Hi! My name is Evan Vaughan. I identify as a Catholic, cisgender, biracial (Latinx and white), gay male. I have been actively involved in my parish of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco’s Castro district for the last three years since moving back to SF from the east coast. Through my active involvement in MHR’s young adult group and attendance at the 2018 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, I have begun to learn about the initiatives of the Equally Blessed coalition.
I attended World Youth Day in Madrid (2011) and Rio de Janeiro (2013) in conjunction with the Jesuit group, Magis. During these immersions, I was able to participate in the conference through the lens of service by doing “experiences” that exposed us to the realities of local culture before and during WYD. In Spain, my fellow group of undergrads from the University of San Francisco joined pilgrims from Germany and Tawian in taking part in learning about the realities of immigration into the EU by doing a community project with migrants in Bilbao. In Brazil, our USF team joined groups from France and Chile to do service projects in Rio’s Tijuca Forest (including rebuilding a trail leading to Corcovado) where we focused on encountering God in nature.
I look forward to the opportunity to further my call to service by taking a role in advocacy for the queer Catholic community as a pilgrim with the Equally Blessed coalition. Every time I travel, I have experiences that make me better and bring me closer to God. I have especially found a beautiful marriage between indigenous culture and the Catholic religion whenever I visit Latin America, so I am especially excited to be headed to Panama in January. At World Youth Day, I have the opportunity to deepen my connection with God and do so with the rest of the Catholic Church, which is especially beautiful because of what a large part the Church plays in my identity.