Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley: LGBT Church Worker Firings “Need to be Rectified”

September 15, 2014

Cardinal Sean O’Malley seated among other panelists at Crux event. (photo credit: The Boston Globe)

In a one-to-one conversation following a public speaking engagement, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that the firing of church workers because of LGBT issues is a situation that “needs to be rectified,” becoming the first prelate to speak against this trend.

Earlier in the evening, the cardinal publicly spoke positively of the need to include and minister to the LGBT community in light of Pope Francis’ new vision for the church.

O’Malley’s public appearance on Thursday, September 11th, was at a launch event for Crux, the Boston Globe’s new website for “all things Catholic.” The program was held at the Jesuit-run Boston College. O’Malley was part of a panel of experts discussing the papacy of Pope Francis.

At the end of the event, after the crowd had dissipated, I had the opportunity to thank Cardinal O’Malley one-on-one for his compassionate remarks earlier in the evening about the LGBT community.

As we spoke, the cardinal told me that we must first convince people we love them before talking about the Ten Commandments. I pointed out that it has been hard to convince LGBT Catholics and their allies of this love when so many church workers have had LGBT-related employ-ment disputes with Catholic schools and parishes. Responding to my comment, Cardinal O’Malley said this trend was a situation that “needs to be rectified.”

O’Malley also indicated that not all church positions require a Catholic marriage.  Most of the employment disputes involved same-sex couples legally marrying, announcing an intention to marry, or publicly acknowledging a long-term committed relationship.

Earlier, in a period when panelists answered audience questions, Cardinal O’Malley answered a question which I had submitted:

Given Pope Francis’ emphasis on mercy and welcome, can we expect improved pastoral care and inclusion for those who are LGBT, especially when almost 20 US church workers have been fired in 2014 for their sexual orientation, gender, or marital status?

The cardinal’s answer is in full below, and you can also watch it at Crux by clicking here and starting the video at 1:29:00:

“I think the Holy Father’s notion of mercy and inclusion is going to make a big difference in the way that the church responds to and ministers to people of homosexual orientation. The Holy Father is talking about reaching out to the periphery and very often this is a group that is on the periphery. It is not necessarily that the church is going to change doctrine, but, as somebody said, the Holy Father hasn’t changed the lyrics, but he’s changed the melody. I think the context of love and mercy and community is the context in which all of the church’s teachings must be presented, including the more difficult ones. The same could be said about abortion and so many others. It is only when people realize that we love them that they will be open to hear the truth we want to share with them.”

You can read a full account of the event from Michael O’Loughlin of Crux found by clicking here. Other panelists that evening were Hosffman Espino of Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, John Allen, Jr. of Crux, Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University, and Robert Christian of Millennial.

Cardinal O’Malley’s inclusive statements are typical of his merciful leadership style in Boston, leadership which led Pope Francis to appoint him to to a unique papal advisory council of eight cardinals, positioning him as the American prelate closest to the pope. O’Malley himself was considered to be a papal candidate before Francis’ election, and one resigned Catholic priest listed Boston’s cardinal as the most gay-friendly of the candidates.

What struck me most last Thursday was the cardinal’s willing admission that terminating church workers due to their sexual orientation or marital status is indeed problematic.  Catholic prelates have, at best, remained silent, and, at worst, supported discriminatory actions, in the more than forty public instances where a church employee left over LGBT issues. Cardinal O’Malley’s statement that these firings “need to be rectified” is an episcopal echo of the tens of thousands of Catholics and people of faith who have long stood by mistreated LGBT and ally church workers. Regular readers of Bondings 2.0 will recognize that even as the resignations and firings increase, so too do the rallies, petitions, and online outreach in solidarity with fired teachers like Barb Webb, Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro.

I hope Cardinal O’Malley will use his prominent position to help end situations where LGBT and ally church workers face discrimination and exclusion. It could be a major step in incarnating a church where all are truly welcome. As it is, the cardinal’s kind words and frank admission are a wonderful start — and for them, I am most grateful.

Cardinal O’Malley is the first bishop to acknowledge that these employment actions are a problem.  Let’s hope and pray that he will not be the last.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Catholic Communities Stand Beside Fired Lesbian Teachers

September 14, 2014

Supporters of Barbara Webb from around the world show their support

Supporters of two fired church workers have continued their ongoing protests in Michigan and Missouri, responding to the latest in at least twenty employment disputes at Catholic institutions in 2014 that have been related to LGBT issues.

