South Charlotte

Catholic musician Matt Maher headlines Pregnancy Resource Center of Charlotte fundraiser

Internationally known singer-songwriter Matt Maher, who has performed for two popes and has had more than 20 songs on Christian radio, will headline the Pregnancy Resource Center of Charlotte’s annual fundraising event Sept. 18.

Maher, who is Catholic, is becoming more well known among Protestants and has stated that God has called him to “write music with Protestants and be in ministry with them.”

The Pregnancy Resource Center, on East Fourth St., is an interdenominational Christian ministry that provides a safe place to work through pregnancy-related issues. This will be the first year the PRC has offered a musical event at its Celebrate Life Benefit Dinner, and PRC leaders said they liked the spirit of unity Maher embodies.

“We want people to understand that, yes, we are a nonprofit Christ-centered ministry, but we are nondenominational,” the center’s executive director, Erin Forsythe, said. “We have Catholics involved, and a wide spectrum of people in this city are behind this work.”

Maher will perform a set of songs that focus on the theme of “God’s heart for life,” Forsythe said. Some songs, Maher said, tell stories, while other are more worshipful.

“I always want to create an event with the music where people leave hopefully having an encounter with God, no matter how big or small it is.”

Maher, originally from Newfoundland, Canada, is described as a devout Catholic whose music crosses theological boundaries. He released the album “All The People Said Amen” in 2013, and some of his well-known songs include “Lord, I Need You” and “Your Grace is Enough.”

He has written songs for Christian artists Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman and has been nominated for several Grammys.

In 2002, he sang “Litany of Saints” for Pope John Paul II and 700,000 youths at World Youth Day, and in 2008 he led worship at the Rally for Youth and Seminarians in Yonkers, N.Y., when Pope Benedict XVI visited the U.S.

“We love the fact that Matt’s music currently is in the forefront of Christian music right now,” Forsythe said. “We also love the fact that he is a Catholic, and for years the PRC has wanted to involve the Catholic community.”

Maher said that unity among Christians has been a longtime focus of his ministry.

“I think my goal for coming to Charlotte and being part of this event is trying to get believers from different denominations together in the same room to say, ‘We could pray together and worship God together, and as we do it, realize our mutual calls to love God and love our neighbor are a really important thing.’ ”

Maher, who is married and has two children, said he also supports organizations like the PRC, noting that Jesus’ mother Mary was a young girl with an unexpected pregnancy.

“I really believe in the ministry these centers provide in helping young women take a step back and find the courage to make a choice that’s greater than themselves,” he said.

The PRC serves more than 3,000 clients annually and works with about 13,600 clients each year through classes, programs, phone calls, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and other services.

It does not offer, recommend or refer for abortions, but does provide information about abortion procedures and risks.

The agency’s first Mobile Care Unit began operating in late 2013, and the PRC plans to add a second mobile unit by the end of the year.

The unit, painted with information about the PRC, operates six days a week and spends four hours a day parked outside abortion clinics and then travels to ZIP codes where statistics have shown women live who are likely to get abortions.

The unit carries ultrasound equipment, and women can talk with counselors on board.

The Celebrate Life Benefit Dinner raises about 60 percent of the PRC’s annual budget, Forsythe said.