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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Euloge Kasine – 07424 004647 – email@example.com
Fr. Andrew O’Dell – 01462 459126
Parents of LGBT+People Support – Sue is a founder member of Called-To-Be-One an informal phone support for Catholic parents of LGBT daughters and sons. She can be contacted on 01642 465 020.
Parents if you would like to talk, informally and in complete confidence, to a Catholic parent with personal experience with both homosexuality and transitioning within a Catholic family, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will put you in touch with someone.
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.
News and Notes
Interesting articles / webpages
20th Oct 2019
This weeks begins a series of reflections from Richard Rohr on Gender and Sexuality. Please find links below
20th October 2019
Video interviews> Christian Parents with homosexual children in Italy share their experience
Christian parents with homosexual children in Italy share their experience and talk about what happened in the family when their children came out.
Turn English subtitles on in the video. What happens in a Christian family when a child comes out as homosexual? We asked some catholic parents to talk about it because “the truth will set you free”.
This video was made by the association: La Tenda di Gionata, founded by the Gionata Project (www.gionata.org) at the request of don David Esposito, a deceased priest who in his will expressed the desire for a Christian organisation that worked concretely for the welcoming, the formation and information of LGBT Christians, their families and pastoral workers, so that Christian communities can be “increasingly welcoming shrines of support for LGBT people and for every person affected by discrimination“.
For info click on https://youtu.be/vU62suliiA0
17th Oct 2019
I’m gay, married, and not leaving my church
These links take you to a site called All Inclusive Ministries. Their mission statement gives you a good picture of what you might find on their site. There are items written from personal experience and material to help you deepen your faith, make decisions and live life to the full.
AIM invites all baptized Catholics in the diversity of their sexual orientation and gender identity to full participation in the life, worship, and mission of the Church.
Our values center on our Catholic faith and include:
From the Independent Catholic news July 8th 2019
The Christian presence at the Pride in London Parade on Saturday began and ended with prayers. An ecumenical prayer breakfast was held at St Anne’s Anglican Church in Soho. Another ecumenical service took place nearby at St Giles-in-the-Fields in the evening.
Around 25 people from LGBT+ Catholics Westminster joined the Parade while others staffed an information stall in Soho Square throughout the day – the only faith-based presence in the Community Market Place. A spokesman said: “In this we are echoing Pope Francis’ call to go out to the peripheries of Church and society.” More than 3,000 people of all faiths and none, visited the stall to chat and collect information cards and leaflets.
LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council members had attended the third Pre-Pride Reception, on Tuesday, 2 July, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Ruth Bush who is a Methodist. During the Reception, Cllr Bush spoke about recent advances made in Westminster City Council including the appointment of Cllr Ian Adams as Lead Councillor on LGBT+ concerns, including related hate-crime incidence.
During the evening ecumenical service at St Giles-in-the-Fields, participants reflected on the fact it is now 50 years since the Stonewall riots. While much has been achieved, they acknowledged that more still needs to be done.
LGBT+ Catholics Westminster with friends and family next gather at Farm Street Jesuit Church, 114 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K 3AH for the 5.30pm Mass, on Sunday 14 July 2019, followed by refreshments in the Parish Hall.
For full article published in the Tablet on 22/6/2019 click on Nicolete Burbach – the joy of fulfillment
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+.
Below is the final paragraph of #150 in the English text released today. It is of particular interest to our ministry to LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers:
“Many Christian communities already offer journeys of accompaniment in faith for homosexual persons: the Synod recommends that such initiatives be supported. In these journeys, people are helped to read their own history; to adhere with freedom and responsibility to their baptismal calling; to recognize the desire to belong and contribute to the life of the community; to discern the best ways of realizing this. Thus, all young people, without exception, are helped to integrate the sexual dimension of their personality more and more fully, as they grow in the quality of their relationships and move towards the gift of self.”
I hope the paragraph above and the words highlighted help you engage in respectful conversation in order to create a more welcoming Church – parish, (arch)diocese, school – for our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers.
“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
What is the official church teaching on homosexuality?
Click on the link for a response from Fr James Martin Responding to a commonly asked question
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.