Dignity/Honolulu marks its annual Solidarity Sunday

Originally published in Star Adviser

Five members of Dignity/Honolulu, a group of approximately 20 LGBT Catholics, attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Catholic downtown as part of the group's annual Solidarity Sunday observance. Their intent was to send the message "We're part of the Church" in spite of Catholic doctrine that opposes homosexual acts and same-sex marriage,” said Dignity/Honolulu President Gene Corpuz.

The purpose of Solidarity Sunday, a campaign started by the national DignityUSA in 1995, focuses on ending the violence,— including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, committed against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. It is always held the week before National Coming Out Day, designated as Oct. 11.

"We believe God loves all people and we shouldn't be kicked out because of who we are. The Church has become too rules-regulated, rather than spiritual," Corpuz said, noting that the Dignity/Honolulu members at Mass in the Honolulu diocese's "Mother Church" wore rainbow-colored ribbons, and sat in the front row.

Citing John 13:35, Corpuz continued, "We believe Jesus was inclusive and the basis of our faith is not rules; it's how we love one another." The biblical passage says people will know Christ's disciples because of "how we love one another; it's not because we are heterosexual. It's the way you live your life in the presence of the spirit of God," he said. Corpuz said, "It's a no-brainer" for most of the younger generation that homosexuals should have equality. Dignity/Honolulu is hoping the Church's hierarchy eventually "comes around" to a more progressive view, but until then "we're not ejecting ourselves from the church."

(The Catholic Church allows homosexuals full participation, except in the priesthood, provided they are celibate.)

After Communion was offered, the Rev. John W. Berger, rector of Our Lady of Peace, thanked the Dignity/Honolulu members for attending, Corpuz said.

A liturgy was also held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 2062 S. King St.Carolyn Golojuch, former president of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in Hawaii, delivered the homily.

National Coming Out Day is held on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights held in 1987. Dignity/Honolulu usually marks the day by operating a booth at the LGBT Student Services community resource fair at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Campus. The fair was held Friday.

Dignity Honolulu's group holds weekly services at St. Mary's Episcopal church in Moiliili.