National Catholic Register


Young Pro-Lifer Offers a View from the Road


June 14-20, 1998 Issue | Posted 6/14/98 at 1:00 PM


In the May 10-16 issue, the Register reported on a three-month cross-country pro-life walk sponsored by a student-run nonprofit organization called Crossroads (“Coast-to-Coast Walk Attracts Committed Young Pro-Lifers”). This week begins a series of journal entries from the road by Joseph Flipper.

Fifteen other young men and women and I are dedicating the summer to pro-life work, witnessing as we walk from California to Washington, D.C. After a kick-off dinner and fund-raiser in Napa Valley, Calif., we drove down to San Francisco to begin our cross-country trek. Since May 23, the Crossroads group has traveled by foot from San Francisco, Calif., to Reno, Nev.

We began at the Dumbarton Bridge in San Francisco, slowly making our way across California. We usually walk two shifts of 15-20 miles per day, each of which takes about five hours to complete. We hike along some of the most beautiful highways in the country, often praying as we go.

Early in our trip, we were living out of a green Dodge Dart and used a rental van as our base of operations. Without a recreational vehicle to accompany us, we were in need of places to stay, and, desperately requiring time to pray, we turned to the Catholic community for assistance.

On May 24, our walk leader, Jimmy Nolan, approached Father John Garcia of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Brentwood, Calif., asking for a place to stay and a special Mass for the success of our mission.

At first, Father Garcia was uneasy with the proposition of allowing us to stay at his parish, not knowing who we were, but when we asked him to say Mass, he immediately took us in. He opened his heart and his church providing us with shelter. The generosity of the parishioners was astounding. Many provided us with food and money, not from their wealth, but their want.

In Walnut Grove, Calif., Father Edward Mello of St. Anthony Church also aided us. After we had journeyed 60 miles north of Brentwood, he opened his parish hall to us. Father Mello encouraged us, telling us that our mission and work was an inspiration. Crossroads was lent an RV May 26 by the Muty family of Napa, Calif. Their generosity allowed us to continue our pilgrimage.

Between May 27-31, we walked to and stayed in Sacramento, the capital of California. There we spoke with the State Senate and Assembly concerning the abortion legislation that was under consideration in the legislature.

Lisa Winkleman, a Crossroads member and experienced sidewalk counselor, spoke with women near a Sacramento abortion facility while we prayed the rosary. In addition to sidewalk counseling, Crossroads will be providing free pregnancy tests for women who approach us along the trip. Rich Scanlon will be transforming the RV into a mobile “crisis pregnancy” unit.

In Sacramento, Msgr. Edward Kavanaugh allowed us to stay at St. Rose Parish. The parishioner's devotion to eucharistic adoration reminded us that all of our work is based on and necessitates prayer.

The Mass, Rosary, and Liturgy of the Hours has become the backbone of all we do. There exists a unity between contemplation and action, all flowing from the love of God.

From Sacramento our pilgrimage took us through the Sierra Nevada Mountain range into Reno, where we were interviewed on KIHM Catholic Radio. We also prayed and sidewalk counseled at an abortion facility there.

We now sit at the gateway to the desert, preparing to walk U.S. Highway—“the loneliest road in America.” We look back on the snow-capped mountains and forward to the rest of America.

Our Crossroads community, with members from across the country, is growing closer together, and the trials of living on the road are helping us to grow in intimacy with God.

Our route will take us through Salt Lake City, Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Washington. We primarily need prayers, but if you'd like to help us on our journey, greet us along the way, have us speak at your parish, youth group, or classroom on chastity or abortion, contact our headquarters at 1-800-277-9763, or write to Crossroads, Box 771, Franciscan University, Steubenville, OH 43952.

Joseph Flipper, a native of Idaho, is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville.