Welcome to All!
In November 2017, our Cardinal, Vincent Nichols, asked parishes in Westminster Diocese to look at how they could become welcoming parishes to the LGBT community. In response, in the parish of Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew, Hitchin, in the same month, a small group of parishioners and priests began to meet to pray, discuss and discern our next steps as a parish.
This initiative was led by Fr Michael Lambert aa. In November 2018 Fr Michael was involved in an accident when he was walking back to the parish for a meeting of the ‘As I am’ group. Sadly Fr Michael did not recover and died on 2nd December 2018. The ‘As I am’ team are determined to continue his legacy as he guided the team to believe it was important that everyone in the parish feels they are loved and accepted by God and the parish as they are.
Welcome to all the Creator has created!
Welcome to our bodies, wriggly when newborn; restless in adolescence and bursting with God given sensuality; in later life still discovering who we are; and later still, holding the wondrous memory of all that juice and joy and gift of life.
All these transitions given to us as a great blessing.
Thank you God!
For our God given longing for loving friendships and relationships.
Thank you God!
Boys will sigh for girls, and girls for boys.
Thank you God.
Boys will sigh for boys and girls for girls.
Thank you God.
Some sigh and search for their true identity
Thank you God.
All search for their deep authentic self.
Beloved by God.
Let’s awaken, and open our hearts to the gifts each of us brings to the parish and our communities.
Let’s make ourselves ready for wholeness, and the holiness of being all together.
If you are an LGBT person and would like to talk to someone in our parish community, our priests are happy to be contacted and to offer open and friendly support. This invitation is also extended to anyone who is a parent, family member or friend of an LGBT person. Our priests would like to say “We are not professional counsellors. We are always learning in our pastoral encounters. We may be clumsy about some things we might say. We will be there to accompany you, sharing a journey of discovery.”
Fr. Tom O’Brien – 07547 171570 – email@example.com
Fr. Euloge Kasine – 07424 004647 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Andrew O’Dell – 01462 459126
LGBT Catholics Westminster assist at the 5.30pm Farm Street Parish Mass and host a social afterwards on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. The LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council work is recognised as a chaplaincy by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster.
The social is informal, relaxed, warm and friendly and open to all in Farm Street parish and any visitors. Westminster Diocese’s LGBT Chaplain, Mgr. Keith Barltrop (email@example.com) is often present. Others attending include members from the groups below:
Young Adults Group (YAG) : www.lgbtcatholicsyag.org.uk
Quest : www.questgaycatholic.org.uk
Courage : (email) firstname.lastname@example.org
Chrzescijanie LGBTQ : www.wiara-tecza.pl
There is a table overflowing with leaflets from all these groups about their work and how to contact them. There is also information from the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups(www.euroforumlgbtchristians.eu.) and the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (www.rainbowcatholics.org).
These Masses and socials are a helpful way for LGBT people, family, friends and parishioners to meet in a supportive, friendly environment for friendship and meet people from these lively groups offering many events and ongoing activities, including prayer-groups, occasional retreat-days, reflection/discussion evenings.
Interesting articles / webpages
The 3rd LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pilgrimage to Rome ended, Sunday, 10 March 2019.
On Ash Wednesday, 6 March 2019, the 16 pilgrims, including parents and family members alongside LGBT Catholics with Pilgrimage Chaplain, Fr. David Stewart SJ, had privileged seats at the morning Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square. At the end of the General Audience the group was invited to meet Pope Francis – see attached photograph.
The Pilgrimage Leader, Martin Pendergast, a member of the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, introduced the group to the smiling Pope Francis, explaining that they formed part of the LGBT+ pastoral ministry outreach of Westminster Diocese. Each pilgrim received a gift of a rosary from Pope Francis who shook hands with the group’s members.
Later, on Ash Wednesday afternoon, the group was able to take part in Pope Francis’ Mass & Imposition of Ashes in the Church of Santa Sabina. In the evening the Group was warmly welcomed at an Ecumenical Liturgy of the Word & Blessing of Ashes with English-speaking Anglicans, Catholics and Methodists, in the Church of St.Ignatius.
The programme included a conversation with Rome-based journalists, Christopher Lamb (The Tablet) and Robert Mickens (La Croix International) giving their perspectives on Pope Francis’ Church reform strategy, not least following the recent Vatican Sexual Abuse Summit. They were also addressed by the American moral theologian, Professor James Keenan SJ, on the Pope’s response to the 2014/2015 Synods on Marriage & Family. He focused on Pope Francis’ key-principles of “accompaniment” and “moral discernment” as vital considerations in addressing LGBT concerns.
The group celebrated Mass in the room where St.Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, died; and also in the Titular Church of Cardinal Vincent Nichols – The Most Holy Redeemer & St. Alphonsus.
Morning Prayer remembering victims of homophobia and transphobia was celebrated in the St. Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber Church, which commemorates martyrs of our own times and is run by the San Egidio Community.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Martin Pendergast – 020 8986 0807
Below a link to show the presentation of Fr. Dominic Robinson and Nick O’Shea at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin. (Fr Dominic is now the Parish Priest for Farm Street.)
This presentation describes how LGBT+ Westminster community were welcomed to Farm Street parish, and have since contributed to the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral life of the Church. Members of the congregation and the Parish Priest will reflect on the practical steps that made this journey possible and recount their story as Catholics. The positive impact this has had on both communities is considered, as is the learning for how other parishes may also want to extend a welcome to members of the Catholic family who are LGBT+.
“Let us simply stop and start listening to our own hearts. Then we will touch a lot of pain. We will possibly touch a lot of anger. We will possibly touch a lot of loneliness and anguish. Then we will hear something deeper. We will hear the voice of Jesus, we will hear the voice of God. We will discover that the heart of Christ, in some mysterious way, is hidden in my heart and there, we will hear, “I love you. You are precious to my eyes and I love you.”
Jean Vanier (Images of Love, Words of Hope)
Spiritual Insights for LGBT Catholics
Watch the video on YouTube
We welcome you here at Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew parish
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
From the Center for Action and Contemplation
For a series of meditations on Gender and Sexuality click below which will take you to a weekly summary and click on Sunday April 15th to start the series.