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Dignity San Diego’s Celebration-filled Weekend

A number of themes came together the weekend of July 20–22 as Dignity/San Diego celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Choosing to emphasize its ties with other local Catholic reform groups, Dignity/San Diego partnered with Call To Action of San Diego County (CTA–SD), San Diego Catholic Worker (SDCW), and Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) in several events over the weekend, the culmination of which was a festive Mass on Sunday evening celebrating Dignity’s 40th Anniversary and the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.

The Mass was held at San Diego’s LGBT Community Center, the first event that Dignity/San Diego has ever held at that venue. The presiders were Rev. John Crepeau, longtime chaplain for the chapter, and Rev. Dr. Jane Via, the Pastor of MMACC. Members of CTA, MMACC, Dignity, and SDCW participated in the offertory procession. The altar was decorated with rainbow-colored strips of cloth that were created especially for the occasion by MMACC parishioner Diane Langworthy. The Mass was attended by over 150 people and was followed by a lively potluck supper put on by the hospitality teams of both our chapter and MMACC.

The guest of honor for the weekend and guest homilist at the Anniversary Mass was writer and social justice advocate Jamie Manson. Jamie kicked the weekend off early by giving a lecture on Thursday evening, co-sponsored by CTA-SD and MMACC, on the current state of Catholic sexual ethics. Over 50 people came to hear Jamie discourse on Sr. Margaret Farley’s book Just Love, and to participate in the lively discussion that followed. On Saturday, Jamie spoke at a breakfast at the local Catholic Worker house of hospitality, Casa Milagro, and then joined 20 members and friends of Dignity/San Diego to march in San Diego’s annual Pride Parade.

Chapter President Brian Kelly expressed satisfaction at the success of the weekend’s events: “It was truly a display of Catholic renewal and unity at the grass-roots level. So many people worked so hard and so harmoniously to make all this happen. It was inspiring to me. I feel especially blessed that Jamie was able to join us and share her perspective on so many of the issues that our Church currently faces.”

At the potluck following Mass, several “old timers” got up to share their reminiscences of “the early days” of Dignity in San Diego, and a letter of congratulations from DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke was read aloud.

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