Nationwide Crossroads walks conclude with pro-life rally in Washington

WASHINGTON -- They crossed 2,000 miles of mountains and prairie, sun and sleet, city and country to spread the Catholic church's pro-life message.

"They" were mostly college-age volunteers who walked from coast to coast in four separate groups, protesting at abortion clinics along the way, before arriving in Washington for a rally Saturday.

The walk was challenging at times, volunteers Matt Rochefort and Stephanie Culy told Catholic News Service in an interview a day before the rally.

Rochefort's group braved wildlife, including a bear sighting at night. Meanwhile, Culy's group trekked up the Cascade Mountains to cross Washington state, but they remained dedicated to their mission.

"We were climbing 1,600 feet in five miles, and it was windy and raining," said Culy, but any adversity they faced was worth it to take a stand against "the culture of death."

"This is the kind of culture we're working against. I thought of Christ walking to Golgotha. That image really stuck to me," she said.

Rochefort believed the clinic protests were effective.

Xavier University grad shooting for medals at London Olympics

WASHINGTON -- One-tenth of an inch puts Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker above some of the best marksmen in the country.

Fifty meters away from Parker, a bull's-eye less than the size of a dime has been pockmarked by his air rifle, signaling a trip to the Olympic Games in London.

Building community at heart of lay ministry, conference speakers say

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The head of Catholic Relief Services urged an audience of lay ministers to work with one another and develop a sense of community.

And one key to building that community is charisma, said Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency.

"Charisma is the ability to take people as you find them, like them for what they are, and do not dislike them for what they are not," she told attendees at the annual conference of the National Association for Lay Ministry.

The meeting, which featured prayer, speakers and informational booths, was held in the Crystal City area of Arlington May 31-June 2.

Woo urged empathy and a capacity for others. "This capacity for others is grace," she said, emphasizing that the word "grace" should be spelled with a capital "G" -- "because grace is what God gave us."

Grace, she continued, is the key to having the empathy that keeps lay ministers from competing with one another and instead builds a community of lay ministers.