Comunidad 

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

Our May Meeting: Cinco de Mayo Fun—Potluck and Lotería!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Above images © Juan Ybañez

Come join us for our annual Cinco de Mayo celebration! Once again, generous patrocinadores (patrons) will be supplying wonderful platos principales (main courses) and bebidas (drinks). If you’re able, please bring a acompañamiento or guarnición (side dish) or postre (dessert) to share with fellow partygoers (enough to serve, say, 4 or 6 people). If not, don’t keep that from holding you back from attending.

Our handsome and decked-out bastonero extraordianorio (extraordinary Master of Ceremonies), Ray Ramirez, will entertain, first with a short retelling/reenactment of the Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla), the event the holiday commemorates, and then, after dinner, as gamemaster for the main event, a lotería game.

Historians tell us that Lotería originated in Italy in the 15th century and, in 1769, was brought to New Spain (Mexico). Now a time-honored tradition at Mexican fairs, it’s a beloved game by Mexicans wherever they are, and it has been a beloved tradition of Comunidad’s Cinco de Mayo celebration for as many years as we can remember. We give the game a slightly modern twist. If you’ve never played Lotería before, it’s like Bingo but with more laughter. To make it even more enjoyable, if you can, please bring a favorite tchotchke, “white elephant,” or one of those worthless, tacky gifts that’s collecting dust at your place and deserves to be passed on to its next lucky owner. We can assure you that there is at least a 1:1 chance that you’ll leave with an item (and maybe more!) whose value equals or exceeds the one you brought! If you’ve already given away such items and have no more to hand out, don’t worry, come anyway.

To help put you in the mood, take a look at these loteria decks!

Comunidad’s 2016 Long Beach Pride Plans

Pride weekend is Saturday and Sunday, May 21st and 22nd. We’ll be hosting a booth at the festival. Stop by and say “Hello!”

The relationship between the LGBT community and most Christian Churches has been decideldly strained. The following two remarks emphasize the strain. They are taken from the Gay Christian Network as quoted by the Huffington Post:

“This time last year I was standing in my closet with a noose around my neck wondering what it would be like to just end it all. I didn’t really have any hope.”
“My number one question I’ve asked everyone in one way or another was if I was good enough. I asked God if I was straight, could I be good enough?”

Comunidad member-at-large Anna Totta received the following text message for Irma J.

“Hi Anna! We finally set a date to baptize our daughter. It will be Sunday April 24 at 2pm at St Matthews. We would love it if you and any other Comunidad members can join us. Comunidad is an instrumental part of why we are able to have this baptism for her.”

The theme of this year's Long Beach Pride is “Solidarity through Pride.” As Catholic Christians we also have mystical solidarity, Solidarity through Baptism.

Adapting the Long Beach Pride website definition:
SOLIDARITY: unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
THROUGH: moving in one side and out of the other side of (an opening, channel, or location).
BAPTISM: infusion of the grace by the Spirit which binds us to each other by becoming a full member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Does not the shepherd care for all of his sheep? God created us in the womb, and declared us acceptable. No one has the right to deny us our full inheritance as children of God, or to make our membership provisional. For 30 years this has been the constant message of Comunidad.

Every year at the Long Beach Pride festival Comunidad sponsors the "Welcome Home, Catholics" booth. Comunidad proclaims our message and our life in the Church. If you attend the festival, drop by our booth and say "Hello" to Comunidad members-at-large David Kennedy or Steven Nadolny. If you would like to spread the Comunidad message, join David and Steven and help staff the booth, please contact David Kennedy at this e-mail address.

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 Uganda Connection

Logo of Uganda's Civil Society on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

By Anna Totta

Five people from Uganda arrived in Long Beach this past year as refugees fleeing repression because they were gay or lesbian. Their very lives endangered, they escaped through Kenya and came to the United States through World Relief. St. Luke’s Episcopal in Long Beach became a major sponsor of these five persons, helping them with housing, medical care, and food stamps. Currently all five are employed and adjusting to this very new world. Comunidad members have assisted and supported St. Luke volunteers in their efforts. (Continue reading here)

Comunidad Reaches Thirty

By Anna Totta

Comunidad celebrates its 30th anniversary this year! Many of us were present when Comunidad began. Father Gerald Meisel stepped forward then to be the first pastor to answer the Archdiocesan call to establish an outreach ministry with gays and lesbians. In 1986, he and Father Brad Dusak began this ministry and for two years led an exciting venue to integrate gays and lesbians into the parish and provide outreach to those who felt estranged from the Church. (Continue reading here)

Powerhouse Parents

Robert and Carolyn Aldapa

By Anna Totta

Carolyn and Robert Aldapa are a pleasant couple, they always bring delicious treats to Comunidad meetings, come to our prayer services, and bring a supportive kind presence. They seem like your typical married (55 years) nurturing parents, and I really wanted to write about that. I wanted to call this article, “Comunidad’s Parents.” However, when I interviewed them, I found fierceness and a fearlessness about them that changed my mind: I would rather call them “Champions for Comunidad.” Well, even that is not broad enough. They are “Powerhouse Parents” for us, for our diocese, and for the United States Catholic community. (Continue reading here)

We’ve got other upcoming events, too!