Wow! What a month September's been! There have been so many highlights and exciting developments. I open this post with an image of just one of these – the September 29 premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality, a compelling series of video vignettes featuring local lesbian and gay Catholics sharing stories of faith, family and marriage.
I had the honor of serving as executive producer for this project, and pictured with me above is the wonderful core team of people I worked with to make Catholics for Marriage Equality a reality. From left: Me, Tom White, director Mary Kay Orman, Richard Leyva, filmmaker Aleshia Mueller, Scott Dibble, Grace Fischer-Schneider, Darlene White, Janet Fischer-Schneider, Brent and Lisa Vanderlinden, and Bob DeNardo.
To view the trailer of the Catholics for Marriage Equality series, click here.
Above: On the evening of Friday, September 3, I hosted a dinner from my friends Joanne and Kathleen.
Above: Another dinner with friends – including my good friend Phil, pictured with me at left.
Above: On Saturday, September 10, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Sharon Groves (right), director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith program. My friend Rev. Laurie Crelly (left) helped organize our meeting. Also pictured with us is Dean Schlaak, co-owner of the Wilde Roast Cafe, where Laurie, Sharon and I met to discuss how HRC and Catholics for Marriage Equality MN might best work together to defeat the proposed Minnesota state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Minnesotans will vote on this amendment in November 2012.
Above: On Sunday, September 11, I participated in a beautiful Healing of the Nations prayer service, hosted by Wisdom Ways Center of Spirituality and featuring theologian Paul Knitter.
Above: The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform's Second Annual Synod of the Baptized: "Making Our Voices Heard" – September 17, 2011, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington.
For the article I wrote for The Progressive Catholic Voice about this event, click here.
Above: Theologian and author Anthony Padovano, keynote speaker at Synod 2011.
Here's just a little of what Anthony shared with the close to 400 Catholics in attendance . . .
. . . The sensus fidelium is the point of convergence in Catholic life for law, reception, community, conscience, and faith.
The escalating division in the Catholic Church between what people believe and what administrators teach, between how people behave and what lawmakers require is not due solely to secularism or self-indulgence. Educated and autonomous Catholics do not accept monarchical legislation. They force a culture of dialogue on the Church by non-compliance if they have not been consulted or taken into account.
The three magisterial or teaching offices in the Church (bishops, theologians, and the People of God) are obliged by Church teaching to create a culture of dialogue between and among them. If this does not happen, the community acts accordingly. Today, bishops at large ignore university scholarship and have contempt for the sensus fidelium when it is not compliant. The response of people has been active and passive resistance to being governed in such a manner.
This crisis gives us the opportunity to act creatively and responsibly. . . .
Right: Roman Catholic Bishop Regina Nicolosi, one of three recipients of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform's 2011 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" CCCR's Adsum Award recognizes those individuals who have made an extraordinary commitment to be present and attentive to the Spirit, to be partners in re-creating the face of the church here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.
We in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement pray and work for a reformed priesthood in a renewed Catholic Church. We affirm the priesthood of all believers. We believe that our brother Jesus invites all to gather around the table. For me personally, the end of sexism, the inclusion of our GLBT brothers and sisters, the protection of our earth and continuous work for peace are important issues.
Left: The second recipient of the 2011 Adsum Award was local theologian William C. Hunt.
We live in a seemingly God-forsaken world where one third of our sisters and brothers are so poor that they are starving to death; where preventable diseases and natural disasters claim the lives of tens of thousands each day; and where senseless wars consume precious lives and resources for destructive purposes. I envisage the Church as a caring, sharing, life-giving community in which all the baptized proclaim and embody the message of God's love in Jesus Christ and serve the world both by providing emergency relief and by working for structural change that embodies justice, peace and reconciliation. I also envision the Church as a functional family in which those called to ministry serve the baptized through word and sacrament so that that the baptized may be empowered to reach out to the world in love and service.
The third recipient of CCCR's 2011 Adsum Award, artist Ansgar Holmberg, was unable to join us on September 17. She did, however, share the following in the Synod 2011 program booklet.
As an artist and illustrator, a major thrust of my work has been inclusivity of gender, race, church, all creation. This is an "adventure" when illustrating church for religious education for children but it is possible to do in subtle ways and I delight in putting in my two cents worth.
Above: My friend Roman Catholic Womanpriest Judith McKloskey. For my August 2008 interview with Judith, click here.
Right: With my friends Margaret and Mary Beth – September 17, 2011.
Above: Standing at left with (from left) Bernie, Eileen, Mary Beth, Paula and Lonne.
I serve as co-chair of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform with Bernie and Eileen Rodel. And our friend Paula Ruddy is a true inspiration in the local church reform community and a gifted thinker and writer.
Above: Friends Mary, Dan and Jane at Synod 2011 – September 17, 2011.
Above: On the evening of Monday, September 19, 2011, over 500 people of faith gathered at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Cathedral to launch the Faith Organizing Campaign to defeat the anti-marriage constitutional amendment in November 2012. I was present as coordinator of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, and, in the second half of the program, facilitated a workshop for other Catholics who were present.
For my friend Javen Swanson's report on this inspiring event, click here. For Andy Birkey's Minnesota Independent coverage, click here.
Above and below: On a number of occasions in September I gathered with my friends Rick, Brian, Bob and John to watch the BBC series Being Human – about a vampire, werewolf and ghost living together in a house in Bristol! It's a very entertaining show (though when it comes to things vampire, I must admit I prefer True Blood!).
Above: Bob and John. What a lovely couple!
Above: Dinner with my good friends George, Joan and Carla.
Above: My friend Bob is a priest and scholar in the Old Catholic Church. On Sunday, September 25, 2011, he and his partner John hosted a Mass in their Minneapolis home. Concelebrating with Bob was Fr. Günter Esser, a visiting Old Catholic priest from Germany.
For an introduction to Old Catholicism, click here.
Above: From left: Me, Günter, Brian, John and Bob – September 25, 2011.
Less than two hours before the September 29 premiere of the Catholics for Marriage Equality series of videos, a KSTP Eyewitness News crew interviewed a number of folks featured in the series at my home in St. Paul. Lisa Vanderlinden is pictured above being interviewed, while Janet and Grace Fischer-Schneider are pictured below.
For KSTP's coverage of the premiere, click here.
Above: Stuffing donation envelopes into programs ahead of the premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis (left) – September 29, 2011.
I'll be posting more images and commentary about this special event very soon! In the meantime, click here for links to articles and commentaries about the premiere of Catholics for Marriage Equality.