I am 39-year-old gay person living in Guadalajara, Mexico. With great pleasure and hope, I would like to share my testimony as a believer and practicing Catholic.
I was born and raised in a Catholic family, but that did not mean that we were practicing Catholics. Like every child who grows up in a small community, my first experience in the church began during my formation for holy Communion and Confirmation. I remember those moments with joy. But my distance from institutional religion increased. I knew that God was taking care of me, but my formation and spiritual practices were stuck.
It was not until I was 27 that God once again knocked on my door, and I began to feel an inner need to relate to Him. At that time, I was working at a banking corporation near Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish, which had a chapel of perpetual adoration. For about two years, I passed in front of this church on a regular basis. But it was not until a young woman named Angie invited me in and told me about a weekly meeting of young adults that I resumed my relationship with God.
That experience, through praise music and community with other young people who had concerns about spiritual growth, undoubtedly changed my life. I continued attending church twice a week. One day, an American priest invited me to a retreat called “Kerygma,” or “new life.” I felt the need to attend that encounter of faith. It was a fundamental experience in my life, because I felt called, loved, and above all, fulfilled by Jesus.
My faith and relationship with God grew stronger. I tried to go to Mass every day, or go to the perpetual adoration chapel and spend time in silence with Jesus. Sometimes I would pray the rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet, but something was missing. In my prayers, I asked God to show me a place where I could serve him. I got my answer one day when I went to volunteer at a children’s hospital.
When I was with one of the children, I saw his eyes and heard a voice say, “Here I am and come with me.” So, a couple of friends began visiting the hospital frequently to accompany the sick children. Twelve years later, I still continue in that apostolate, putting my gifts at the service of the little ones, which strengthens my faith and relationship with God.
In 2013, I attended World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. I remember how the presence and words of Pope Francis resonated in my heart. I was on a plane to Mexico City when I began to question my vocation. After speaking with a priest, I began the process of entering the diocesan seminary, but I could not identify with the people there.
Eventually, I chose to discern my vocation with the Camillians, a Catholic religious order dedicated to pastoral care for the sick. I gave up my office job and moved to their Guadalajara community for two years.
Without a doubt, this experience helped me discern my vocation. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola also helped me find God in everything and everyone. I still practice Ignatian spirituality through volunteer activities and supporting youth ministry in my diocese.
Although I was a sociable person who knew many people, I had not publicly revealed my sexual orientation. At that point in my life, only a few friends knew about it. Even my family was unaware. I felt ashamed to present myself a gay or to say that I dated men, not women.
But coming out of the closet to my family and friends has been easier than coming out to my church associates. I often hear speeches about homosexuals going to hell and how “being homosexual is wrong.” I knew that these messages alienated people. As a gay Catholic, I found myself reconciled with God, but I was afraid to be branded as a sinner by others. I went back into the closet for a few more years.
Thanks to the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Guadalajara, I encountered the Sembrado Unidad en la Diversidad group, a spiritual community where I have found friends and companions. Over the course of four years, I have been able to serve my brothers and sisters in this space of reconciliation.
I have also worked with the Red Arcoíris de México (REDCAM) and the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (G.N.R.C.). During the G.N.R.C. global assembly in 2022, held in Mexico City, I met people building bridges between the LGBTQ community and the Catholic church all over the world. I felt hopeful that I was not walking alone.
Today, I am sure that my sexual orientation, my faith in God and my religious practices are gifts from God, gifts that illuminate my life and the lives of my friends, family and boyfriend. I thank all the people who have taught me to love my colors and showed me the diverse and inclusive love of Jesus. Thanks to the testimonies and friendship of LGBTQ believers, I decided to come out of the closet.
At first, some people tried to convince me that I was living in sin, but my faith in God has encouraged me to be who I am. I feel inspired to support people who, due to fear or hatred, still live in the closet. And I have witnessed people, who previously saw themselves as sinful, reconciled with God and the church. They live freely in all the colors of their rainbow.
A Spanish-language version of this article is available here.