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How LGBTQ Catholics can celebrate this Easter season

Views Greg Krajewski / April 12, 2024 Print this:
Photo courtesy of iStock/alvarez

As a queer Catholic, I often feel disconnected from the church’s celebrations. Catholic holidays can be a burden. The church has failed to address my needs, wants, desires and fears. I’ve been hurt, ignored and rejected. No wonder I’m not in the mood to celebrate. But I believe that Jesus, in his resurrection, has revealed ways for all LGBTQ Catholics (including myself) to celebrate with our church.

Celebrate with Christ in a way that is meaningful to you

Our church contains multitudes. We have more than one billion members worldwide and we are thousands of years old. We have depths of knowledge from some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers and artists of all time. There is a place for you.

As LGBTQ Catholics, we can often feel pressured to think a certain way, act a certain way or be a certain kind of person. There’s a laundry list of do’s and don’ts. “Good Catholics” vote a certain way, while “Bad Catholics” wear LGBTQ colors. “Good Catholics” attend daily Mass, while “Bad Catholics” struggle with church teaching. Jesus, in his resurrection, affirms the goodness of our whole selves. He died and rose for you personally. And he continues to reveal himself to you in unique ways.

Jesus, in his resurrection, affirms the goodness of our whole selves. He died and rose for you personally.

I struggled with my identity as a gay man for years. (“‘Good Catholics’ aren’t gay,” I thought.) During that time, I was also working as a video producer for various Catholic organizations. To say I had few interactions with LGBTQ people would be an understatement. I’ve always found solace and hope in LGBTQ characters and stories as told through different media, especially movies. Films provide me a space to explore ideas surrounding my identity.

For example, there’s the 2016 film “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, about a young, Black gay man coming to terms with his identity; Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 film “Call Me by Your Name,” which dares to explore a world where being gay isn’t taboo. These films encourage me to embrace my identity—an identity rooted in goodness. I watch these films with a sense of purpose and a desire to celebrate who God made me to be.

Maybe you find Christ in music or nature. Maybe you find God in watching your favorite LGBTQ influencer on TikTok, or sitting in silence in an empty church. Wherever you find God, celebrate with him there during this season. Revel in who he made you to be.

Celebrate the fruits of your suffering and sacrifices

As LGBTQ Catholics, we often live sacrificial lives. We are singled out by both our society and our church because of our very identities. We experience division, rejection and discrimination. And we are called to sacrifice in ways others never consider.

Jesus’s sacrifice is often explored through the lens of bodily suffering, but he also suffered in deeply interpersonal ways. He, too, knows what it means to be rejected and betrayed: “And they all left him and fled” (Mk. 14:50). And Christ even knew his betrayal was coming. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will have your faith shaken'” (Mk. 14:27).

I have extended and chosen families who support me fully. I am able to see the gift of my identity as a gay man through their eyes.

Jesus lost his status in the community and was rejected by some of the religious leaders of his time. The state didn’t support him, despite his innocence. Even strangers laughed at him, mocked him and spat on him.

Easter in my family had always been a peak celebration. We’d attend the Easter Vigil Mass, where my sisters, parents and I would participate as choir members or lectors. Then we’d head home for a Polish feast of pierogies and kielbasa. We’d eat, sing and laugh late into the night.

But a few years ago, parts of my family and I broke off our relationship. Years of trying to engage in good faith only to be met with continued rejection had taken its toll on me. I continue to pray for reconciliation, but I no longer attend those celebrations or any other family events. While I still feel the pain of that sacrifice, I am now able to more fully experience the joy of my calling as a member of the LGBTQ community. I have extended and chosen families who support me fully.  I am able to see the gift of my identity as a gay man through their eyes.

Jesus’s resurrection shows us that suffering and sacrifice is not the end. He has promised us new life. This Easter season, may we celebrate the good things we experience despite the sufferings and sacrifices we’ve made in our lives.

Celebrate with chosen family and friends

After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his friends. He ate with them, walked with them and spent time with them. Jesus understands the goodness in our relationships. As LGBTQ Catholics, we often find ourselves without immediate family. We can lose friends and those who supported us in the past, as did Christ. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (Jn. 6:66).

There are so many places where we have to be careful about what we say or how we act. Our church can be unwelcoming; work relationships can be tense. There are plenty of places where we need to be hyper-aware for our safety.

Despite the sufferings or sacrifices you’ve lived through or the mistakes you’ve made, Jesus longs to spend time with you.

There’s something so freeing about being authentically myself in front of my friends and chosen family. It’s like unclenching my fists, relaxing my shoulders and exhaling my breath. I can see my true self as they see me, as God sees me. Good friends and family bring me a sense of purpose. I am part of something larger, and I belong as a gay man.

If there’s one thing that nearly all Catholics agree on, it’s that Jesus loves each one of us individually and completely. Nothing is hidden from him, yet he loves you for who you are. Despite the sufferings or sacrifices you’ve lived through or the mistakes you’ve made, he longs to spend time with you. While we may not be able to celebrate fully with every member of our community this season, may we celebrate the great gift we are to each other and to the church.

Jesus’s resurrection is an opportunity to celebrate. We may struggle to see where we, in all of our LGBTQ goodness, fit. We may be told we don’t belong, or we may struggle with relationships with our friends and family. This is why celebrating with God is so important. If we desire to have a relationship with Christ, we need to spend time with him, both in suffering and joy. This Easter season, may we take the opportunity to celebrate with our church in any way we are able.

Greg Krajewski

Greg Krajewski is a Catholic video producer and director whose regional Emmy award-winning work has been featured on ABC, PBS, EWTN and various online streaming platforms. He lives in Chicago with his husband.

All articles by Greg Krajewski

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1 Comment
  1. Nice piece, thanks for publishing it. I admire your bravery, your candor and your spirit. Keep up the good work and know you have extended family with us anytime you need some.