“The legalization of gay marriage in New York last June reignited the age-old struggle between faith and sexuality in the Catholic community. While figureheads such as Archbishop Timothy Dolan promote an increasingly conservative outlook on homosexuality in Catholicism, a small group of mostly Irish-American Catholics continues to provide a weekly place of worship for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
“We are Catholics in exile,“ joked Brendan Fay, 50, an active member of the organization Dignity, a Catholic non-profit organization for homosexual and trans-gender persons.”
“Most people are surprised that LGBT people care about being Catholic at all,” said Fay, “probably because Irish-American Catholics often get stereotyped as conservative.”
Each Sunday evening, roughly 100 Dignity members transform the Episcopal Church St John in Greenwich Village into an unusual Catholic sanctuary.
Eight openly gay priests volunteer to rotate through Dignity’s weekly mass, and once every month or so, a female pastor delivers the sermon. Last Sunday, a congregation of 60 joined the Rev. Jim Morris, an Irish-American priest, in singing the inaugural hymn “Halleluja”.