Defenders LLC and Dignity/Washington Flea Market
Join the Defenders and Dignity/Washington for a Flea Market (formerly known as the “Leather Flea Market”) on Saturday May 14, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at The Dignity Center 721 8th Street SE, Washington, DC
Contact Tom Yates for more information at email@example.com
Roy Bourgeois and the Women’s Ordination Conference invite Dignity/Washington members to join him and two women priests for a VIGIL, CEREMONY, and ACTION in support of women’s ordination and LGBT Equality, on Holy Thursday March 24 at 10:00 am, in front of the Vatican Embassy. He encourages Dignity/Washington attendees to bring their own signs and banners.
|Mar 13||Absolution & Reconciliation||6:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Mass with Absolution and option for Sacrament of Reconciliation after mass|
|Mar 20||Palm Sunday||6:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Blessing of Palms and Mass with Passion Reading|
|Mar 24||Holy Thursday Agape Meal & Mass||6:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Dinner, Mass concelebrated with St. Margarets, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament|
|Mar 25||Good Friday||7:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Lay led program with adoration of the cross and Eucharistic service|
|Mar 26||Easter Vigil||10:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Blessing of the new fire and Baptismal water|
|Mar 27||Easter Sunday||6:00 PM||St. Margaret’s Church||Easter Sunday Mass|
Dignity/Washington Board Retreat Notes
by Henry Huot, Dignity/Washington Board member
“Discovering ‘Jubilee’: Discerning the Call to Mission in the Holy Year of Mercy” was the guiding theme chosen by Dr. Tom Little for this year’s Dignity/Washington Board retreat, held on Saturday, February 6 at the Dignity Center. His questions were challenging, as in the following samples:
What is God asking of Dignity/Washington to be a sign of mercy?
What do we need to discover to keep moving forward to mercy, for ourselves individually, for our community, and for society itself?
What is it that each of us needs to do to be one with God, and to bring God’s blessing and mercy to society?
As Dr. Little explained, the Jewish practice of Jubilee, as found in Leviticus 25: 8-12, provides the foundation for this Holy Year of Mercy. It is intended to be a time of special atonement, of becoming “at-one” with God, who comes to heal the land with blessing and mercy and wants each of us to be healed, to be made whole and “one,” and at peace. “Jubilee” becomes a call to sketch and see God’s future as well as allowing the power of God to work.
It means that we intentionally become more mindful of God’s mercy, leave our past indifference and habits behind, and resolve to let God do what God wants with us, as happened to Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan, when he was declared God’s Beloved. From his baptism onward Jesus became a witness to all the merciful acts of God, including through and after his death when he descended in his resurrected state to rescue all who had died. So too for us, from our baptisms on, we become witnesses to God’s mercy and peace. It is a matter of saying: “Yes, we are the story of God acting in the world, the story of God’s love.”
It involves believing that Dignity/Washington is necessary in God’s plan for the greater good of our community and society. It requires dialogue, patience, compromise and reconciliation with those who are alienated with us.
All of the foregoing themes were made real through experiences that the participants shared through the facilitation of Dr. Little.
The retreat ended with members brainstorming and listing concrete activities for the coming year which will be further reviewed and prioritized for possible implementation.
Please pray for the D/W Board as it continues its leadership and service to our community.
Dr. Thomas Little is currently Pastoral Associate for Evangelization and Faith Formation at Our Lady of the Fields Church in Millersville, Maryland, and holds a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality. He was for five years until recently Pastoral Associate to Bishop Rozanski of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in that position did Ombudsman work with parishes and other Maryland-based and related NFP and NGO groups, representing the bishop and Archdiocese in project management, issue resolution and enabling local project resolution and success. He is a long-time friend of Sr. Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry. This was the third time he was retreat master for the Dignity/Washington Board in recent years.
Dignity/Washington Lenten Series: Choosing the Path of Compassion
Join Dignity/Washington at the Dignity Center on Tuesday evenings during Lent for a simple supper and discussion Featuring Karen Armstrong’s book: “12 Steps to a Compassionate Life”
Simple dinner and discussion each Tuesday in Lent (February 16 through March 22).
Sessions will begin with dinner at 6:00 and end by 8:30.
Please join us for Ash Wednesday on February 10th. St. Margaret’s church and the Dignity Washington Community will jointly celebrate the Ash Wednesday Mass including the blessing and distribution of ashes 7:00 PM at St. Margaret’s church.
All are welcome.
On Sunday January 10, DignityUSA and Dignity/Washington organized a peaceful witness to stand up to a local firing of a parish employee after the Archdiocese of Washington found out he had married his husband. Jeffrey Higgins, the cantor at Mother Seton Catholic Church in Germantown, Maryland, is the latest in an unfortunate series of dozens of firings of church workers over recent years because they were gay or had married their same-sex partner.
The witness in support of Jeffrey brought together a group of about twenty Catholics who stood outside the rural Maryland parish throughout the morning as parishioners came to and from Mass. Members of Dignity/Washington were joined by Jeffrey’s husband Robert, his parents, and others. Their action was broadly covered by local media, including WTOP radio, local NBC News 4, and the Washington Blade.
The Archdiocese released a statement standing by the firing of Jeffrey and saying that, “if someone chooses to live publicly in a manner that is incompatible with church teaching, their continued work in ministry becomes untenable.” Cardinal Donald Wuerl in a blog post also reiterated the decision and shared the church’s viewpoint.
DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke, in a post reflecting on what 2016 may bring, pointed to the firing of Jeffrey Higgins and other such discriminatory terminations of gays and lesbians working at Catholic institutions around the country. But she also offered a message of support and hope, affirming that “DignityUSA will continue to provide support and guidance to those treated unjustly, as well as to the communities that rally in support of true Catholic teachings on the sacredness of work.”
Jeffrey is one of thousands of Church employees whose jobs are at risk because of who they are, whom they love, or because they exercise their civil right to marry their beloved. Catholic officials claim that entering a same-sex marriage is a public rejection of church teaching. Catholics know that LGBT people — even those in relationships or marriages — can be great employees for our parishes, schools, and social service agencies.
May we as Dignity/Washington continue to stand with those victims of the Church’s discriminatory practices and continue our everyday witness of God’s love for ourselves, our families, and our communities, in the Church and throughout the world.
Want to Take Action?
Show your support for Jeffrey and thousands of others. Please call Bishop Barry Knestout, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, at 301-853-4500. Tell him Jeffrey should not have lost his job. Malicious efforts to out LGBT people are mean, unjust, and violate our faith. LGBT people love the Church and work hard for the people of God. Our Church needs non-discrimination policies that protect all employees. This should never happen to anyone else!
Photo credit: Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade
Other News and Links
New Ways Ministry, Bondings 2.0 post by Bob Shine, January 9, 2016
New Ways Ministry Blog
WJLA-7 Local ABC, interview of Jeffrey Higgins, January 6, 2016 : Jeffrey Higgins Interview
Michelle Boorstein’s article from the Washington Post December 31, 2015: WashingtonPost Article
Again this year Dignity/Washington sponsored its annual Secret Santa gift drive that benefited thirty-one children at the Maury School on Capitol Hill. Gifts in the $30 price range were brought until December 6 to St. Margaret’s Social Hall where Santa’s helpers, Carl Spier and Tom Hardy, handled the collection.
Pick-up of the gifts by the children’s parents was slated at the school by December 18. Many thanks to the Dignity/Washington community for its generous response and to Carl and Tom for organizing this annual activity.
This year for Advent, we at D/W are poised and ready: “Awaiting the Promise” of Jesus in our world and in our hearts. The Liturgy Committee chose “Awaiting the Promise” as D/W’s Advent theme because we thought it best expressed where our community’s faith journey intersects with this liturgical season.
Advent has always been a time of hope, when we focus on the coming of the promised Messiah. The Scriptures point us toward the Divine promise of a Savior who ushers in a new era of peace and unity. In so many ways the visit of Pope Francis reawakened that hope in us – the promise of a truly inclusive church that welcomes and recognizes all people as equally beloved of God, worthy of equal protection and afforded equal dignity.
But it is important to note that waiting in the Scriptures is not a passive time of simply hoping change comes. Instead it is a time of intense preparation (Isaiah: “Fill the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.”) and powerful prophetic voices (Jeremiah, “I will raise up for David a just shoot who will do what is right and just.” )
Authentic hope is never a naive belief that good things simply come to those who wait, but rather a trust that when we have done all that we can, God’s goodness cannot be out done. Awaiting the promise means that our efforts to make the world more peaceful and just, both come from, and are fulfilled in, the Love which always and everywhere springs forth from the Source of all creation. We are co-creators in this emerging love even if we do not know how or when our efforts might lead to its fulfillment.
In the Catholic tradition, the great archetype of awaiting the promise has been Mary, Jesus’ mother. In her pregnancy she awaited the coming of Jesus into the world, and by her “yes” she made that coming possible: “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.” With this in mind, we are using Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) as the anthem for our Advent liturgies. In the arrangement entitled “The Canticle of the Turning” written by Gary Daigle, Rory Cooney, and Theresa Donohoo in 1990, Mary’s Song asks us to join with the efforts of our God in making the world a more just and joyful place.
Provocatively, the song asks, “Could the world be about to turn?” Our Advent liturgies ask us that same question phrased in different words, “Are we actively awaiting the promise of Love’s presence in our lives?” Because as the Scriptures remind us so forcefully these days, the world is indeed turning, but only to the extent that we are turning it – and allowing God to turn us as well!
Liturgy Committee Co-chair
The Dignity/Washington Board of Directors announces that it is seeking to hire a paid part-time Communications Coordinator to promote public awareness of Dignity/Washington and its mission. Communications will focus on current and upcoming activities (as well as reporting on recent events) to its own members, and to the LGBTQ, Catholic and broader public through various media (e.g., press releases, social media, etc.).
The job description is available on request by e-mailing the Dignity Center office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following this link:
Applicants should include a résumé with cover letter. Applications should be submitted by December 11, 2015. The Dignity/Washington Board is hopeful the successful candidate can begin before the end of the year.