As the United States celebrates Labor Day, a time to honor workers, we take a moment to remember LGBT people who work in Catholic institutions, such as schools, parishes, hospitals, and social service agencies. Many have faced extreme discrimination lately, as witnessed by the terrible trend of unjust firings and establishment of repressive contract clauses.
So, today, we take a moment to remember them in prayer:
From age to age, you call many to serve your people by working as professionals in Catholic workplaces. In Your wisdom, you have included in that call LGBT people, whose lives and faith are a gift to our Church.
We thank you for this gift, and we remember the countless LGBT people who serve selflessly in parishes, schools, hospitals, offices, social service agencies, retreat centers. They serve those in need and they build up your reign of justice and peace.
We know that many serve despite having to be guarded about their lives. We know that many have lost their jobs because of who they are or whom they love. Unjust attitudes, policies, and behaviors motivate these wrongdoings, but we remember St. Paul’s words:
“God is not unjust; God will not forget your work and the love you have shown as you have helped God’s people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10)
We know that LGBT workers who serve the Church do so out of a strong love for You and for Your people. We are grieved when we have learned that many are dismissed because they chose to live lives of authenticity, integrity, and commitment. Such unjust actions by employers go against the attitude expressed about work in Your Scriptures:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
We share the pain of those who are fired and we pray that our support will be a sign of hope. We offer these words of encouragement to them and to ourselves as a reminder of Your love, even in difficult times–especially in difficult times:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
We ask for Your wisdom and guidance, Loving God, so that we can know best how to support our LGBT brothers and sisters and how to build up a church community that values and respects the many different ways that You have created love. Grant us patience and creativity as we search for ways to bring about Your justice and love in our Church institutions. Help us to remember that You keep us all in Your care, and that You will never abandon us.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry