What we do

We offer an array of educational, spiritual, and pastoral programming. You are invited to attend an upcoming program, a listing of which you can find here. If you would like to schedule a program at your parish, school, or institution, please contact us here.

Programs

Blog: Bondings 2.0

New Ways Ministry provides daily news and commentary on Catholic LGBT issues through our blog, Bondings 2.0. The blog has been cited by media outlets including Religion News Service, the National Catholic Reporter, The Advocate, and Religion Dispatches, and by other LGBT organizations, including the leading Christian LGBT website, Believe Out Loud.

Bridge Building Award

The Board of New Ways Ministry instituted the Bridge Building Award to acknowledge those individuals who by Image result for Robert Lentz, christ the bridegroomtheir scholarship, leadership or witness have promoted discussion, understanding, and reconciliation between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church. The first recipient was Rev. Charles Curran in 1992.

The Bridge Building Award contains the icon, “Christ the Bridegroom,” designed by Robert Lentz. He describes the icon thus:

Old Testament Prophets and mystics ever since, have searched for ways to describe God’s love for humankind. They have compared God to father, mother, bridegroom, lover. Bridegroom was how many mystics thought of Christ in the high Middle Ages. This icon depicts Christ as the royal bridegroom, together with St. John the Evangelist, an intimate friend. In the Christian scheme of things, love is the only path to God, and God is called Love.

William of St. Thierry, a 12th century monk, summed up the spiritual life in this way: “You first loved us so that we might love you. And that was not because you needed to be loved by us, but because we could not be what you created us to be except by loving you.”

The award plaque was produced by a company in Burlington, Vermont, named appropriately: Bridge Building Images.

RECIPIENTS OF THE BRIDGE BUILDING AWARD

2016                Reverend James Martin, SJ

2009                John McNeill

2005                Mary Ellen & Casey Lopata

2002                Sister Margaret Farley, RSM

1995                Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

1992                Reverend Charles E. Curran

Catholic Parents Network Retreat Program

Since the 1990s, the Catholic Parents Network program Image result for lgbt catholicshas sponsored retreats for parents with LGBT children. Gradually, the retreats have welcomed LGBT Catholics and pastoral ministers, as well as parents. These retreats have been held in Catholic retreat facilities throughout the East and Midwest.

November 2018   New Language for Old Truths

September 2014   Our Place at the Table

October 2010   Spirituality on the Margins

June/October 2009   Understanding Jesus: The Challenge of Theology Today; Transformed into the Compassion of Christ

October 2008   Magisterium, Theologians and Folks Like Us: Sex, Sexuality and Developing Catholic Faith

May 2008   Radical Inclusiveness: The Ministry of Jesus and His Followers Today

September 2007   Becoming a Mature Christian 

September 2006   Images of Hope: New Pastoral and Spiritual Approaches

Connecting Catholic Parishes Program

New Ways Ministry sponsors meetings with priests and pastoral ministers who serve in LGBT friendly parishes in the same region. New Ways Ministry has connected parishes in the Boston area, Chicago area, Denver area, Tennessee, and Florida.

Equally Blessed Program

New Ways Ministry is a partner organization of Equally Blessed, a coalition project with Dignity Image result for equally blessedand Call to Action. Monthly conference calls and yearly in-person meetings are held to work on common projects and public statements, which have appeared in social and print media.

Father Robert Nugent Memorial Lectures

Image result for fr. robert nugentThe Father Robert Nugent Memorial Lecture series honors the memory of one of the co-founders of New Ways Ministry – Father Robert Nugent, SDS – who passed away on January 1, 2014. The purpose of the lectureship is to  address topics that were dear to Fr. Bob’s mind and heart: pastoral outreach to LGBT people and their families, theological developments in the area of sexuality, homosexuality and gender, building bridges of reconciliation between the LGBT community and institutions within the Catholic Church.

2018   Cultivating Sexual Desire: Theological and Pastoral Reflections – Patricia Beattie Jung

2016   – Reverend Charles Curran

Gay Priests and Religious

Image result for rainbow stoleNew Ways Ministry sponsors retreats and conferences for gay priests, religious brothers, deacons, and their congregational leaders and formation/vocation ministers. Retreats have been held in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

RETREAT FOR 2019

All Are Welcome!
Are All Welcome?

Retreat for Gay Priests, Bishops, Brothers, and Deacons
Tuesday-Thursday, October 22-24, 2019

Siena Retreat Center (near Milwaukee Airport)
5637 Erie Street
Racine, Wisconsin

Some Catholics have been blaming the sexual abuse of minors on the presence of a gay men in ministry.  Many suggest a “purge” of gay clergy and religious.

