The six young Catholic LGBT pilgrims who journeyed to World Youth Day continue to make headlines a week after the enormous event in Brazil is over. These pilgrims, sponsored by the Equally Blessed coalition (comprised of Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry), visited the gathering of Catholic youth from all over the world, and “evangelized” the people they met about the goodness and equality of LGBT people. You can read Bondings 2.0‘s previous blog post about them here for more background on their mission.
Recently, they were featured in a BBC television report on World Youth Day, which offered them as an example of how some of the youth at the event were not convinced that “the church was moving fast or far enough.” You can view the video here. The brief interview with the Equally Blessed pilgrim Delfin Bautista begins at 1:52.
The pilgrims have also recently posted their own videos on YouTube. You can view all of them by visiting Equally Blessed’s YouTube channel. One important moment for the pilgrims was when one of them, Ellen Euclide, asked a question about LGBT issues at a catechesis session led by a bishop. You can view her question, the audience’s positive response, and the bishop’s answer here:
You can also hear Ellen’s background information and reflection about asking the question in this YouTube video:
The Washington Post’s “On Background” online show featured Ellen, along with The National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen, discussing the pope’s gay positive comments. Ellen’s comments begin at about 7:25. You can view that video here:
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Just in case that link does not work, you can view the video on the show’s website by clicking here.
Kate Childs-Graham, a “Young Voices” columnist for The National Catholic Reporter, featured the ministry of these pilgrims in her column this week, and she dubbed the group “The Transformative Six.” She described their work and advocacy while in Brazil:
“So to Rio they went, armed with rainbow bracelets and rosaries, prayer cards and kites. They had hundreds of conversations with other pilgrims from across the world. Many — if not most — supported their message and equality and inclusion, and they engaged those with whom they disagreed in spirited dialogue. Then, they blogged, Facebooked and tweeted about their experience.”
And then Childs-Graham wondered:
“Maybe the pope saw an Equally Blessed kite or received a sticker. Maybe he heard that a brave young woman asked a bishop about LGBT equality and the masses cheered. Maybe he noticed, like these pilgrims, the open arms of the Christ of Corcovado. No matter what it was that helped Pope Francis transform his tone and hopefully will help him transform our church, I’m giving all the credit to the Transformative Six.”
What we do know for sure is that the pilgrims touched the hearts and souls off many of the young people they encountered, and that was plenty transformative!
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry