By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF – An evening to celebrate life was held Aug. 23 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Nearly 300 people attended the fourth annual Black & White Gala that included Mass with Bishop Martin Amos, social, silent auction, raffle and dinner. Our Lady of Lourdes in Bettendorf and Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire sponsored the event that will benefit pro-life ministries.
The evening began with Mass. Bishop Amos presided and 12 priests of the Diocese of Davenport concelebrated.
“We gather first this evening to pray and then to celebrate,” the bishop said in his homily. “Yes, there is a culture of death and it would be easy to count off the things that make up that culture. It would be easy to list the statistics of those touched by the culture of death. I know there is much work yet to be done if this culture of death is to be overturned. But we are a people of life and a people of hope. Tonight I would like us to pray to the living God and celebrate the living God, alive in our world, our communities, our churches, and in our very hearts.”
Emphasizing the theme of life, the bishop quoted passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the prophet Isaiah and the apostle St. Paul.
Bishop Amos noted that in baptism we are re-created. God invites us to be part of the divine family, brothers and sisters in the Lord. “God alone is the Lord of life from beginning to end. Life comes from God. Life is holy. This human life of ours is our first gift from God – a precious gift, a treasure hidden in a field, a pearl of great price and we now share divine life as well.” These gifts include forgiveness and above all – love, the bishop said. “And so we celebrate Eucharist, that great act of Thanksgiving and praise to God our Creator and Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”
Steve Goebel, the gala’s emcee, thanked Bishop Amos, the priests, deacons and members of the Knights of Columbus for their leadership in supporting and affirming the sanctity of life.
Father Corey Close, parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, said he received a personal invitation to attend the gala. He said it was a good place to make pro-life contacts as he is in charge of pro-life activities in his parish.
Pat Albrecht of Our Lady of Lourdes, a gala regular, said the event supports a wonderful cause.
Emma Gradin of St. Paul the Apostle Parish and a freshman at Assumption High School, both in Davenport, attended the event with several friends. “We’re here to learn about and spread the pro-life message. My dad bought our table.”
Brad Gradin said he offered both of his children the opportunity to attend the event with him or with a table of friends. Emma took up his offer to have a table full of friends, while his son, Alex, decided to attend with his dad.
“If you don’t pass this on to the younger generation, the cause is lost. I wanted to make this a fun night by letting them bring friends if they wanted,” Brad Gradin said. “I hope my children and their friends go from here and talk and spread the pro-life message.”