The World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-sponsored gathering of thousands of families from around the globe at the end of September, has already had controversy associated with it about LGBT issues. For one thing, it will only have a minor nod to gay issues on the program (a celibate gay man and his mother will be part of a panel).
But a group of families with LGBT members will be at the WMF to share their faith journeys and to represent, unofficially, the religious experience that these families have had. And you can help support this effort by donating to support their work at this important international gathering.
Equally Blessed, a coalition of Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry, is sponsoring a dozen families to be a visible presence of LGBT love at the WMF. According to the webpaged devoted to this project the pilgrims have a unified mission:
“By embracing the spirit of prophetic non-violence, we will witness to our fellow World Meeting of Families (WMF) participants by…
- Having one-on-one conversations with a wide range of WMF participants
- Engaging the media
- Being a visible presence at WMF events, especially by distributing materials that affirm LGBTQ Catholics
- Witnessing through vigils or rallies with the message that we are all Equally Blessed.”
The pilgrims will participate in the educational and prayer activities of the WMF, and they plan to share their stories with other participants and with the Church officials who will be in attendance. In this way, they hope to make sure that LGBT families’ lives are not forgotten in these discussions.
You can be a part of this program by supporting the pilgrims with prayer and with financial support. To make a donation, please click here.
In anticipation of their pilgrimage to WMF, many of the pilgrims are keeping blog journals of their preparations. They will also be blogging during the WMF so that you can learn about their experiences each day as they happen. You can access the blog pages by clicking here. Reading through these blog entries will help you get a better sense of the personal stories of these families, and I’m sure some of you will find echoes of your own experiences in theirs.
Equally Blessed members have joined with 26 other Catholic organizations to send a letter to Pope Francis requesting that he meet with LGBTQI Catholics and their families during his visit to the U.S. The letter points out:
“Our Church’s teaching and pastoral practices surrounding homosexuality are causing an enormous pastoral crisis, as well as upholding systemic, institutionalized discrimination against LGBT people and our families. In the U.S. and around the world, we are experiencing alienation from the Church, higher rates of poverty and violence, and discrimination in employment, housing, educational opportunities, and access to health care.”
The pilgrimage is not the only way that LGBT issues will be present in Philadelphia during the WMF. Other groups are sponsoring events and programs “outside the walls” of the WMF, but nearby in Philly.
New Ways Ministry will host a half-day workshop on gender diverse families entitled TransForming Love: Exploring Gender Identity from Catholics Perspectives, on Saturday, September 26, 2015, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at St. John the Evangelist Parish Center, 1212 Ludlow Street, Phialdelphia. For more information, click here.
We have heard of several other programs being organized by other groups, but details are not yet settled. Bondings 2.0 will continue to update you on any news of other Catholic LGBT-related events at WMF as we hear of them.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry