Challenges for Parishes
Being welcomed and participating in their local faith community is the foundation of spiritual support that the Church offers to baptized persons with a homosexual inclination and their families. Parishes can take a number of steps to ensure that individuals and families feel welcome:
• Be aware of how marginalized some families facing these challenges feel within the Church. Form links with other parishes to share information and build networks of mutual support. Try to establish or promote support groups for parents and family members.
• Try not to assume that everyone is heterosexual; reflect this in language and conversation. When speaking publicly, use the words “homosexual,” “gay,” and “lesbian” in honest and accurate ways. Avoid stereotyping and condemning. Do not presume that all homosexual persons are sexually active.
• Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful; a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain.
• Establish what appropriate local help and support services are available and make contact information easily accessible on notice boards and in leaflets.
• Enable the parish to be informed about Church teachings and Catholic writing on the subject. Keep copies of documents in the parish library.
• Check the local school policies on bullying and equality – children sometimes use the word ‘gay’ as a term of abuse.
Prayer and Liturgy Opportunities
It’s always important to provide information about opportunities in the local area for moral and spiritual support for homosexual Catholics and their families.
Homilies and bidding prayers are excellent opportunities to demonstrate awareness and compassion and express appreciation for the gifts that homosexual Catholics bring to their faith community.
God of intimacy, you surround us with friends and family to cherish and to challenge. May we so give and receive caring in the details of our lives that we also remain faithful to your greater demands, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
– Janet Morley
Gracious God, you made us in your own image, and in the life and death of Jesus, your Firstborn, revealed your infinite love for all God’s family. Help us to cherish the gift of sexuality and use our talents to affirm one another in the building of your reign. Amen.