Gay and Lesbian Ministry
"God… calls the church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord." (Vatican CDF letter, 1986)
"We address our message also to the wider church community, and especially to priests and other pastoral ministers, asking that our words be translated into attitudes and actions that follow the way of love, as Christ has taught. It is through the community of his faithful that Jesus offers you hope, help, and healing, so your whole family might continue to grow into the intimate community of life and love that God intends. "(Always Our Children, "Preface")
As baptized members of the Catholic community, persons with a homosexual inclination continue to look to the Church for a place where they may live in authentic human integrity and holiness of life. Being welcomed into and participating in their local faith community is the foundation of spiritual support that the Church offers to them. Full and active participation is encouraged. Participation in a worshiping Catholic community is a support for living a life of chastity and integrity and an encouragement to an ongoing personal conversion. (Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care)
St. Bernadette Parish is committed to an attitude of welcome and inclusion of all people, including people who are gay or lesbian. We recognize that many gay and lesbian Catholics feel conflicted about their place and welcome in the church. While providing pastoral care in keeping with the church's teaching on chastity, we recognize this struggle. Our pastoral care is guided by church teaching and the belief that all who enter our doors are to be treated with dignity and respect. All of us are made in the image and likeness of God. All of us are created good. We walk with all people wherever they are on their journey and welcome each person as they are. We seek to bring all people closer to Christ and the church.
We believe as pastoral ministers that it is our role to be people of affirmation, compassion and reconciliation. Christ calls us to welcome all and to proclaim a gospel of love. Christ's love reaches out to all people in all places. We dedicate ourselves to providing spiritual and pastoral care for all people.
Our parish ministry is guided by two documents promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Always Our Children and Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care.
Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination:Guidleines for Pastroal Care
Always Our Children - A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children: a statement from the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and the Family that guides our parish ministry. The document offers the following recommendation to church ministers:
Be available to parents and families who ask for your pastoral help, spiritual guidance, and prayer.
- Welcome homosexual persons into the faith community, and seek out those on the margins. Avoid stereotyping and condemning. Strive first to listen. Do not presume that all homosexual persons are sexually active.
- Learn more about homosexuality and church teaching so your preaching, teaching, and counseling will be informed and effective.
- When speaking publicly, use the words "homosexual," "gay," and "lesbian" in honest and accurate ways.
- Maintain a list of agencies, community groups, and counselors or other experts to whom you can refer homosexual persons or their parents and family members when they ask you for specialized assistance. Recommend agencies that operate in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching.
- Help to establish or promote support groups for parents and family members.
Please take the time to read this important document.
Archdiocesan Program: Monsignor James Farmer is the Director of the Archdiocesan Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Catholics under the program’s Vicar. Monsignor Farmer is the contact person for the Archdiocese in its goal of encouraging the offering of pastoral care to gay/lesbian persons and/or their families and to provide a channel of communication between the Archdiocese and gays, lesbians and bisexual persons.
St. Bernadette Parish Ministry with persons who are gay or lesbian
Reclaim: a pastoral program that provides a welcoming atmosphere for gay and lesbian people to understand and reflect on church teachings and to reflect on their lived experiences of being Catholic. The goal of this structured program is reintegration into the life of the church.
Click here for more information about Reclaim.
Beginnings: an opportunity for parents to network and support one another. This is parent to parent support.
Monthly Socials: Breakfast for all gay and lesbian people and their family and friends is held on the third Sunday of the month at a nearby restaurant following the 9:00 AM Mass. Throughout the year there are dinners and other social events.
Gay and Lesbian Committee: a subcommittee of our Justice and Peace Committee. The goal of the committee is to help the parish be welcoming and inclusive of people who are gay and lesbian.