Chicago’s LGBTQ Catholic community has been gathering for Mass since 1971, when a volunteer began hosting Masses in her home. When the H.I.V./AIDS crisis hit Chicago, there was great need to establish a way to minister more formally to the LGBTQ community, to provide a place where people could go to feel welcome, experience community and heal.
Seeing this need, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin founded AGLOChicago, in 1988, as a supra-parochial organization, a parish without a physical church, to celebrate Mass for the LGBTQ community. Today, AGLO gathers for Mass each Sunday evening at our host parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, located in Chicago’s popular Lakeview East/North Halsted neighborhood, home to one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the Midwest.
LGBTQ people, along with our allied supporters from all over the metropolitan area, gather each Sunday to participate in the liturgy celebrated by priests from Chicagoland parishes and religious congregations, who offer to preside over a congregation with common experiences and shared challenges.
Celebrating our 35th year this June, AGLO has continually ministered to our community throughout the H.I.V./AIDS crisis, marriage equality, the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues surrounding the church.
AGLOChicago brings together the LGBTQ community, providing a sense of home, a place to recharge, and a place to grow in relationship with God and neighbor. AGLOChicago is an all-volunteer organization with LGBTQ people serving as lectors, sacristans, cross-bearers, and ministers of care and of hospitality. AGLO regularly offers Mass, after-Mass socials, faith sharing groups, online and in-person retreats and social justice events with other faith groups and organizations. We also publish our own weekly Sunday bulletin, The Blaze, and we have a Young Adult Group that meets monthly.
AGLO provides an accepting and affirming atmosphere in which to worship in the Catholic tradition and offers opportunities to foster spiritual growth, share our gifts, and witness our Catholic faith to the LGBTQ community. It exists as a place for the community to call home, helping to reverse harmful mentalities and isolation as we do not feel truly welcome as Catholic and LGBTQ elsewhere.
Here, we can practice our faith as authentic members of the LGBTQ community and feel connection without denying who we are. AGLO assists our members, who hunger and thirst for the truth, in developing a deeper relationship with Christ. We do not deny church teachings, but we meet people where they are so they can encounter Jesus in their own way.
AGLO seeks to be the place that the LGBTQ community goes to grow its faith—a beacon for the LGBTQ community and a go-to resource on the community for the Archdiocese of Chicago through radical hospitality, radical love and radical mercy.