Marian High School

Community members at Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, are standing by Barbara Webb, the lesbian chemistry teacher and coach fired in August for becoming pregnant outside marriage. More than 100 school community members have twice rallied at the school’s entrance and plan to do the same today. Online, a Facebook page called “I Stand with Barb Webb” has gained nearly 5,000 followers, a Change.org petition has gained more than 34,000 signatures, and there is a website, www.standwithbarb.com.

Both alumnae and students are appealing to the Catholic social justice tradition ingrained in them by Marian as the reason for their actions, reports the Detroit Free Press:

“Amber Mazza Cunnings, a 2001 Marian graduate, said the movement is about bringing light to a social injustice she said the school teaches its students to confront.

” ‘Marian teaches us about social justice in profound ways…This is a human rights issue. There’s a mother and a child involved. (Standing up for them) is what we were taught to do.’

“Brigid Johnson, 17, a senior at Marian, said the teacher’s absence was not explained to students. Teachers have told students they are forbidden to speak about it, she said.

” ‘I was just really kind of disappointed…We’re taught, as Christians and Catholics, about love and forgiveness and acceptance. So the first thing that came to mind was, “What could we do?” ‘ ”

Speaking with Michigan Radio, Johnson said that firing a pregnant mother “does not seem to be supporting life, or anyone’s life,” a nod to the school’s pro-life identity. Another student has commented, “After all, Marian was named after a woman with a nontraditional pregnancy.”

A Marian employee, speaking anonymously to WZZM 13, said faculty are supportive of Webb and some have even offered to resign in protest. The employee also expressed concern for students, who are “visibly upset” and yet unable to discuss Webb’s firing per school officials’ orders. Senior Brigid Johnson commented on the situation for students as well, saying:

” ‘Lower classmen … don’t know what’s happening right now just because they’re new, and no one’s talking about it. So I hope we can bring it to light and teach these younger students that we are accepting and we are loving and you’re safe here.’ “

Marian president Sister Lenore Pochelski is still declining to comment beyond confirming Webb is no longer employed, though this incident has received widespread international and media attention.

This is not the first time Marian High School has fired a lesbian employee. Charlene Genther was let go in 2006 after coming at as gay in a book she authored, and said Webb had been supportive then and that the two speak daily now.

Barbara Webb has said she would not return to Marian if offered her job back, but identified this movement around the firing as something bigger with import for the school community, and especially LGBT students:

” ‘It’s not about me anymore…Really, it never was. It’s time for the students at Marian to have an outlet. There’s no (Gay-Straight Alliance) club for students to express themselves. It’s time to change the outlook for the future.’ “

To add your voice in support of Barbara Webb, you can sign the petition at Change.org or connect through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. More information is available on the movement’s website.

Cor Jesu Academy

Members of the Cor Jesu Academy community, St. Louis, Missouri, are similarly protesting after two educators were fired from the chool. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, dozens rallied last week for Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro who lost their jobs due to their same-sex relationship. Those attending included LGBT advocates and other Christian groups who expressed solidarity with students at Cor Jesu who identify as LGBT.

Rev. Wes Mullins of the Metropolitan Community Church cited Pope Francis in her explanation:

” ‘If the pope says that, what is Cor Jesu doing?…Where is their message of Jesus’ love and grace in their actions? Because we don’t see it.’

” ‘If you’re a student there, do you really feel safe talking to any of the teachers now?…Are you going to talk to a principal now? I wouldn’t.’ “

A letter to the editor from a gay Catholic, Andrew Brown, sets the Cor Jesu firings in the larger context of LGBT discrimination. Brown uses his faith and these firings to call for legislative action in Missouri:

“As a graduate student at the Brown School of Social Work, I am passionate about ending all injustices, including discrimination for being gay. As a gay Catholic, it deeply hurts me to see a school that represents my church discriminating against someone who is gay just like me…

“LGBT people face similar discrimination in nonreligious workplaces throughout Missouri. One way to improve this situation is the passage of legislation that protects LGBT people from discrimination. The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would supply basic protections in workplaces across Missouri, must be passed in order to ensure equality for all citizens.”

Non-discrimination laws would help protect LGBT workers, but these have often contained religious exemptions allowing faith-based institutions leniency. One way to make an impact at Catholic institutions would be implementing an inclusive non-discrimination policy at your local parish or Catholic school. More information on how to do this is available through New Ways Ministry by clicking here.

For Bondings 2.0‘s full coverage of ‘Employment Issues,’ click the category to the right. For a full listing of LGBT-related firings, with links to further information, click here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Fired Gay Musician’s Meeting with Cardinal Shows Catholic Split on LGBT Issues

September 12, 2014

Supporters pray over Colin Collette during a vigil

Fired church worker Colin Collette will not be returning to his job, even after meeting with Cardinal Francis George of Chicago this week and ongoing protests from parishioners demand that he be rehired.

A subplot to this story, however, is how fractured the American bishops can often be when it comes to LGBT issues.

Collette asked for the meeting to discuss his dismissal as Holy Family Church’s choir director, which came about after Collette posted on social media about his engagement to William Nifong. Collette has previously expressed his desire to return to the staff of Holy Family, where he had worked for more than seventeen years and was loved by the community. A statement on the Cardinal George meeting from the former church employee reported by the Chicago Tribune was positive and quotes him as saying:

” ‘I was incredibly grateful to the cardinal for meeting with me. This is an incredibly difficult time for him [as George is undergoing cancer treatment]…I was moved beyond words that he would meet with me.We prayed together. He was wonderful. He was very pastoral.’ “

Though the cardinal willingly met with Collette, Michael O’Loughlin of Crux reports George placed blame for the “crisis” on the employee and said Collette’s choice to marry now makes working in a Catholic parish “impossible.”

Meanwhile, parishioners at Holy Family continue to demand justice for Collette. The Sunday before Collette’s meeting with the cardinal, supporters held a prayer vigil outside the church. In August, more than 700 people attended an August town hall called by the pastor, Fr. Terry Keehan, and support for Collette was overwhelming. Additionally, music ministers like Kevin Keane have resigned in protest and parishioners like Bill Leece have written to the media demanding an apology from Catholic leadership. One parishioner framed the new reality as, “Everybody was welcome…That’s become a lie.”

While Collette described the meeting with Cardinal George as pastoral, Chicago Catholics saw a different side to the prelate in his weekly column which viciously attacked marriage equality’s progress.

Highlighting the real, but bygone reality of anti-Catholicism in US history, George identifies LGBT advocates as imposing their views on society and anyone who objects “places their citizenship in danger.” Those who consider themselves “progressive” are, for George, the inheritors of the anti-Catholic of the nativists, the Know-Nothings, or the Ku Klux Klan. All of this results in a “crisis of belief” for Catholics, says the cardinal when American society becomes intolerant of those cannot continue discriminating. He sees the situation as comparable to Islam’s Sharia law.

Cardinal George’s arguments are flawed because there is neither a persecution of Catholics in the US nor does he seem to understand Sharia or LGBT issues.

What is notable is the contrast between Cardinal George’s interpersonal behavior, for I do not doubt Collette’s account that he was pastoral, and Cardinal George’s public persona which is harsh and embittered. How does this split develop and why can the cardinal not see that writing the column is pastorally damaging? Doesn’t he see thatLGBT people and their allies are indeed human persons worthy of his respect and compassion?

This fractured behavior, of personally being pastoral while publicly being partisan, is not unique to Cardinal George and by many accounts a few of the most anti-gay bishops are indeed quite compassionate people during personal encounters. As civil marriage equality progresses, church leaders need to address this dissonance that leads to so much damage, including the firing of LGBT church workers.

A new integrated approach is necessary when speaking with and about people who are in same-gender marriages. New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s pastorally-inclined response to a Louisiana court’s ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage rights could be one model of moving forward. Francis DeBernardo noted that the archbishop used minimalist language when discussing the marriage case, and shifted the emphasis to his renewed commitment to help LGBT Catholics and their families through pastoral outreach. While not perfect, Aymond’s example could be a way forward in rediscovering the “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” due to the LGBT community by church officials.

At the very least, leaning toward the pastoral could mean an end to the firing of LGBT church workers, many of whom could repeat Colin Collette’s words that “my whole life has been the church. It’s my love. It’s my passion, and I pray for the opportunity to [minister again].”

For Bondings 2.0‘s full coverage of ‘Employment Issues,’ click the category to the right. For a full listing of LGBT-related firings, with links for further information, click here. And if you are interested in helping protect LGBT and ally church workers by implementing an inclusive non-discrimination policy at your local parish or Catholic school, more information on how to do this is available by clicking here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Ireland’s Catholics March Onward for LGBT Equality

September 8, 2014

St. Paul community members marching in Newry Pride

Ireland has been a heavily Catholic nation historically, and Catholics have become more LGBT-supportive in recent years, and particularly in recent weeks. Below, Bondings 2.0 offers a round up of several Catholic LGBT stories emerging from Eire.

Catholic Students Stand Out in Pride Parade

Students from St. Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, Northern Ireland, participated in local Pride celebrations last weekend, led by principal and noted proponent of Catholic education Jarlath Burns. St. Paul’s is one of the country’s largest secondary schools and their delegation during the Newry parade in County Armagh is thought to be a first. Upperclass students received an invitation to march in the parade via the school’s Facebook page, which noted:

” ‘We are proud to be a school that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity, further demonstrating commitment to our Catholic ethos…The rainbow flag will be flown at the school to mark our support for equality for all.’ “

Burns, facing some criticism, explained his decision to the Irish Independent saying:

” ‘We just wanted to walk to show solidarity with what is a marginalised group in our society, to show them compassion, dignity and respect’…

” ‘Schools should not be places where students are ridiculed or made feel isolated…We are proud to be a Catholic school and it because of that we decided to walk as a group and give Christian witness’…

” ‘It may have been controversial but we have to challenge ourselves and the status quo…We can’t be bound by tradition. It’s in that context that we decided to march and I’m very proud of what we did.’ “

This latest news comes as Irish Catholic schools awaken to the problem of LGBT bullying, with many religious institutions in the Republic of Ireland already participating in the government’s “Stand Up! Awareness Week” and implementing LGBT education into curricula.

If you’re on Facebook, you can view further photos of St. Paul students marching by clicking here. If you’re on Twitter, consider thanking St. Paul’s Bessbrook (@StPaulsBBrook) for its inclusive witness, and also thank Burns (@jburns832) for his ongoing leadership.

Dubliners March for Marriage Equality

Irish Catholics were among the thousands who marched through Dublin in support of marriage equality earlier this month, reports NewsTalk. The march comes as the Republic of Ireland prepares for a constitutional referendum on the issue to be held early next year, with early polls indicating only 20% of voters opposing legal recognition for same-gender couples. Marriage equality is also supported by Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Enda Kenny and several high-profile ministers. The Irish Catholic bishops oppose the measure and have threatened to withdraw from civil marriage processes if it passes, though many observers believe their influence in Irish politics is limited and wanes further as time progresses.

Mary McAleese

McAleese Advertisement Banned

Former Irish President Mary McAleese has routinely condemned the church’s hierarchy for their approach to and teachings on homosexuality, calling for Catholics to rethink sexual ethics in light of modern science and knowledge. For this, and her support of women’s ordination, an Australian Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Weekly, has banned advertisements for McAleese’s upcoming appearance at Sydney’s “Catalyst for Renewal,” an event focused on the discussion of Catholic issues later this month. Irish Central reports that the paper’s editor Peter Rosengren said that neither he nor the Church “see homosexuality as a sin.”  The newspaper article noted that Rosengren added:

“. . .that having once employed a gay person at his newspaper he believed he had achieved a special degree of insight into homosexuality.”

 

In a related note, Irish Americans can now celebrate a more inclusive St. Patrick’s Day in 2015 as the New York City parade will feature an explicitly LGBT contingent and be led by Cardinal Dolan who said he welcomed the decision. For Irish Catholics of all types, the rainbows of inclusion and welcome continue to grow and grow!

Stay tuned for another post with good news from Ireland later this week!

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


Gay Group Marching in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Is a Major Step Forward

September 5, 2014

An end to protests at NYC’s St. Patrick’s Day parade? Hopefully.

St. Patrick’s Day will be more LGBT-inclusive for New Yorkers next year, with organizers of that city’s parade announcing lesbian and gay people will, for the first time, be welcomed to participate via an LGBT contingent. Further news was made when N.Y.C’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the 2015 parade’s grand marshal, responded positively to the announcement of this change.

In a unanimous vote, the committee responsible for the St. Patrick’s Day parade selected OUT@NBCUniversal to march. According to the National Catholic Reporter:

“The committee said its ‘change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics.’

“The committee’s statement said the parade was ‘remaining loyal to church teachings…’ “

This decision comes after years of protest (a quick history is available via The New York Times here) over the exclusion of explicitly LGBT groups from the more than 300 contingents which march annually. The controversy came to a head last year when Guinness withdrew its sponsorship of the event and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and other politicians  boycotted the paradeIrish Central also reports that NBC, which airs the parade every year, threatened to withdraw if LGBT groups were not allowed to participate.

Cardinal Dolan said he supported parade organizer’s decision, noting that the archbishops of New York have never had authority over the parade and that he “appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage.” David Gibson of Religion News Service points out that while Dolan’s comments are progress, history tells a slightly different story:

“In 1993, then-Cardinal John O’Connor, facing gay protesters who staged a sit-in during the parade, vowed that he “could never even be perceived as compromising Catholic teaching” by entertaining their admission as an identifiable group in the event…”

Still, Catholics and LGBT advocates are welcoming both the parade committee’s decision and Dolan’s acceptance of it. The New York Times reports that many in New York’s Irish community support the decision, and there is a sense of relief that this controversy is over.Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, was quoted in a separate New York Times article about the decision:

“It’s about time. Discrimination has no place on America’s streets, least of all on Fifth Avenue.”

An Associated Press story captured the remarks of Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry.  The story stated that DeBernardo

“… thinks Dolan feels freer to take positions like his stand on the parade now that he is no longer the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

” ‘I think he’s able to be more of a pastor to the people of New York than he had been when he was on the national stage, bishops primarily are pastors and teachers and I think he’s fulfilling that role…I think Pope Francis has been teaching the bishops what being a pastor means.’ “

DeBernardo also wrote a letter to the editor published in the New York Times today which called the ban’s end “one more step toward the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Catholic circles.” He continues:

“Too often, Catholics are told that the church cannot change its practices and policies about lesbians and gay men. The parade committee’s decision shows that even long-held and deeply entrenched prejudices can be overcome.

“This decision is a victory not only for lesbian and gay groups but for all Catholics, and indeed for all Americans. It not only recognizes the contributions of lesbians and gay men, but it also liberates others from paralyzing prejudices.

“Like St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, the parade committee members are driving the worn and self-defeating anti-gay prejudices out of their own hearts and organization.”

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day through this parade has been a high-point for Irish Americans, and indeed New Yorkers of all backgrounds, since the late 18th-century. These celebrations will be even better now that LGBT people are welcomed in the spirit of Catholicism’s long tradition of social justice — and perhaps most pertinent here, the Irish charism of unbounded and warm hospitality.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


St. Louis School Fires Lesbian Couple Over Joint Mortgage Application

September 4, 2014

Back to school this fall has meant more LGBT church worker firings, bringing to 19 the number of employment issues in 2014 alone. The latest action happened at a Missouri Catholic school which fired two lesbian women, a teacher and a coach, after their relationship became public via a mortgage application.

Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro both worked at Cor Jesu Academy, an all-girls high school in St. Louis, before being asked to resign and then fired in July. Reichert and Gambaro were in a relationship unknown to co-workers or students and attained a civil union earlier this year in New York.

LGBTQ Nation reports that Cor Jesu Academy administrators received a copy of the couple’s mortgage application and decided to fire the two women for violating a so-called ‘morality clause’ in their contracts that requires church workers to abide by the hierarchy’s teachings. Though sexual orientation is not a protected class under Missouri law, Reichert and Gambaro are claiming discrimination, saying in a statement:

“We understand that, as a Catholic institution, Cor Jesu has an obligation to ensure that its employees serve as Christian role models…However, because they do not enforce the witness statement in any other way, this is a blatant case of discrimination.”

The two educators are ready to move on, however, and spoke positively about the school community, saying many school associates had privately expressed their discontent to the administration through letters and the withholding of donations before the story went public. Vital Voice reports:

“Gambaro says students and parents have sent many supportive messages and have congratulated her and her partner on their marriage. She also says that not going public was a tough decision.

