Lesbian and Gay Ministry at St. Matthew’s Church, Long Beach, CA

Comunidad’s 2015 Long Beach Pride Plans

Pride weekend is Saturday and Sunday, May 16th and 17th. We’ll be hosting a booth at the festival. Stop by and say “Hello!”

Comunidad has secured its booth for the 2015 Long Beach Pride festival, and we look forward to sharing news about our ministry—and of course our “Welcome Home” message—with those attending the event. We are both proud and privileged to bring our message of welcome and respect to those who will be there. As happens every year, we’re sure to meet plenty of festival goers who will walk up to our booth and ask what we’re doing there. “The Catholic Church...the Roman Catholic Church?” so many ask, surprised to encounter out and proud gay and lesbian Roman Catholics. Of course, with the popularity of Pope Francis on the rise and the tolerant if not welcoming message that he is spreading, some of that surprise will be diminished. Nevertheless, we’re sure to meet pride-goers who were raised in the Church but are no longer regularly attending Mass, and undoubtedly many who, in frustration and despair, have walked away for reasons of feeling misunderstood and unwelcome in the past by the hierarchy or their fellow parishioners or both.

The perplexed response of some to our presence at the festival is a blessing in disguise because it creates the opportunity to share our story with others—not of a perfect Church or an easy time, but of our individual struggles, sometimes to accept ourselves and almost always to accept others, and then to experience the fruits that come from knowledge, from dialog, from forgiveness, from changed hearts all around or hearts full of hope that change will come, even if that change comes more slowly than anticipated or wished for. And we look forward to sharing the story of positive change that is happening in our Church that has come about in part through the everyday presence and activities of ministries such as Comunidad and with the help of so many wonderful straight allies both lay and clerical. One of our happy messages is that the hostility, ignorance, and unkindness seen or heard about in the past comes from an ever-decreasing (but sometimes still very vocal) minority that is present both within and without the Church. And, as mentioned already, given the popularity of Pope Francis by so many religious and secular persons alike (to say nothing of the famousness of his remark “Who am I to judge?” when asked about Gay and Lesbian Catholics or of the various reforms that he is helping usher into the Church) we may even enjoy a larger number of visitors than usual. We look forward to witnessing to each one of them, inviting them return back to the Church—in particular our Community Mass that will take place on Sunday, June 28th at St. Matthew’s—and celebrate with us there as well as along the parade route and on the festival grounds.

If you attend the festival, be sure to stop by our booth, for we’d love to see you and say “Hello!”

Our Annual Appeal is Underway—Can You Give of Your Time, Talent, or Send a Financial Contribution?

Letters were delivered by post approximately six weeks ago. You can also donate electronically.

Comunidad’s annual appeal campaign is underway. This year we have, wherever possible, trimmed budgets, but your financial contribution and the influx of talent and participation brought by new and old members alike is greatly appreciated. Every donation, no matter the amount, helps.

Know that St Matthew Catholic Church—Comunidad is a registered 501(c)3 charity organization, so your donation is tax-deductible.

If you have a postal address on file with us, you’ve probably received a letter in the mail from which you can respond. We also also offer the means to send financial contributions electronically via PayPal. It’s a safe and secure way to deliver your contibution through the use of a credit card or your PayPal account, if you have one. Sending your contribution electronically will save you the cost and trouble of affixing a stamp on the return envelope that is provided in our mailing. You needn’t be a PayPal account holder (or create an account) to use the service. To provide your donation electronically, visit our donation page.

If you have not received a mailing delivered by post from Comunidad in the past eighteen months, it’s likely that we do not have your current postal address on file. In this case, you can send your donation via the PayPal method or download this form and mail it in along with your check or money-order.

The Last Mass

Fr. Jerry Meisel, just out of the seminary and as pastor of St. Matthew

By Joe Maffucci

In October 1966, in the beginning of my third year of Theology I left St. Joseph Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York. To borrow the lyrics from a popular song of the time I came undone. I found a mountain that was far too high. I lost the sun, the moon and the stars. Aside from my mother’s death, the lingering emotional effects of my leaving still resonate. Dark memories of that time in my life persist. Nevertheless, there is one memory from those days that I relish. At the end of the scholastic year, the deacons were ordained to the priesthood; it was the culmination of six years of study and spiritual development. It was a joyous as well as spiritual moment for all seminarians. Each year I had the privilege of attending and sometimes participating as an altar server at a First Mass—that is, the first Mass celebrated by a newly ordained priest. We eagerly waited in line for the first blessing of the newly ordained. (Continue reading here)

It’s Killing Me

By Joe Maffucci

She keeps her distance
And sits on fences
Puts up resistance
And builds defenses

What's the problem?

You leave me hanging on the line,
Everytime you change your mind.

First you say you won’t
Then you say you will
You keep me hanging on,
And we’re not moving on
We're standing still, Jenny
You’ve got me on my knees

It's killing me

In the 2005 song Jenny, The Click Five sing about a courtship that is going nowhere and seems doomed to failure. Sound familiar? It should if you were paying attention to the reports from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family that Pope Francis called for last year and which recently met and finished its first session in Rome. (Continue reading here)

Food for Thought: Catholic Parents of LGBTQ Children

Videos Released by Ignatian News Network

Given the subject of our member’s meeting this past February, we thought it especially timely that two new episodes to the Ignatian News Network’s video series on Gay and Lesbian Catholics were released at about that same time. The first videos in the series, parts one and two of “Who Are We to Judge?—Gay Catholics,” were published in July of last year. The two new episodes focus not on lesbian and gay Catholics themselves but on “Catholic parents of LGBTQ children.” We think the videos are worth watching and thinking about. Each episode runs about six minutes. The videos are hosted on Ignatian New Network’s YouTube channel, “IN Network.”

We’ve got other upcoming events, too!

Tear Down This Wall

By Joe Maffucci

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!” exhorted Ronald Reagan in his now-famous speech during the early summer of 1987; “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Shunning the advice... (Continue reading here)

An Interview with the Holy Father

Pope Francis, in a lengthy interview conducted by Antonio Spadaro, S.J. of La Civiltà Cattolica, which took place over three meetings this past August, and which was simultaneously published by several influential Jesuit magazines around the globe so as to provide the world’s Catholics the content of the interview in each of the world’s major languages, has revealed a welcome change in tone regarding the Church’s ministry as it pertains to gays and lesbians. The interview provides much insight into our Pontiff’s personality, thinking, and theology. The editors of America, who provided the English translation, titled the interview “A Big Heart Open to God,” which seems fitting. We teased you with several, short excerpts from the interview in our October e-newsletter—but it’s worth reading in its entirety here.