May the Word made flesh and God taking on our humanity — the ultimate sign and message of Christmas — be bulwarks of life, light, hope, and human dignity as we take on Christ’s directive of love of God, neighbor, and self, coupled with his invitation — “Love one another as I have loved you.”
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We in Dignity believe that the authentic way in which we live our lives is the way in which we bring Jesus into the hearts of all people. May justice reign because of this belief. May we open our hearts and those of others to the true message of unconditional love that the birth of Jesus reminds us of.
I am very excited to share the torch-bearing for the next leg of the journey with those 20, 25 or even 30 years younger than me. I want to hear their dreams, and how they think they can realize them, and I want to tell them about the great achievements of the past 40 years. I want to reinterpret my experiences as a white, Catholic, lesbian mom through lenses young adults can show me, and get a glimpse of what the future might be like for my daughters. I want these future leaders to know of my gratitude that they are committed to equality, and of my confidence in their path
"I remain an ordained priest and exiled member of the Roman Catholic faith, I pray daily to the Holy Spirit for a transformation of the Catholic Church into an agent of the Holy Spirit listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. I see the DignityUSA organization as one of the primary instruments of the Holy Spirit leading the way to that transformation. I will continue to do whatever I can to support Dignity’s God-given mission."
No matter how we change our programming or ways of reaching new audiences, one thing will not change. DignityUSA remains committed to our Statement of Position and Purpose, and our goal of a just Church and society, where LGBT Catholics are fully embraced. Those commitments, and our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, remain the guiding stars of our journey. Because of that, I am confident that our path, although not always smooth, will be adequately lit, and that we will in time find our way.
DignityUSA Executive Director
"I thought of Dignity and how we have been a place of safety and friendship for countless GLBT people through the days when being gay and out was very, very hard. I have no doubt Dignity has made a huge difference in many, many lives—keeping the connected to God, to Christ, to a Gospel of Love, and to kindred spirits on the path to the Promised Land. We have much to be proud of. I am charged with enthusiasm for the good work that lies ahead for us as we move into our 5th decade.
"I believe that [Dignity and Womenpriests] are faces within Catholicism and that slowly, the greater faith community will come to see the validity of their demands for simple justice and human dignity. After all, the heart of the Gospel is love, and its practical extension to all human beings. In the end, some future pope will apologize to women and LGBT persons just as John Paul II apologized to Muslims, Jewish people and secular society. It took centuries for that apology to come, but it came."
As we prepare for the coming celebration of our holiest of Holy Days later this month, DignityUSA is immersed in the commemoration of 40 years of ministry to, with, and by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics and those who love us. For me, the two celebrations are definitely linked. Easter has always been a day of tran- scendent joy. No matter how dismal the previous months, I’ve experienced a real sense of rebirth every Easter for as long as I can recall.
You no doubt are aware of the frequent attacks in various ways on our loving relationships by our Pope and many bishops. Any devaluing, denying, or interference toward our loving relationships is an expression of spiritual abuse in my humble opinion, since all love finds its source in God, our Creator. Because of the existence of, or the potential for, such abuse in the Church of my birth, I, and many others, no longer regularly attend any Catholic parish. And so, my Dignity family remains my spiritual home where unconditional love is present.
As a cradle Catholic, I was torn between yearning to remain engaged with and at ease in the church I love, yet increasingly recognizing the futility of doing either in a conventional parish environment. My first liturgical experience at Dignity/Washington in 2000 was like the sun bursting through an overcast sky. I knew I was in my new spiritual home.
-- Mark Clark, Dignity/Washington
Board of Directors Member, October 2008 – present
“There are nearly 80 countries where being gay is still a crime, and a dozen where being gay can result in the death penalty, We believe that our Pope, our Church, with its belief in the sanctity of human life, should be leading efforts to end this most egregious form of oppression. Instead, our leader has chosen to stand with countries that continue to name us as criminals."
-- Marianne Duddy-Burke
Executive Director, DignityUSA