Dignity Washington’s Statement on Pope Francis’ Recent Comments in Favor of Same Sex Civil Unions

On October 21, as part of a documentary film entitled “Francesco” about the life and teaches of Pope Francis, he expressed support for creating laws for civil unions for same-sex couples. Dignity Washington (a local chapter of LGBT Catholic individuals) is pleased to support this seemingly positive statement. We appreciate it as far as it goes though it is not a reversal of many otherwise negative Church statements about LGBT couples. The statement does favor the idea of a fully diverse Church in a way Dignity/Washington has prayed and worked for since its founding in 1972.

Several members of Dignity Washington (DW) have been couples for close to half a century, and more recently, many of the younger couples were married by priests who are part of the community over the years. Supporting devoted couples who make a commitment to each other is a major part of what DW is about, and the larger theme Pope Francis spoke about, in finding full membership within the Church family. We hope that these statements supporting LGBTQ people from Pope Francis will pressure governments around the world to stop acts of violence against individuals for their sexuality or gender identity and save the lives of LGBTQ people at risk of state-sanctioned violence. We also hope this is a beginning step in the process of bringing full participation in Church life for all same-sex individuals.

Dignity Washington President Christopher Flow was featured alongside other LGBTQ Catholics in a piece by WUSA9 responding to this news. Other optimistic reactions were released by groups such as DignityUSA (the organization of which Dignity Washington is the largest chapter) and New Ways Ministries.

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Upcoming Special Events

Unless otherwise noted, special events are open to all. If you will need an ASL interpreter, please contact the Dignity/Washington office one week in advance of the event at 202-546-2235. Also see Recurring Events.


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Weekly Celebration of the Mass In Person Resumes June 13

“Here in this place, new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away, […] GATHER US IN!”

While the darkness of COVID-19 is not yet fully vanished, we are in a safer place with the rate of vaccination and measures underway around the United States. Because of this, it is with great joy and celebration that we are able to announce the resumption of weekly in-person Mass for Dignity/Washington beginning June 13, 2021, at St. Margaret’s!

Our Reopening and Liturgy committees met to make this decision Thursday evening, and it was unanimously approved by our Board of Directors. This choice and the revised precautions outlined below are informed by reduced restrictions by our host community, feedback from our Pentecost Sunday Mass, and the results of the recent vaccination survey (in which 100% of the 49 respondents noted they were fully vaccinated, with a handful still within the 14 day period).

New Mass protocols include a reduction of those put in place for our Pentecost Mass while maintaining safe procedures where we deemed necessary to ensure all those who decide to attend in-person worship feel comfortable and welcome.

The decisions outlined below may change as we continue to gather, but at this time, here are some of the things you should expect:

  • All worshipers are asked to register ahead of the Mass (link forthcoming).
  • All worshipers are required to be fully masked during the Mass regardless of vaccination status.
  •  Presiders, acolytes, interpreters, and lectors are free to remove their masks when speaking to increase accessibility and clarity of sound.
  • Individuals serving as presiders, acolytes, and eucharistic ministers must be fully vaccinated.
  • Masked singing will resume led by the choir.
  • Worshipers are free to self-select their seats and distance as they feel comfortable. During registration, one can note a preference for distanced seating to sit in a more restricted portion of the nave.
  • Mass will be live-streamed each week on Facebook for those unable to join in person.
  • After Mass, a simple social with light refreshment will be provided, during which masks are optional for those fully vaccinated.

With Joy,

Chris Flow,

President, Dignity/Washington


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Pentecost Sunday: An In-person Mass

May 23, at 6 pm, at St Margaret’s Episcopal Church

The Reopening and Liturgy Committees are very pleased to announce that we will gather for an in-person Mass on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, at 6 pm, at St. Margaret’s. Seating will be limited to adhere to social distancing guidelines, and pre-registration will be required. View our Regathering Plan, that has been reviewed and approved by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. The plan contains vital information about how our Mass will be conducted and what is expected of each of us as we gather together again to celebrate Mass safely.

Additionally, you can follow the links to the following documents, you will find a letter from Christopher Flow, President, Dignity/Washington, and a document titled “Covenant for Regathering in Worship.” The Episcopal Diocese of Washington requires all those entering any of their church properties to read, sign, and submit the Covenant in order to attend services. This is true for our Mass at St. Margaret’s.

Finally, if you are fully vaccinated, we need people to volunteer to staff the check-in table and serve as ushers to assist guests to their seats that Sunday. If you are able to volunteer, please contact David Lamdin to sign up at  dalamdin@aol.com. If you have any questions about our regathering plan or volunteer opportunities, please contact Mary DeLia at marydeliafamily@gmail.com . Thank you and we look forward to celebrating Mass with you.

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Community Sessions on Being More Social Justice Oriented

D/W is leading a series of conversations pertaining to race, bias, and ally-ship. These sessions are the first steps in challenging us in shifting the practice of being non-racist to becoming an anti-racist in our community. In these series of sessions, we will ask questions related to how we, as individuals and the community, can become stronger voices in ending “white advantage” and in doing so, create a more equitable community and world for our Black and brown friends and neighbors.

