Listening to Our Pilgrims

By Peggy Hayes, Dignity/Boston

Dignity/Boston is fortunate to be the home chapter of five of the Equally Blessed Coalition pilgrims who journeyed to the World Meeting of Families held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the papal visit. Those five pilgrims – Becky and Marianne Duddy-Burke and their two daughters, and Marcia Garber shared their anticipation and determination with members of the Boston chapter in advance of the meeting, and were held in prayer by the community for a safe and successful journey.

A few weeks after the pilgrims returned home, the chapter gathered for supper and a listening night to hear from Becky, Marianne, and Marcia, about the excitement of being part of such an important moment in the life of the Catholic Church in America.  Marianne attended the reception for the Pope at the White House, and Marcia caught sight of the papal motorcade in a massive and jubilant crowd in Philadelphia!

Marianne, Becky, and Marcia all agreed that there were challenging experiences as well; seeing the Society for the Defense of Tradition, Marriage, and Property and other conservative groups collecting anti- marriage equality signatures, and the dearth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allies voices speaking at the conference. All spoke of the power of individual conversations with Catholics seeking ways to be more supportive of their LGBT brothers and sisters and witnessing to a more inclusive, welcoming Church, one where all families are represented and celebrated. Boston chapter members voiced their gratitude to the pilgrims for stepping up to represent LGBT families, and for reaching out to the people of God gathered in Philadelphia.

Equally Blessed is a coalition of four Catholic organizations that have spent more than 125 combined years working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. Collectively and individually, Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry are devoted to informing, supporting, and giving voice to the growing majority within the Catholic Church in the United States that favors equality under law for LGBT people.