Monsignor Henry Gracz is Pastor at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The Parish hosts an active GLBT ministry as well as a contingent that marches in the annual Atlanta “Pride” Parade. On June 20, 2017, Sister Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry spoke at the Parish. After several Catholics in the Archdiocese of Atlanta shared their concerns with Archbishop Wilton Gregory about the Gramick event, they received an e-mail (see below) in which Gracz claims to not “being aware” of the well-publicized 1999 Vatican “Notification” regarding Gramick, nor the 2010 USCCB “Statement” concerning New Ways Ministry; Gramick has made her censure by the Vatican the centerpiece of her numerous public talks and her defiance of that censure was the subject of an award-winning documentary released in 2004.
According to Gracz’s Facebook page, on August 1, 2018, Gracz attended a drag performance at “Lips” in Atlanta which is described as “The Ultimate in Drag Dining.” On Saturday nights, “Lips” features “The Taboo Show.” According to the “Lips” web-site:
Hosted by our Mistress of Seduction, Edie Cheezburger! The Taboo Show is our dirty late-night show. 21+… if you can’t handle dirty and nasty… STAY HOME!
In addition, on August 1, Gracz posted a video to his Facebook page entitled: “Weird Questions Gay Couples Get” which depicts a young gay male couple being asked often embarrassing questions by various men and women; one of the questions is: “Who’s the twink and who’s the leather daddy?”
Also, in August of 2018, Archbishop Gregory appointed Gracz, along with two other Atlanta priests, as an “advisor” to sexual abuse survivors.
On August 4, 2015, Gracz was invited by a same-sex couple to their wedding. On his Facebook page, Gracz “liked” the informal invitation to take part in “some role” in the wedding.
On October 21, 2018, Jesuit priest James Martin will discuss the LGBT issue at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
On behalf of Archbishop Gregory, thank you very much for your email.
Msgr. Henry Gracz, pastor of The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, has responded to Archbishop regarding your concern:
Thank you for your message of concern regarding the recent visit of the leadership of New Ways Ministry to The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
As pastor of The Shrine, I firmly believe in dialogue and communication in the spirit of Pope Francis, aware that isolating one’s self from those who are different only breeds anger, hatred and distrust. We are proud to welcome and offer pastoral outreach to our LGBTQ community, cognizant that we must do so within the moral tradition of our Catholic Church, which calls us first to be generous and compassionate at all times. It is my sincere hope that The Shrine is and will continue to be a place of mercy and healing in fidelity to the Church’s teachings regarding this and all matters of faith.
For this reason, I pause and apologize for not being aware of the actions of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding Sister Jeannine Gramick and New Ways Ministry. Moving forward, I will be ever more vigilant regarding invitations to speak at The Shrine, even as we strive to attend pastorally to all of the wonderful people of God entrusted to our care.
The Reverend Monsignor Henry Gracz, Pastor
The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Thank you so much –
Paula Gwynn Grant
Director of Communications
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta
2401 Lake Park Drive SE
Smyrna, GA 30080