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 dignity@dignitywashington.org.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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]

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Nights OUT with the NATS – Thursday, June 6, 6:45

Tickets for the 19th Annual Night OUT presented by Team DC will go on sale next Sunday, May 12, after Mass for $35 each.

Join the LGBTQ+ community in celebrating Pride at Nationals Park when the Washington Nationals play the Atlanta Braves with the game starting at 6:45 pm on Thursday, June 6.

This year all tickets will be electronic meaning you (or an accompanying friend) must have a smartphone to access your ticket(s). When you buy your ticket(s), you will need to provide your email address and smartphone number. Special instructions will be sent to you about how to set-up and use the MLB Ballpark app on your phone.

With the purchase of a ticket, fans will receive a Nationals Night OUT Wearable Pride Flag at the stadium.

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Outreach Conference 2024 (Georgetown, August 2–4, 2024)

Outreach, an LGBTQ Catholic Resource organization, will convene its third annual conference at Georgetown University on August 2–4, 2024.

Several Dignity Washington and DignityUSA members participated in the 2022 and 2023 conferences held in New York City.

This year’s conference promises to be equally welcoming and engaging.

Speakers will include Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington; John J. DeGioia, Ph.D., President of Georgetown University; and James Martin, SJ, founder of Outreach.

Diverse panelists will discuss a range of topics, including:

  • News from Rome: The Synod and “Fiducia Supplicans”
  • LGBTQ Women and the Church
  • Transgender Catholics and the Church
  • Telling LGBTQ Catholic Stories
  • The Bible and Homosexuality
  • Race, Intersectionality and LGBTQ People

Registration is open! Additional information about the event is available at: Conference: Outreach 2024

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Dignity USA Young Adults Meet in Washington, DC

Over the weekend of April 12 through 14, a group of young adults of Dignity USA came together in Washington, DC.

The weekend was a reunion for several of the youth pilgrims who attended the Papal Youth Day year in Portugal. In addition, it brought together other youth leaders from across the country to help plan for several exciting events in 2024 and 2025.

These future events include a youth retreat, World Pride in DC next year, and the July 2025 Dignity USA Conference in Dublin, Ohio.

Dignity Washington sponsored the Saturday night dinner and several Washington members joined the festivities: Rory, Victor, Tom, Allen, and Daniel, who as Vice President, co-facilitated the weekend with Meli Barber, President of Dignity USA. A great time was had by all!!

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Stories to Honor Women’s History Month

StoryCorps is committed to the idea that everyone has an important story to tell and that everyone’s story matters. Their mission: to help us believe in each other by illuminating the humanity and possibility in us all — one story at a time.

Since their founding in 2003, they’ve helped nearly 700,000 people across the country have meaningful conversations about their lives. These recordings are collected in the U.S. Library of Congress and in their online archive which is now the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.

While the stories are broadcast weekly on NPR to over 12 million listeners, StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit, sharing select stories with the public through our podcast, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books.

Women’s History Month commemorates women’s groundbreaking contributions to society and culture. Listen to and share the stories of women who have loved hard, worked hard, and broken down barriers. Honor the everlasting impact they have made in their industries, families, communities, and more. For more information and to select stories to listen, go here.

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Capital Pride 2024

Although Capital Pride is still a few months away, planning for it has already begun. The Capital Pride Committee has announced the theme for this year as “Totally Radical” and in response, Dignity Washington has a working theme of “LGBT Catholics: Radically Claiming of Faith Since 1972!” Mark you calendar for the first planning meeting to occur on Sunday, April 7, at 4:30pm.

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Next Steps in the Synodal Journey

In preparation for the Synod on Synodality’s conclusion this October, New Ways Ministry is hosting a “Conversations in the Spirit” gathering for LGBTQ+ people and allies. All are invited to participate on Thursday, March 21, from 7:30- 9pm.

Last October, the Synod’s first General Assembly noted that, “people feel marginalized or excluded from the Church because of their marriage status, identity or sexuality also ask to be heard and accompanied.” Many Catholics on the margins seek a church that is “a place to call ‘home’ where they can feel safe, be heard and respected, without fear of feeling judged.”

New Ways Ministry’s spiritual conversations this month aim to help the wider church better understand the joys, hopes, griefs, insights, disappointments, and wisdom of LGBTQ+ people and allies. As part of the common synodal journey, a report on the gathering’s outcomes will be compiled and submitted to church leaders and Synod delegates. To register, go here.

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