What a beautiful Mass my husband and I attended in West Hollywood, while visiting my cousin and his partner. At a church with a vibrant outreach ministry in a mostly gay community, this Mass on a sunny Sunday has possibly saved my Catholic faith. As the mother of a lesbian daughter, I continually struggle with the perception and treatment of gays and lesbians by the Church. Deep down, I’ve wondered if I am called to worship God elsewhere. But I am comforted to know that there are places that really would welcome the return of the gay members of my family – my cousin and my daughter – who feel rejected by the Church in which they were raised. Not my parish. But this parish. There are Catholic communities where people take the Gospel message to heart, who neither judge nor condemn, but who love and minister to all God’s children. It is a revelation to see that such holy havens not only exist, but are thriving, in spite of those who wish they’d go away and hush up.
During Mass, a strong and lovely reverence radiated from the ushers, lectors, cantors, Eucharistic ministers, and parishioners, and I realized that if these men and women can be loyal to their Catholic faith, in the face of sometimes venomous rhetoric and outright discrimination, who am I to leave the Church over my feeble principles? If they can follow Christ and attempt to live the Gospel within the boundaries of a flawed human Church, so can I. I want to stay in the Church I call home. Not that I intend to keep silent; but I am humbled and heartened by the morning’s life lesson.