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A Hopeful Advent

By Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA Executive Director 

As our Church begins its new year with the approach of Advent, we stand at that twilight moment, reflecting on what has occurred and dreaming of what may lie before us. The year 2012 has been one of the most momentous in recent Catholic history. We saw the resignation of one Pope, and have experienced the first few months of a Papacy that seems to signal significant new directions for Church governance. Here in the U.S., we’ve seen some of the strongest embrace of LGBT justice issues ever among Catholics, and a rising number of Church workers coming forward after they were fired for who they are, or whom they love. Our Dignity family has lost some of our most beloved leaders, and seen the emerging passion of the rising generation of talent.

In some ways, this time may offer the most powerful window into Advent that many of us have ever experienced. For many members of the Catholic community, LGBT and straight, there is a sense of anticipation and hope, even if cautious, that our Church will be more unified, and more the beacon of light and love we expect it to be. Much of that hope has been sparked by Pope Francis, who has certainly demonstrated a profound commitment to the impoverished and marginalized, and a willingness to address human concerns as a brother.

The challenge of this time is to ensure that our hope is not centered on the Pope, but remains rooted in Christ, and in our own call to be the Good News in our communities. It is Christ’s rebirth in our hearts that we await. “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” we sing.

And as we wait, we continue to work and pray. We look for signs of that great, glorious dawn in the triumph of marriage equality coming to Hawaii and Illinois. We continue to correct the untruths spoken about us by some Church leaders, and to reach into broken lives and offer healing. We hold one another and others in need in our hearts and prayers.

As we walk the days of preparation for Christmas, know that the Board and staff of DignityUSA think of each of you with gratitude for all you give of yourself to the work in which we engage together. In this sacred time, may you know the grace of hope, peace, and joy.