As everyone is aware, Louisiana, and particularly the area around Baton Rouge, has been stricken with millennial-level floods after they have just barely recovered from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Christ called us to care for the stranger and D/W has a long history of assisting other communities who are stricken by natural disasters.
For the next few Sundays we will have donation baskets present at the social for you to make donations. You may also put checks in the collection basket at Mass. Please make the check out to Dignity/Washington and write “Flood Relief” in the memo section. The money, plus an amount to to be determined by the board at their September meeting, will be sent to: Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Healing Place Church. Christopher Flow, our board member who is from LA, is familiar with these groups and says they are on the ground working directly with those who are suffering.
Photo credit: BBC
If you would like to send money directly to the groups here is their information:
Thank you for your generosity.
In the final weekend of July, three current young adult members of Dignity/Washington (Michaela, Keith, and Martín) joined a group of about twenty other LGBTQ young adults from around the country for a retreat in Chicago with the theme “Telling Our Story, Creating a Home.”
The retreat was led by Judy Brown of the Hesed Project. Judy — a long-time parish faith formation leader and retreat facilitator — was fun, energetic and a great storyteller herself, and she led the group through personal and small-group reflection time to help tell our own stories.
The storytelling concept was based on the premise that there is too much violence in the world, and that violence comes from fear, and that people fear what they don’t know. So if we tell our stories and become known, we can help dispel fear, reduce violence, and make a more peaceful world.
Throughout Saturday, the retreatants told their stories in their small groups and then workshopped them with others to tell it in any creative way they wanted in preparation for an evening of storytelling to the whole group. Members of Dignity/Chicago brought dinner and shared the meal with the young adults and guests then shared an evening listening to the prepared stories of about 10 young adults. Each story was powerful and heartfelt — some devastating, painful, or humorous — but all were very real and honest about the struggles of coming out as LGBTQ to themselves, with their families, and in their faith communities. It was a powerful witness to the real struggles that so many in our community find ourselves and to the courage and perseverance to continue to live and to love among a society and a church that too often does not want to accept or see us and our full human dignity. It was also a blessing and affirmation to our community to know that so many of us have found a wonderful home with Dignity.
A young adult tells his story.
Young adults with members of Dignity/Chicago enjoying dinner together.
A special focus throughout the weekend was learning and brainstorming how we can be more inclusive and attentive to the trans* individuals among us. We learned and discussed the unique struggles and challenges that trans* people go through and many simple things we can do with our spaces, our language, and our activism.
The weekend ended on Sunday morning with a discussion with DignityUSA board members and leaders Mark Matson and Bob Butts to hear from young adults about our vision and hopes for the future of DignityUSA — how the society and world is changing, and how the organization must as well. Many ideas were shared and be sure this will be an ongoing conversation in the months and years to come.
Many thanks to the several chapters, including Dignity/Washington, and DignityUSA who helped sponsor the retreat — as well as the several individuals from Dignity/Washington who donated on their own to help send young adults from our chapter to the retreat. It was truly a spirit-filled weekend that helped bring young adults from across the country together in loving fellowship and closer to Dignity as we build the next generation of DignityUSA.
Young adults with Dignity/Chicago guests.
Dignity/Washington President Vin Testa appeared on 89.3 WPFW’s Inside Out radio show, where he discussed his experience as an LGBT Catholic, as well as Dignity’s role in the D.C. metro area. The link to the archived shows is below. Once you visit the link, select “Inside Out” from the drop-down menu of shows. Find the July 26 archived show and either play it online or download it to your computer.
Thank you to Inside Out Radio for featuring Dignity/Washington!
LGBT Catholics welcome statement of Pope Francis that the Catholic Church must apologize to gay people; say apology must be followed by concrete actions
Boston, MA. June 26, 2016–Leaders of DignityUSA, the organization of LGBTQ Catholics and allies committed to equality and justice for LGBTQ people, welcomed the statement of Pope Francis today that the Church must apologize to gay people and to other groups that it has let down or offended throughout history. The Pope’s comments echoed similar remarks made last week by one of his closest advisors, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany.
On a flight back to Rome from Armenia on Sunday, the Pope revised his famous phrase about gay people from 2013, “Who am I to judge?,” saying this time, “Who are we to judge them?” The Pope also said, “I will also repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that [gay people] should not be discriminated against, that they have to be respected, pastorally accompanied. The matter is a person that has that condition [and] that has good will because they search for God.”
DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke welcomed the Pope’s remarks. “This could be a very important step in healing the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBTQ people,” she stated. “The frank acknowledgment by the Pope that Church teachings and practices have done immense harm to LGBTQ people over the centuries—leading to such evils as violence, oppression, self-hatred, the division of families, youth homelessness, and suicide—is essential.”
Duddy-Burke welcomed the Pope’s reference to the part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that says gay people should not be discriminated against. However, she noted that the Catechism also still uses such damaging and scientifically inaccurate language as “objectively disordered” and “intrinsically disordered” in reference to homosexuality. DignityUSA and its partner organizations in the Equally Blessed coalition, among others, have repeatedly called for such language to be eliminated.
