LGBT Catholics at Dignity Washington hosted a variety of Holy Week activities. These included: stations of the cross, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.
Stations of the Cross
On Saturday April 12, a larger than usual group of members from Dignity/Washington journeyed the Stations of the Cross together in the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land’s very beautiful garden near the campus of Catholic University in NE DC. The gardens are settled in many acres of the Monastery grounds with outdoor shrines and, of course, the Stations which lead you uphill to the eleventh station. That day everyone took turns reading the meditations as well as a prayer before each station. The majority of the group gathered for lunch and fellowship at a nearby Mexican restaurant afterwards.
On Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) Dignity/Washington and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church celebrated an ecumenical liturgy. Both communities gathered in the social hall for the Liturgy of the Word, before feasting on a beautiful Agape meal (Love feast) of lamb or vegetarian stews, nuts, olives, and wine provided in the social hall. Rev. Emily Guthrie provided an amazing welcome and homily centered on service and love, even referencing the great works of Dorothy Day.
After the meal, both communities gathered in the church and the procession began. During the washing of the feet, all were invited to have their feet washed and wash the feet of others. Numerous members expressed how moved they were by the experience. The Eucharist was concelebrated by St. Margaret’s Rev. Kym and a priest from Dignity/Washington. After communion, both communities processed the Eucharist to the Altar of Repose where a vigil was held until 6:00 the following morning.
On Good Friday members of Dignity/Northern Virginia joined Dignity/Washington for a lay led service presided by members of both communities. The narrative and reflections of the “Seven Last Words” by Rev. Richard Fairchild was read and a candle was extinguished in Tenebrae style. A traditional procession of the cross to the foot of the altar and veneration took place before communion was distributed.
Dignity/Washington celebrated the Great Vigil of Easter at 10:00 in the evening on Holy Saturday with all of the incredibly traditional and powerful grandeur. Some passers-by along Dupont Circle’s busy Connecticut Avenue even stopped to witness the lighting of the Paschal Candle.
It was an exceptionally Holy Night for the Dignity/Washington community as Jason, a young adult member, received the Sacrament of Confirmation after several months of formation and preparation. His sponsors, Kenneth and Alexander, and all in the community were invited to extend their hands during the laying of hands and anointing of his head with the Sacred Chrism. Jason chose the name “Francis” for his confirmation. After Mass, members gathered in the social hall for a late night dessert social and to present Jason with gifts.