Monday, March 31, 2008

Out and About - March 2008

Above: March 2, 2008.

In February, the Catholic church that I attend in South Minneapolis, St. Stephen’s, was told by the chancery of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis that its liturgies must conform to the rubrics of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).

This was a particularly difficult directive for the community that gathers each week for the 9:00 a.m. Sunday liturgy as, for the past 40 years, it has developed this liturgy in ways that reflect the presence of the Spirit as discerned in the unique gifts and needs of its members and our shared life together. These liturgical developments have been a very intentional and faith-filled embodiment of the Second Vatican Council’s call for “full and active participation” of the laity in “liturgical celebrations” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1963). Yet in one fell swoop, this embodiment – along with the Spirit that nurtured and inspired it – was discounted by the chancery’s demand that it be abandoned for the rubrics of GIRM.

After much prayer and conversation, the members of the “9:00 o’clock community” decided they could not abandon the style of worship that they have prayerfully discerned and developed over the past 40 years. A new worshiping space was secured a few blocks away at Park House (2120 Park Ave.), and on Sunday, March 2, close to 200 people walked from St. Stephen’s to this new location. Most of those who made the trek are now committed to worshiping at Park House as members of the parish of St. Stephen’s. I’m honored and happy to be worshiping with them.

For more on the recent events at St. Stephen’s, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Shrinking Catholic Tent
Reflecting on Inclusive Language

Above: Mon bel ami. From March 7-13 I enjoyed a visit from my friend Eduard.

Above: On Monday, March 10, 2008, I visited St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, with Eduard and my friend Rick.

For more images of our visit to St. John’s Abbey and the nearby campus of St. John’s University, click here.

Above and below: Celebrating Eduard’s birthday - March 11, 2008. From left: Nils, Eduard, and Joey.

It was quite an international gathering that night as Nils is from El Salvador, Eduard from Estonia, Joey and his mom from the U.S., and I’m from Australia!

Above: Eduard with our friend Jordan Sramek, founder and artistic director of the renowned Rose Ensemble - March 12, 2008.

Above: With my dear friend Catherine Jenkins, CSJ, at a gathering of over 500 people at the College of St. Catherine to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph - Friday, March 15, 2008. As you can see from the photo below, St. Joseph himself made an appearance!

Above and below: Along with Eduard’s visit, another definite highlight of March was my time spent at Camp Widjiwagan in the Northwoods of Minnesota.

For more images and a commentary on my time at “Widji,” click here.

Above and below: Back in the Twin Cities from the Northwoods - and a fresh snowfall on Good Friday.

I thought this might be the last snowfall we’d see this year, but even as I sit here and type (on this last day of March), the snow is falling outside - and has been all day. In some parts of the metro area they’re expecting eight inches of snow! Just as well I didn’t put away my shovel.

Above: On the morning of Good Friday (March 21, 2008) I had the pleasure and honor of meeting and photographing Mary Heller for my friend Burt Berlowe’s forthcoming book, The Compassionate Rebel (Volume II).

Mary serves as the president of the Million Moms [Minnesota] State Council, which is part of the Million Mom March national network of 75 chapters that works to eradicate gun violence and the devastation that it causes to individuals, families and communities.

As I was leaving Mary’s house, she asked me what I do apart from taking photos, i.e., what was my real job. I hesitated for a moment, as I never know where people are at with the whole gay thing - or the Catholic thing, for that matter. And when you put them together . . . well, there’s often all sorts of dazed and confused looks! My greatest fear in saying that I work for a “gay Catholic organization” is that people will think I actually support the official (and dysfunctional) teaching of the institutional Church! I mean, let’s face it, the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities does sound pretty official! To avoid any confusion, I usually say I work for an independent Catholic organization that’s working to bring about reform within the Church around gay and lesbian issues.

As it turned out, I need not have worried. Mary had heard of CPCSM and expressed support for what we do. With a warm smile she said she remembered the news coverage of our December 2 vigil on the steps of the Cathedral, and thanked me for our efforts to bring about change. To top it all off, she’s Catholic herself!

Above and below: Some of the young guests of the Families Moving Forward program at Union Congregational Church in St. Louis Park, during the week of March 23-28, 2008.

Families Moving Forward (FMF) is an emergency housing program for families in the Twin Cities. It’s a model that uses one facility for the Day Center, and churches for the overnight hosting of homeless families. FMF is a free service – one that as well as providing emergency shelter for homeless families, also offers support and counseling in setting goals, getting jobs, finding affordable housing, locating household furnishings, and developing family budgets.

For more about my experiences with the Families Moving Forward program, click here.

Above and below: On Thursday, March 27, members of the CPCSM board gathered at my home for our monthly meeting.

We have two big events coming up: the Second Annual Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice on May 3 (featuring award-winning journalist and author Robert McClory, who’ll speak on democratizing the Catholic Church) and our Annual Community Meeting on June 23 with keynote speaker Vanessa Sheridan, the “leading authority on transgender issues in the workplace.”

For more information about the Prayer Breakfast, check the “Upcoming Events” section of The Progressive Catholic Voice online journal. Further information about CPCSM’s Annual Community Meeting will be posted on the CPCSM website shortly.

Above: Spring sunshine!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Back in the USA
It Sure Was Cold!
An Energizing and Spirited Weekend
Out and About - April 2007
Out and About - May 2007
Out and About - June 2007
Out and About - July 2007
Out and About - August 2007
Out and About - September 2007
Out and About - October 2007
Out and About - November 2007
Out and About - December 2007
Out and About - January 2008
Out and About - February 2008

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