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QUINCY -- A Night 4 Life, a night of prayer, education, and celebration for the gift of life, will take place on June 19 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The event is being organized by the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth and the Sacred Heart Men's Prayer Group. The Flatley Foundation is sponsoring the event, which will be free and open to the public.
Mayor Thomas Koch, a member of the Men's Prayer Group at Sacred Heart Parish, had the idea for the event after visiting Medjugorje in October 2018. It was the third time he made the trip.
"Each time I've gotten a little bit of an inner message, and this last time was that 'You have to do more,'" Koch said, speaking to the Pilot on May 30.
He talked and prayed about this with the Men's Prayer Group. He also reached out to Mother Olga, the founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth. Her community is located in Quincy and is very active in pro-life activities.
"Our mayor knows of our involvement with this particular ministry, and also our presence at the annual March for Life, so he asked me if I would be open to do something like this. And we both prayed about it, so it came as a fruit of prayer for both of us, for the mayor's men's group and for our community," Mother Olga told the Pilot in a May 30 interview.
A Night 4 Life will include keynote speakers, eucharistic adoration, and a recitation of the joyful mysteries of the rosary. Delmore Worship will provide music. Pro-life groups will have tables and booths set up to provide information about their services.
Mayor Koch said they had been planning the event for a few months when, in January, New York State passed legislation that eliminated many abortion restrictions. He said he thinks that development "kind of woke up some people."
"I think we're going to have some people that show up there based on what's going on nationally, and it's my hope, through the speakers, through the adoration and rosary, that those folks that are pro-life will be reinforced or affirmed in their position," he said.
He said that although the event "has a Catholic theme to it," members of other Christian denominations will be present.
Mother Olga told the Pilot that, as far as she is aware, A Night 4 Life will be the first outdoor pro-life event of this size in the archdiocese. The Veterans Memorial Stadium can seat 3,500 people. In an interview on "This is the Day," Mayor Koch said they expect 3,000 to 4,000 people to attend.
Mother Olga and Mayor Koch both emphasized that A Night 4 Life will not be political in nature, but rather an opportunity to pray, celebrate, and educate about the gift of life.
"It's not meant to be a protest, it's not meant to be a political rally, it's meant to be a night of prayerful hope and love, and hopefully, we'll touch some hearts with it," Koch said.
"We are not doing this event in support of any party or against any party. It's purely celebration for the gift of life and promoting the power of prayer to really change hearts in our country," Mother Olga said.
Father Brian Flatley, episcopal vicar of the South Region, will give the opening blessing.
Among the keynote speakers will be Jason Scott Jones, a film producer and pro-life activist, whose films include "Bella" and "Voiceless." There will also be a witness talk from Cathy "Ki" Morrissey, a South Shore native and adoption advocate who speaks about her experience as a birth mother. Mother Olga and Father Matt Williams, the pastor of the Quincy Catholic Collaborative, are also scheduled to address the gathering.
Mother Olga said she has been asking many priests and religious orders in the archdiocese to pray for the event, and that those who cannot attend in person can still join them spiritually through prayer.
"I'm just thrilled that we've got a great team putting this together and hopefully it's going to be a beautiful night," Koch said.
Information about A Night 4 Life can be found at www.night4life.com.