Monday, June 27, 2016

Apologies need to come with action!

I sat in an Episcopal Cathedral this afternoon for a service called Evensong. Beautifully done with choir and organ in a precious holy space as we celebrated the one year anniversary of Marriage Equality. 

I listened as folks shared their stories .... most together 20plus years before the SCOTUS ruling allowing them the opportunity to marry- and have that marriage recognized in Tn. Some in the room I knew as former Catholics. I looked at them in awe that they had been able to reconcile God's love for them- even though the church of their birth had called them 'objectively disordered' 

My friends who are not longer practicing Catholics found a home, a place where both spouses are treasured and their relationships are not considered an occasion of sin. My friends found a welcoming church and way to worship without fear of someone calling them out. 

I sat behind a friend who lost her wife a few years ago...(no they never married, but that is what the relationship was, and she died before the ruling.) and saw her tears. Why my church can't see the worth in these relationships is totally beyond me. We want our straight kids to find a partner-love each other til the grave and beyond. Why would we not want this for all our children. A husband or wife for good times and bad.

Saturday we heard the German Cardinal Marx, an adviser to the Pope say this and more. He said ” ‘We have to respect the decisions of people. We have to respect also, as I said in the first synod on the family, some were shocked but I think it’s normal, you cannot say that a relationship between a man and a man and they are faithful [that] that is nothing, that has no worth.’ “

My church may be slowly changing...I believe the people in the pews for the most part have made peace with the fact that our children in loving relationships pose no threat or harm. But the language the hierarchy uses is still stinging- still painful to hear or use, and, I believe untrue.

I am excited that this Pope, Francis seems to get it. I sat in church today and wondered would it ever happen- to come home and see this... Well it makes me smile!

Deb Word
Communications for Fortunate Families

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Holy Spirit, be with us as we travel. Help us choose the words that will give comfort. Open the hearts of those we encounter to hear our lived experience. You guided the Holy Family as they left in exile, guide us too in ways that will do the most good, and reach those who need us. Protect our children too, and remind them that they are your beloved. Amen.

I'm excited about our trip to Philadelphia.  We have worked hard to put together programs for our Parent Gatherings on Wednesday and Thursday night and I look forward to interacting with other pilgrims.  I guess I'm a little nervous too.  We are not sure what to expect, but we know that there will have to be some folks in the crowd who see our witness as a blessing.  I'll be there thru the Papal mass on Sunday- and I'm looking forward to the seeing the Pope and visiting with folks in the crowd. I'm praying that the Holy Spirit gives us the right words to give comfort and inform!  Keep us in your prayers! 


While I cannot attend the WMF in Philadelphia, I will be praying for those in attendance from Fortunate Families, as well as other LGBTQ Catholic ministry groups.  My hope is that their presence will be so powerful that the Holy Spirit will move the heirarchy of the Church to change their stance, and produce a statement that welcomes all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, FULLY to the table of the Lord.  As I stated at the close of my article for the newsletter, I really do wish blessings upon those attending the WMF in Philadelphia. 

I am happy and proud that Fortunate Families will be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Family. Our LGBT children need to know that there are more Catholics who accept them and want them to feel welcome in their community than those who do not. Unfortunately, I will not be attending. My love and prayers go with those who will be there.  I put together 1000 rainbow pins to help you to reach those who need to know they are not alone; they are loved and cherished by us as well as their Creator God. God bless you!

Monday, September 21, 2015

More from the Fortunate Family Contingency- headed to the World Meeting of Families Tomorrow!

What are my expectations for the gathering of Fortunate Families at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia? 
I have three expectations. As a new member to Fortunate Families, I suspect I will experience an affirming sense of solidarity because we will be standing together for our children.
Second, I feel anxious for two reasons. One, I know conflict is a necessary and creative part of life. However, I’m not a fan. I need to remember the words of Gandhi who is credited with saying that it is not enough to speak the truth but how one speaks the truth is as important. The second cause for my anxiety is trying to have compassion for those who oppose us, who don’t see our sons and daughters as we see them. We pray to the same God, have received the same grace of baptism, and earnestly seek Truth, yet it is so difficult to hear and to be heard. We are familiar with the statement, “unity in essentials, liberty in nonessential and in all things charity”. This is our challenge.
Third, I expect I will get lost as I am directionally challenged. My GPS and I have a love/hate relationship, so I’m taking other forms of direction. All will be well.
I am very much looking forward to our pilgrimage to Philadelphia.  I  can't wait to meet (face-to-face) my fellow Board members, though I  feel as if I know them already.  I'm excited about being in the company 
of like-minded Catholic parents.  I pray that I will touch at least one  parent or family member of an LGBT person by listening carefully to the stories of others and sharing my experiences.  I'd be dishonest if I
didn't admit to a bit of apprehension; our organization is not sure what  kind of reception we will get.  Hopefully love and understanding will  prevail. 

It's been a long time since I've been to a large conference in which most speakers are likely to have a different view of the Catholic world than I have -- especially with regard to LGBT persons and their families. However, my prayer, hope and, yes, expectation too is that the Spirit will be very present. Working through a diversity of people -- many with shaky knees -- the Spirit will empower them to share the truths of their lives and their families' lives to the powers that be. And the people will hear ... and say, Amen!

As my participation in the World Meeting of Families draws near, I am faced with many conflicting emotions.
On the one hand, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the story of my wonderful son who suffered a breakdown because of the tension he felt being both a gay man and a devout Catholic. Later he discerned that these were not mutually exclusive and that he could be both a good practicing Catholic and true to himself as a gay man. I have seen the power of our stories and I look forward to sharing my story with others. By sharing our stories and our love for our children, we will help others experience the LGBT community in a different light.
On the other hand, I tend to avoid conflict and I fear that I will be engaged with others who may not agree with me. In this regard, I am reminded of the words in a recent homily and pray that God will open my ears to listen attentively to the position of others and grant me the wisdom to speak calmly and respectfully the truth as I am discerning it.