LGBT+ Westminster Catholics at Pride-in-London

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Westminster LGBT+ Catholics were a visible presence at the Pride Parade in London last Saturday. 40 people, including direct allies, marched slowly throughout the afternoon behind their banner, alongside other faith groups. The route took them from Marble Arch, through Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, ending in Whitehall. There was also an LGBT+ Westminster Catholic information stall in the Soho Square Community Marketplace all day.

Tens of thousands of people lined the road and the Mayor of London estimated that in all more than a million people attended. It was a great occasion for joy – a wonderful affirmation and heartfelt recognition of the human dignity of LGBT people. And thankfully no sign this year of aggressive street preachers threatening walkers with hellfire and damnation.

It was an important Catholic presence and it was certainly a tremendous opportunity for evangelization. Several thousand business cards with details of Westminster’s regular LGBT+ Catholic Mass at Farm Street Jesuit Church were offered and taken by people in the crowds watching from the pavements. Many punters were very positive, cheering walkers on with shouts of ‘Yes, we’re Catholics too! ‘ or similar. Others seemed puzzled or even surprised.

A steady stream of visitors to the stand asked for information. A number of LGBT Catholics, having felt rejected or rejected by the Church or even denied absolution in the past, were delighted to discover that as LGBT people they could be explicitly welcomed at Sunday Masses – not only in London but also in Manchester, York, Liverpool, Bristol and elsewhere. For some, as in previous years, it will likely be a return to Church life.

LGBT+ Catholics see their participation as both a witness and an opportunity for respectful evangelism.

The next regular Mass at Farm Street Jesuit Church at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, featuring the well-known hymn, All Are Welcome, will include a special hymn:

Guide us to openness, Spirit of mercy, help us to seek God’s justice and grace.
Challenge us to show the compassion of Christ by witnessing, love first to offer and hate to erase.
Guide us to openness! Guide us to openness!
May no one ever be rejected or rejected.
Make the Church a bold place of compassion, so that all who seek you may come and stay.

Spirit of tenderness, communicate your presence, fill our hearts and our hands with your care.
Don’t leave anyone to suffer or cry unattended, extend your kindness and warmth to us here to share.
Guide us to openness! Guide us to openness!
May no one ever be rejected or rejected.
Make the Church a bold place of compassion, so that all who seek you may come and stay.

Although there are those who would limit the graces of Christ, we still refuse to believe such lies,
for at that time we pledged never to limit the power or size of love.
Guide us to openness! Guide us to openness!
May no one ever be rejected or rejected.
Make the Church a bold place of compassion, so that all who seek you may come and stay.

The words are by Rev. W Robert Martin, III Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, CA, and have been dedicated to the faithful ministry of Lighter Presbyterians.

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