By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Five years ago a concept of a “Celebration of Life” fundraiser and educational event for life issues was so well received that the event continues as the Black and White Gala – A Celebration of Life.
This year’s event will be held Aug. 22 at St. Ann Parish in Long Grove. Bishop Martin Amos will celebrate Mass at 5:30 p.m. in the church and the gala continues at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. Sponsors are St. Ann Parish and Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.
Charlene Merritt of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf, who helped found the celebration, said the Holy Spirit continues to inspire and guide organizers to “think outside the box.”
Parishes in the Davenport Deanery take turns hosting the non-formal event. Supporters generally wear casual to dress clothing in black and white.
Priests from Iowa and Illinois Catholic parishes concelebrate Mass with the bishop to begin the evening. Following Mass is the gala, an “inter-parish, exciting, chic and lively event that will be a grand celebration for fun and funds to make a difference for life,” Merritt says.
The gala includes hors d’oeuvres and desserts catered by Bridges, a raffle, silent auction, pro-life ministry presentations, entertainment and display of ministry materials.
Attention is focused on raising funds for life ministries in the Quad Cities, she said. Groups that have benefited include Birthright, Life and Family Educational Trust’s Women’s Choice Center, Quad City Right to Life, parish life ministries and Davenport Diocese ministries.
Some funds from last year’s event, and again this year, will be given to the re-establishment of Project Rachel, a post-abortive program that offers healing and forgiveness.
Merritt said another goal of the gala is for parishes to become a grassroots force in establishing a culture of life. Each host parish receives seed money for pro-life activities at the parish level. “Ideally, each parish will have or will establish a pro-life arm of their social action/peace and social justice commission. Parishioners are only limited by their imaginations and perseverance.”
To donate gifts or services for the silent auction, contact Julie Suhl at (563) 370-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To buy raffle tickets, contact Kathy Loomis at (563) 349-6274 or email@example.com or at the gala. Raffle tickets are $5 each or six for $25. For information or to make a reservation for $20 per person, contact Brad Merritt at (563) 529-1820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Black and White Gala committee are Kathy Schwab, Julie Suhl, Jeanne Wonio, Brad Merritt, Msgr. Drake Shafer, Maureen Mosse, Kathy Loomis, Terry Simmons, Charlene Merritt, Norma Cassidy and Theresa Anderson.