Saturday, June 30, 2007

Out and About - June 2007


Above: From Friday, June 1, to Saturday, June 2, I attended a retreat with other candidates for consociate membership with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ). This retreat was held at the Sisters’ Timberlee Retreat Center on the shores of Big Fish Lake – not far from the town of St. Peter, Minnesota.

My time at Timberlee spent in community, prayer, and reflection, was a very appropriate way to prepare for what would be a very busy month.

Above: With others in attendance at the June 1-2 CSJ consociate retreat – including at far right (from left) Rita McDonald, CSJ, and Margaurite Corcoran, CSJ, my mentors or “companions” in my consociate candidacy process.

Consociates are women and men of diverse ages, ministries, spiritualities, faith traditions, and backgrounds. What we all have in common, however, is an expressed desire to live the Sisters of St. Joseph’s mission to love God and neighbor without distinction. In short, consociates live the vision and values of the Sisters within the framework of their own lives and responsibilities.

For more infrmation about the CSJ consociate program, click here.

For Sister Joan Chittister’s insightful reflections on associate/consociate programs, click here.

Above: Some of the wonderful women of WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) – one of the most influential justice and peace organizations in the Midwest.

This photo was taken at WAMM’s 25th anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 10, 2007. The event was held at the Minnesota Boat Club on Raspberry Island, located in the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul.

Above: At last year’s Annual Community Meeting of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), Paula Ruddy and Fr. Mike Tegeder were each honored with awards. At the time, however, neither could be in attendance to receive their awards.

Over a year later on Monday, June 11, 2007, members of the CPCSM board took both Paula and Mike out to dinner at the Black Forest Restaurant in Minneapolis and presented them with their awards. Better late than never, I suppose!

Paula received CPCSM’s 2006 Bishop Gumbleton Peace and Justice Award for her tireless efforts in helping defeat the proposed “marriage amendment” to the Minnesota Constitution. This amendment would have not only banned same-gender marriage in Minnesota, but all legal equivalents – including civil unions and domestic partnerships.

This particular award was created in 1997 in honor of Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, and his tireless work as a advocate for peace and justice on behalf of GLBT persons and their families. The award also acknowledges his lifelong advocacy work against war and for social justice, especially in support of the human rights of other marginalized and voiceless groups throughout the world. The award is given by the Board of CPCSM to a special person or group whose work on behalf of GLBT persons and their families reflects the same commitment to the Gospel call for peace and justice as exemplified by Bishop Gumbleton. Paula Ruddy is, without doubt, a deserving recipient of this award.

CPCSM’s Father Henry F. LeMay Pastoral Ministry Award was created in 1984 to honor the memory of the late Reverend Henry F. LeMay, a priest of the Diocese of New Ulm and previously of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who co-founded Dignity/Twin Cities and was a local and national leader in the creation of a ministry to gay men and lesbians, and in championing their human rights.

Fr. Mike Tegeder received the 2006 Father Henry F. LeMay Pastoral Ministry Award for his “deep commitment to pastoral and social justice ministry for all – and [thus his] prophetic witness to the dignity and integrity of GLBT persons and their families.”

Above and below: On Wednesday, June 13, many of those in attendance at the weekly peace vigil on the Marshall Ave./Lake St. Bridge donned the orange jumpsuits and black hoods of the so-called “enemy combatants” being held by the Bush regime at Guantánamo Bay.

The aim of dressing up in this way was to raise public awareness not only of those being illegally incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay, but also of the Bush regime’s
illegal use of torture not only at Guantánamo Bay, but also in Iraq, Afghanistan, and any number of secret locations that collectively comprise, in the words of Amnesty International, a “global web of abuse.”

Above: That’s the skyline of downtown Minneapolis in the distance. The Lake St./Marshall Ave. Bridge spans the Mississippi River and links the “Twin Cities” of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Above: The “Transformation of Hate to Love, Fear to Understanding” action outside of military contractor Alliant TechSystem’s corporate headquarters in Edina, Minnesota – Wednesday, June 20, 2007.

