Hi, we’re John and Mary Freml! John is 30, lives in Springfield, Illinois, and was married to his partner Ricki on December 13, 2014. He is a lifelong Catholic who was educated in Catholic schools and is now active in DignityUSA, Call To Action, and an intentional Eucharistic community led by a Roman Catholic Womanpriest. John’s mom Mary is the oldest of five siblings and converted to Catholicism when she was 17 years old, but it feels like she’s always been Catholic. She attends Mass every week at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield.
The Catholic hierarchy often sees same-sex marriages as less-than. By traveling to World Meeting of Families, we hope to show them that John’s marriage to Ricki, and our whole family, is just as holy as any other. By participating in the Equally Blessed pilgrimage, we hope to meet other LGBTQ Catholic families who have already gone through many of the struggles that our family will still endure. We look forward to making lasting friendships, to praying with others like us, and to experiencing Christ’s love in new ways. Most of all, we hope to reach church leaders and laity whose hearts have not yet opened themselves fully to the wonderful diversity that exists within Catholic families across the world.
If we were to meet Pope Francis, we would tell him that when it is time for John and Ricki to welcome a child into their home, we hope that the church would be a place that they could take the child and feel welcomed, supported, and nurtured. By going to World Meeting of Families, we hope to be a part of the movement to build that inclusive, loving church.