By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Supporting life from conception to natural death drew more than 275 people to the Black and White Gala held at St. Ambrose University on Aug. 11. The gala at the Rogalski Center followed Mass, which was held in Christ the King Chapel. Bishop Thomas Zinkula celebrated the Mass and 14 priests concelebrated.
During his homily, the bishop reflected on what it means to be pro-life and how to continue moving forward to embrace life from conception to natural death. He began by quoting from Philippians: “Forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal.” Sin and failure hold people back. But love, mercy and God’s forgiveness bring new life. We can spring forward, the bishop said. For the pro-life movement, Roe v. Wade and the abortion pill have been setbacks. But there is encouragement: the closing of Planned Parenthood clinics and the increasing involvement of young people in the pro-life movement.
The bishop noted that in Matthew’s Gospel, followers learn that by giving up everything and following Jesus, they will receive 100 times more in return. People make sacrifices to support the pro-life cause. They give their time, talent, treasure and prayer.
“But we receive so much more in return,” the bishop continued. There is the satisfaction, for example, that Quad-City area pro-life ministries are making a difference. They are helping to save lives in the community.
He asked what needs to be done in people’s lives, in the church and the pro-life movement to move forward rather than letting things slow them down. The bishop referred to the separation of the pro-life and peace and justice aspects. “It’s not one or the other. It’s both/and. No matter what, each and every life matters.” Both groups must work together.
Everyone needs to work to transform the angry and violent approach that is creating so much division in society into a channel of love, peace and joy. “We have truth on our side and the truth will prevail. Our joy will change hearts,” Bishop Zinkula said.
Catholics need to change the false impression that the church is simply against things. While the church opposes abortion, assisted suicide, artificial contraception and same-sex marriage, “the bigger picture is we are for life, for babies, for women. We are for people living honest, healthy, holy, hopeful lives. We need people to see that we are for life, friendship and support. That is why pro-life ministries supported by this gala offer counseling, education, maternity/baby clothing, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds,” Bishop Zinkula continued. “May we continue to pursue our goal of replacing the culture of death with a culture of life and love and joy.”
Following Mass, a bagpiper and members of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus led the congregation to the Rogalski Center for the gala. Margaret Burkholder, Nancy Osborne, Mary Ann Logan and Barb Anderson arrived as a group to the gala.
“We had a good time last year, so we came back,” Burkholder said. Osborne added the gala is a “wonderful event” and supports life. Jude Steil and Arlene Herrig said the event allows them to support life groups — which had a presence at the event.
As people walked into the ballroom, they were first greeted by pro-life organization representatives who showed off some of their resources and explained what they do to support life. The evening also included a silent auction and raffle prize drawings. All proceeds will benefit Quad City area pro-life ministries.