Developed and written by Mary Ellen Lopata, with Casey Lopata, the book Fortunate Families reflects their experience in this ministry, starting in 1992. Though designed for use by Catholics, this book is relevant and useful to other Christian ministries with gay and lesbian people and their families.
Fortunate Families addresses the experience of Catholic parents who love their gay sons and lesbian daughters. The book had its genesis in a descriptive survey of over 200 such parents. It integrates results from the survey, church documents and stories so readers can access what they need most. Some readers will search for accurate information about Catholic teaching; others may connect with the lived experience of other Catholic parents. Still others will find examples of ministerial advocacy and support within the Catholic Church. Fortunate Families has all this and more.
Conventional wisdom emphasizes the stories of parents who react to the news that their child is gay in verbally or physically abusive ways. These stories are told so often they take on an aura of normalcy. But there are other stories—of parents who struggle against the pressures of society and church to find and believe in the goodness of their gay child.
It is critically important for parents to hear the stories of others who walked the same road before them—who have come through the experience closer to their gay or lesbian child, and who are willing to work to make the church more welcoming.
Equally important is the opportunity for pastoral ministers to hear the voices of these parents and understand the need for outreach and pastoral care for gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.Fortunate Families will help prepare pastoral ministers to help families come out of their isolation, work through their confusion and pain, and celebrate how fortunate they actually are.