Vince L Rodriguez — President’s Statement

As I begin my term as President of Dignity Washington, I have thought a lot about what I hope to accomplish in the next year. After all, a year (11 months really) is not a very long time. Nevertheless, there are a few activities where I would like to focus my energy and attention.

First and foremost, I want to ensure that we continue to celebrate our weekly Mass and provide for the spiritual needs of our membership. I have no doubt that Mike O’Donnell and the Liturgy Committee will continue the wonderful work they have done for decades.

In my candidate statement, I noted my desire to work with the Board and members on attracting and retaining new members. I have been a member of the community long enough to remember the years when our membership was in the multiple hundreds, and we celebrated two Masses to accommodate that demand. While fluctuating membership totals is natural in any church or group as members move, pass away, or start worshipping in more inclusive traditional churches closer to their homes, I remain concerned about the viability of our chapter in the long run without an influx of new members. I strongly believe that there will always be a need for Dignity Washington.

Therefore, I would like to gather a small group of seasoned and new members to discuss/brainstorm ideas and tactics we could easily implement to see if we can increase awareness of Dignity and our membership roster. Do we need to reinstate a membership committee? Do we reinstate the family and friends Mass, when members were encouraged to invite loved ones to introduce them to our Mass and organization? How can we increase the visibility of and get to know our current members better? I found the in-depth interviews with Rory Hytrek and Mark Clark in the weekly Bulletin very informative. I see them at Mass frequently but knew very little about them as individuals. Should we make that a quarterly feature of the Bulletin to get to know each other better? A member spotlight column, if you will. I don’t have the answers … I’m just posing some questions for consideration and welcome your thoughts, ideas, and recommendations.

Additional priorities during this coming year will be the opening of the Dignity Center and working with the Board and other chapters to plan and finalize activities for World Pride 2025. How do we communicate the opening of the Dignity Center to the membership? To the community? Do we plan an open house for members and guests to visit? Is there something that we should do during World Pride in addition to celebrating Mass and inviting participants for join us in the celebration? How do we let participants know of our existence and extend the invitation of come and worship with us while in town? I believe that our social media channels can be effective tools we can use to inform them and extend an invitation to come and celebrate Mass with us. Our social media channels can also be conduits for increasing awareness, educate, inform, and celebrate. How can we include more photos of younger members so those viewing our Facebook or Instagram accounts see themselves represented?

I look forward to working with the Board and you during the next 11 months to do what we can to increase our chapter’s membership and participation and, hopefully, ensure a financially viable and thriving chapter for generations to come.

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Vince L Rodriguez — President’s Statement

New Dignity Liturgy Committee Chair — Mike O’Donnell

Thank you for trusting me with the responsibilities of chairing the Liturgy Committee. I have been asked to introduce myself and explain my vision for the committee.

As for me, most of you either know who I am, or you have at least seen me serve as an acolyte, lector, and as an occasional guest homilist. Outside of Dignity, I live with my partner, Mark, of 19 years and have been teaching theology and philosophy for just as long at a Catholic high school.

As for any big plans for the Liturgy Committee, I can’t say I have any plans to shake things up. Denis Pringle left things running smoothly, and I hope to continue the fine work he began.

They say you never really know a job until you’ve done it for a year, so this first year will largely be one of observation. I think we do a fine job already with our Sunday liturgies with many excellent priests and a very capable choir.

One change coming up on July 7th is that we’ll be having a lay-led liturgy without a priest, presided by yours truly. We are doing this as a trial run in case there ever comes a day when we do not have as many fine celebrants as we do today. I welcome any feedback you have from that liturgy.

I would also like to continue our tradition during Advent and Lent of having weekly Faith Sharing sessions, although these were put on hold this past year due to the reconstruction efforts going on at the Dignity Center. I am open to suggestions for how we might enhance the Advent, Christmas, Lenten, and Easter seasons.

I want to encourage people to get more involved, especially when it comes to the position of acolyte. We currently have four regular acolytes and sometimes with people’s work and travel schedules, you end up seeing the same person serving as acolyte for two or three weeks in a row. I promise you, the job is not difficult, and we will train you. This position can be very rewarding as you literally have a front-row seat and are a vital part of the service. But it’s good to have a variety of individuals serve other positions as well, such as lector, sacristan, and bread baker. See me about volunteering.

