By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — Eucharistic adoration, prayer and live music drew people of all ages to a Dubuque church on a recent Saturday night thanks to a visit from the “177 Project.”
St. Columbkille Parish hosted Catholic singer-songwriters Greg Boudreaux of Louisiana and Ben Wagner of Wisconsin Sept. 22. They are part of a number of musical teams from around the country that are aiming to visit all 177 Catholic dioceses in the United States this fall to promote Holy Hours. Those involved in the tour hope the combination of time before the Blessed Sacrament and faith-inspired music will lead to an outpouring of grace.
“Prayer is just conversation with God,” reflected Boudreaux after the event in Dubuque. “We listen, God speaks to us, and we respond, and so there’s this dialogue that happens. … The words of a song — those can be the words of God speaking to us and they can be our words in response, and this is the idea with the responsorial psalm on Sunday. He speaks to us, and we respond in the very words (God) gave us. It helps enhance the experience of prayer.”
The evening began with a rosary, followed by a Holy Hour at 7 p.m., presided over by Father David Schatz, pastor of St. Columbkille Parish. The sacrament of reconciliation was also offered.
Wagner and Boudreaux played music throughout the Holy Hour and then held a short concert. During their sets, they told stories about their own spiritual journeys and played some original songs.
“We had 200 people in attendance,” stated Alice Noethe, pastoral associate at the parish. “Families with younger children stayed for the Holy Hour then left at around 8 p.m. A lot of teens and young adults stayed for the concert given from 8 to 8:30 p.m.”
Noethe was originally contacted by Adoration Artists, the organization behind the campaign called “The 177 Project — A Million Intentions.” After learning about their goal, she worked with other parish staff to coordinate the event. Admission was free. In all, the project is aiming to hold about 190 events. Informaiton on the remaining dates scheduled through December is at the177project.com.
Cover photo: Ben Wagner, one of the ‘177 Project’ artists, plays a song after adoration Sept. 22 in Dubuque. (Photo by Dan Russo/The Witness)