Over the course of this retreat, we will be looking at a variety of questions pertinent to this moment in the Church:
– Is our ministry welcomed by our church?
– Can we feel welcomed by our church that regards a gay orientation as “intrinsically disordered.”
– Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?
– How does the outsider see the grace of God?
– What does it take to create a community of welcome? What are we ready to sacrifice for such a community?

The retreat is designed to assist gay priests, bishops, brothers and deacons, in developing better self-understanding, spirituality, friendships, and relationship with the institutional Church.

Retreat Facilitator: Fr. Peter Daly

Fr. Peter Daly is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington. He was ordained in and received his STB degree from the Gregorian University and his STL from the Lateran University.  His pastoral work included campus ministry, and 23 years as a parish pastor.

For more information and to register, click here.

PAST RETREATS

2018   Living in Truth: The Call to Authenticity

2017   Following Jesus in Holy Honesty

2016   Fan Into Flame the Gift of God

2015   The Gathering and Draining of Desire

2009   Word. Flesh. Spirit: An Exploration of Sexuality, Intimacy, and Celibacy

Gay Resigned Priests & Former Religious

New Ways Ministry sponsors retreats and conferences for gay men Related imagewho are resigned priests and former religious brothers. Retreats have been held in Maryland.

2011   Living Sexually and Spiritually in Today’s World

2009   War and the Soul

History Program: Bondings / Bondings 2.0

Since 1978, New Ways Ministry has chronicled the history of LGBT ministry in the Catholic Church. This is done, in part, through a paper newsletter called Bondings which is published seasonally. Click on the image to access the Bondings Archive.

We have also continued this project of archiving news and opinion on Catholic LGBT issues through our blog, Bondings 2.0.

HIV-AIDS Support Program

New Ways Ministry has provided spiritual support for Image result for hiv/aids supportpersons with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers by sponsoring retreats.

2013   Journey into Life: Learning to Live with HIV/AIDS – Washington, DC

International Program

The International Program promotes LGBT education beyond the United States. In 2015, New Ways Ministry participated in a gathering of reform organizations in Limerick, gave public interviews supporting marriage equality in Ireland before their referendum, delivered presentations during the Prague Pride celebrations in the Czech Republic, helped to organize and participate in the founding meeting of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Rome, and reported on LGBT topics from the Bishops’ Synod on the Family in Rome. Previously, New Ways Ministry hosted delegations of LGBT leaders from Belarus, Poland, and Venezuela, met Salvadoran leaders and spoke at the first national conference on LGBT human rights in El Salvador, spoke at the Fifth Convention of La Asociación Internacional de Familias por la Diversidad Sexual (International Association of Sexually Diverse Families) in Lima, Peru.

Marriage Equality Education Program

The Marriage Equality Education Program educates Catholics and opinion leaders that Catholic theologians and laity strongly support civil marriage rights for committed same-sex couples.

New Ways Ministry produced a booklet entitled Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach. Education has been conducted around the U.S., particularly in Washington, Maine, Delaware, and Maryland.

Next Steps-Training Program

The Next Steps-Training Program guides those interested in LGBT ministry to develop models in their communities. Trainings have been held in several cities around the U.S., as well as in London, England.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

  • How can Catholic communities respond compassionately and faithfully to the gifts, needs, and life experiences of lesbian/gay people and their families?
  • What skills, knowledge, and talents are needed to address lesbian/gay issues in Catholic environments?
  • What role can you play in building bridges between faith communities and those who feel alienated and ostracized because of sexual orientation issues?

This weekend of prayer, presentations, dialogue, and planning is designed to assist those seeking ways to include lesbian/gay people and issues in their home parishes, schools, or other ministerial settings. Even if you are a person in the pews and not a professional minister, this program can help you discern what your “next steps” are in this area.

All interested in learning about Catholic lesbian/gay ministry programs are invited to participate.  If you don’t have a program, come to learn how to initiate one.  If you have already begun a program, come to develop the next steps.  If you are a lesbian/gay person, family member or friend who just wants to learn about these issues, come to find out ways that you can make a difference. No pre-requisite knowledge or experience is needed other than a willingness to listen, reflect, and share.

Through presentations and discussions, participants will develop ideas into a plan of realistic and feasible actions to put into practice in the weeks and months following the weekend.

Pilgrimage Program

The Pilgrimage Program provides spiritually-oriented travel for LGBT Catholics, their parents, friends, and other interested persons.

