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Pedaling priest raises money for pro-life pregnancy centers

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Four parishioners from Arlington Diocese parishes, including Father Ed Guilloux, parochial vicar of All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, are riding their bikes 600 miles in six days, July 11-18, with Biking for Babies. The 11-year-old nonprofit’s mission is “to renew the culture of life, one pedal stroke and one pregnancy resource center at time.”

Other participants from the diocese are Matthew Dawson of St. Timothy Church in Chantilly; Andrew Martin of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington; and Kennedy Stoll of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale. This year’s ride was changed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the entire ride is taking place in Wisconsin. We spoke with Father Guilloux halfway through the trip. 

Q: What made you want to experience this program?

A: I have been into cycling for a while and I was hoping for a way to combine the athletic side of it with my faith, and in particular I thought it would be neat to do something pro-life. The parish I am at, All Saints, used to have an abortion clinic right down the road. Praying outside of that abortion clinic was a big thing in my life for many years, but praise God, it closed. It has been turned into the Mother of Mercy free medical clinic. I was on the Internet searching for something pro-life and found Biking for Babies. It is an awesome community of young adults that combines my love for cycling, my Catholic faith, and my desire to help women in crisis pregnancies and save their babies.

Q: What is it like biking 600 miles?

A: It’s long. There are a lot of struggles along the way. Like other endurance activities, it goes in waves. Sometimes it is really difficult and then it will be great for a bit and then it is difficult again. The mental game is obviously a big thing. What I find most neat about it is that we can be in solidarity with the women in crisis pregnancies, specifically for those centers we are serving and raising money for. We can offer these miles up for them, no matter our sufferings, with the Lord. We get to pray for the pregnancy centers, the women and the babies that we hope to be able to save through the work of these centers. There is a meaning behind all of these miles. That meaning behind it gives us a purpose and a reason to bike the 600 miles.

Q: How does this program help the pregnancy centers and the pro-life movement?

A: The two big parts are spreading the word and raising money. The reality is there are pregnancy centers all across the United States and many women in crisis pregnancies don’t know they exist. Maybe if these women did know they existed, they would go and seek help there. This could open a door to choose life and to choose to give birth to the baby, when maybe otherwise they would have turned to abortion. These centers exist but not everyone knows about them. Doing something big and outrageous like biking 600 miles raises attention. When the word gets out, more people will visit pregnancy centers and choose life.

We also raise money directly for these centers. The way that works is each missionary, the riders and the support crew, set a goal to raise an amount of money for these centers through Biking for Babies. We ask for people in our community — family, friends and parishioners — to support these centers financially. The money is given to Biking for Babies, but 100 percent of it goes to the centers. To make this concrete, each missionary is paired with a specific pregnancy center that each individual can learn more about, pray for and share their story. I am paired with Mary’s Shelter in Fredericksburg. Being paired with a center in our diocese made a big impact on me. It is a home both to expecting mothers and mothers who have young children and need a place to stay until they get back on their feet.

Q: What has been your favorite part of the journey?

A: Even halfway through the trip, it is very powerful how our team is bonding. There are about 35 of us divided into four different routes. I am part of the Eastern route, and on each team there are six riders and two support crew members. We spent all day together and create an intentional Christian community, praying and asking the Lord for His help on the trip and, most importantly, for the pregnancy centers and a culture of life. We pray for the gospel of life to be spread across the United States. It is very clear how when Christians intentionally come together we can effectively come together for a common goal.

Find out more:

To learn more about Biking for Babies or to make a donation, go to: bikingforbabies.com/national-ride/2020-teams/.

     

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020