The Church of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis of Assisi LGBT Ministry hosted a “weekend of inclusion and prayer” culminating with the “United in Love” Mass on June 24, 2017. An advertisement for the event was posted on the Parish Facebook page with the pro-gay marriage hashtag #lovewins. The following day was the official Gay Pride Parade in New York City. According to an announcement from St. Francis of Assisi LGBT Ministry:
Identifying as LGBT and Catholic can sometimes be a challenge, however, we affirm you….We’re here for you in returning to celebrate life, love, and God. At St. Francis of Assisi our unconditionally loving LGBT Ministry reassures you that we’re not the church that made you leave.
The LGBT Ministry at St. Francis has a problematic history including:
- The “Drink Pray Love – Can I Be Queer & Catholic?” event which was held at the Stonewall Inn;
- A “Mardi Gras” party at a well-known gay bar;
- A “Cinco de Mayo” celebration at another notorious gay bar;
- The contact person for the St. Francis LGBT Ministry, Meredith Dean Augustin, has publicly supported Planned Parenthood;
- Previous “Pride” Masses to coincide with New York City Pride and LGBT retreats
The Parish is staffed by the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province; their Provincial Office is located in New York City. The Friars also operate gay-affirmative ministries at St. Patrick – St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Connecticut, at the St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, and at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh. Recently, The LGBT Book Club at St. Patrick – St. Anthony Church promoted a book about “Discovering the Queer Christ.”
After the Mass at St. Francis, the Parish hosted a BBQ celebration complete with a rainbow frosted cake, rainbow-colored tablecloths, and rainbow flags. On the Parish’s web-site are posted numerous pictures from the event.
In attendance were: the Pastor – Andrew Reitz, O.F.M., Parochial Vicar – Michael Carnevale, O.F.M., the contact person for the Parish’s LGBT Ministry – Meredith Dean Augsutin, the Parish’s Director of Evangelization – Joseph Nuzzi, and Michael Delany – the Pastor and the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation in New York City which has a long history of gay-marriage advocacy.
Meredith Dean Ausgustin, who is also a frequent musical performer at the LA Religious Education Congress, posted a live-feed from the New York City “Pride” Parade on her Facebook page; her footage included video of several topless women who were in the Parade.
Other high-profile pro-gay Catholic events that took place during the “Pride” month of June (2017), included a fundraiser for Lady Gaga’s LGBT-affirmative “Born this Way” foundation at The Church of the Blessed Sacrament and a “Pride” Mass at the site of the Stonewall Riots hosted by St. Paul the Apostle Church.
Contact: Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Contact: Monsignor Edward Weber
Phone: 212-371-1011 Ext. 2931