By Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues, Outgoing DignityUSA President
DignityUSA is excited about its participation in an international network of LGBT Catholics and advocates. This effort, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, will be meeting in Rome October 1-4. And we will be present!
The initial membership consists of LGBT member groups from Chile, Germany, Italy, Malta, Poland, Spain, Zambia, and the U.S. More groups from other countries are expected to join as the organization of this global movement continues. The conference in Rome will focus mostly on the work of organizing and formalizing the network.
As we listen to the issues faced by LGBTQ Catholics and families around the world, we are aware of our privilege and gains in our work towards societal and Church equality. We are also cognizant that with privilege comes great responsibility, and that God did not mean equality to reach only powerful and rich nations. Our work as a faith movement will not be complete without the freedom of our brothers and sisters around the world.
We are excited that Jeff Stone (our media director and member of Dignity/New York) and Leo Egashira (Board member from Seattle and Chair of our Communications/Publications Committee) will be our representatives in Rome.
Those of you who were at the Convention showed a lot of interest and support of this work. In fact, we have been able to financially support the participation of Jeff and Leo in Rome, thanks to generous donations from many of you. The campaign, A Dome for Rome, started in Seattle when Lewis Speaks-Tanner announced that he would cut his long hair if people donated money for the trip to Rome. Leo Egashira quickly volunteered to trim his long beard as well. A spontaneous campaign, spearheaded by Glenn, our Treasurer, ignited and supported by a generous, anonymous donor who matched the money raised, we got to $5,000, which allowed us to send not only one representative to Rome but 2! Thank you!
This is going to be quite an exciting fall: the Board will be meeting in Buffalo during the first week in October with our newly elected team, Lewis and Alice. The pilgrims, 12 LGBT families, will be participating in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, September 22-25, and the Papal visit September 26-27. The Duddy-Burkes from Dignity/Boston and Dan Barutta from Dignity/Washington have been invited to attend the gathering for Pope Francis at the White House. Jeff Stone and Leo Egashira will represent Dignity at the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. Stay tuned!