Pope Francis Congratulates Australian Catholic LGBTQ+ Group on 50th Anniversary

Pope Francis has congratulated a Catholic LGBTQ+ group in Australia as it celebrates its 50th anniversary, with the group’s leaders calling the pope’s message an inspirational milestone.

Francis sent the papal message to Acceptance, which is one of the oldest Catholic LGBTQ+ groups worldwide and has chapters in several Australian cities. According to Out In Perth:

“The congratulations came via Sister Jeannine Gramick, an American nun who has ministered with the Catholic LGBTQ+ community since 1971 and maintains contact with Pope Francis. Sr Jeannine told Pope Francis about the Acceptance group in Australia and its 50th anniversary this year. Pope Francis asked Sr Jeannine to convey to Acceptance his personal congratulations.

“In a recent message to Acceptance, Sr Jeannine said Pope Francis told her to pass on his ‘happy greetings at this time of your anniversary’ and to advise that he was praying that Acceptance members would every year ‘grow closer in love with our Lord Jesus Christ’.”

Previously, Acceptance had written appreciative messages to the pope for his pastoral witness, especially concerning LGBTQ+ people. Members responded positively to Francis’ reply through Sr. Gramick:

“‘None of us expected such a greeting, but Pope Francis is such a wonderful Pope, why were we surprised?’, said Angela Han, Coordinator of Acceptance Perth. . .”The greeting from Pope Francis is a significant milestone for Acceptance in Australia and the wider LGBTQ+ Catholic community. It reflects a message of welcome, inclusivity, compassion and acceptance, affirming the important role Acceptance has played in supporting LGBTQ+ people of faith over the past five decades.’ Han added. . .

“Benjamin Oh, Chair of Rainbow Catholics Interagency Australia, said, ‘Pope Francis’ greetings serve as a powerful affirmation of the resilience and contributions of LGBTQ+ Catholics in our society and church. Celebrating Acceptance’s 50th anniversary is a momentous occasion for the entire Rainbow Catholic community.'”

The celebrations of Acceptance’s 50th anniversary will continue with a number of events and initiatives, all of which aim to fulfill the group’s mission “to affirm the authenticity and dignity of GLBT Catholics in our church through liturgy, witness, and fellowship,” with a focus on celebrating the Eucharist and seeking social justice. To learn more about Acceptance, click here. For a detailed history of the group via its chapter in Perth, click here.

New Ways Ministry joins the pope in celebrating Acceptance’s five decades of faithful, inclusive ministry!

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry

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