ChurchThis week, New Way Ministries reported on a Jesuit church in New York that has not only embraced its LGBT congregants, but has shared that acceptance with the rest of the faith community.

Earlier this summer, St. Francis Xavier parish in Manhattan, New York, shared the story of a lesbian couple in their bulletin.

“Forty-Four Years of Love and Commitment,” was written by Maria Formoso and Joan O’Brien. Formoso and O’Brien met while teaching at a Catholic school in New York City. In the article they divulge the hardships of their relationship and coming out.

“We tried hard to reconcile our being gay and our desire for approval from the Church…” Formoso and O’Brien write.

Eventually, after years of searching, the couple finally found a religious community that was the right fit for them.

“Finally, Christmas Eve 1994, we, accompanied by Maria’s brother José, who also was gay, went to the Church of St.Francis Xavier. Our good friends Anne and Frank Sheridan invited us. We had not attended mass in a number of years because, as lesbians, we did not feel welcome. The church was packed with people, many standing in the back. Sister Honora Nicholson came to our rescue, and we found ourselves seated on the left side of the altar. The service was beautiful. We were home!”

While this Jesuit church has remained a safe haven for the LGBT community, unfortunately, not all places of faith are.  Benjamin Brenkert, a candidate for priesthood for the Jesuits, resigned because of the discrimination and prejudice he witnessed against members of the LGBT community. His story is available here.

Filed under: Religion & Faith

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