The ALL ARE WELCOME series is an occasional feature which examines how Catholic faith communities can become more inclusive of LGBT people and issues. At the end of this posting, you can find the links to previous posts in this series.
St. Nicholas Parish, Evanston, Illinois, recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Gay, Lesbian, Families and Friends Ministry. You can read a history of the ministry here. As part of the celebration, David Phillipart, parish director of liturgy, wrote the following blessing prayer for those involved in the ministry. It’s beauty speaks for itself. Parishioner Debbie Winarski commented, “It really was a beautiful moment–the kind that gives one strength to keep going.”
St. Nicholas Parish is on New Ways Ministry’s list of gay-friendly Catholic parishes, where folks can find a local Catholic community which welcomes LGBT people.
To St. Nicholas Parish’ outreach ministry, we say: “Ad multos annos!”
St. Nicholas Parish Prayer of Blessing
For ten years now, our parish’s Gay, Lesbian, Families and Friends Ministry has worked to provide a place for Catholics who are gay and lesbian, their family members and friends, and our parish as a whole to grown in faith, hope, and love. Today we want to bless the members of this ministry, so I ask you to come now to the place of the blessing before the altar.
You are nurturers and prayers,
Preachers and prophets,
healers and photographers,
you are parents,
you are sisters and brothers,
you are Catholics and you are treasured parishioners.
We honor the decade of your lives spent in this ministry.
[As is our custom I now invite others who wish you join these sisters and brothers to come forward and place a hand on them in blessing, and let us all stand and extend our hands.]
in love you created us: men, women, and children
In your own divine image and likeness
enlivening the universe with our variety of gifts, traits, abilities, skills, and circumstances—
faults and foibles, too.
You created us to love you and to love one another
in many and wonderful ways.
So the love of Abraham and Sarah
brought to birth your people,
Ruth and Naomi’s loving faithfulness
to each other shines as a sign of your love for us,
and the deep devotion of David and Jonathan
to each other reveals how complete
is your commitment to us.
Rising from the tomb and ascending to you,
Christ makes new our capacity to love each other.
No longer merely Jew nor Greek, slave or free,
male or female,
we love each other
as heirs to your promise,
your daughters and sons,
sisters and brothers of Jesus.
Bless all the members of our parish Gay and Lesbian, Families and Friends Ministry.
Give wisdom to their search for ways to tell of your goodness and understand our humanity.
Grant success to their long labors to call your church
to be an ever-more inclusive community.
Magnify their joys and heal the hurts
that prejudice and oppression have wrought.
Empower us to draw all your children
into your loving embrace,
made real in our community and in our commitments.
We ask this in the name of the One
who taught us that you are love,
and what when we live in love, we live in you,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Previous posts in the ALL ARE WELCOME series:
Say the Words , December 14, 2011
All in the Family , January 2, 2012
At Notre Dame, Does Buying In Equal Selling Out? , January 25, 2012
A Priest With An Extravagant Sense of Welcome, February 13, 2012
Going Beyond the Boundaries, April 11, 2012