We wanted to update you on the New York City LGBT Pride March and the use of the parish banner for the Church of St. Francis Xavier. Last year, Archbishop Timothy Dolan indicated that he would not like to see any Catholic parish participating in the Pride March under its parish banner, and in response and ongoing consultation with our community, we turned the banner backward.
The leaders of the Catholic Lesbians and Gay Catholics at Xavier got together on March 3, 2011, and came up with a proposal for deciding this year how we would participate in the Pride March. Leaders from the two ministries met with the Pastoral Council on March 21, proposing that we host a parishwide meeting or series of meetings, with a vote to determine our manner of participation in the march. The Pastoral Council and Father Joe Costantinodecided against our proposal. They recommended that we not have such a vote and that we come up with a creative alternative to using the parish banner. The notes from that meeting are available atwww.sfxavier.org/wordpress/sfx/pastoral-council.
On April 12, the leaders of our two groups met at length and prayerfully discerned our next steps. After carefully looking at all of the alternatives, and with open and respectful sharing, we decided to march with the banner facing forward. We realize that this difficult decision may not please everyone, though informal polling over the past several weeks indicates that there is a likely majority in the community at Xavier for going back to how we usually participate.
Father Joe, in an e-mail to the LGBT ministries leaders, stated that while he supports the LGBT ministries at Xavier and will continue to pray for us, if we march with the banner forward, we will not be given “Welcome to St. Francis Xavier” brochures to distribute, we will not be given a blessing, we will not be included in Prayers of the Faithful, and we will not receive other recognition at the Mass on the morning of the march as historically has been done. In addition, no funds will be released from the parish LGBT account for anything connected with the march, no media will be allowed into the church, the attached press release will be posted on the church Web site, and Father Joe will contact ArchbishopDolan about our participation.
Jesus taught us a prayer that can unite us when we have our differences, and so we pray, “Thy will be done.”
Peace be with you,
Catholic Lesbians and Gay Catholics, the Church of St. Francis Xavier