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

Bondings

New Ways Ministry provides daily news and commentary on Catholic LGBT issues through our blog, Bondings. 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 their 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: Image result for Robert Lentz, christ the bridegroom

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

1992                Reverend Charles E. Curran

1995                Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

2002                Sister Margaret Farley, RSM

2005                Mary Ellen & Casey Lopata

2009                John McNeill

2016                Reverend James Martin, SJ

Catholic Parents Network Retreat Program

Since the 1990s, the Catholic Parents Network program has 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.  For past retreats, click on the month and year below.

November 2018: New Language for Old Truths

September 2014: Our Place at the Table

Gay Priests and Religious

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

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 who 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

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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, Fortunate Families, and 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.

History Program

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. We have 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 persons with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers by sponsoring retreats.

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.

Networking Program

New Ways Ministry networks with other Catholic and LGBT organizations. These include the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Call to Action, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, Pax Christi, PFLAG, Catholic Volunteer Network, the Ignatian Family of Jesuit Colleges, Equality Forum, and members of the Catholic Organizations for Renewal.

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.

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Pilgrimage Program

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

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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, Homosexuality: A Positive Catholic Perspective, In Good Conscience, Out of Silence God Has Called Me, and Marriage Equality: A Positive Catholic Approach.

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 – 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.

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 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.

Transgender Education Project

New Ways Ministry sponsors workshops and educational sessions about transgender issues. Programs 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.

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.

Retreats

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

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Articles

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

Myths About Lesbian Religious – Sandy Yost, CSJ

Always Our Sisters – Kate Reid, ASC

Workshops and Dialogue Sessions

Building Bridges

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

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Discussing gay and lesbian persons and their place in the Church can be challenging. Faith communities question whether 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:

Blessed John XXIII ParishImage result for lgbt ministry art
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