from Ed Buechel (Board Member | Edgewood, KY)

In Philadelphia I experienced a "Tales of Two Meetings". The first was the "official" World Meeting of Families. The second was a series of discussions with individuals and attendance at meetings and events presented by Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry, and other organizations. The former included sessions about the role of families in the Catholic Church but only one session focused on gay and lesbian persons in the Church. The latter included talking to individuals attending the sessions and staffing booths in the Exhibit Hall and attendance at Parent Gatherings presented by Fortunate Families, "TransForming Love: Exploring Gender Identity from Catholic Perspectives" presented by New Ways Ministry, "Full of Grace: Journeys of LGBT Catholics", a wonderful play, and the LGBT Family Papal Picnic hosted by Keystone Catholics.

from Brad Leger (Board Associate | Esterwood LA)

As assistant to the Fortunate Families Board for the past year, it was my extreme honor and pleasure to have served in the role of liaison between this fine group and the Equally Blessed Coalition in preparation for our pilgrimage experience to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. In particular, it was indeed a blessing to get to know the board members and staff member, Holly Cargill-Cramer, on a deeper level throughout this entire process. This experience was expanded into something even more meaningful way when we actually attended the conference and our own off-site activities – all within the context or prayer and dependence on the Spirit of love and kindness. As I have reflected on our experiences in Philadelphia, I have attempted to identify words or phrases which would describe my experience. The words include (and they are still coming to me as I continue to process this experience): oppressive, stifling, challenging, unwelcoming, and heartbreaking; yet they also include encouraging, comradery, solidarity, seed planting, and educational.