For more images and commentary, click here.

Above: Marking World Peace and Prayer Day at Coldwater Springs – Thursday, June 21, 2007. (That’s my trusty Cannondale R400 Sport bike at left!)

For more images and commentary, click here.

Above: Standing at left and holding the “Inclusive Catholics” banner in the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade – Sunday, June 24, 2007.

This banner served to unify the various “welcoming and affirming Catholic parishes and communities” that participated in this year’s parade.

For more images and commentary on this year’s Twin Cities Gay Pride, click here.

Above: Theresa O’Brien, CSJ; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton; and Myrna and Ron Ohmann were among the guests at CPCSM’s 2007 Annual Community Meeting, which took place on Thursday, June 28, at St. Martin’s Table Bookstore and Restaurant in Minneapolis.

The event served as a celebration of the recent publishing of
Creating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective, the book I edited as CPCSM executive coordinator.

Our celebration began with a wine and cheese reception followed by a selection of readings from Creating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective. In a number of cases, those who contributed testimonials and reflections to the book read their own contributions. One of these contributors was retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, who shared with the fifty people in attendance the foreword that he had penned for the book.

Part of Bishop Gumbleton’s foreword reads as follows: “Prophetic words and deeds shine through this text. And like all prophetic words they speak of justice, inclusiveness, and a vision of the world that is bigger, more encompassing than the one we may be prepared to embrace. Yet the call remains. It rings forth from these pages – offering a catalyst for transformation.”

This year’s CPCSM Father Henry LeMay Pastoral Ministry Award was given to Catholic Rainbow Parents Myrna and Ron Ohmann for their “faithful, courageous, and loving efforts in promoting the full civil and ecclesial rights of LGBT persons.” For example, as was documented in Out and About – April 2007, Myrna and Ron played a crucial role in the recent establishment of a support group for Catholic parents of LGBT persons in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Unfortunately, the 2007 recipient of CPCSM’s Bishop Gumbleton Peace and Justice Award was not able to be present at our Annual Community Meeting to receive his award. His identity will remain secret, as we hope to “surprise” him with his award at some point in the near future! Let’s hope it won’t take over a year to present him with his award – as was the case with Mike and Paula! (See fourth photo and commentary above.)

Above: CPCSM treasurer Paul Fleege (left) stands with CPCSM members Michael Douglas and Rick Notch at CPCSM’s Annual Community Meeting – Thursday, June 28, 2007.

Above: The inaugural Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice – Friday, June 29, 2007.

Organized by a coalition of Twin Cities Catholic justice and peace groups – including Call to Action Minnesota, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), and Pax Christi Twin Cities – the June 29 Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice saw over 100 people gather in St. Paul for a Eucharistic liturgy followed by a continental breakfast and a round table discussion - the focus of which was on ways of finding and sustaining hope in the context of both the contemporary Catholic Church and wider society.

One of those in attendance at the inaugural Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice was retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, who is pictured above offering his thoughts and insights during the round table discussion.

Above: At one point during the morning’s proceedings, Bishop Gumbleton was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award for Justice and Peace” by a coalition of groups, including the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), Call To Action Minnesota, Dignity/Twin Cities, Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, Inclusive Catholics, Twin Cities Peace Campaign: Focus on Iraq, Pax Christi Twin Cities, and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Above: Standing back row, far right, with other members of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church and with Bishop Tom Gumbleton (center, in black jacket) at the conclusion of the June 29 Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice.

Representatives from several Catholic parishes and organizations attended the Prayer Breakfast – an event which organizers, myself included, hope in the future to offer three or four times a year to the Catholic community of St. Paul/Minneapolis.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – May 2007
Out and About – April 2007
Fasting, Praying, and Walking for Immigration Reform
An Energizing and Spirited Weekend
Back in the USA

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