Students at Georgetown University attend one of the leading LGBT-friendly Catholic colleges in the U.S., and Bondings 2.0 has previously covered previously efforts by the University in this regard, including welcoming two openly transgender students this fall. In another hopeful sign, Campus Ministry will now officially partner with GU Pride, the campus’ LGBTQ student group, to ensure the spiritual needs of all students are being met.
Tim Rosenberger, a sophomore, highlighted this new collaboration in Georgetown’s newspaper, The Hoya. He is an openly gay student writing about his experiences:
“Most Georgetown students won’t be surprised to hear that the LGBTQ experience on the Hilltop [G.U. campus nickname] is a uniquely uplifting one, but few may realize how many of their classmates have directly experienced the ill effects of a less inclusive theology. When I came to Georgetown last year, I was utterly unprepared for the warm and welcoming religious community that embraced me. My senior year of high school had provided me with some interesting reflections on my faith that had left me somewhat soured on Christianity…
“Coming to Georgetown provided me with a completely new context for spirituality in which members of my community celebrated difference and strengthened one another through our different ways of relating to God.”
Rosenberger believes Georgetown has room to grow, and he reports on a positive step in that direction:
“We should engage [LGBTQ] issues in theology classes and not shy away from difficult discussions merely to avoid awkward confrontations and political incorrectness. We should be leaders in the ongoing debate regarding inclusion within the Church’s worldwide body…In our own community, we can continue to make ministry resources accessible for students that do not actively seek them out.
“In partnering with GU Pride, campus ministry is boldly reaffirming its commitment to ministering to the spiritual needs of all students…GU Pride leaders, exhibiting the same boldness, overlooked the somewhat shaky reputation that religious organizations have on LGBTQ issues in order to form a meaningful partnership. From leading prayer groups for gay students to providing opportunities for Bible study and participation in religious services, campus ministry has done a great deal to make LGBTQ students feel they have a place within the religious community at Georgetown.”
Too often, LGBT students struggle to harmonize their faith identity with their sexual orientation or gender identity. While campuses host LGBT groups for students, there is still some times a division between these organizations and the faith-based ones. Georgetown University’s outreach by Campus Ministry to meet students where they are and seek to minister as needed is a hopeful sign that these divisions can be healed. The fact that they consulted and partnered with the campus LGBT group bodes well for the success of their future outreach. Hopefully, more Catholic colleges and universities will follow this lead and offer LGBT-affirming spiritual initiatives in 2014.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry