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Highlights of DignityUSA's History: 2002

The following history is based on the commemorative booklet entitled DignityUSA at 25: A Chronology, 1969-1994 compiled by former DignityUSA President Pat Roche. Copies are available from the Dignity national office and were also printed in the Dignity Journal 27:2-3 (Autumn 1995). Highlights from 1995-Present compiled by former Dignity Vice President Pat McArron.
  • On January 13, the board of directors meets by teleconference. Topics of discussion included our upcoming first national election, as well as reports from other board committees. Director Linda Rieder reports that a Parents and Friends Advisory Board is in the planning stages to encourage greater participation of potential non-gay supporters.
  • On February 8, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, hosts a public panel discussion of John McNeill's life and ministry in celebration of the John J. McNeill Gay and Lesbian Liberation Archives, which have recently been donated to CLGS. Sr. Jeannine Gramick is one of the participants in that panel discussion. The Center hosts at the dean’s house (on Thursday, February 7) a smaller "by-invitation" fund-raising cocktail party with John to help raise money for cataloguing and publicizing the archive. Tom Kaun, former DignityUSA director, attends the Thursday reception in behalf of DignityUSA. Also in attendance are Rev. Jim Schexnayder, founder and resource director of NACDLGM, as well as several others who have had a connection with Dignity over the years. Several linear feet of John’s papers are donated, including his correspondence with the Vatican. His papers will be made available to the public in approximately six months online.
  • Leaders of DignityUSA condemn statements by Vatican spokesman Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls in which he blames clergy sexual abuse on gay priests. Navarro-Valls is quoted in the March 3, 2002 New York Times as saying that "People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained," and likening their ordination to a marriage that could be annulled.
  • DignityUSA Endorses New Ways Ministry Symposium, March 8-10, and has a strong presence at the symposium. Approximately 65 members of DignityUSA are among the 500 who gathered in Louisville, KY March 8-10, 2002 for New Ways Ministry's Fifth National Symposium on Gay and Lesbian Issues in the Church. Entitled "Out of Silence God Has Called Us: Lesbian/Gay Issues in the Vatican II Church," the Symposium commemorated the 25th anniversary of New Ways Ministry's founding in 1977.
  • The board of directors of DignityUSA announces the chartering of Dignity/Silver Spring, located in Maryland.
  • DignityUSA addresses the priest sex abuse scandal. On April 8, the Board of Directors of DignityUSA devotes much of its meeting to issues raised by the clergy sex abuse scandal unfolding in the Catholic Church.
  • We Shall Not Be Silent: Conferences for GLBT Catholics, Our Families, Friends and Supporters, sponsored by DignityUSA, takes place on April 12-14 at the Crockett Hotel, San Antonio, TX, where the keynote speaker is Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL; and May 24-26, at the Hyatt Hotel, Buffalo, NY, where the keynote speaker is Edwina Gately
  • DignityUSA Joins Gay Days at Disney World in Orlando, FL, May 28–June 2.
  • Patrick T. McArron is named president of DignityUSA.
  • In response to the church sex abuse crisis, DignityUSA launches a campaign entitled "STOP BLAMING GAY PRIESTS" at the November US Catholic Bishops Conference.