I will leave things there for now. If you have any questions or concerns about Dignity Washington’s liturgies, please pull me aside after Mass. I’m there most Sundays. Or you may contact me by email at

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on New Dignity Liturgy Committee Chair — Mike O’Donnell

Bernie Delia — Past President of Dignity Washington, Dies

It is with great sadness that the president, officers, and Board of Directors of Dignity Washington announce the death of long-term member and former DW President (1990–1993), Bernie Delia, on Friday, June 21st, at his home at age 68.

Bernie was a member of Dignity Washington for more than 35 years and regularly attended our weekly Masses. He was a founding member and a dedicated leader of the Washington, DC Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes most DC LGBTQ Pride events, and served most recently as co-chair of World Pride 2025, and international event that DC will host next June.

Bernie came from New Jersey and attended Mount St Mary’s University for both his undergraduate and for his JD degrees. He was a highly respected attorney at the United States Department of Justice where he served as the Assistant United States Attorney until his retirement in 2019. Previously, with the Clinton Administration, he served as Deputy Director, Office of Presidential Personnel, in the Executive Office of the President.

Bernie was predeceased by his long-time partner Doug Sheorn in 2006.

It is with great sadness that the Capital Pride Alliance mourns the passing of Bernie Delia,” a statement from the Alliance says. “We will always reflect on his life and legacy as a champion, activist, survivor, mentor, friend, leader, and a true inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community.”

The statement added that — in addition to serving six years as the Capital Pride Alliance Board President — Bernie served for several years as president of Dignity Washington, the local LGBTQ Catholic organization, where he helped create “an environment for spiritual enrichment during the height of the AIDS epidemic.”

He also had a distinguished legal career, serving as one of the first openly gay appointees at the US Department of Justice and later as an appellate attorney,” the statement reads.
Bernie’s LinkedIn page shows that he worked at the US Department of Justice for 26 years, serving as:

  • Assistant US Attorney from 2001 to 2019. Associate Deputy Attorney General from 1997 to 2001 as Associate Deputy Attorney General.
  • Senior Counsel to the Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys from 1994 to 1997, helping to provide executive and administrative support for 93 US attorneys located throughout the country.
  • Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel from January-June 1993 during the administration of President Bill Clinton, wherein he was part of the White House staff.
  • Legal Editor for the Bureau of National Affairs from 1983-1993 publishing news reports on legal issues, from 1983-1993.

In addition, the Alliance statement describes Bernie as “an avid runner who served as the coordinator of the DC Front Runners and Stonewall Kickball LGBTQ sports groups” where “he understood the value, purpose, and the urgency of the LGBTQ+ community to work together and support one another,” adding “He poured his soul into our journey toward World Pride, which was a goal of his from the start of his involvement with Capital Pride.”  The statement further indicated that “Bernie will continue to guide us forward to ensure we meet this important milestone as we gather with the world to be visible, heard, and authentic. We love you, Bernie!

In a statement posted on social media, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she and her administration were “heartbroken” over the news of Delia’s passing indicating that “Bernie leaves behind an incredible legacy in our city and country — through his life and advocacy, he helped pave a path for LGBTQIA+ residents in our city and within the federal government to live and work openly and proudly,” the mayor says in her statement.

He helped transform Capital Pride into one of the largest and most inclusive Pride celebrations in the nation — a true reflection and representation of our people and values,” the statement says. “This is the DC that Bernie helped build and that he leaves behind.”

All of the hopes and dreams that we had about what Pride could be and what CPA could do, are things that Bernie actualized over the last many years and in his work for next year,” said Vincent Slatt, Rainbow History Project’s director of archiving in a statement. “He wasn’t the first one to say it, but he always reminded everyone: ‘we make each Pride special because, for someone, it is their first Pride, and they’ll remember it always.’ Bernie lived that ideal each and every year. WorldPride 2025 will be a testament to his efforts and his legacy will live on — it will be someone’s first Pride. We’ll try to make Bernie proud of us.”

