By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — Around 300 people attended a Mass for life Aug. 24 at St. John Vianney Church that was celebrated by Bishop Martin Amos and concelebrated by priests from the dioceses of Davenport and Peoria, Ill. It was the centerpiece of a Black and White Gala.
Because the gala was a celebration of life, “what better way to begin than with the Eucharist and our encounter with the Lord of life?” Bishop Amos said during his homily.
He spoke of St. Ambrose who had commented on Luke’s writing, “Elizabeth is the first to hear Mary’s voice, but John is the first to be aware of her grace.” Elizabeth hears with the ears of the body, but John leaps for joy at the meaning of the mystery. Elizabeth is aware of Mary’s presence, but John is aware of the Lord.
St. Ambrose would probably say the same thing about people today, the bishop said. “Some see and hear only with the eyes and ears of the body. Others see and hear with the eyes and ears of faith.”
For some, that means seeing pregnancy as a problem. “Others like you see the presence of a life, holy, innocent and belonging to God,” the bishop told the assembly. For some, the only solution to a problem pregnancy is abortion. “Others like you see and hear a message of pro-life.” Some do not see being pro-life as a way of life. Those who see and hear with the eyes and ears of faith respect life in all its forms, the bishop said.
“You also are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges his works. Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each of you to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.”
Following the Mass, around 275 attended the Black and White Gala that included a social hour, auction and dinner in the gathering space and parish center. Money raised from the event goes to pro-life organizations in the Quad-City area.
Pro-life ministries from the Quad City area had tables set up so people could learn more about their work. Students from Assumption High School in Davenport were on hand to sell Stand for Life T-shirts.
Father Brian Miclot of the Diocese of Davenport said he attended after receiving a personal invitation from Norma and John Cassidy. “I’ve know them for 40 years and they are faith-filled people.” He enjoyed seeing so many priests in attendance and looked forward to the rest of the evening.
Father Tom Gibson of the Diocese of Peoria said he also attended because of a personal invitation. He prays outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf every Tuesday and came to support the work of pro-life organizations.
Kay Perry of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf said she came to the event because she believes in life and supports the Women’s Choice Center — a pro-life center in Bettendorf. “We started the gala at Lourdes and I believe strongly in choosing life.”