Friday, February 11, 2011

Catholics Organize to Support Gay Marriage - February 10, 2011

Heather Mizeur 
Maryland State Delegate 

Morgan Meneses-Sheets
Executive Director,
Equality Maryland

This conference day is designed for 
Catholics interested in learning how 
faithful members of their church are 
supporting marriage equality.

February 19, 2011 
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 
Hilton Pikesville Hotel 
1726 Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21208 
(Baltimore Beltway, exit 20)
phone: 410-653-1100 

For more information:
Read more:

Catholics Organize to Support Gay Marriage
From a News Release, February 10, 2011

Ministering in New Ways to Gay and Lesbian Catholics and the Church
A brief history of New Ways Ministry
By Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director

    In 1976, Bishop Francis J. Mugavero of Brooklyn, New York, wrote a pastoral letter, "Sexuality: God's Gift," which was one of the first Roman Catholic statements to contain a compassionate and encouraging message to gay and lesbian people. Gay and lesbian people deserved to be treated equally in society and the Christian community, he noted, and then he addressed them directly, stating, ". . . we pledge our willingness. . . to try to find new ways to communicate the truth of Christ because we believe it will make you free."

     That passage and that term, "new ways," caught the attention and the hearts of a priest and nun team who were doing ministry with the gay and lesbian community. Father Robert Nugent, SDS, and Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, adopted that phrase for the title of the workshops they were giving in Washington, DC, to Catholic pastoral workers and others interested in gay and lesbian issues. These "New Ways Workshops" were sponsored by the Quixote Center, a Maryland-based Catholic social justice group. One year later, in 1977, these "New Ways Workshops" blossomed into a separate non-profit organization, New Ways Ministry, devoted to Catholic gay and lesbian concerns.

     Like its name and its co-founders, the vision and philosophy of this group was solidly Catholic. Gramick and Nugent's work was based firmly in the burgeoning positive messages that the Church in the late 1970s was offering to gay and lesbian people: messages of justice, acceptance, dialogue, and reconciliation. Their work as "bridge-builders" found them reaching out, in one direction, to gay and lesbian people, and, in the other direction, to people working within the Church and Church structures.

     Primarily educational in mission, New Ways Ministry quickly established itself in the U.S. Catholic community as a national resource center and clearinghouse for information and materials on the topic of homosexuality as it impacts religious issues. In addition, they lobbied for civil rights and called the Church to reach out compassionately for the inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the community of the faithful. The co-founders were among the few Roman Catholic religious leaders who publicly opposed Anita Bryant's anti-gay initiatives in the 1970s...

...In 1997, our twentieth anniversary year was a banner year for the ministry. In March, we sponsored the Fourth National Symposium, entitled "The Church Teaching/Teaching the Church: A National Dialogue on Lesbian/Gay Issues and Catholicism." Over 650 Catholic leaders and pastoral ministers gathered in Pittsburgh for a weekend-long in-depth and extensive discussion of topics ranging from same-sex marriage, family relationships, civil rights, homophobia, heterosexism, pastoral care, and lesbian nuns...
Read complete history: 

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