The LGBTQ+ Committee at the Jesuit Parish of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, is the newest addition to our Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. In getting the ministry off the ground, we held our first Mass of Belonging on January 26, 2020. The purpose of this liturgy was to highlight the need to go beyond simply welcoming LGBTQ+ Catholics, to emphasize that all truly belong in our community and at the table of God. Following the Mass, we held a panel discussion on the experiences of LGBTQ+ Catholics, drawing a large crowd and confirming the need for LGBTQ+ Catholic ministry.
Shortly before the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions, New Ways Ministry was invited to the parish to provide a training on developing our LGBTQ+ ministry. The workshop presented us with concrete steps for forming the group and culminated in a mission statement: “We are a group of LGBTQ+ Catholics and their allies who strive to break the silence about our experiences in the Roman Catholic Church and society. We are working towards the inclusion and active participation of all members of the LGBTQ+ community in our parish life. In doing so, we are following God’s command to love, we affirm the dignity and gifts of every human person, by embracing and not erasing differences.”
Throughout the initial lockdown and further restrictions, we created digital content for the LGBTQ+ Committee—a prayer video for Pride Month, social media posts to commemorate important dates, and Zoom meetings for the committee. During Lent of 2021, we kicked off the tradition of a Lenten Program series by hosting a Zoom panel discussion with Bishop John Stowe, Sr. Luisa Derouen, and Boston College Professor John McDargh, Ph.D. We continued the series during Lent of 2022 and hope to do so in 2023 as well.
Last spring our LGBTQ+ Committee was highlighted in an exhibit titled “Here All Along, Here To Stay,” which detailed LGBTQ+ Catholic history. Our ministry at St. Ignatius joins countless others across the world in the journey for justice.
Guided by the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuit mission, we advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion on the parish, diocesan, and institutional levels within the Church. Through advocacy and education, we answer the call of our baptismal priesthood to love one another and embrace the marginalized as Jesus did.