Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons
Director of CMGLP
Msgr. Val Handwerker
The Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons affirms that all the baptized, in the diversity of our sexual orientation, are called to full participation in the life, worship and mission of the church.
The ministry fosters inclusivity, mutual understanding and appreciation of all persons by promoting hospitality, education and support.
The seeds of the diocesan ministry with gay and lesbians persons were planted in 2002 when a small group of Cathedral parishioners began to meet regularly for prayer and sharing of resource materials related to the struggle of gay and lesbian Catholics.
It was early in 2004 when Bishop J. Terry Steib asked this small group to expand and form a diocesan ministry that would reach out to Catholic gay and lesbian persons, their families and friends. After a year of formation and discernment, the committee crafted a mission statement and set some preliminary goals.
In preparation for the announcement of this new ministry the committee arranged and facilitated listening sessions. After hearing first-hand the heartfelt stories of gay and lesbian persons and the parents of gay and lesbians persons, Bishop Steib encouraged the committee to move forward. As a final step, the committee invited those involved in the listening sessions to join them for retreat.
In May 2005 Bishop J. Terry Steib formally announced the ministry with the publication of his article in the West Tennessee Catholic; "Church is Home to All People of God".