World Youth Day

29 posts

Insider – Outsider

During the trip, our group balanced a dual outside/insider identity. We were outsiders in that we were preaching a gospel contrary to official church teaching, but in almost every other way, we were just like the other pilgrims. We wore the same T-shirts, hats and backpacks, we sang the same […]

Our Return: The Story that Stuck with Me

Returning to the U.S. after our trip to World Youth Day, many of my friends and family had such positive things to say to me. Members of my church and other progressive Catholic friends I have were so excited to talk to me about my experience, and share how they felt following along with our journey online. In fact, I received 100% positive responses from friends and family.

There was one story, however, that a friend from my church in Baltimore told me, that gave me pause. Being very excited and supportive of the trip herself, she told me she had passed on one of the stories that was written about us to her neighbor, who is an older (in his 80s) man, and who is a gay Catholic. She told me that his response was one of anger. He asked what kind of church she attended that would support this kind of thing, quoted the Church’s stance on homosexuality to her, and told her that we were going aga

The Transformative Six’s LGBT message at World Youth Day

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Who am I to judge? Those five words rocked the world Monday because, well, they were spoken by the pope. By now, there have been countless reports and analyses on the statement. Many applauded the Holy Father while some were quick to downplay the significance. But none revealed the true source of the pope's tonal conversion: six brave souls from the Equally Blessed coalition.

I'm giving them the credit.

Gathering on the beach

Making a truth-filled mess judgment free

We are in the homestretch!  As I sit here at my gate waiting for the flight to the US, I have been reflecting on the various messages we have received from the pope this week…live your truth, make a mess, and who am I to judge.   This week has been incredible and I know that insights will continue to be sparked with each look back today, next week, 2 months from now, 10 years from now. 

Being in an airport contemplating the significance of the pope’s comments made in an airport was a delightful experience.  His final words, who I am to judge, are ones that I am wrestling with.  Is he simply restating the church’s traditional stance but changing the focus from disordered to no marginalization?  Or is it a glimpse or glimmer, however small, of hope-filled transformation that is happening within all levels of church?   Maybe he got one of our stickers or prayer cards…maybe it’s a sign that the spirit is moving…maybe and hopefully both (I could see it now, the pope wearing a “I am Equally Blessed” sticker on his white robes!). 

Large gathering of pilgrims on the beach

We survived and we thrived!!!

I think our group needs to buy the t-shirt “I survived WYD Rio…bring it on WYD Poland!” 

At one of the catechesis sessions, Archbishop Fisher from Australia shared that young people are not the future of the church—we are the right now of the church.  As I reflect over the week, still being wowed that the pilgrimage actually happened (no longer just planning calls once a month), being the church right now has taken on special significance.