Each year, I have one week where I have it good, as my birthday falls just six days before Christmas. This year, I spent that week on Crossroads. Despite my best efforts to hide the date from my team, someone did eventually work out it was my birthday and blurted it out while we were having an audience with a group of cloistered Carmelite nuns in Lismore. The entire gathering then proceeded to sing me happy birthday, I think it’s safe to say that it will be one of the holiest happy birthdays I will ever have sung to me. That night I was (semi) surprised with a mud cake which we proceeded to eat directly from it’s plate without bothering to serve it out. This may seem a little weird to some but I’m sure anyone who has done Crossroads before can relate. In all seriousness though, I was blessed to spend my 22nd birthday with such wonderful people. Everyone went out of their way to make my day special and I don’t think I will ever have such a Pro-life birthday ever again.
Spending my birthday on Crossroads was a great opportunity to reflect on what we are actually doing this walk for. I was on the phone to a friend and as a passing comment I mentioned I felt lucky that it was my birthday. He responded by saying that that was dumb because everyone has a birthday. To which I simply said “no they don’t.” The truth is Birthdays are something we take for granted, we just assume that everyone has one but the reality is that millions of babies are killed every year before they are able to celebrate their first. We are walking so that every child has the chance to be born and has the opportunity to blow out candles once a year.
Christmas on Crossroads was also a joyful experience but I will leave the details to my teammate Chris who has blogged extensively about our day just above this post. What I will say is that missing Christmas with your family is a great way to find out how much you actually love them. You don’t realize just how important your family are to you until you aren’t with them. My missing Christmas this year is a sacrifice both I and my family were willing to make in order to help spread the message of life and while it hasn’t been easy, it seems insignificant when you realize that many babies will never get to spend christmas with families.
If you told me a few months ago that I’d be spending Christmas in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people I’d only met a couple of weeks ago, I can imagine myself laughing in your face. Now I am laughing at myself at the crazy adventure that God has taken me on because I said yes to him.
It is the end of Christmas day now, and I am still in awe; in awe of what God is teaching me through my amazing teammates; in awe of the hospitality we have received from host families in Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and here in Denman from the Hopkins family (where we have eaten possibly the most illustrious Christmas feast ever cooked); in awe of the beauty of my adopted home, Australia.
In terms of material Christmas presents, I received those a few weeks back in the form of good walking shoes, shorts, skins and other gear for the walk, and I am extremely grateful for these practical gifts from my beautiful family. But, since this walk has begun I feel like the more I choose to give the Lord, the more He gives me – like everyday I am receiving gifts from Him as He takes me on this crazy journey called Crossroads. The fact that we are pretty much the guinea pig walk here in Australia and that everything is just so unpredictable does wonders for one’s personal faith. Who do you trust when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep tomorrow night? When you don’t know what kind of abuse will be hurled at you walking down the street or praying outside abortion clinics in luminous pro-life shirts?
I think a good ‘ol pro and con list of Christmas time sums up my current feelings:
- magnificent food
- a roof over our heads
- awesome company
- It’s Jesus’ birthday!!!!!
- It’s my first Christmas away from family (love you guys!)
- last night it was about 35 degrees C in our bedroom
- now, our bedroom has been taken over by Frances’ brothers. There are multiple game consoles running simultaneously, as well as youtube videos of guys wiping out on skateboards…this is kind of amusing so I don’t know if it’s really a con?
- We don’t know when/where we will get to Mass tomorrow…pray for us!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight =D
Peace, love and blessings,
Chris Da Silva
The Catholic Leader
A GROUP of young people are devoting their Christmas break to a pro-life walk from Brisbane to Melbourne.
The 10 people, aged 18 to 30 years, have volunteered for the Crossroads pilgrimage that will involve walking from Brisbane to Melbourne in four weeks.
Fr Hilary Flynn, a priest of the Cairns diocese who is a Crossroads supporter and has completed the pilgrimage overseas, said the aim was for young, pro-life Catholics to spread the culture of life, in response to the call of Pope John Paul II.
This is the first Crossroads pilgrimage to be held in Australia.
The group left Brisbane on December 17, and the pilgrimage will end with Mass and a pro-life rally in Melbourne on January 12.
The Crossroads website said the Mass and rally would be the launch-pad for a campaign to overturn Section 8 of Victoria’s abortion laws.
On their way to Melbourne, the group will stop in Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra, and many towns in between.
The Crossroads website said the group would be “trained to speak in parishes, witness respectfully at abortion clinics and communicate with the media”.
