Dear Archbishop: Fortunate Families is a wonderful pastoral ministry. Keep it alive!

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About the Author(s): Joseanne and Joseph Peregin are from Malta. They are active members and co-founders of Drachma Parents´Group, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics and the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons.

We are an international group of Parents who happen to have children who are also gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or intersex – as well as God’s precious gift to our families.  We are indebted to our children who have helped us move out of the safety of ‘a closed church’ to a wider sense of ‘community at the periphery’, where Jesus urges us to live and to serve.

After having learned of the discriminatory way in which DignityUSA and more recently also Fortunate Families have been brushed away from serving within the Archdiocese of Detroit, we feel compelled to speak out to show solidarity and stand in their defense.  We are appalled to note how they have been stopped from meeting in any parish church or any other place within the confines of the archdiocese, so heartlessly.

We are co-founders of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) and of the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (ENP) as well as Drachma Parents’ Group, Malta. We find that Catholic LGBTI+ persons and their families have been side-lined for far too long, by church officials and ecclesial authorities.  We stand in solidarity with all those initiatives that are aimed at strengthening family bonds and improving dialogue between LGBTI+ fronts and ecclesial settings, despite the incessant discrimination often sadly experienced.  We stand side by side with all parents who, like us, are overwhelmed when hearing such insensitive language as that emerging from Detroit’s Archbishop, as though there was a one size fits all.  It is clear that not all LGBTI+ persons feel they are called to live celibate lives until death.  The very fruitfulness of the person is not guaranteed by mere celibacy – there is so much more to it!

To give oneself to God is an expression of one’s uniqueness – one’s five loaves and two fish.  They may seem insignificant in a sea of multiple needs, deep hunger and parched thirst.  Yet they are the gifts we bring that Jesus blesses and multiplies, to feed his many followers.  Parents’ organisations such as Dignity, Fortunate Families, GNRC, ENP, Drachma Malta and others like us, are indeed offering our five loaves and two fish, in the hope that God’s grace would bring forth a bounty of richness to the rest of the Church.

To give oneself to God is an expression of one’s uniqueness – one’s five loaves and two fish.  They may seem insignificant in a sea of multiple needs, deep hunger and parched thirst.  Yet they are the gifts we bring that Jesus blesses and multiplies, to feed his many followers.  Parents’ organisations such as Dignity, Fortunate Families, GNRC, ENP, Drachma Malta and others like us, are indeed offering our five loaves and two fish, in the hope that God’s grace would bring forth a bounty of richness to the rest of the Church.

As Mother Church, it makes no sense to tell any of her children that they are not welcome – it only enforces suffering to an already damaged relationship.  It sounds just as bizarre as expecting one child to stay away from the dinner table simply because of being somewhat different to the rest of the children. It sounds just as merciless as being like those parents seated at the dinner table with only some of their children – while knowingly keeping their other children clear away – how could they ever enjoy a proper family meal, unless they were ALL gathered together?

Our baptism is a common heritage.  We all have a seat at the table, no matter what bishops may say.  But it is so painful to witness the sheer audacity of some who believe the church is solely their property. Some, who select sinfulness merely on the basis of one’s sexuality. There is a sad irony about this incident. Some people oppose homosexuals for being different, often citing biblical texts to justify their position. When done in the name of religion by religious people, this smells of the sin of Sodom: it is the sin of inhospitality and non-acceptance of people one perceives as strangers and does not feel comfortable with. It is a sin that the Bible condemns repeatedly.

Diversity is part of God’s colourful creation and if we are unable to stand in awe of all that is different and see it also as beautiful and God-made, then we are victims of a tunnel vision and not a vision where ‘all things are made new’, as the Spirit of God promises.

We are all called to holiness and to being prophetic witnesses while integrating faith with life reality.  We are all equally invited to identify with Jesus who ate with sinners; looking out for those society pushes towards the periphery; and accompanying those who are walking away like the disciples of Emmaus who had lost hope.  Our LGBTI+ children form part of the Body of Christ no less than our bishops and clergy.  They have a vocation in the church and their gifts and qualities are as precious as those five loaves and two fishes of the young boy in the miracle. It may have seemed insignificant at the time for Philip to inform Jesus of the boy’s offering. Yet Jesus was able to bless and transform that humble offering, transforming it into a providential bounty, that fed the multitude that were hungry, and there was still some more left over.

Why is it so difficult to welcome LGBTI families who are willing to bring some of their life-giving morsels to share with the rest of the community? The Church needs persons like that young boy. Upon Jesus’ command, and the breaking of that tiny offering, the thousands were fed.

This is the community Jesus claims as His Church.  This is a Eucharistic people of God.

No, Fortunate Families must not disband! They require our full support instead.

Joseph and Joseanne Peregin

Co-founder members of:

Drachma Parents’ Group – Malta

Global Network of Rainbow Catholics – GNRC

European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons – ENP

Note: Read GNRC response to this issue in the folowing link. If you as an individual or the organisation you represent would like to endorse this article and statement, please add your full name by the end of this article at the comments section and we will add it to the endorsers list.

Endorsements

Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons

Drachma LGBTI, Malta

Drachma Parents Group, Malta

Rainbow Catholics Ph, Philippines

Rainbow Catholics Interagency for Ministry, Australia

Quest, United Kingdom

LGBT Westminster, United Kingdom

James Alison – Theologian, United Kingdom

CHRISMHOM, Spain

Ichthys Sevilla, Spain

PADIS+, Chile

PADIS+ Padres, Chile

Linda Karle-Nelson, USA

Lauren McKenna, USA

Nanci Wynman, USA

Susan Brown, USA

Stephanie Nomellini, USA

Joe Thilman, Ireland

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6 Responses to Dear Archbishop: Fortunate Families is a wonderful pastoral ministry. Keep it alive!

  1. Fortunate Families Detroit is so very grateful for this message of support and unity from the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics! We are touched and encouraged by your heartfelt message of parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids. It is our hope that it will be received and absorbed by our Church leaders as a beautiful witness to the bounty of God’s diversity in our children.

    Thank you for such an enormous boost to our spirits!!

  2. Lauren McKenna says:

    Adding my name because we are ONE BODY! I’ve worked with children in other archdioceses, and know how critical support groups like these are in forming youth who are happy and feel loved by their Faith community. Groups like this ensure that children know they are beautifully and wonderfully made in God’s image- just as they are. Sending love and support as parishioner in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

  3. Nanci Wynman says:

    I would like to add my name. Everyone deserves to be welcomes
    “Love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34

  4. Susan Brown says:

    We are ALL God’s children!

  5. Stephanie Nomellini says:

    God loves ALL his children! God created us all, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

    Fortunate Families is a wonderful group. Their website helped me so, so much when our son told us that he is gay. Thank you, Fortunate Families!

  6. Joe Thilman says:

    A beautiful, heartwarming. thoughtful, and welcoming letter from Global Network of Rainbow Catholics about the wonderful work of Dignity and Fortunate Families!
    In this time of protests about systemic racism, it would be well worth the time for our Archbishop to look at systemic exclusion of the lgbtq community in our Church.
    Is Jesus’ message of love, inclusion, acceptance, encounter being lost on those who see themselves as the “hierarchy” of our Church? In some cases, yes!
    So, what are we to do who believe in compassion, understanding, and equality? Let our voices be heard, our hearts reach out, and never give up helping one another!

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