In the United States of America, today is Thanksgiving Day, a time set aside each year to offer thanks to God for all the blessings we have received. The tradition here at Bondings 2.0 is to ask New Ways Ministry staff, volunteers, and board members to note some of the things that they are giving thanks for this year. Bondings 2.0 readers are invited to add to this list by noting their gratitudes in the “Comments” section of this post.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
I give thanks for all the diverse and amazing people that I have met through my work in the Catholic LGBT arena: prophets, angels, saints and sinners, mystics, and apostles. I give thanks for courageous leaders, generous donors, nuns and bishops, priests and brothers and deacons, bold parents and lay people in the pews who are taking steps large and small to make a difference. I’m thankful for those who’ve offered us hospitality, who’ve provided prayer, guidance, support, and challenge, who’ve accompanied us in so many ways on our journey. I give thanks for the LGBT people whose faith sustains not only them, but me, personally: those who are out and proud, and those who do quiet work; those who make grand gestures and those whose small acts make a great difference. And, last but not least, I am thankful for our blog readers and subscribers whose passion and interest keep us going!
Dr. Jerry Fath, Board Member:
Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, Co-Founder:
I am grateful that:
the cancellations of Fr. James Martin’s speaking engagements because of his book Building a Bridge have fanned the flames of public dialogue in the Church on LGBT issues;
Pope Francis continues to proclaim that conscience is more important than rigid adherence to laws and regulations;
Catholic LGBT voices are growing stronger throughout the world because of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.
Brother Cornelius Hubbuch, CFX, Board Member:
I am grateful that my extended Catholic family have accepted and been supportive of my grandniece who now has a same-sex partner;
I am grateful for the spirituality discussion/sharing group of 15 nieces, nephews, and spouses I have been coordinating. This has been inspiring and given me hope;
I am grateful for the retreat and workshop ministry I have with numerous senior groups.
Sister Anna Koop, SL, Board Member:
I am grateful for the immense strength of the persons who have been victims of sexual abuse. They put such effort into recovering and becoming whole following sexual abuse.
Brother Brian McLauchlin, SVD, Volunteer:
I am grateful for the many courageous LGBTQ Catholics who have stood by their faith and their rightful place at the Table. They continue to inspire me and show me God’s love;
I am also grateful for my MA studies at Eastern Mennonite University in Conflict Transformation. This program has been a LIGHT through a dark tunnel.
Ryan Sattler, Board Member:
In the challenges we have faced this past year, it is easy to focus only on the negative. But I was recently reminded of how fortunate we are to have a parish like St. Matthew here in Baltimore. After our Call To Action Conference in October, a dozen or so attendees wanted to attend a Sunday liturgy. So we invited them to St. Matthew. As our visitors entered the church, they were greeted by parishioners welcoming them to St. Matthew. Our visitors came from states up and down the east coast. As we began the liturgy, our pastor Fr. Joe Muth had each visitor stand up and introduced themselves. He then proceeded to talk about the CTA Conference and the social justice issues the conference addressed; Racism, LGBTQ, Caring for the Earth, Challenges facing the Muslim Community, and Transgender and the Catholic Family. Our visitors experienced a great homily and a “Kiss of Peace” that lasted over five minutes. As we began to exit our pews, they saw the two large banners hanging in the back of church that read; “All are Welcome – LGBTQ” and “Immigrants are Welcome here”. We are blessed to have a great LEAD-LGBTQ Ministry, Immigration Outreach Center, and Conversations on Racism, etc. Our conference friends couldn’t stop praising this special parish where “All are Welcome” and St. Matthew really means it.
So I am very thankful for St. Matthew, my home parish. And I am sorry for taking it for granted.
Lizzie Sextro, Blog Contributor:
During this Thanksgiving season, I want to express my immense gratitude for the women in my life. Thank you to the women who have empowered me, who have listened to me, who have sung with me, who have challenged me to be better, who have sat with me while I cried, who have prayed with me, and who have enveloped me in love.
Robert Shine, Associate Director:
Gratitude abounds in 2017. Even as injustice rises daily, a resisting people have time and again come together to proclaim love. We have seen this solidarity at the Women’s March and in the Movement for Black Lives, and wherever justice and mercy kiss in concrete, loving acts. On LGBT issues in the church, I have four particular gratitudes:
First, I am thankful for Pope Francis who, even when he stumbles, keeps pushing our church back onto the trajectory of Vatican II. He is laying foundations for a truly inclusive and just church.
Second, I am thankful for Fr. Bryan Massingale and other theologians who speak as uncompromising prophets for intersectional justice. They remind us of the essential truth that no one is free until everyone is liberated.
Third, I am thankful for Mary Kate Curry and Matt Tedeschi who, even as Catholic schools discriminated against them, modeled for their students what it means to be people of integrity and faith.
Fourth, I am thankful for Fr. James Martin and the way he has re-invigorated a conversation on LGBT issues in the church with Building a Bridge.
And, finally, I am grateful for you, our wonderful Bondings 2.0 community. Thank you for all that you bring to the conversation we hold here; your wisdom in the comments and your help in spreading the word are invaluable!
Vernon Smith, Volunteer:
I am thankful for Father James Martin and the publishing of his book, “Building a Bridge.” Some were upset, saying that his book went too far. Others were upset, saying that he did not go nearly far enough. He was sometimes maligned and even disinvited from speaking. But he responded consistently with poise, grace and generosity. He got a lot of people talking. And, thankfully, that is what really mattered.
Professor Cristina Traina, Board Member:
I’m thankful for the tremendous strides toward Christian unity made by the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation this year, as well as their renewed commitment to continue working toward shared Eucharist. This persevering, committed goodwill is a great sign of hope for mending all the conflicts that divide the church and the churches.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, November 23, 2017