Music and the love for life will bridge two countries and two coasts the weekend of Oct. 1-2, as Father Bill Quinlivan and friends will offer a special musical event to honor the pro-life cause.
Father Quinlivan, known for his music ministry, will be joined by his West Coast friends Gretchen Harris and Donna Lee, both Catholic singer-songwriters, in a two-part, two-country event. On Saturday, Oct. 1, they will offer witness and sing at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tonawanda. Then, the following Sunday, they will do the same thing at St. Alfred Parish in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Father Quinlivan will start the day by celebrating Pro-Life Mass at St. Rose of Lima at 8 a.m., where Harris and Lee will sing. Then they will process to Buffalo's Main Street women's clinic to pray the rosary. That evening at 7 p.m., there will be an evening of prayer and song at Blessed Sacrament, co-sponsored by the diocesan Office of Pro-Life Ministry. The following day, the trio will travel to Canada to St. Alfred Parish in St. Catharines for a 7 p.m. event.
"Both Gretchen Harris and Donna Lee are involved in pro-life work out in the West Coast and wherever they travel," Father Quinlivan said. "I had suggested to Cheryl (Calire, diocesan director of Pro-Life Activities) that maybe I could celebrate that (month's) Mass at St. Rose of Lima, and Gretchen and Donna could come and do some music at it. Then we'll be part of the Rosary for Life that morning, then at the Mass we'll invite people to come over to Blessed Sacrament that night for the fuller musical experience."
Father Quinlivan, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, hesitates to call the event a concert. Instead he describes it as a Rosary for Life with music and witnessing.
"I think people can expect beautiful music from two very experienced young ladies. I think they've been doing music ministry for at least 20 years out on the West Coast," he said. "I wrote a song that for my last album that I recorded with Gretchen Harris as a duet, 'Hymn to an Unborn Savior,' so we will sing that one together. They can expect some honest witness to life that includes some personal stories on their part."
Americans are welcome to come to St. Alfred's, but should remember to bring passports when crossing the border. Ample seating and parking will be available. Both evenings will accept free will offerings.
The annual Life Chain will take place Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. along Niagara Falls Boulevard.
Blessed Sacrament is located at 263 Claremont Ave. in the Town of Tonawanda. St. Alfred's is located at 272 Vine St., St. Catharines, Ontario L2M 4T3.