Catholic Communities Featured Prominently in Two Pride Parades

PrideAround the globe, June is traditionally celebrated as Pride month in the LGBT community.  It is common for cities, large and small, to host parades, festivals, and other events to acknowledge the contributions of LGBT people and to let folks know about the supportive resources and organizations within the local community.

LGBT-friendly religious groups also take part in Pride celebrations, though having a Catholic presence in these events is a rare occurrence.  Sometimes the presence of a Catholic group sparks controversy, as happened last week in Portland, Oregon, when a St. Andrew Parish marched in the city’s Pride parade, even though their archbishop told them not to do so.

On the east coast of the U.S., another Catholic parish also marched in its city’s Pride parade:  St. Matthew’s in Baltimore, Maryland.  The parish’s LGBT ministry was lauded by the LGBT community for their presence and leadership.  The More Light Presbyterians website had these accolades for their Catholic friends:

When the Gay Pride parade kicked off in Baltimore on June 15, a number of faith communities were present – and Presbyterians were an important part of the event.  Faith Presbyterian – one of the organizers of the effort – and Brown Memorial Park Avenue– were proudly marching behind the banner, FAITH COMMUNITIES OF BALTIMORE with PRIDE – as was First & St. Stephens United Church of Christ.  But the largest number came

St. Matthew's contingent in  Baltimore's Pride Parade

St. Matthew’s contingent in Baltimore’s Pride Parade

from St. Matthews Roman Catholic church – the real instigator of the effort.  Long before we started actively recruiting walkers, St. Matthews had paid all the entry fees (Faith paid for the banner)!  Their goal was to have 100 walkers – I think the final number was 115!  Their enthusiasm was contagious as we planned the event.  Their LEAD ministries – their program to welcome LGBTQ’s – is an important part of the life at St. Matthews – and fits well with Faith’s participation in MORE LIGHT Presbyterians.  Faith and St. Matthews are long-time friends – both are active participants in the events of the Loch Raven (Blvd) Ministerium.  In fact the two churches are planning to do anti-bullying workshops together in the fall.  And we’re already talking about Gay Pride 2014!

Dignity/Washington's contingent in the Capital Pride Parade

Dignity/Washington’s contingent in the Capital Pride Parade

In nearby Washington, DC,  another Catholic community was also celebrated in their city’s Capital Pride Festival.    Dignity/Washington, which marked 40 years of service last year, received the Festival’s “Larry Stansbury Award for Exemplary Contributions to Pride.”   The  Capital Pride Festival’s website details Dignity/Washington’s many contributions to the local community, particularly their contributions to Pride celebrations:

“Dignity/Washington has participated in every LGBT March on Washington. Dignity/Washington was one of the earliest organizations to take part in the local Pride celebrations and has been a Capital Pride participant for over three decades.  Dignity/Washington became a Capital Pride Community Partner in 2007, even before the Capital Pride Alliance came into existence.  In 2008, Dignity/Washington was one of the organizations that supported the decision to award the Capital Pride Alliance the right to produce the celebration.  Dignity/Washington donated free space at the Dignity Center to the Capital Pride Alliance in the first few years after the Alliance came into existence. “

Heather Mizeur

Heather Mizeur

At their Pride liturgy, Dignity/Washington hosted Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, a Catholic lesbian woman who is considering a run to become the state’s governor.    Mizeur was instrumental in getting Maryland’s marriage equality law passed.

Congratulations to both St. Matthew Parish and Dignity/Washington for being recognized for their wonderful and important contributions!

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

10 replies
  1. Erma Durkin
    Erma Durkin says:

    O, happy day! Much effort was expended in weeks of preparation; on the Parade day, excited greetings were offered to cooperating strangers; jubilation was felt as bystanders cheered and clapped as the Communities of Faith passed by. People of Faith, in public parade, announced a new attitude and a welcoming presence to all. Justice took off her blindfold, and Hope led a joyful dance.

  2. Chaplain Bill
    Chaplain Bill says:

    This is a wonderful example of support and love by the People of God. For the Bishops, “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” The Incarnation is real and the voice of God is still speaking. May we all have ears to hear and hearts tender to love.

  3. Friends
    Friends says:

    I’m in touch with young people in a number of Catholic and non-Catholic college / university communities. And I have yet to find A SINGLE CATHOLIC STUDENT anywhere who believes that the Catholic Church’s official anti-gay moral condemnation is anything other than bizarre and hateful. Those bishops and Cardinals had better start listening to their faithful Catholic high school and college students, or else there will be nothing left of the institutional Church in 50 to 100 years.

  4. Kait Skyler
    Kait Skyler says:

    We cannot claim to be loving and caring Christians and then act otherwise as Archbishop Sample did in Portland. Merely walking in support of Gays is not a sin and besides there was no medical community in Jesus day to say truthfully that Gays are born the way they are. Bottom line, we either love unconditionally or we don’t.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] His column also contrasts  with the archbishop’s previous actions on LGBT issues, having once called opposition to equal marriage rights a “top pastoral priority” when Catholic Oregonians for Marriage Equality began organizing. He also banned a local parish from marching in Portland’s 2013 Pride parade, though parishioners stood in solidarity with the LGBT community and marched anyway. […]

  2. […] (TIE). Catholic parishes in Baltimore, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and Minneapolis/St. Paul march publicly in Gay Pride […]

  3. […] the Gospel. The pastor heads up St. Matthew’s Parish, Baltimore, Maryland, which recently particiapted in their city’s Pride parade.  Fr. Muth was also recently quoted in the news for his support of gay and lesbian […]

  4. […] reported on Catholic faith communities marching in LGBT Pride marches in Portland, Oregon and the Baltimore-Washington, DC region.  We’ve recently learned of several more demonstrations of Catholic support of Pride events […]

  5. […] of marriage equality and LGBT rights. New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT rights group, wrote in their blog about St. Andrew Parish marching in Portland’s Pride parade and St. Matthew’s marching in the […]

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