while walking changed my life.
Before I walked, I was searching for Christ, but I really didn’t quite understand how to find him. Today, I’m still searching, I’m still walking towards him, and I always will be. But this summer I learned what the path I needed to walk looked like and how to truly draw closer to him.
Each person I met this summer was on this path. Really, we all are. And because they chose to share a little part of their journey with me, they pointed me in the right direction, helping me reorient myself every time I got lost.
When I went on Crossroads I said I wanted to change lives, and I guess I started with my own.
by Anneliese “Al”
~ Sarah Goodman ~
We are about to head into our eighth week of walking!! It is hard to believe it has been that long already, and even harder to believe it has ONLY been that long!
Something I have noticed in the last few weeks and have been continually amazed by is the response of the people we talk to. They are constantly coming up to us after mass and thanking us for what we are doing. And they are all so generous!! Many have opened their homes to us, given us food, offered us water, offered their homes as a resting place for future walks, and offered us their prayers. And yet they thank us?
When you say it, ‘I am walking across the country for Pro-Life’ it sounds huge and near impossible, but the truth is, we are just normal college students. I get back to the R.V. after a day of walking only to realize that I only walked 9 miles that day. In many ways Crossroads feel so simple, so easy a thing to do, and yet people receive us as if we are some sort of champions. It is very humbling.
Several weeks ago, in Fallon Nevada, after speaking at St. Patrick’s Saturday mass, a man came up to me and thanked me for speaking and for walking. He took off a rubber bracelet and handed it to me and said “Here, you need this more than me.” It was a red band that said ‘Heroes!! Walk for Life.’ Something about this gesture deeply touched and humbled me. It was the first time I realized that people look up to, respect, and admire us. I felt honored receiving such a simple gift. I will wear this wrist band with honor, in memory of all those praying for us. Thank you.
A week or two after that a woman in a church in Salt Lake City, Utah, stopped me outside after daily mass and gave me a beautiful red and silver crucifix which she had just gotten at a retreat a week or so before. She also thanked us for what we were doing and assured us that we do touch lives and that she was living proof of that. Again, I felt honored and humbled by such a simple gift.
For all those praying for and supporting us, thank you. We couldn’t be doing any of this without you. Your kindness, generosity, and selflessness give us courage and strength to continue.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.”
Greetings from Southern Walk 2K15!
This week we are passing through the remainder of Texas and into Louisiana; we are expecting to walk with a few kids from Lifeteen later this week –our second event with Lifeteeners — and then we will be in Shreveport and New Orleans, LA. All of us have a heart for the youth, and want to share the joy of the gospel with our young brothers and sisters in Christ. Please continue to pray that we are able to hear God’s voice and act accordingly.
The topic of this blog regards Southern’s Walk decision to consecrate our walk to the Blessed Virgin. We thought that perhaps we’d do an easier version, Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory (more contemporary) and decided to do that version if we were able to find the book during the weekend. Since 33 Days to Morning Glory didn’t appear until several days after the start of the consecration, we are doing a consecration that is several hundred years old, St. Louis de Montfort’s Way of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. The readings from the Bible and suggestions of St. Louis de Montfort focus on letting go of the spirit of the world, and modeling the virtues of our Lady. After struggling in prayer these 33 days, we will fully give ourselves to Jesus through Mary on July 16th, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The consecration has given a beautiful and prayerful spirit to the walk. When we started the consecration, no one had left from sickness, and the reality of the cross we are carrying all the way to DC hadn’t quite settled in yet. Now, several new people have been welcomed to Southern Walk 2015, and we are wrestling with how to love one another while letting go of the spirit of the world. We have chosen one of the virtues of the Divine Mother – her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her mortification in all things, her surpassing purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness, and her divine wisdom to imitate during this time. We’ve also given up something — much like a Lenten sacrifice– as a tribute to the Virgin Mary, and how much we depend on God’s mercy is shining through these sacrifices. “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
This group has grown together in charity. The love everyone has for one another continues to grow as we continue to encourage and get to know one another. We have a few battle wounds, some tears and disappointments, but we are all in good cheer and thankful for the kindness and generosity of others. I’m convinced I’ve met some saints on this walk – from host families to those I’m walking with. We couldn’t ask for a greater gift than a encounter with Christ in every person we meet.