Bernie’s oral history interview is part of the Rainbow History Project Archives. You can access it at

Ashley Smith, the Capital Pride Alliance president, said he and other Capital Pride officials became concerned when Bernie did not respond to their routine calls or messages. Smith said he called DC police to arrange for a welfare check on him at his house in Northwest DC on Friday, June 21. He said police accompanied him to Bernie’s house and police entered the house and found him unconscious.

An ambulance was called and attempts to resuscitate Bernie were unsuccessful. A definitive cause of death has not been determined other than natural causes. “He had a heart attack last year, so he had been recovering from that, but he seemed to have been doing in fairly good order,” Smith told the Blade.

Smith said the emergency medical technicians who arrived at the scene and who declared Bernie deceased said, “it looked like it probably had to do with the previous heart condition that he already had, and that it’s more than likely what it came from,” Smith said in referring to Bernie’s passing. “He died peacefully at home,” Smith added.

Smith and a Dignity Washington spokesperson Jake Hudson indicated that Bernie’s two sisters, one from Baltimore and the other from Charlotte, NC, were in DC working on funeral arrangements. Both also indicated that Capital Pride and Dignity Washington plan to work with Bernie’s sisters on developing plans for a possible Catholic Mass in his honor as well as a celebration of life that could take place in DC in August or September.

Capital Pride was also working with the sisters to create a memorial fund in Bernie’s honor to raise money for the causes and programs that Bernie supported over the course of his many years as an activist. “It’s still being formulated” and “… will be forthcoming when we get ready to do the celebration of life ceremony and everything else,” Smith said.

According to Smith, the sisters, in consultation with Joseph Gawler’s and Sons funeral home in Northwest DC were making arrangements for a cremation rather than a burial.

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Bernie Delia — Past President of Dignity Washington, Dies

Juneteenth Mass at Holy Trinity, Georgetown, June 19

It’s a LATE notice, but we wanted to ensure that everyone knew about this opportunity at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown.

Please join the Holy Trinity parish community as we celebrate Mass and dedicate a historical marker on Juneteenth.

O God, forgive us for these sins of racism and the pain they have caused. Guide us from repentance to reconciliation.”

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Juneteenth Mass at Holy Trinity, Georgetown, June 19

Dignity and Capital Pride, June 8-9, 2024

Dignity Washington clearly demonstrated our pride during the main Capitol Pride 2024 events. About 25 members attended the Night Out with the Nationals last Thursday and while the game didn’t produce a curly “W,” it was a lovely evening to watch the game and share conversations among friends.

Both the Capitol Pride Parade and the Street Festival were on beautiful sunny days with just enough of a breeze to cool off the warm rays of the sun. Saturday morning, Larry Ranly and Peter Edwards entered the staging area to decorate a convertible and a big pick-up truck. Both vehicles were full of passengers as about 25 other DW members and guests walked down 14th Street and then on the Pennsylvania Avenue with the sight U.S. Capitol Building clearly ahead of us.

On Sunday, Larry Ranly and others set-up the booth at the Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue where we had a steady stream of guests who were interested in learning more about Dignity Washington, our bottled water, or our candy giveaways. We collected a full sheet of names of people we will contact to share more about Dignity Washington.

Finally, at Mass celebrated by Fr. Rick, we closed out the evening with some new guests, two of whom attended Notre Dame in Indiana unbeknownst to either one of them. Doug Kilburg provide the after-Mass refreshment that carried out the colors of the rainbow flag in the food he prepared.

All in all, it was a grand Pride celebration and one of which Dignity Washington should be proud!

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Dignity and Capital Pride, June 8-9, 2024

Election Results for 2024-2025 Board

The Dignity Washington 2024 Election Committee, consisting of Tom Yates, Bob Schmid, and Peter Edwards, presented a full slate of candidates to the Board. On May 19th, the community “voted by acclamation” to elect the slate of candidates presented.

The following officers were elected to the Dignity Washington Board of Directors for 2024-2025.

Vince L Rodriguez, President

Bridget Kilburn

Gil Pimentel

Doug Kilburg

Jason Carson Wilson

Jim Lindsay

David Friscic

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Election Results for 2024-2025 Board

Dignity Washington 2024 Elections – May 19

The Dignity Washington 2024 Election Committee has finalized the slate of candidates for the open positions for board members and president. The committee, consisting of Tom Yates, Bob Schmid, and Peter Edwards, present a full slate of candidates to the Board. On May 19, the community will be led in a “vote by acclamation” since the number of candidates equals the number of open positions.

