Bellarmine Chapel is a Jesuit parish located on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our mission statement includes a commitment to “serve those in need, work for justice, and welcome all with love.” This mission is reflected in Bellarmine’s thriving social mission work, including groups focused on many areas of social justice such as racial equality and caring for the environment.
Bellarmine has long been known as a welcoming and inclusive parish for LGBTQ Catholics and their families, but in the past few years, it has grown this inclusivity into a ministry of its own. Our Building a Bridge team began as a book club reading Father James Martin’s Building a Bridge. In June 2020, we launched the group as part of our Pride month festivities.
Since then, we have grown the group and our mission to encourage a welcoming, inclusive, and loving environment at Bellarmine Chapel for people who are LGBTQ, as well as empower those who wish to support these individuals. We focus on three areas: outreach, education and advocacy.
Early on, we identified LGBTQ youth homelessness and mental health as a major concern. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented among homeless youth and report depression, anxiety, and suicidality at a higher rate than their peers. We contribute financial support to a local Cincinnati organization which works to support homeless LGBTQ youth, as well as educate and advocate to prevent the rejection of LGBTQ youth by their caregivers.
Additionally, our group participates in Pride festivities in northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, gives witness talks on Sundays, and educates the parish about relevant LGBTQ news and legislation. Most recently, we organized a postcard campaign against an anti-LGBTQ bill in the Ohio legislature.
We continue to hold a once-monthly book club and hope to host additional educational events at the parish, especially about inclusion and support for people of all gender identities. We are grateful for the gifts of LGBTQ Catholics and their allies as we continue this ministry.
We built a resources page for LGBTQ Catholics. It describes various books, articles, church statements and more that can help us all understand the contours of the relationship between the LGBTQ community and the Church and the work done to heal that relationship. Members of our community compiled these links. We compiled these resources because we believe they can be helpful for dialogue and understanding.