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. 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:
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
2009 John McNeill
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.
November 2020 A Reasoned Hope
November 2018 New Language for Old Truths
September 2014 Our Place at the Table
October 2010 Spirituality on the Margins
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.
Father Robert Nugent Memorial Lectures
The 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
New 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.
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
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.
New Ways Ministry networks with other Catholic and LGBT organizations. These include –
Ignatian Family of Jesuit Colleges
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.
- 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.
The Pilgrimage Program provides spiritually-oriented travel for LGBT Catholics, their parents, friends, and other interested persons.
2001 Holy Land and Egypt
1996 Holy Land
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 [email protected]
“Out of Silence: A Lesbian Religious Tells Her Story” is a booklet by Sister Janet Rozzano, RSM. To order a print copy, please call (301) 277-5674 or email [email protected]
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
Workshops and Dialogue Sessions
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
- 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 Parish
Fort Collins, Colorado
St. Francis Cabrini Parish
Sisters of Charity of the BVM
Sisters of Mercy
Eighth Day Center for Justice
Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls
Little Falls, Minnesota
Sisters of St. Dominic