I was attending a family reunion, high in the Appalachians, the first the family had managed in 25 years. "I was blown away. I didn't know they still made people like that." remarked the wife of a first cousin who I had never met. The object of the lady's admiration was a family member who was not yet born when the family last got together. She had just rotated out of her group which had begun walking across the continent in Seattle Washington toward its final destination Washington, DC. Normally I don't afford family members that young too much awe, generally settling for polite disdain, as I think most members of my generation do but after speaking to my new found relative for a few minutes it occurred to me I was out of my depth both spiritually and intellectually. "I thought the Pro Life movement was a generational thing," I finally muttered. "It is." she shot back beaming with enthusiasm. "You should go on the campus of a Catholic college." Of course in my generational vanity I had assumed that the "generational thing" had broken toward my generation but my young cousin who is studying statistics at Notre Dame with the hope of earning a phd in the field shattered that mistaken perception. Her generation is the future and with her and her polite, matter of fact optimism the future looks bright.
Crossroads was founded in 1995 by Steve Sanborn, a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio as a response to John Paul II’s call to the youth of the world to take an active role in the pro-life movement in order to establish a Culture of Life. An integral part of Crossroads is its yearly pro-life pilgrimages across the United States. Each summer, young adults walk on four simultaneous pro-life walks across America from Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles to Washington, DC. There are also cross continent pilgrimages in Canada, Australia, and Iceland.
There is even a Crossroads blog and this post was especially touching.
A gentleman approached us and jokingly asked our group why we were not walking. I vaguely recognized him and assumed he must have been at morning Mass; we proceeded to explain that our RV was having issues and we needed to get it fixed. He smiled, went on his way, and we continued to pray Morning Prayer. Little did I know that this stranger would be the Good Samaritan who would help us continue on our journey.While researching my cousin's contention that the present generation is at the front of the Pro Life movement I came across this 2012 story that never made national news. The mainstream media down played the event by selectively photographing the 50,000 mostly young people to understate the crowd size. Notice all the youthful faces.
About fifteen minutes later, the gentleman approached us a second time, offering us the number for a tow truck (if we needed it) and a mechanic shop. He continued to explain that he would cover any costs if we took it to the mechanic shop. We were left speechless by his generosity, and I hurried to get Carlos, who was still inside the building.
As Carlos and I returned, we were told that his mechanic shop would not be able to work on the RV until Monday. This was an issue, as eight of my teammates were supposed to already be on the road for New Orleans. We expressed our concern, but the gentleman hurriedly assured us that he would reimburse any RV expenses to whatever shop we took it to. Overwhelmed by the unyielding generosity of a stranger, I shook his hand, thanking him for his graciousness. At my words, “You are such an angel,” tears flooded his eyes, and he walked away, only to return a few minutes later.
I was awed by his open vulnerability and generosity. He returned to thank me for our pro-life work, and tears sprung to his eyes once again. I gave him a hug and soon found this gentleman crying in my arms. Uncertain of what else to do, I assured him of our prayers and gratitude.
Much talk at our family reunions centers on whether or not my great grandfather did indeed torch the B&O trestle at Harper's Ferry, Maryland during the civil war, how his father-in-law got his hands on all that coal mine land in Allegheny county, and whether that obscure ancestor, a Mary Ayers, is the family's dreaded link to the Weather Underground but after this reunion I'm looking forward and the future looks bright.