Two bishops joined with LGBTQ advocates, theologians, and pastoral ministers in a series of video greetings for Pride, reported the National Catholic Reporter.
Those who offered greetings were scheduled to be speakers for the Outreach 2020 conference on LGBTQ pastoral ministry scheduled for this month, but which was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Fr. James Martin, SJ, who was the organizer of both the conference and the video greeting, opened the filmed messages with a reminder that LGBTQ people are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as Psalm 139 says. (You can find the full video by clicking here.)
Bishop John Stowe, OFM, Conv. of Lexington, Kentucky a notable voice for LGBTQ inclusion in the church, said in his clip:
“I want you to know how much I admire your journey of faith and your journey to integrity and authenticity …I know that very often it’s a struggle and I admire your perseverance to remain faithful to your Catholic identity and to be faithful to who you are.”
[Editor’s note: Bishop Stowe wrote a Pentecost homily for Bondings 2.0 which can be found by clicking here.]
Santa Fe’s Archbishop John Wester expressed his appreciation for people doing LGBTQ ministry, especially during the pandemic, commenting:
“A lot of us had had to deal with strong emotions of isolation, loneliness, and even depression. It saddens me to think that so many of our fellow Catholics confront these emotions on an almost daily basis because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not right.”
Besides these two bishops, those offering greetings included theologians and pastoral ministers. Two women religious long involved in LGBTQ ministry, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL, the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, and Sr. Luisa Derouen, OP, a longtime companion of transgender Catholics, participated. They expressed gratitude for being able to accompany LGBTQ people.
“[Gramick:] All of these hopeful signs have come about because LGBT people have had the courage to come out and to share their lives with others. I thank God every day for these amazing people that have brought meaning into my life.”
“[Derouen:] It has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life to walk with you on your sacred journey and to be a witness to the ways that God has loved you and acted in your lives for you, through you, to you.”
“[Massingale:] I want to speak to you as a black gay man during this Pride month. Until and unless black lives matter, then all gay lives, all lesbian lives, all bisexual lives, all trans lives, all queer lives won’t matter because mine won’t matter.”
“[Greiten:] I speak to you as a brother in Christ who is gay and openly serving in ministry in the Catholic church in offering these words of encouragement to you. I do so as a fellow LGBTQ Catholic, who knows the struggles firsthand of growing up gay in the Catholic church.”
Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, the former head of the Dominican Order, told viewers that the lesson from his LGBTQ ministry is that “we‘re already much the same or all people who are trying to learn how to love each other, learn to do what is right.”
Sr. Edith Prendergast, R.S.C., former director of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’s Office of Religious Education, stated:
“I would hope for the LGBT Catholic Community…they deserve to be accepted, accepted and loved unconditionally. They offer so much to our communities of faith. Their wisdom ought to be sought, voiced and included…in the future direction of our local and universal church…”
Other speakers in the video series included educator Ish Ruiz; theologians Jason Steidl, Fr. James Alison, Fr. Eddie De Léon, CMF, and Craig Ford; Shiva Subbaraman, founding director of Georgetown University’s LGBTQ Resource Center; Megan Fox-Kelly, a campus minister at the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts; fired church workers Aaron Bianco and Shelly Fitzgerald; J.R. Zerkowski, director of Fortunate Families; Katherine Abel, the founder of Chicago’s Affirmed Ministry; Kathy Farrell, founder of the Atlanta-based Fortunate and Faithful Families; and Marianne Palacios, a Catholic school administrator.
You can view the full video below or by clicking here. For brief clips from individual speakers, see Fr. James Martin, SJ’s, social media channels.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, June 26, 2020