Finally, Duddy-Burke said, “In order to bring about the full healing of the relationship between the Catholic Church and LGBT people, the Church must not only acknowledge the wrongs of the past, but take concrete actions that demonstrate its commitment to treating LGBT people justly from now on. For example, Catholic institutions must stop firing LGBT people simply because their sexual orientation or marital status becomes known. The Church must stop conducting public campaigns that seek the right to discriminate unjustly against LGBT people in the civil arena on the specious grounds of ‘religious liberty.’ It must cease campaigns against same-sex civil marriage and LGBT civil rights protections around the globe. And it must speak out strongly and clearly against the horrific violence and discrimination that is often directed against LGBT people in countries around the world, including our own, many with substantial or majority Catholic populations.”
DignityUSA works for justice, full inclusion and equality for LGBT people in the Catholic Church and society. Founded in 1969, it is one of the longest-standing organizations working for LGBT rights in the world.
Pope Francis said that “Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness” from Gays. The Pope made the comments while traveling back to Rome from Armenia. Read the whole story at The Huffington Post:
Capital Pride 2016 was a huge success. Thanks to our Pride planning committee, we had a wonderful float in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 11, 2016. More than 40 community members and our friends joined us to march as a contingent of LGBT Catholics and our allies — either riding on or walking alongside our well-decorated decorated 48-foot truck. We were very well-received by the enthusiastic crowds.
The 2016 Capital Pride theme was Magic — and building off of that theme, since the magic of God is LOVE, we marched under the theme of Our Magic Is Love and #MakeLoveHappen. Dignity/Washington is thankful to CUAllies for joining us and for all who made the parade a success.
On Sunday, June 12, we had a prominent position in the Pride Festival with some of the same elements with our float centerpiece being a background for selfies for visitors to post #MakeLoveHappen. All in all, it was a beautiful weekend to celebrate God’s love and the spirit of Dignity/Washington.
On Wednesday night, June 15, Dignity/Washington organized an interfaith vigil to mourn those murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. An estimated 2,000 people gathered in Dupont Circle to hear reflections and prayers from about 20 leaders of various faith traditions and faith communities throughout the Washington, DC area. After 102 seconds of silence — one for each of those killed and wounded — the names of the 49 victims were read aloud with the crowd responding “Presente!”. Overall, it was a wonderful night of solidarity and love among the area’s faith and LGBTQ and allies communities.
Many local news media were there to cover the event. See their articles here below:
Spend a summer evening at the Dignity Center with other Dignity/Washington members for a movie night.
Follow the link below to see this summer’s movie selections, dates, and times. The schedule runs from June to September.
DignityUSA’s Young Adult Caucus (DYAC) will gather in Chicago July 29 – 31 for a retreat to continue the community they have built over recent years. These young adults are the future of Dignity and they aim to gather in fellowship to foster relationships and seek spiritual enrichment as LGBTQ Catholics spread out across the US. Please contact Martin Witchger at email@example.com if you have any questions or need more information.
The cost to register for the retreat is $50. To learn more and to register online, go to dignityusa.org/dyacretreat
Dignity/Washington is proud to help sponsor the retreat, as well as to help with travel expenses for a few young adults of our community — to what promises to be an important opportunity for the young adults in the Catholic LGBT community around our country to get together to collaborate, support each other and plan for the future. Please consider donating so that Dignity/Washington young adults can attend the retreat. Checks can be made out to Dignity/Washington with “Young Adult Retreat” in the memo field.
Dignity/Washington Celebrates Pentecost and 40th Anniversary
As part of the Pentecost Anniversary Celebration the Scriptural Mass readings were done in French, Spanish, German and Tagalog (Philippines), in addition to English. This year’s celebration fell on May 15 and marked the fortieth anniversary, since Pentecost Sunday, June 6, 1976, that the Dignity/Washington community has celebrated Sunday Mass for the LGBTQ community of the metro DC area, our families and friends. With the exception of only two Sundays when we could not meet due to severe snow storms, we have offered a welcoming Mass to those who have sought its blessings.
Dignity/Washington has moved several times, including when we were forced out of Saint William’s Chapel at Georgetown University, upon the issuance of directives from Vatican officials that prohibited us from using Catholic facilities. We were not deterred by their opposition but instead grew in our resolve to continue our work. With gratitude we celebrate at our current location of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church thanks to that congregation’s constant and unwavering support of our mission. Hundreds of individuals have lent their time and talent to make this truly “liturgy” in the root sense of the word, that is “the work of the people,” over these many years and we are grateful to everyone of them.
Reviving a tradition in our community that had lapsed, Anniversary Pins were given out to recognize and honor members for their years of membership. 132 pins will be awarded over the next weeks with the following breakdown: 40 year — 4 pins 35 year — 10 pins 30 year — 9 pins 25 year — 23 pins 20 year — 22 pins 15 year — 7 pins 10 year — 25 pins 5 year — 32 pins Dignity/Washington cherishes all of these members for the variety of gifts that they continue to share and that enable the community to exercise its ministry and mission. Thank you to all. Most of all, we have all benefited from the grace of God in Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit. Rejoice with us.