Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata are the parents of four children, including a son who came out to them as gay at age 19. They have worked in ministry with gay and lesbian Catholics and their families since 1992. The Lopatas are founding members of the Catholic Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry (CGLFM) and the Catholic Association of Lesbian and Gay Ministries (CALGM) and charter members of the Catholic Parents Network.
In 2003, the book Fortunate Families, written by Mary Ellen Lopata with Casey Lopata, was published. The book shares the stories of, and offers guidance to, Catholic parents of gay and lesbian children, and outlines what these families want and need from their Church. The following year, they founded the organization Fortunate Families to focus on ministry with parents on a national level, retiring from the board in 2014 after guiding and growing the organization through its first decade. They continue to serve on the organization’s Advisory Council.
Mary Ellen holds a master’s degree in liberal studies with a focus on homosexuality and the family. Casey has a master of divinity degree from St. Bernard’s Institute in Rochester, N.Y.