My husband and I had the unfortunate occasion to attend a funeral this past week. Lionel was a good man who had been very ill for a very long time. I’m more than certain he was welcomed into heaven immediately upon arrival.
Lionel’s family is huge. Between still living brothers and sisters, to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, not forgetting the many cousins and friends, for a Tuesday morning the church was packed. He had been a lifelong Catholic devoted to his church and family. His had been a long and richly blessed life.
I listened to the priest through his homily and was pleased he had known Lionel well. It is the first time I had been to a Catholic mass in a long time, mostly due to the homophobic nature of my home parish and lately because I can no longer drive. My heart was lifted and I found myself praying in a way that had been missing for a long time. Welcoming God, actively in my life and prayers, was a welcome relief. I have still been praying all along, but this had been different. I felt like I was home, that I belonged, that I was welcomed. A funny aside, I received communion and because I have a very dry mouth due to medication and a top denture, the host got stuck and it took a while to go down. I got some funny looks as I was trying to dislodge it with my tongue. That aside, there was a joyful quiet inside, one I had missed.
I’m so looking forward to the WMF to share stories of our family life and that of our experience of being a family with an LGBT member. To be welcomed into the church again was wonderful. I’m anxious to talk with other families who have turned away from going to mass because of homophobic attitudes as I did. I’m anxious to share this experience and hear more from others.