By Brian Flanagan
Members of Holy Trinity’s LGBTQIA+ Ministry distributing rosaries and parish information at last year’s Capital Pride Festival.
We have much to celebrate this month. June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion long promoted by the Jesuits that emphasizes the passion and Christ’s deep love for each one of us. In 2015, Pope Francis preached that “The Heart of the Good Shepherd tells us that his love is limitless; it is never exhausted and never gives up.” Jesus’ heart, the pope said, “desires to embrace all and lose none.”
At the same time, June has become a month of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community and our friends and families. In June, we celebrate Pride – not a sinful pride that puffs oneself up or denies one’s limitations, but pride as the opposite of shame, as a virtue of gratitude for being the persons that God created us to be, and for having the courage to name that grace. Pride observances began as civil rights protests demanding that LGBTQIA+ people be treated fairly and with dignity, and now combine that continuing push for justice with celebration of how far we have come.
If you spend much time on Twitter (pro tip: don’t!), you would get the resounding message, both from some Catholics and from some LGBTQIA+ folks, that these two June commemorations are mutually exclusive. I’m happy to say that here at Holy Trinity, we are lucky to be living a very robustly Catholic “both/and” that recognizes in our celebration of LGBTQIA+ Catholics not the opposite, but the embodiment of, the limitless love of Christ symbolized in his Sacred Heart.
I help to coordinate our LGBTQIA+ ministry, which was started by long-standing parishioners in 2019 and has grown in various ways in the following years. Some of our members have been here for decades, and others have joined us more recently, drawn to the parish by the steadfast support of our pastor, parish staff, and pastoral council. We hold discussion groups for men, for women and other historically marginalized genders, and for families, both parents of LGBTQIA+ children and LGBTQIA+ parents, and other events for conversation, spiritual development, and mutual support.
I’m happy to say that one of the best signs of the strong welcome of our parish is the fact that often LGBTQIA+ members of our community are too busy to attend our meetings! Instead, they have other commitments accompanying our RCIA candidates, teaching our children, serving at our liturgies, and working for social justice through our parish ministries. In our witness and service, you can find LGBTQIA+ Catholics celebrating pride and the love of Christ lived out in our love for God and others – all throughout the year with all our siblings here at Holy Trinity.
If you know LGBTQIA+ Catholics, especially any who have felt pushed away from the Church because of who they are or whom they love, please pass on the good news that they are welcome here and can always get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please join us on Wednesday, June 14, at 5:30 pm in the main church, for our annual parish Pride Mass and commemoration as we celebrate, together, the love of Christ that brings us together and calls us to continued mission in our world.