World Youth Day

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 songs and said the same prayers at Masses. We got bored with same catechesis speakers, stood in the same lines to get food at crowed events and freaked out every time a motorcade went by thinking it might be the pope, just like everyone else.

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

Top ten things I miss about our pilgrimage to WYD

Jay Leno has his top ten, and so do I. Here are my top ten things I miss about our pilgrimage to World Youth Day! 

Video Entries

While at World Youth Day, our pilgrims recorded some videos reflecting on their experiences!  Check out the four videos, including one of Ellen asking a question regarding LGBT issues at a catechesis session! 

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!). 

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. 

Featured in BBC World News!

 Our brave six were featured today in BBC World News coverage of World Youth Day! Check it out!

Brave? Or Normal?

As you have probably seen in other blog posts, we were in a catechesis session when Ellen got up to ask a question about LGBT people in the church.  People clapped and cheered before the bishop even answered her question.  Afterwards, so many people approached Ellen to thank her for her courage in speaking up.

The Cristo Redentor

These past few days in Rio with Equally Blessed have had an overabundance of blessed moments, from the cheering of the pilgrims in the church when Ellen spoke with such eloquence and confidence in the Church to the laughter in the home of our new friends who we met at a Catholic LGBTQ meeting in Brazil. One of the most blessed moments that I think that we have had was tonight on the top of the famous Cristo Redentor statue.

Truly A Worldwide Church

Many of us on this blog have written about how we’ve been happily surprised by the responses we’ve gotten, the help and hospitality we’ve received and the amazing support back home.  I’d like to admit today another surprise: the importance of this witness to international catholics.  Before coming here, my expectation was that we would be interacting mostly with other Americans.  Of course I knew it was an international event, but I figured that Americans would be the ones who would be interested, the ones who spoke our language and the ones who we sought out.  No matter how hard I fight it, maybe it is still hard for me to shake the we-are-the-center-of-the-world mentality of the USA...but that is a topic for another post.


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