At New Ways Ministry, we are particularly grateful for all our blog readers and commenters who continue to make this social media outlet a wonderful discussion site for Catholic LGBT issues.
Some of New Ways Ministry’s staff members, board members, and volunteers have each offered their top three gratitude items below.
What are you thankful for this year, especially items that may pertain to Catholic LGBT issues? We invite you to share your items in the “Comments” section of this post.
Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director:
- I am grateful to New Ways Ministry’s supporters and volunteers whose generosity of time, talent, treasure, prayer, and encouragement are the lifeblood of our ability to continue our work.
- This past year, I had the privilege of receiving press credentials to cover the synod on the family at the Vatican. I am grateful to God for this opportunity, to the Vatican officials who allowed me this experience, and to New Ways Ministry supporters whose contributions made it possible for me to travel to Rome.
- I’m grateful for having the opportunity to meet so many courageous, compassionate, and loving people because of being involved with LGBT ministry. The Catholic Church–rightly understood as the People of God–is blessed with so many wonderful souls.
Sister Jeannine Gramick, Co-Founder:
This year I am thankful for a “triple crown” of success for marriage equality:
- On May 22, 62% of Irish voters earned Ireland the distinction of being the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. [Editor’s note: If you are interested in joining Sister Jeannine on an 8-day pilgrimage to Ireland in 2016, click here for more information.]
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex couples can marry in all states and that every state must recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.
- The German Bishops’ Conference decided on May 6th that lay employees who form same-sex civil unions should no longer automatically lose their jobs in Catholic schools, hospitals, or social service agencies.
In my more than 40 years of LGBT ministry, I never imagined I would see these changes. Thanks be to God!
Brother Brian McLaughlin, SVD, Project Volunteer:
This year, I am thankful for:
- A community of persistent advocates who tirelessly work for change in church and society.
- LGBT Catholics who refuse to live in fear and still proclaim their rightful place at God’s Table.
- Laudato Si and the care of ALL of God’s creation.
Matt Myers, Associate Director:
I am thankful for courageous Catholic activists in Africa, like Frank Mugisha, who regularly face extraordinary dangers during their work to secure basic rights for LGBT people in church and society.
Claire Pluecker, Board Member:
I am thankful for the sisters, priests, and bishops here in the United States that are supportive of our ministry to the the LGBTQ. May they be a shining light to the remaining.
Bob Shine, Social Media Coordinator:
- Trans* Visibility: The T in LGBT is finally approaching parity in the broader movement for equality. Catholics in the pews are leading their leaders when it comes to justice for and inclusion of trans* communities in the church.
- St. Mary’s Academy, Portland, Oregon: After first firing lesbian counselor Lauren Brown, school administrators quickly reversed their decision and implemented an inclusive nondiscrimination policy in a prophetic witness for the church institutions which are still expelling LGBT and Ally church workers.
- ‘Francis Bishops’: Those like Archbishop Blase Cupich, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, or Bishop Johann Bonny who prioritize a church of mercy which accompanies people in the realities of their lives. They have been willing to listen closely, smell of the sheep, and, increasingly, imagine publicly new ways of being church.
Vern Smith, Weekly Volunteer:
- I am thankful for the quiet, respectful people who manage Catholic schools and churches across the country who did not fire an lgbt person for coming out or marrying their partner. May we appreciate those unsung people who we may never know about, because they followed their consciences and quietly ignored social and hierarchical pressures to act unjustly.
- I am thankful for Pope Francis’ imperfect means of handling LGBT related issues. We need his pastoral fallibility. We cannot engage in genuine discussion with one who is “always right,” or presents oneself as infallible.
- And I am thankful for my partner of over 21 years whose love is always there regardless of the political winds that blow in the Church. Standing together for so long, even when stormy winds prevail, has become more like dancing in the rain.
For what are YOU thankful, this year? Share your gratitudes with other readers by posting them in the “Comments” section! Happy Thanksgiving!
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry