As we wait in joyful hope

November 30, 2011

English: Waiting

Advent calls us to wait, something that we modern Americans are not good at doing.  Technology and advertising tell us we don’t have to wait: we can have things immediately.

For those involved in Catholic LGBT ministry and advocacy, waiting is something that we’ve been doing for a long time.  Very long.  When the Psalmist cries, “How long, O God?” we all know the anguish instinctively.  The Beatitudes remind us that as people who hunger and thirst for justice,  we will be satisfied.  But when?

The greater challenge of Advent is not just to wait, but “to wait in joyful hope,” as we pray in the Mass.  How does one maintain a spirit of “joyful hope” while waiting for God to break through into our world?

One way is to try, as best as one can, to live in the preferred future.  Imagine the future that you would like to see, and live as if it has already become a reality.   In other words, despite so many messages to the contrary, live as if the reign of God has already taken hold in our world.  Not an easy task, but when done, it does help to foster a spirit of joyful hope as we wait.

Another way to “wait in joyful hope” is to follow Gandhi’s advice:  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”   St. Augustine of Hippo had similar advice.  He told his congregation that the way to change the faults of others is to change those same faults in ourselves.  Again, this method is a challenge, but usually ends up developing a sense of hope for the future.

Has your involvement in LGBT ministry and advocacy helped you to develop a sense of  waiting in joyful hope?

What ways have you found to live in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ?

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

About Our Name(s)

November 29, 2011

We’ve christened this blog Bondings 2.0. This is a “tip of the hat” to New Ways Ministry’s long-standing tabloid print publication, Bondings, which we have published continuously since 1978, one year after New Ways Ministry was established.  (You can look at recent past issues of Bondings here. You can subscribe to Bondings, or order other New Ways Ministry publications, here. )

New Ways Ministry’s newsletter was named Bondings because our co-founders, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, wanted to emphasize that the mission of the organization was to bond together the lesbian/gay community and the Catholic Church.  The newsletter gleans articles from other news sources which chronicle the good points and not so good points of that bonding.  Over the years, Bondings has served as an archive for many researchers who have examined the history of this developing relationship.

Times have changed.   In the new electronic age, where news travels so much more immediately, there is a need for new ways of communicating, so this blog, we hope, will help to answer the need for providing our friends and supporters with information much faster.

Times have stayed the same.  There is still a need, as there was when New Ways Ministry began, for people to learn about what is going on around the church, around the nation, and around the world in regard to the LGBT community’s relationship with Catholicism.  We hope that this blog will help to continue the tradition that our tabloid newspaper began.

So, we are calling this blog “Bondings 2.0″ to emphasize that while the format is new, the purpose remains the same.

By the way, in case you ever wondered where New Ways Ministry got its name, allow me to explain that history.  In 1976, Bishop Francis Mugavero of Brooklyn, NY, wrote a pastoral letter entitled Sexuality: God’s Gift the first pastoral letter by a bishop which compassionately addressed lesbian/gay people.  At the conclusion of the letter, he stated “. . . we pledge our willingness. . . to try to find new ways to communicate the truth of Christ because we believe it will make you free.”  Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent took that phrase “new ways” and applied it to the ministry of justice and reconciliation that they established one year later in 1977, calling it “New Ways Ministry. ”

–Francis DeBernarado, New Ways Ministry

New Advent, New Way to Communicate

November 28, 2011
Adventkranz (liturgisch)

Image via Wikipedia

Advent began yesterday, and I began to think about new ways to celebrate the feast of the Word Made Flesh.  In the past year, New Ways Ministry has ventured into the world of electronic words vigorously by hosting two Facebook pages (one for New Ways Ministry, one for our new publication: Marriage Equality:  A Positive Catholic Approach).  So as Advent begins, I am venturing into a new approach to using words: a blog.

As education is a main focus of our ministry, I will attempt to use this blog to help educate people about the many new ways that lesbian/gay issues are being developed in the Catholic church.  As with most blogs, there will occasionally be opinions expressed and, perhaps, actions that we suggest you take to help make our church a more just community for all people.

As dialogue is also important to New Ways Ministry’s mission, I hope that you will participate in this blog by posting comments when you have something that you would like to share:  a news item, an opinion, an action that you think others should take.

This blog is a “work in progress:”  I will be learning how to “do it” as I go along.  Changes will be made as I learn them to make the reading and participation experience for you a lot more meaningful and enjoyable.  Please let me know how I’m doing, and how I can improve.  You can always communicate with me privately by sending email to:

Words are important.  The mystery of the Incarnation, which we are preparing to celebrate, teaches us that words should heal, unite, reconcile, and do justice.   Most importantly, words are most powerful not when they are spoken or written, but when they are “made flesh” in the real world of action and solidarity.

I hope and pray that the words on this blog will help us all to incarnate the church community and the civil society in which we wish to live.

Stay tuned.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry