Crossroads Australia arrived in Melbourne yesterday — at a McDonald’s restaurant in Broadmeadows, to be precise.

The Crossroads initiative started in 1995 at the excellent Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. It has been replicated in many other Western countries in the years since. Young adults commit to “pro-life walks” across their countries: to raise the profile of the pro-life cause, and in reparation for sins against life.

Crossroads made its debut in Australia this summer, starting in Brisbane in December, and ending in Melbourne tomorrow. One of the walkers, Daniel Mount, I know well — his brother is a few years behind me in the seminary.

Daniel Mount: walked from Brisbane to Melbourne

Daniel Mount: walked from Brisbane to Melbourne

Danny expresses the walk’s twofold purpose very well:

I am walking Crossroads because I believe life begins at conception. I want to protect the innocent babies in the womb because they deserve all the rights and dignity of a new born baby. I believe that by all the graces gained through prayers and sufferings offered up, we will change hearts and minds and bring the end of abortion throughout the world.

In other words, Crossroads is both secular and spiritual. A modern awareness raiser, and a traditional pilgrimage.

Daniel has been walking (except for a few days over Christmas) since 15 December. Another friend, Paul Nulley, joined the pilgrimage last Sunday, when it passed through his home town of Canberra. Paul was ordained a deacon a few months ago, and he is due to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn later this year.

Rev Paul Nulley: walked from Canberra to Melbourne

Rev Paul Nulley: walked from Canberra to Melbourne

Remember Danny and Paul in your prayers, and the other walkers. If you’re near Melbourne, you can join them at St Augustine’s for 10:00 Mass tomorrow morning. From there, the group will walk up Bourke Street to Parliament House. “A prayerful walk along the footpath” — not one of those disruptive protest marches along the street,* which also have a place, but which serve a different purpose. A prayer vigil will be held at the steps of Parliament House from midday to 1pm.

An open invitation is also extended to join the Crossroads after party. 7:30 Saturday night, at the Thomas More Centre, 35 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn. RSVP: Phyllis Restall, 0402 004 112.

I hope the Crossroads walk across Australia has benefitted the participants, and bears fruit. I hope it’s done again. It’s part of a more spiritual, less confrontational expression of the pro-life movement which has developed of late.

Congratulations to the participants and organisers. God bless your apostolates.

* See comments below. H/T Tony Robertson.