LGBT Catholics and Allies Come Together in New York Pilgrimage Calling for Greater Inclusion

By Adam Polaski • September 30, 2016 • 5:01 pm

On Sunday, October 2, dozens of LGBT Catholics, people of faith, and their friends, families, and supporters will join a Pilgrimage of Mercy in New York City. The march will call upon Catholic bishops and institutions across the United States to embrace Pope Francis’ vision for greater mercy and compassion for LGBT Catholics, who continue to be marginalized by the Catholic Church.


The event is led by the University of Notre Dame LGBT alumni group GALAND/SMC and supporters and is coordinated in support of full inclusion and compassion for LGBT Catholics. It will begin at 11am EST in Central Park, followed by a peaceful rally near Columbus Circle.

Speakers include several Notre Dame alumni and LGBT advocates, such as: Greg Bourke (ND ’82), former plaintiff in marriage lawsuit at the Supreme Court, who along with his husband Michael De Leon were named 2015 Persons of the Year by the National Catholic Reporter; Chris Hartman, Director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign and co-founder of Catholics for Fairness; Phil Donahue (ND ’57), American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show; David Swinarski (ND ’01), Out at St Paul Board Member; LGBT advocate Warren Hall; Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry Executive Director; Fortunate Families representatives Holly Cargill-Cramer and Rosemary Grebin Palms; and Jack Bergen (ND ’77), GALA ND/SMC Chair.

The pilgrimage is inspired by a declaration by Pope Francis last fall: “We are in the midst of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic faith, during which we are to be ‘merciful like the Father’ and perform acts of mercy and forgiveness to all.”

The event is cosponsored primarily by the Fairness Campaign, in addition to support from Freedom for All AmericansGLAADHuman Rights CampaignNew Ways MinistryEquality BlessedDignity/USA & local affiliate Dignity/New YorkOut At St PaulFortunate FamiliesBelieve Out Loud and Equality Federation.

You can read stories from several of the speakers here:

  • Jack Bergen: Chair of Notre Dame’s LGBT Alumni Group Calls for Greater Inclusion in the Catholic Church • STORY
  • Greg Bourke: Following Leadership in Marriage Ruling, Kentucky Couple Supports LGBT Catholics With Pilgrimage • STORY

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