Related image

2019          Spiritual Gems of Belgium and Germany

2016          Ireland: Land of Rainbows and Wedding Bells

2015          “Rebuild My Church” – Rome, Assisi and Florence

2014          The Holy Land: Ancient and New

2011          Spiritual Treasures of Northern Italy

2009          El Salvador: Land of Martyrs

2008          Along Italian Roads, Ancient and New

2006          Spiritual Sojourn to Southern Spain

2005          The Catholic Treasures of Austria and Bavaria

2003          The Spiritual Treasures of Eastern Europe

2001          Holy Land and Egypt

2000         The Mystical Roads of Spain and Fatima

1999          The Shrines and Cathedrals of France

1998          Greece and Turkey …in the footsteps of St. Paul

1997          Rome, Assisi and Florence

1996          Holy Land

Publications Project

The staff of New Ways Ministry publishes articles in the mainstream media and produces and distributes its own publications. These include –

Always Our Children – The purpose of this pastoral message is to reach out to parents trying to cope with the discovery of homosexuality in their adolescent or adult child. It urges families to draw upon the reservoirs of faith, hope, and love as they face uncharted futures. It asks them to recognize that the Church offers enormous spiritual resources to strengthen and support them at this moment in their family’s life and in the days to come.

Homosexuality: A Positive Catholic Perspective

Image result for in good conscience documentary

In Good Conscience – This film chronicles the true story of Sister Jeannine Gramick, who is defying a Vatican edict that she shut down her compassionate ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, and silence herself permanently on the subject of homosexuality. Her battle takes her all the way to Rome and to the door of her key adversary over the years: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope Benedict XVI. Click on the image to watch the 10th Anniversary Edition trailer.

Out of Silence God Has Called Me: A Lesbian Religious Tells Her Story

Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach – This booklet outlines some of the discussion in the Catholic Church surrounding the marriage equality debate, providing an opportunity for all the different voices in the Church to be heard. The book also examines the particular case of Maryland Catholics’ support for marriage equality. Because Catholicism is the largest denomination in the state (with 23% of the total population), and because Maryland has a long and strong Catholic history, the state serves as a good test case for other Catholics in the nation. Click on the image to read or download a copy.

Symposium Program

Every five years, New Ways Ministry sponsors a symposium especially designed to educate Church leaders and ministers, and LGBT people and their supports on the latest theological developments and pastoral practices in LGBT ministry.

2017 – Justice & Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis

Held in Chicago, IL. Around 300 church leaders attend. Bishops John Stowe and Thomas Gumbleton, Rev. Bryan Massingale, Leslie C. Griffin, Lisa Fullam and Frank Mugisha are some of the speakers.

2012 – From Water to Wine: Lesbian/Gay Catholics and Relationships

Held in Baltimore, MD. Around 400 church leaders attend. Martin O’Malley – Govenor of Maryland – speaks along with Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Patricia Jung, Luke Timothy Johnson and Richard Rodriguez.

2007 – Outward Signs: Lesbian/Gay Catholics in a Sacramental Church

Held in Minneapolis, MN.  About 100 Catholic organizations endorse the symposium, and over 550 church leaders attend.  Archbishop Francis Hurley of Anchorage, AK, and Bishop Joseph Sullivan of Brooklyn, NY, speak on a panel.

2002 – Out of Silence God Has Called Us: Lesbian/Gay Issues and the Vatican II Church

Held in Louisville, KY.  More than 100 Catholic organizations endorse the symposium, and over 500 church leaders attend.

LGBT Ministry in the Catholic Church: A Vision for the Future – Statement by New Ways Ministry

1997 – The Church Teaching/Teaching the Church

Held in Pittsburgh.  More than 100 Catholic organizations endorse the symposium, and over 650 Catholic leaders attend. Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, NY, presides at the closing Eucharist.

1992 – Lesbian and Gay People and Catholicism: The State of the Question

Held in Chicago.  Over 450 Catholic leaders attend.  Three bishops – William Hughes of Covington, KY, Kenneth Untener of Saginaw, MI, and Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, MI – speak on pastoral care of lesbian/gay people.

1986 – Homosexuality in the Priesthood and Religious Life

Held in Washington, DC, San Francisco and St. Louis in 1985 and 1986.  Over 300 church people attend.

1981 – Homosexuality and the Catholic Church

Held in Washington, DC.

Transgender Education Project

New Ways Ministry sponsors workshops and educational sessions about transgender issues. Image result for transgender flowerPrograms have been held in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Illinois. In 2014, New Ways Ministry testified in support of a Maryland state bill banning discrimination based on gender identity.

TRANSforming Love

The goal of the Transforming Love series is to dispel myths and stereotypes about transgender people by gaining sound information from the scientific community and from the life story of a transgender person. The transgender experience will also be explored in the light of faith and spirituality. The day includes presentations on gender identity development, personal perspectives, legal considerations, and spiritual dimensions.