See below the statements provided by each candidate. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Dignity Washington Office Manager at

Bridget Kilburn — Dignity Washington has been one of the greatest blessings in my life over the past few years, and I have savored the opportunity to learn so much about the organization’s workings and history since joining the board last year. I am eager to continue to be involved in the decision making for this group.
In a time when many people are coming of age lacking a sense of community or belonging, I think that Dignity Washington offers so much to all generations. By playing to these strengths, we can draw in higher levels of membership and ensure that Dignity will last as a beacon for years to come.

Gil Pimentel — I moved around the corner from St Margaret’s five years ago, during a difficult time in my life. Within Dignity, I have found a safe harbor — a place for spiritual healing. But creating a setting in which such spiritual gifts can be reaped isn’t just happenstance. It is the product of the efforts made by people who are willing to organize, strategize, negotiate and do a ton of prosaic grunt work on behalf of the entire community. As a board member, I’ve thrown myself into many such tasks, and my focus recently has been on the inclusion of women, minorities, and young people. I recruited the only woman on Dignity Washington’s board (who is also, by far, one of its youngest members). With her, I organized the Women’s Mass — a special service which honors the participation of women in the church by having an all-woman team at the altar. Attendance at the two women’s Masses that have been held so far brought in numerous new faces to our service. As a board member, I intend to continue pushing ahead with our commitment toward expanding the participation of women, and to explore new channels by which we can foster the participation of minorities and young people as well.

Doug Kilburg — I’ve served three previous terms on the board and have enjoyed contributing towards the betterment of the Dignity Washington community. My previous roles have included assisting with after Mass socials, singing in the choir, planning anniversary events, attending national conferences, organizing silent auctions, recruiting external outreach organizations to attend Mass, assisting with PRIDE events, and assisting with community surveys. I’m proud to call the Dignity Washington community my spiritual home. If I continue on the board of directors, I pledge to keep advocating for the organization’s best financial interest, the recruitment of new members, and encouraging the group to act in ways according to our religious beliefs.

Jason Carson Wilson — Rev. Carson Wilson is an ordained Convergent Catholic Communion priest (as of May 4, 2024) and United Church of Christ minister with definite Jesuit tendencies. He is a nonprofit leader and organizer committed to intersectional LGBTQIA+ advocacy and creating spaces for LGBTQIA+ people in communities of faith. Those commitments continue to inspire him to serve and drives him to run for re-election. Jason presented at a DignityUSA Youth Caucus event and a virtual DignityUSA conference. He’s the founding executive director of the Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative and a Doctor of Ministry candidate at the Pacific School of Religion.

Jim Lindsay — I have been a Dignity member for the last eight years. For the past two years, I have had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors. I cantor at Mass about once a month. Quarterly, I help assign members to various ministerial roles for our liturgies. Occasionally, I interview members and write “getting to know you” articles for the weekly Bulletin. Dignity gives me a sense of belonging. I find the liturgies very important in my spiritual growth. The preaching, music, and fellowship are what feeds me and have kept me coming back. I enjoy helping a community that has given so much to me. I am eager to spend time together in our newly remodeled Center and would love to serve this much-needed faith community for another term.

David Friscic — My name is David Friscic and I feel that Dignity Washington has contributed so much to the LGBTQIA+ Catholic community through liturgy, outreach, communication, social events, relevant presentations, and unique service to those in need. I have witnessed the courage of the entire Dignity Washington community coming together to worship, work together and celebrate faith and community together. I would like to see the Dignity Washington community gaining even more growth and traction by trying to attract new members into our organization. I have also been active in the Aging with Dignity caucus and am working to bring in presentations on LGBTQIA+ assistance for the aging. I have reviewed three books for the DignityUSA site. I will continue to work towards helping Dignity Washington to be a vital Catholic LQBTQIA+ organization in the present while we look towards the future.

