Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sad News

Dear friends,

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

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
History Matters
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)


Chris said...

So sorry for your loss of a good friend and colleague, Michael, and for a wonderful and faithful advocate for justice in society & church. My condolences are with you, his partner, and all who feel his loss.

brian gerard said...

David was a man of unceasing welcome. He and Michael Douglas were so gracious when I arrived here. They made a place for me, with you, at 1812 that, despite many difficulties, grounded me in this place. He did so much good for so many here. God rest him.

Travis said...

TO Michael and Friends Im so very sorry to here about the the sudden lose of David a wonderful friend and person such a caring soul and He will be so deeply missed.. I and my partner larry are very devastated As david was a long friend of larry.. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you.. Love ya guys God bless you..

Love Travis N Larry

Mary Lynn said...

Thank you so much for this thoughtful notice about our dear David. I'm stunned. I hope Michael was with him. I am thanking God that my last internet exchange with David was so mutually warm and appreciative.

David was an icon. There will never be anyone like him. I am so honored to have worked with him. He taught me a lot.

Thanks to you Michael for being such a friend to him . . . and to us. Leaders like the two of you just don't come along every day.

Mick said...

Sad indeed. Sending positive energy to you and the community affected by this loss.

Patricia said...

An advocate still in the communion of saints! Loving support to all who know him and love him.

Rose said...

Michael, I'm so sad to hear of David's passing. I know he will be greatly missed. I will keep Michael Douglas and all his friends and family in my prayers.

Bob said...

Sorry to hear about this, Michael. I will remember David when I celebrate Mass. My prayers are with his partner . . . I cannot imagine his grief. Peace, my friend.

Michael said...

Thank all of you for your kind words so far! Each and every one means so much. I knew from the very moment I met David almost 14 years ago, that he was an extremely special soul to whom I am still trying to aspire. Thank all of you so very, very much. --Michael Douglas

Sue Ann said...

I am so sorry to hear about David. I know you worked very closely with him. Best to you and to Michael Douglas in this difficult time. Celebrate his life!

Florence said...

Didn’t get a chance to hug you after your prayer today for David McCaffrey. What a loss. Prayers for him, although I think he does not need them anymore, and for you and all who will miss David.

Susan Olson said...

Oh, Michael, that is awful news. So sorry to hear it. He was a wonderful friend to you and many others. Sending my prayers your way.

William D. Lindsey said...

Michael, I'm very sorry to hear of your loss and the loss of a valuable member of the community working for justice and social transformation in your area. My thoughts will be with all of you in the coming days.

Mareczku said...

Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, David. My condolences to his partner and his friends. May David rest in peace with Our Lord and Savior.

undre steward said...

Where do I start with david. First of all he had the biggest heart ever. i met David in 2001, started mowing his lawn when I was a teen. David would give me work from picking up trash in the streets, mowing, weeding,etc...taking me out of the streets and helping me with school. Helping me land my first legit job at Sears. He was not only a friend, he was a uncle to me , a mentor. You showed me to stand up for what's right and to vote to be heard. I'm in a shocked state to think the guy who made time for a inner-city kid is now gone. Im really going to miss you David . i love you and will always think of you. You showed me a way to live and think . I'm going miss waiting for that phone call to see how I'm doing . Your an Angel with God now . Hope you are watching over us all. Your safe now David .. love you your nephew undre'

Tc said...

Memory Eternal +

Rose said...

David was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.

Edward said...

I am so sorry to hear this. He will be greatly missed for all his work for gay people and their families.

Henry said...

It's hard to imagine him passing. He was an inspiring advocate for justice.

Jim said...

Michael, my thoughts are prayers are with you these days at the death of your friend and colleague, David. His was a visionary and a prophet for CPCSM, the Church and the greater community. I am saddened at his death but appreciative of his fine work.

Bro. Michael Lee said...

David, As you worked tirelessly to: --win justice for others, may it now be given to you - --affirm others as who they were born to be, may you now be affirmed. --win for others the right to love, so may you now live in Love for all eternity. And Peace to you Michael Douglas

Terry Nelson said...

I'm very sorry. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Aimee said...

All has already been said. David and Bill created a legacy that so many of us were blessed to be a part of. My heart aches deep with grief. And yet I smile remembering all that is David -his love, his compassion, his belly laugh, and his unwavering sense of justice. He has touched my life in ways I only now understand. Resting now in serenity, he is truly an angel.

Mum & Dad said...

We have contacted Michael. He and David were so hospitable and caring when we visited you. The tributes were powerful and the Eulogy was so
touching! We pray that David's vision of Church (mentioned in your Tribute) will one day become a reality. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Love & Peace,
Mum & Dad