Wednesday, September 23, 2015 began as one of those glorious fall days in Washington, DC, perfect for any kind of outdoor activity. On that particular morning Dignity/Washington members Ray Panas and Daniel Barutta were gathered on the South Lawn of the White House, at the invitation of President and Mrs. Obama, to welcome Pope Francis on his historic first visit to the United States.
Meanwhile, at the Human Rights Campaign Building, a half a block from Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, several other Dignity/Washington members had joined HRC members and allies to greet His Holiness at his arrival in his iconic Fiat for a noonday Prayer Service and address to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington and the US bishops. Both the HRC and Dignity/Washington banners were on full display to be seen by the bishops as they arrived for the event.
The crowd’s enthusiasm was keenly felt, mixed with the hope that Pope Francis would acknowledge and welcome his LGBT Catholics as full members of the Church. Would the Pope act to redress past Church wrongs in their regard? This question was on the minds of most, if not all, who were present. Dignity/Washington could be proud of its witness that day.