NEW YORK CITY, June 13, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A Catholic parish with a history of flouting Church teachings on same-sex relationships is planning a “Pre-Pride Mass” the day before New York City’s annual Pride March.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi has announced on its website that the Mass will take place at 5:15 p.m. Eastern time, and “is an opportunity for our whole parish community to remember that the Lord invited all people to follow him, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background, gender or sexual orientation.” It says the Mass “is also an opportunity for all of us to invite to Mass any of our friends who [may] not feel welcome at the table of the Lord for whatever reason, but especially if they are gay or lesbian.”
“Take the opportunity to bear witness to the unconditional love of God by reaching out and inviting back a brother or sister who hasn’t been home in a while,” the announcement says.
Neither the parish’s Director of LGBT Ministries nor the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of New York returned requests for comment about the Mass. However, the issue of same-sex relationships has been a thorny one for St. Francis, which was ordered by then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan to not participate in the 2010 Pride March.
A brochure published by the parish that year said, “The Church of St. Francis Xavier is the only Roman Catholic Church in New York City — maybe one of a handful in the world — to participate in the Pride March.” It said that the church “welcome[s] all, as did Jesus. So we ask you to consider walking with the LGBT ministries on Pride Sunday, June 27, and represent a church that truly lives the Gospel.”
Earlier this year, Cardinal Dolan drew criticism for saying “Bravo” to NFL player Michael Sam’s announcement that he is homosexual. The Archdiocese clarified to LifeSiteNews that the Cardinal was not intending to support same-sex relationships with his statement.
This year’s March and related events will take place from June 24 through June 29 in New York City.