It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the death of David McCaffrey, co-founder and president of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), co-convener of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, and a dear friend and colleague.
David died suddenly but peacefully late last night – Saturday, July 9 – after a very short illness.
I’m sure you will join with me in extending deepest condolences to his beloved partner of 13 years, Michael Douglas.
David was a tireless advocate for LGBT Catholics and an incredibly caring and generous individual. His compassion and commitment to justice and to the Good News of liberation for the marginalized and oppressed will be missed by many, as will be his dedication to the Catholic LGBT community, his humor, and his warm and welcoming smile.
Last year at the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform’s Synod of the Baptized, David was a recipient of the Adsum Award. Adsum is a Latin word which means “I am present and listening.” Whenever the participants in Vatican II were gathered at St. Peter's Basilica their traditional prayer was the exclamation: adsumus – “we are present and listening.” The Adsum Award recognizes those individuals who are known within the local church for having committed to being present and attentive to the Spirit. Accordingly, they have served as partners with the Spirit in re-creating the face of the church in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.
David was a worthy recipient of this award. He was one of six co-founders of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), an organization that has worked since 1980 within the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis for the equality and dignity of LGBT individuals and their families. For David's recollections of the founding of CPCSM, click here.
In the 1980's, David played a crucial role in CPCSM's groundbreaking Needs Assessment Survey of local LGBT Catholics. He was also the executive producer of CPCSM's 1988 video, Silent Journeys of Faith, and the editor of its companion guidebook. Both resources were major components in CPCSM's training workshops given to pastoral and social justice professionals of 25 parishes throughout the archdiocese. In the 1990's, David played a major role in the development and implementation of CPCSM's Safe Staff Training Initiative, which provided sensitivity training around LGBT issues to the educational leadership of the archdiocese and to administrators and faculties of eight of the high schools of the archdiocese. More recently, he took an invaluable leadership role in Catholics for Marriage Equality MN. He was also an active member in his faith community of the parish of St. Stanislaus in St. Paul.
As I assist David's partner with funeral arrangements and work with others on CPCSM-related matters, I'll be taking a break from blogging. Thank you for your prayers of support and your understanding.
And, David, I know you are enveloped in God's transforming love. Rest now, my friend. And thank you for all the wisdom and love you've shared with me and so many others during your time with us.
I envision and work to create a Church that is open and responsive to the needs and gifts of all its members; a Church that is meaningful and nurturing of all, and one that recognizes the equal status of all.
– David J. McCaffrey
1947 – 2011
1947 – 2011
Above: With David and our friend Paul – December 2010.
Above: David with (from left) Sheila Nelson, CALGM president and Myrna Ohmann, Catholic Rainbow Parents co-founder – February 26, 2011.
Above: David with Kathleen Olsen, leading the singing of "We Shall Overcome" at the Cathedral of St. Paul – October 31, 2010. Approximately 150 people gathered at the Cathedral that day in loving opposition to the MN bishops’ campaign of intolerance and discrimination against the LGBT citizens of Minnesota. For more images and commentary, click here.
Above: David with Mary Beckfeld, the recipient of CPCSM’s 2008 Father Henry F. LeMay Pastoral Ministry Award – June 23, 2008.
Above: A meeting of The Progressive Catholic Voice planning team – August 2007. From left: Beverly Barrett , Mary Lynn Murphy, Paul Fleege, Gerry Sell, Susan Kramp, Mary Beckfeld, David McCaffrey, Rick Notch, and Paula Ruddy.
Above: David with my parents during their visit to the Twin Cities in the summer of 2005.
Above: David with longtime CPCSM supporter Theresa O’Brien – January 26, 2008.
Above: With David and Catholic feminist theologian Mary Hunt – February 2006.
Above: From left: Michael and David, Aimee, myself, and Mary Lynn at Twin Cities Gay Pride 2007.
Above: David and his partner Michael – December 2009.
Above: The last photo of David, taken last month at Twin Cities Gay Pride. From left: Rick, David, Paul and me.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
CPCSM Co-Founder Responds to "Not Catholic" Assertion
Far from "Innocuous" (David's response to Stephen’s Heaney’s defense of Archbishop Nienstedt’s “innocuous” statements on homosexuality)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 1)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 2)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 3)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 4)