Catholic bishops reach out to the LGBT communityAround the City, Latest Issue Thursday, October 12th, 2017
The banner outside St. John the Evangelist Church in Hillcrest proclaims “ All Are Welcome Here” and last Saturday morning this Catholic Church welcomed almost 400 LGBT people, their families and friends to hear a special mass said by the Auxilary Bishop of San Diego John Dolan and the Bishop of San Diego Robert McElroy. Since the official announcement of this special mass the two bishops had been subjected to hate and threats by radical right wing Christians including radical right Catholic Web sites. The presence of many uniformed and plain clothes police officers were everywhere around the church including some police snipers stationed across the street.
Aaron Bianco, Carolina Ramos and City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez had been working for several months to facilitate this historic mass. Among the dignitaries who were in attendance to show support for the two bishops and the Catholic LGBT community were Mayor Kevin Faulconer, first lady Katherine Stuart Faulconer, State Assemblyman Todd Gloria, City Councilman Chris Ward, School Board Member Kevin Beiser and former mayor and current Chula Vista Councilman Steve Padilla.
During the service both Catholic bishops spoke to the standing room only service about how indeed the Catholic Church owed the LGBT community an apology for how it has treated them; how many in the Church did not do enough for those with HIV/AIDS during the early years of the epidemic. Also, the bishops spoke about hate and violence against The LGBT community. Bishop McElroy told the crowd that he hoped this was one of several special events for LGBT Catholics and their families.
Outside of the church there were about half a dozen protesters handing out anti-LGBT materials but nothing could ruin this special day for many LGBT Catholics in attendance. Many said they had waited all their lives for the words spoken by the two bishops.
During the service City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez was introduced and spoke from the pulpit and became very emotional as he thanked the bishops and the audience then gave the Catholic bishops a prolonged standing ovation.
“These two men are truly men of God and believe that we are all God’s children and have not only spoken out on behalf of the LGBT community but the immigrant communities, the homeless and the environment,” stated Murray Ramirez.
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