from Beth Garacia (Boad Member, South Bend ID)

What a unique set of images come to mind as I remember the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia from September 22-25! Pope Francis as he bent over to bless a young boy in a wheelchair at the airport in Philly, the caped young men from the Irish Society for Christian Civilization on the sidewalks outside the convention center asking passersby to sign the filial appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis reaffirming Church teaching that homosexual unions are contrary to Divine and natural law, the rainbow flag at the Arch Street United Methodist Church welcoming us members of Equally Blessed (EB)to meet in their church, and the 20,000 people from all over the world—priests in long cassocks, sisters in full habits with wimples, Africans in colorful outfits from a variety of countries, and so many families with young children in tow. There was also the beautiful spot on the Delaware River where those of us from the board of Fortunate Families and several of our allies gathered each morning to pray. Our prayer together was definitely one of the bright spots in the four days we were there.

from Michael Duffy (Board Member | Ingleside, IL)

The predominate impressions that come to mind, as I ponder the four days I spent at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are those of sadness and pain. The sadness comes from my realization that we, as a Church, are a long way from treating our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed brothers and sisters as we would like to be treated. The pain is from my direct exposure to the extreme anguish suffered by some LGBTI members of our families as they experience frequent, if not daily, reminders that because of their sexuality they will not be treated with the same dignity and respect as other members of the Catholic community. This pain was most apparent from the stories and very personal testimony of some of those in attendance at our Fortunate Families Parent Gathering.