Vince L Rodriguez — For 30+ years, my husband and I have been members of Dignity Washington. During this time, I have served as bread and wine minister, lector, board member, and chair or member of the organizing committee for the 28th, 30th, 40th and 45th Anniversary Dinners. I am interested in serving as President to work with the Board to expand on the work of my predecessors, particularly attracting and retaining younger members, increasing our visibility in the community, and maintaining and building our social media presence to ensure a financially viable and thriving chapter for generations to come.

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Dignity Washington 2024 Elections – May 19

Pentecost – Sunday, May 19

Pentecost will be celebrated on May 19th. The word has its roots in the Greek word ‘pentecoste,’ meaning ‘50th day.’

Pentecost, marking the beginning of the Christian church’s mission into the world, is a major festival within the Christian church and is celebrated by believers on the Sunday that falls on the 50th day following Easter Sunday. Red is the liturgical color of this special feast day – the vestments of the priest and elsewhere in the sanctuary.

Pentecost has major significance in the history/memory of Dignity Washington. In 1976, Dignity Washington began to celebrate Mass on a weekly basis.

It was on Pentecost Sunday, June 22, 1987, that members of Dignity Washington marched from St William’s Chapel at Georgetown University to St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Dupont Circle. At that time, Paul Albergo, President of Dignity Washington, said that the march signified “our flight from Catholic facilities, similar to the way the Jews were ‘forced out’ of their spiritual homeland in the Holy Land centuries ago.”

It is a custom for the congregation to wear “red” on Pentecost. You are invited to do so in solidarity to our cause.

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Pentecost – Sunday, May 19

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, May 12

The Ascension of the Lord took place 40 days after Easter, which this year, is celebrated on Ascension Thursday, May 9. In most dioceses in the Unites States, though, the celebration of this solemnity and holy day of obligation is transferred to the following Sunday, May 12.

The Ascension of the Lord is detailed in the Scriptures and in our creeds. Every Sunday, we profess it in the Nicene Creed:

“(Jesus) ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”

Jesus’ ascension concluded his work on earth to bring about our redemption that he began on Good Friday. The Ascension of the Lord is followed 10 days later by the feast of Pentecost.

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, May 12

Synod Cardinals Offer Mixed Response on “Fiducia Supplicans”

The Vatican declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, that permitted blessing same-gender relationships has been at the center of Catholic LGBTQ+ discourse for many weeks.

In April, Dignitas Infinita was released with its condemnatory approach to gender identity issues and unleashed a brand new wave of commentaries/debates.

The conversation around Fiducia Supplicans continues, though.

Synod Leaders Say Blessings No Longer a Synod Issue

Two cardinals leading the church’s synodal efforts spoke about Fiducia Supplicans this spring. While affirming the declaration, both said the issue of blessing same-gender couples was not an issue for the upcoming Synod on Synodality General Assembly this October.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, of Luxembourg, the Synod’s Relator General, commented on Fiducia Supplicans during a press conference about the synodal working groups announced in March. While describing the declaration as “very beautiful,” the cardinal affirmed it as showing “God loves everyone, including those in irregular situations.” Hollerich explained further that, “It’s truly a pastoral document, it is not a doctrinal document.” He added that, with its release, the issue of blessings would not need to be taken up at this October’s assembly because Pope Francis “has already decided, and it is not something we should go back to, at least in the Synod.”

Malta’s Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, said he had no advanced notice about the declaration and became aware of it “like everybody else when it was published.” Grech was not upset with this course of events because, according to him, Fiducia Supplicans has “nothing to do with” the Synod on Synodality’s assemblies. Speaking at a conference in Ireland, the cardinal remarked on last year’s synod assembly, saying a reference to “LGBTQ” was removed from the synthesis report because:

“We noticed that some had difficulty with that phrase and changed it. We did not change the content but the wording and in that way, we managed to get a majority vote. Whereas had we left the phrase I’m sure it would not have got the vote it got. We need to take into account the needs and the sensibilities of all because our task is to try to reach a consensus and learn, as a church, how to arrive at something agreed by the wider spectrum.”

[Reported on May 7, 2024 by Robert Shine, Managing Editor at New Ways Ministry]

Posted in News and Stories | Comments Off on Synod Cardinals Offer Mixed Response on “Fiducia Supplicans”