The Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons (CMLGP) was called into existence by the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a 1986 sermon. Cardinal Mahony saw a need to shepherd his flock, and as our current pope would say, “smell of the sheep.” Cardinal Mahony saw the needs of the LGBTQ community at a time when many in the community were dying of H.I.V./AIDS. Indeed, churches, parishes and funeral homes were turning away the sick and dying. So, we started the CMLGP.
Our mission is simple: To provide a “safe and welcoming environment for lesbian and gay persons, their friends and family, through liturgy, outreach, education and fellowship.” Our ministry takes its inspiration from the Gospels. It is shaped by church teachings and pastoral practice. It borrows appropriately from the insights of the social and biological sciences. It listens, ponders and prays over the lived experiences of those to whom it ministers.
Moreover, our ministry:
- Calls on concerned Catholics and all people of good will to know and share in the challenges, burdens and blessings of LGBTQ people living a Christian life within the Catholic tradition;
- Chooses to follow a prudent pastoral course, accepting people where they are in their discipleship with Jesus Christ, and challenges them to live out fully the call of Christ and the teachings of the church;
- Supports movements for gay and lesbian persons that are consonant with church teaching, especially those which safeguard human dignity and promote human rights, and;
- Joins the church in condemning mistreatment of, and violence towards, LGBTQ persons wherever it occurs.
Currently we hold monthly meetings on Zoom with the leaders of other LGBTQ ministries in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We have a website, currently being updated, that lists the active ministries and welcoming parishes in the archdiocese. The monthly Zoom meeting with the LGBTQ ministries gives us an opportunity not only to see what’s happening in the community, but also to participate in various ministry events.
One vitally important component of CMLGP is that we have a link to our website on the archdiocesan website; we are considered a department within the archdiocese, giving us further credibility and visibility.
On our website, we list the neighboring ministries and events. We participate with them in their monthly events. Currently, we coordinate quarterly, CMLGP-sponsored events where we invite all the ministries in the archdiocese to participate. In this way, we engender greater participation in the archdiocese so that no one ministry feels like it is traveling down this road alone. Every parish has regional needs: Some need a parent’s group, some need an outlet for LGBTQ Catholics, while still others have a need to educate the youth. Whatever the need, CMLGP serves the greater community in faith with Jesus.