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This Month in CACINA

Lavender Magazine Community Award – Individual: Father Harry Hartigan
June 16, 2022 / Terrance Griep


“Our elders who have stood up against hate, fought for equality and inclusion, spoken out and educated others now are faced with isolation and loneliness,” Harry Hartigan keens.  “Who cares about the elders, who will fight to protect them as they age and are faced with a system that isn’t ready to provide care in a loving and compassionate manner?”

It’s a mostly-rhetorical question, of course—the answer to Harry Hartigan’s query is Harry Hartigan himself, Harry Hartigan being the guy who fairly-recently made headlines when he was ordained as a priest at Saint Theresa’s Catholic Apostolic Church in North America, or CACINA, at age 70.  This elders-focus is no Meme of the Week for Father Harry.  Hartigan, himself isolated and lonely some two decades ago, joined a self-described “social organization for the enrichment of gay and bisexual men in all stages of their lives.”  Recalls Hartigan, “When Prime Timers MSP arrived in Minnesota about August 1999, the organization saved my life.”  The future Father Harry returned the favor after a fashion, connecting that organization to several others with adjacent purposes.  

These actions were, in fact, reactions to a pointed lack of local emotional infrastructure.  “The [Twin Cities] Metro Area does not have an LGBTQA Center, and this is a major challenge,” Father Harry notes.  “This begs the question: how do LGBTQA folks connect?”  While the isolation of LGBTQA elders is itself wholly regrettable, it’s only half the problem that Hartigan identifies:  “Younger LGBTQA folks don’t have a way to connect with the elders of their community, and elders in the LGBTQA community don’t have a way to connect with the younger folks within the community.”

Father Harry sees a solution within the two-pronged problem itself.  “On both ends of our LGBTQA community there is a need for positive support,” says Hartigan.  “The younger folks need to have encouragement, understanding, and support as they face a world that refuses to accept those of us who are not heterosexual.  Our community challenges the norm and always has.  We are unique and gifted which scares those who don’t understand and refuse to accept all human beings as they are.”

Although the durability of Father Harry’s benevolence proves his earnestness, connecting others has revealed itself as a gratifying way for Hartigan to connect to himself.  “I never saw myself becoming an elder in this community but I am, and someday so will the younger folks,”  Hartigan pronounces, predicts.  “One day you’re twenty, and then suddenly you are a senior, an elder in the community.  Value each day, remember to give back to the community.”

In Father Harry’s case, as evidenced by his newly-minted Lavender Magazine Community Pride Award, giving back to the community means bringing the community together.  “Face-to-face interactions are so important, not everyone is connected to technology or even wants to be or can be,” Hartigan points out.  “Call your parents, grandparents, elders you know.  Give of yourself so that when your time comes, someone will give to you.”


Holy Trinity Parish at Loudoun PRIDE
On Sunday, June 26, 2022 a small group from the Holy Trinity CACINA Parish Family in Herndon, VA took part in Loudoun County’s first Pride Festival, organized by Equality Loudoun. The event took place at the Heritage Farm Museum area of Claude Moore Park in Sterling, VA. The group had been planning and organizing since late April via Zoom meeting and talking after Masses on Sundays. A table and tent would be provided by Equality Loudoun for the event, and the group organized to have tri-folds, business cards, candy, and free Holy Trinity Parish water bottles to give away for the event. Over forty folks stopped by to engage and chat with the CACINA members. From young children to seasoned Earthly travelers stopped by to not only be refreshed by the cold water, but to see and know that there are local people of faith who see them, hear them, and love them as God made them and to share the love of Christ with any and all who stopped by.

Some were current or former Roman Catholics, also people of other denominations and faiths came by to hang out and get to know a bit about CACINA.  Questions were answered, stories of witness and calling to CACINA were shared, and listening to visitors went on for hours. A small prayer book was set out for anyone to write, anonymously, any intentions or needs they wanted Holy Trinity Parish to offer up and pray for during Mass.  The greatest sentiment shared was, “Thank You.” Thankfulness for coming and taking the step to outwardly show and share Christ’s love; to be witnesses of a loving God and represent a welcoming spiritual family in the area. Other local houses of worship and outreach programs  that were vendors at the Pride Festival took and shared contact information to potentially give Holy Trinity Parish a chance to be more seen and involved in serving the Northern Virginia community. This will hopefully be an annual event of outward love, service, fun activities, and good food that Holy Trinity Parish in Herndon, VA will be a part of.
St. Charles of Brazil Parish at Annapolis PRIDE
This year’s theme is “many faces, one pride”, which highlights the “LGBTQ+ community of all skin tones, genders, sexualities, religions and abilities.” It’s a sign that we’re still fighting for everyone in our community that still doesn’t feel visible or equal, and it’s really important that we do that this month,” said Annapolis Pride Board Chair, Joe Toolan. More than 140 artisans, businesses and community organizations such as non-profits will host individual tables for the festival part of the event. The Parade Route was from West Street and Amos Garrett Boulevard to Calvert Street and Clay Street. St. Charles was represented, we were one of 85 groups that participated in the Parade.
St. Wilgefortis transMISSION and St. John of God Parish featured in
The Daily Gazette - Schenectady, New York
Drag Queen Frieda sings at Schenectady PRIDE.
St. Wilgefortis transMISSION and St. John of God Parish
at Schenectady PRIDE
Pictured are Bishop Tony Green and Mother Grace Ferris with St. John of God parishioners Jen and Joe Samaniuk, Perry Junjulas - and some of the festival goers who stopped by the SJOG and St. Wilgefortis table.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, The Vermont Pride Center in Burlington was vandalized.  Fr. Michael Ellis delivered a homily at the Vermont Pride Center in the wake of the vandalism.

Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2022, given at the Pride Center, Burlington, Vt., following an act of vandalism against the Center.
“A Christian is another Christ.”

What a startling statement.
I wish I had said it.  But I didn’t.  Instead, it is attributed to St. Gregory of Nyssa, a bishop and theologian of the fourth century.  And, more accurately, it reflects not so much a single statement made by the good bishop (however arresting), and more an entire way of thinking about the vocation of a Christian.
But its provenance goes back even further to the life and ministry of our Lord himself. 
In our gospel today, Jesus, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, gives us a new commandment: 
     “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
    This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have
     love for one another.”
In these words, Jesus sketches the outline of a people of God whom He has called to himself, a people whose defining characteristic will be not their race, their ethnicity, their gender, their culture, their language, or even their religious history and sacred texts, but instead, their experience of Jesus’ love for them as a manifestation of God’s love for them, and their determination to love in the same fashion.
A Christian is another Christ.

Click HERE to continue reading.

'An Early Spring'

In the American Church today, few figures are as outspoken about the need for Catholics to treat LGBTQ people with love, respect, and compassion as Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin. 

Martin is also the subject of a new documentary, Building a Bridge, which offers a close look of Martin’s LGBTQ ministry—from its origins after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016, to Martin’s meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2019.  

On this episode, Commonweal associate editor Griffin Oleynick speaks with Fr. Martin and filmmaker Evan Mascagni about the film—its making, the journey it tells, and the criticisms that remain.


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Click HERE to read the July/August 2022 edition of Extraordinary Catholics with an article by Fr. Mike Ellis and a poem by Mthr. Grace Ferris.
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