18th Annual Pilgrimage at the Pro-Life Millennium Cross
“Love at Work in Pro-life Pilgrimage”
By Teresa Bodnar-Hiebert
The 18th Annual Pilgrimage to the Pro-Life Millennium Cross took place on Sunday, August 27th.
The celebration commenced with a large living rosary encircling the beautiful white steel Millennium Cross. Pilgrims responded in a variety of beautiful languages, as the rosary procession was led. Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR carried an Our Lady of Guadalupe tilma print, further reinforcing the beautiful message of enculturated evangelization and our miraculous pregnant image of the Blessed Mother.
John Starosta, President of the Pro-Life Millennium Cross Foundation Inc, and Faithful Navigator of Bishop Nykyta Budka Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Assemble #2755 of Saskatoon, opened after Rosary by bringing forward Bishop Bryan to once again share the Prayer for the Consecration of Canada to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “We place ourselves completely in the sanctuary of your heart and commit the past, the present and the future of Canada to your maternal care.”
Starosta stated, “Today you are a human bead for Our Lady’s rosary. I wonder how often you realize that you are that living bead, asking for her maternal intercession.” He encouraged all to reflect on the physical surroundings of the Pilgrimage site and of being in the shadow of the large Millennium Cross. He challenged us to connect our spiritual experience with our body experience, “Christianity does not demonize the body, it divinizes the body.” Starosta referred to Saint Pope John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ as a rich treasury of works to help us understand that God’s mystery has been revealed in human flesh. He further encouraged pilgrims to utilize resources available and to continue to learn and gain a deeper understanding. John’s sharing reminded us that we are created for the infinite.
Gerald Wiegers, State Culture of Life Director for Knights of Columbus Saskatchewan, brought greetings on behalf of State Deputy Brian Schatz and 10, 000+ members of the K of C.
The Executive Director of the Saskatoon Pregnancy Options Centre, Cathy LaFleche shared “We can open our arms like Jesus did for us on the cross and we can offer a message of hope to all those in need, and that is what we do at the Pregnancy Options Centre.” She encouraged people to come and see and to come and volunteer.
Starosta then announced the keynote speaker, Brad Trost, M.P., Saskatoon-University. Trost shared a powerful and humble message of practical applied discipleship and leadership. He cited 1 Corinthians 13:13, “faith, hope and love; these three, and the greatest of these is love.” He stated “That describes where we are in the Pro-Life movement: what motivates us, who we are, why we get involved. It’s hard to sometimes have faith that Canada will do the right thing.”
He explained that abortion has been legal since 1969, and even if law changed now, all those innocent human lives are still gone. He used the analogy of the Old Testament people of Israel where the Pharaoh commanded the male babies to be killed, and King Herod commanding baby boys to be killed after the birth of Christ, and how that was stopped, as his inspiration to continue to have faith: “God intervened. He protected and He preserved. It did not mean that everything evil stopped, but that in the end, His sovereign will came through. He cited the crisis pregnancy centres as a means of hope, especially for young women feeling pressured. Trost encouraged that if you can make a difference with just one, then you’ve done the right thing.
To illustrate love, Trost shared a story by Tolstoy. The story of a shoemaker who had a dream that Christ was going to visit him the next day.* The shoemaker kept waiting and looking for Christ as the day goes on. He helps many people throughout the day as he continues to wait.
Then that night, as the shoemaker sits and meditates, he reads the verse “For as much as you have done it unto the least of these, my brother, you have done it unto me.” Christ was there in every person the shoemaker helped! Trost stated this is love in the Pro-Life movement. “We do it for the least. We don’t always do it in the most direct ways. Sometimes we do it by standing in front of clinics. Sometimes we do it by contributing. For most of us it’s the love of Christ that compels us to help.” The greatest of these is love.
The hot autumn afternoon brought about 70 pilgrims to the hill, with an additional 60 joining through the Eparchy of Saskatoon’s Facebook livestream.
For further information, explore www.prolifemillenniumcross.ca
*(From the tale “Where Love Is God Is” by Leo Tolstoy. In video, ‘Martin the Cobbler’