By Crystal Proxmire
LGBT inclusion in the Catholic Church is a long-standing battle, with groups like Dignity Detroit leading the charge. Thirty-nine years ago the group formed to give support to church members, and especially clergy, who were determined to remain in the Catholic faith and change it from the inside out.
Now, in celebration of their 39 years of struggle and service, Dignity Detroit is preparing for an anniversary dinner that will help them fund their ongoing mission and recognize the progress that has been made.
Lourdes Rodriguez-Nogues will be coming from Boston to be the keynote speaker for the event. Rodriguez-Nogues lived in Cuba and Puerto Rico before heading northward to pursue a career in psychology and a life of LGBT activism. She is also known for giving talks about LGBT issues in workplace environments.
The dinner will take place on May 4 at the Park Place Banquet Hall in Dearborn. The cost for tickets is $50. The next night, May 5, the Annual Liturgy will be held at 6 p.m. at Sacred Heart Chapel of Marygrove College. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton will officiate. Dignity Detroit was one of the first chapters to open, just one year after Dignity USA was founded. Dignity organizations are support groups with activists who strive to “work for the development of sexual theology leading to the reform of its teachings and practices regarding human sexuality, and for the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender peoples as full and equal members of the one Christ.” Dignity Detroit was founded in 1974 and met at Most Holy Trinity Church for 23 years before moving to Marygrove College in 1997.
Their constitution states, “We believe that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight Catholics are all members of Christ’s Mystical Body, numbered among the people of God. We have an inherent dignity because God created us, Christ died for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctified us in Baptism, making us the temple of God, and the channel through which the love of God might become visible. Because of this, it is our right, our privilege, and our duty to live the sacramental life of the Church, so that we might become more powerful instruments of God’s love working among all people.”
In addition to Mass every Sunday, activities include an annual retreat in the fall, monthly women’s group and seasonal prayer services. Members volunteer at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and support other charitable organizations, including those which directly impact the gay and lesbian community. There are after-Mass socials, an Annual Dinner Dance, and when the opportunity comes up, they have a party.
To order tickets or to learn more, visit the Dignity Detroit website at http://www.dignitydetroit.org.