Fr Flynn said Crossroads began in 1995 when a group of students from Stuebenville Franciscan University, Ohio, United States, “wondered could they walk 5000km in a hundred days as a prayer to God for the pro-life cause? Would they be allowed by the police? Could they physically do it? Could they emotionally do it? They did it, to their surprise”.
He said since then, he had joined in three more Crossroads pilgrimages and one around Ireland in June this year.
“This is a call for prayer for these brave youth doing this in Australia for their first time here,” Fr Flynn said.
“Prayer is needed for their basic safety, co-operation by the police and road legislators, peace for their parents at home and a successful outcome over these four weeks.
“May Crossroads Australia be one of the building bricks for the building of the kingdom during this Year of Grace.
“So I encourage you to please pray for them and for pro-life Australia before and after Christmas.”read more
Crossroads December 17th
Surf Lifesaving Club Cabarina Beach NSW
Wow, what an insanely hectic day. I feel like it packed itself so full on purpose, just out of spite, because it knew that I would have to blog about it all at the end!
We have had both successes and tragedies. We all had to get up at 5am (already a tragedy for me!), pack our stuff, say morning prayer and get to Mass at the Cathedral for 8am Mass. Afterwards we were joined by three brave young people who accompanied us for the day’s walking, and a man from Life Site News who did some filming.
We completed the day’s walking, not as planned, and reached our destination at Cabarina Beach.
I guess the easiest way to sum up today is by listing its awesome events and its tragic events, as it was full of such reeling highs and lows.
Let’s start with the bad news:
- The RV camper van was broken into while we were at Mass
- Bec, who is filming us and has been working on her documentary since April, had her bag stolen, with the hardrive, which had all of her work on it since then, gone. She has no backup, it is lost.
- Stephen also had his bag stolen, but it contained only undies.
- While the majority of us continued on and walked those who stayed behind in the RV had a power loss with the cigarette lighter, which meant that not only was their GPS completely dead, but all of their phones, which uncannily all ran out of battery, could not be recharged, and so we couldn’t reach them.
It is clear that the devil does not want us to do this work.
Now for the good news:
- We completed our first day of Crossroads walking! Woo!
- None of the other bags were stolen
- One of the guys, Luke, who joined us for the day, donated to us a guitar! He even put new strings on it for us.
- We all made it safely here and met up at the Lifesaving club
- We had fish and chips On the balcony overlooking the beach and most of us went for a swim
- Miryjana joined us tonight- John and I picked her up from the airport.
We are all ridiculously tired, and have another early start, but our walk leaders are doing an absolutely incredible job- truly I think we are all in awe of them. Bec handled her loss with amazing maturity and forbearance, and is going to continue to film. I’m very proud of her for handling it so well.
I think the lesson of the day is perseverance. It’s been a toughy, but God is stronger, and He wants us here. We got a lot of encouragement from passing vehicles while we were walking, and a couple of bystanders as well, which was really uplifting.
“It was then that I carried you”.
The first day of Crossroads Australia has got to be one of the most random days of my life. Having been trained up and receiving overwhelming support from parishes and communities around Brisbane, I think I can speak for the entire team when I say we were rearing to hit the road. We woke up to bright sunshine at 5am, after which I have never packed my own stuff, let alone a RV, with such efficiency. The angels were at work!
On our way to St Stephen’s Cathedral our support van had a minor accident, but once again the angels were with us and we got away no problems! After Mass and some interviews with Lifesite News we finally began walking and praying through Brisbane CBD and across Victoria Bridge. We reached the RV to discover an open window and two stolen bags. Spiritual attack much?! I became the police liason person by default because I was the first person to reach for my phone, and subsequently our groups separated and the walk continued while myself, Daniel, Bec and Stephen made our way haphazardly down the coast. To sum up just how eventful the rest of our afternoon was, the most exciting moment for me would have to be the completely flourescent-lit men’s room which made my already bright shirt impossible to look at without squinting; I had to take a selfy. After walking through some shopping centres to repair stolen goods, and nearly falling asleep on the floor of a cinema lobby, we reached our accomodation in the quaint town of Cabarita Beach, New South Wales. Things have definitely improved since arrving here; we have swam, showered and visited the pub in our PJ’s!! Looking forward to actually walking a leg or two tomorrow, and continuing to take our faith to the streets for the sake of the babies, the mamas and the Kingdom of God.
Hope you have enjoyed my first blogging effort of the trip. Everyone is going to sleep now so I’m pretty keen to jump on that bandwagon
Praise the Lord