What an exciting time for members of Dignity giving prophetic witness to the sacredness of our lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics. DignityUSA has supported 12 families at the World Meeting of Families who are sharing their lived experience as LGBT Catholics, or as the parents of LGBT Catholics, through the Equally Blessed Coalition.
I am writing this as the papal jet “Shepherd 1” is landing at Andrews Air Force Base to bring Pope Francis to the United States for the first time. Many members of Dignity have written editorials or have been interviewed recently by various members the media about their lives, and about their thoughts regarding Pope Francis. I am sure many more will be interviewed this week.
Members of Dignity/New York were interviewed by the BBC, and my husband and I were interviewed by a reporter and a videographer from SVT, Swedish Public TV. Many media outlets believe that our perspective on Papa Francisco and Catholicism are an important part of the story of the modern Catholic Church.
A number of members of Dignity have been invited to the White House to attend the welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis that President Obama is hosting. I am told that Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia will quote three paragraphs of DignityUSA’s letter to Pope Francis in his official welcoming statement when he welcomes the Holy Father to Philadelphia.
This is heady stuff for those of us who remember what it was like to be largely ignored and barely visible. It might seem like the battle is over and we have won. Once the World Meeting of Families has ended, the Pope has left, and the bishops have had their synod in Rome, it will be good to hear our members’ experience with all of the witness we have given in a relatively short period of time. After that, however, it may also be important to take some time and reflect on our mission and where we are as movement.
For those of us who are involved in Dignity faith communities, whether the traditional chapter- based kind or the virtual communities that are now being created, we know that speaking truth to power and sharing our experience with others is important. We also know that continuing to create community is important. How we blend these missions together will define the type of service that we are able to provide for ourselves and for others as we move into the future.