OGDEN — Marjie Higgins’ passion for the rite to life for all people including the unborn led her to write the lyrics to a song following the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 legalizing abortion.
Higgins said the song lay dormant until last February when Father Erik Richtsteig, pastor of St. James Parish in Ogden, gave a homily for the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Higgins is a member of St. James Parish. She said that is when she remembered she had written the song called “Please Don’t Say No.”
“By the grace of God this all happened in six months,” said Higgins. “It went from having the lyrics printed in the bulletin, to it being suggested Michael Wooden, a member of St. Joseph Parish, Ogden, put the song to music. Then at Mass at St. James, I heard Deena Mulhall sing, with Larry Brown, John Zurbuchen, and Rocky Seale on back-ground vocals, and I just knew this was the group to make it happen.”
Wooden, who also performs background vocals and plays the piano, said Higgins approached him with the lyrics and he came up with one version that was a bit to edgy, so he modified it to go with more of what Higgins was hearing in her head. After a lot of adaptations, he came up with something, and they decided to put it together with extra instrumentation. Wooden actually plays many instruments and is the music teacher at Wahlquist Junior High School in Ogden. He teaches band, choir, and guitar.
Brown plays the guitar, Zurbachen plays the mandolin, and Seale plays the bass guitar and the drums. Seale mixed the instrumentation and produced the CD.
“When Marjie came to me with the words, I was interested right away because I was raised very pro-life,” said Mulhall. “My mother, Mary Ann Chase, is the pro-life representative for St. James Parish, and has been for many years. I really enjoyed the lyrics and we just kept singing it over and over.”
“Deena, who is the secretary at St. James Parish, has a beautiful voice. When she sings this song, she is able to make her voice sound like a child,” said Higgins. “The lyrics are about a child in the womb who says he or she has a right to live to receive his or her mother’s open arms and happy smiles. In the chorus of the song, after the abortion takes place and the mother is seeking God for grace and peace, the child tells God he or she has forgiven his or her mother. The child then takes God’s hand and God takes the child home.”
The group sang “Please Don’t Say No,” as the Communion song when Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, was in town and celebrated the Masses at St. James Parish Sept. 30. Priests for Life gives special emphasis to the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church. They offer ongoing assistance to the clergy in addressing the topics of abortion and euthanasia, and training and resources to the entire pro-life movement.
Fr. Richtsteig said, “This is a beautiful song that expresses a very real concern. We all have to have a reverence for human life. What I like about the song most is that it brings it into a very concrete situation. I want to commend Marjie and Michael Wooden for the music, and the group for making this CD. I am very proud of all of them.
“My dream for the lyrics of this song is to reach all those who may be considering having an abortion and those who have had an abortion and are feeling guilt and a heaviness from the abortion,” said Higgins. “I hope the lyrics can soften all those who are searching, and mend and heal all those who are broken hearted.