2017   Transforming LOVE: A day of education, dialogue, and prayer about understanding transgender people – Fond du Lac, WI

2017   Transforming LOVE: A day of education, dialogue, and prayer about understanding transgender people – Wauwatosa, WI

2015   Transforming LOVE: Exploring Gender Identity from Catholic Perspectives – Philadelphia, PA

2014   Transforming LOVE: A day of education, dialogue, and prayer about understanding transgender people – Washington, DC

2013   Transforming LOVE: A day of education, dialogue, and prayer about understanding transgender people – Towson, MD

Womanjourney Weavings Program

The Womanjourney Weavings Program is a program of support and education for lesbian sisters, congregational leaders, and formation/vocation ministers. Through conferences, a newsletter, and a listserv, the Womanjourney project networks lesbian sisters and their congregational leaders. Between 2005 and 2008, yearly conferences were held at the Dominican Retreat Center in Racine. Between 2010 and 2015, conferences were held at Catholic retreat facilities in the West and East. In 2016, the conference returned to the Midwest.

Celebrating Our Identity

A retreat for lesbian sisters

“We need to tell our story, the deep meaning of our lives, that allowed us to do everything we have done.” – Teresa Maya CCVI,  2018 LCWR Presidental Address

December 5-8, 2019
5:00 p.m. Thursday to 1:00 p.m. Sunday

Siena Retreat Center
5637 Erie Street
Racine, WI 53402
(near Milwaukee airport)

Retreat Description: Womanjourney Weavings, a project of New Ways Ministry, is setting apart this weekend retreat for sisters who self identify as lesbians (or somewhere in the rainbow spectrum) and wish to celebrate the gift of their identity.  There will be opportunities for prayer, storytelling, dreaming and rituals. While engaging in a circle process that supports collaboration and transformation, sisters will be encouraged to share their experiences and gifts in a safe environment and envision a future filled with hope.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER, CLICK HERE.

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Womanjourney Weavings is a newsletter for and about lesbian women religious. Click on the image below to read or download a copy. To subscribe to the mailing list, please email info@newwaysministry.org

Out of Silence: A Lesbian Religious Tells Her Story” is a booklet by Sister Janet Rozzano, RSM. Click on the image to read or download a copy. To order a print copy, please call (301) 277-5674 or email info@newwaysministry.org

Articles

Always Our Sisters – Kate Reid, ASC

An Invitation to Continue Dialogue Among Lesbian Religious – Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL

Lesbian Nuns: Gift to the Church – Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL

Myths About Lesbian Religious – Sandy Yost, CSJ

Conferences

2018   Gracious Embodiment: Embracing a Capacious Sexuality

2016   Our Call to Personal and Community Growth as Sexual Beings

2015   Fear & Faith, Risk & Trust

2014   Courage, Commitment, and Change

2011   Courage and Community – Coming Out and Coming Home

2010   Listening & Learning, Networking & Responding

2008   Lesbian Sisters: Understanding, Education, and Action

2007   Lesbian Religious: Community, Conversations, and Coming Out

2006   Overcoming Heterosexism and Homophobia: Supporting our Lesbian Sisters

2005   Lesbian Religious: Continuing the Conversation

Workshops and Dialogue Sessions

Building Bridges

Discussing gay and lesbian persons and their place in the Church can be challenging. Faith communities question Related imagewhether to reach out to the gay and lesbian community while lesbian and gay people wonder if they can claim both their faith and their identity. Anger, fear, alienation and misinformation threaten our ability to talk to one another. Yet, we are called to be one Church. We must build bridges of faith and reconciliation.

Through education, story-telling, dialogue and prayer, the Building Bridges workshop will help participants deepen their understanding of our tradition’s wisdom, provide reliable information about the lives of lesbian/gay persons, and strengthen commitments to building bridges between gay/lesbian people and the Catholic Church.

Drawing upon Scripture, tradition, sexual ethics, social justice and pastoral practice, the workshop is especially valuable for pastoral ministers, religious educators, youth ministers, parents, priests, men and women in religious life, helping professionals, and gay/lesbian people.

The daylong Building Bridges workshops feature presentations, discussions, and exercises to expand knowledge about homosexuality from scientific, social, ecclesiastical, and pastoral communities.

February 2005 – Maryland and West Virginia

November 2005 – Manhasset, New York

October 2005 – Los Gatos and Sacramento, California

Other Workshops

  • Afternoon or evening sessions, called A Time for Dialogue, for community members and friends about lesbian/gay issues
  • Programs for community and formation leaders on development of healthy sexuality

Other possible topics include:  Pastoral Ministry, Theology, Youth, Scripture, Religious Life

Some Communities which have sponsored dialogue programs:

Related imageBlessed John XXIII Parish
Fort Collins, Colorado

St. Francis Cabrini Parish
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sisters of Charity of the BVM
Dubuque, Iowa

Loretto Community
Denver, Colorado

Sisters of Mercy
Hartford, Connecticut

Eighth Day Center for Justice
Chicago, Illinois

Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls
Little Falls, Minnesota

Sisters of St. Dominic
Akron, Ohio