” ‘When it came down to it, we still have to find new jobs, support ourselves and essentially start over…The stress of any negative responses to our story would have made moving on that much harder. And when it was all finished, the impact would have been minimal to say the least. The law is not on our side, nor is the church, so we have no ground to stand on. If we seriously thought it would make a difference, we would have taken a different approach.’ “

The school has refused to comment, saying it is a personnel matter.

Meanwhile, the wider Cor Jesu community, specifically alumnae, continue expressing their outrage over the firings and are seeking constructive responses. A private Facebook group has gained more than 2,000 members, and at least one alumna has expressed concern for LGBT students who may read the message they are not welcomed at the school. Another alumna, Mary Mcdetmott Benoist, invoking Pope Francis‘ message of mercy and inclusion, told Vital Voice:

” ‘I am sad to learn of CJA’s decision in light of what our Catholic leader, the Pope, teaches us about acceptance of all people…We need to hire teaches who are great at their jobs and set aside their personal lives.’ “

Perhaps most hopeful is the thought being circulated that alumnae and benefactors may withhold contributions to the school’s “One Heart, One Spirit, One Vision” capital campaign because of the firing of Reichert and Gambaro. The latter said of this effort:

” ‘You might not think this is much, but it has made enough of an impact that the administration has had to address the dip in support. That, to us, is a victory.’ “

In addition, Missouri State Representative Genise Montecillo, whose district includes Cor Jesu Academy, hopes to use the firings as a jumping off point for non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation.

Gambaro, who noted there is no recourse under Missouri or canon law to challenge these firings, also expressed  that terminating talented and committed educators over their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or political views defies God’s law. In just the last few weeks, Bondings 2.0 has covered:

  • the firing of at least two lesbian women let go for becoming pregnant outside of marriages, even though they cannot legally attain marriages or have Catholic institutions recognize them;
  • a former Jesuit’s letter to Pope Francis pleading for help to save his vocation and create more LGBT inclusion for religious communities;
  • the firing of a Chicago-area parish’s beloved gay music director after he became engaged.

Though every firing of an LGBT church worker is a tragedy, this story out of Missouri is heartbreaking because the couple remained quiet as best they could and still ended up being fired.

For Bondings 2.0‘s full coverage of ‘Employment Issues,’ click the category to the right. For a full listing of LGBT-related firings, with links for further information, click here. And if you are interested in helping protect LGBT and ally church workers by implementing an inclusive non-discrimination policy at your local parish or Catholic school, more information on how to do this is available by clicking here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


RETREAT OPPORTUNITY: Our Place at the Table

September 2, 2014

MansonRetreat_BrochureFrontWhat place do LGBT Catholics possess at the tables of our spiritual communities? How can LGBT people, and their family, friends, and pastoral ministers more fully live out the call to be bread for one another?

These questions will be at the heart of an upcoming New Ways Ministry weekend retreat, entitled “Our Place at the Table.”  The retreat will be held September 19-21, 2014, at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pennsylvania, near the Philadelphia airport.

Jamie Manson will facilitate the weekend as participants explore their own connections to Catholic identity with an eye to the ways in which our sacramental imaginations help us to see God at work in the world, especially in the lives of LGBT people. She will offer several presentations based around Margaret Farley’s book Just Love, interspersed with small group discussions and prayer.

Manson is a nationally renowned speaker, retreat leader, and media commentator on issues related to LGBT Catholics, young adult Catholics, and the future of the church. She studied with Farley at Yale Divinity School, where Manson earned her Master of Divinity. She is an award-winning writer for the National Catholic Reporter, especially for her weekly column “Grace on the Margins,” and has directed faith formation and social justice ministry efforts in New York City parishes.

Jamie Manson

Jamie Manson

Regular readers of Bondings 2.0 will be familiar with Manson’s perspectives, as we often summarize and comment on her columns on this blog.  For all the posts in which her work has been mentioned, click here

New Ways Ministry invites LGBT Catholics, the parents of LGBT children, pastoral ministers, and all who are interested to honor the struggles, affirm the holiness, and explore the church’s unfolding future when it comes to LGBT Catholics.

The cost is $205. For more information or to register, visit the New Ways Ministry website at http://www.newwaysministry.org/retreats.html or call (301) 277-5674 or send an email to info@NewWaysMinistry.org..

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


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