Over these sessions, there will be an opportunity for education and community discussions on ways we consciously and unconsciously enforce and reinforce white advantages in D/W and in our lives. The goal of these ongoing sessions is to equip us with the tools necessary to participate in self-reflection and personal growth necessary to proactively address and rectify biases in ourselves, our peers, and our community via restorative practices.

We encourage all members to view recordings of past sessions below (edited to remove sharing from attendees) and be sure to join us for upcoming sessions during which we will disucss as a community how we can be the community we have always aimed to be for our members, our community, and our city.




How Microaggressions Are Like Mosquito Bites 

Whiteness: White Privilege and the Invisible Race 

Race in America: Corporate Leadership (presented by the Washington Post) <br.<

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Lent 2021 Daily Reflection

Thirty-four different members of our community shared their thoughts on Scripture, their stories, and their faith in order to make this series a reality.  It stands as a witness against those who see people as somehow less due to their non-typical sexual or gender expression.  Over and over again, these writers have spoken of how their own experience of oppression and fear, when mixed with grace and with their faith, has helped them broaden their love for all of God’s people and given them courage to speak up not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the dignity of all.

View PDF of all reflections for 2021.

Dignity/Washington completed a similar project in 2017 for cycle A of Lent you can view here. 

Subscribe to Receive Scripture and Story to Your Inbox!
You are able to receive the reflection each day as an email directly to your inbox. Enter your email in the form below to signup. We encourage you to share this with people in your lives that could use an LGBTQ lens to their Lenten journey.

Contribute to Future Projects
In the years ahead, We hope to complete the liturgical cycle with additional LGBTQ Catholic resources such as this, so we may continue to learn and grow from our shared stories. Projects just like this one are only possible because of the generosity of people like you, our community members, and our family and friends. Please consider a donation to Dignity/Washington to help us continue such work by visiting www.dignitywashington.org/donate.

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Dignity Washington Calls for an End Racial Injustice and White Supremacy

We at Dignity Washington are saddened and outraged over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four officers from the Minneapolis Police Department. Like so many others before him, his life ended too soon. Lying in the street with a knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Mr. Floyd cried out for water, just as Jesus did in his final moments. As Pope Francis has pointed out, we cannot be outraged at the death of Jesus without being outraged at the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many others. The violence and brutality that we continue to witness toward black and brown communities throughout the United States stands in direct opposition to the fundamental principles of our Catholic faith. 

Catholic teaching proclaims that life is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of every person. As Pope Francis said this past week, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

As a Catholic community, we stand in solidarity with communities of color and the Black Lives Matter movement nationwide, and we offer our unequivocal support for those who protest against police brutality everywhere. Now more than ever it is important to recognize and disrupt systems of white supremacy that have allowed social injustices to continue.

As an LGBTQ community, we recognize the fight for civil rights in our world and the need for progress, we also must recognize that until the marginalized in our community are treated with equality, none of us have equality. We are all too aware of the increased violence against trans people of color by police and civilians. We speak up for Monika Diamond, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and many more victims of violence against trans people of color this year alone. We must ensure the continuing fight for LGBTQ rights includes everyone identifying as part of our community, and we stand with our black and brown siblings to end racial injustice, dismantle systems of white supremacy, and proclaim that black lives matter.

As LGBTQ Catholics, we must root out injustice in our own communities and ensure that we continue to be a safe and welcoming space for all to come and receive the healing words of Christ. As we pray for healing, recovery, and safety for all in our community, we also have begun to take concrete steps to bring about change. Matthew 7:5 challenges us that we must first acknowledge and take out the “speck” of racism and white supremacy in our own eye before removing it from that of our friend. 

As a first step, we are calling on all our white members to take a moment to read the article “The assumptions of white privilege and what we can do about it,” by Bryan Massingale, then to sit and examine the internalized biases we often hold in ourselves and our society. We hope this encourages discussions among our families and friends in evaluating how white supremacy shows up in our lives. 

As a board we are committed to holding anti-racism training for our leadership as well as  holding a series of discussions in the coming months within our community to identify, address, and reflect on our biases both as a community and individuals. We are committing to investing in partner organizations of color as part of our annual giving. 

In the weeks, months, and years ahead, we must continue to pray, examine, and advocate for justice. God commands each of us to “speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). Let us advocate daily against police brutality and systemic racism to ensure: Black Trans Lives Matter; Black Queer Lives Matter; Black Lives Matter! 

– The President and Board of Dignity Washington

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New Book on Womenpriests

There is a new book available about the Roman Catholic Womenpriest (RCWP) movement. The book examines how it began, how women were (are) ordained, and the movement’s relationship with the larger Catholic Church community. It is a new scholarly study that offers some well-researched answers. The title of the book is, “Womanpriest: Tradition and Transgression in the contemporary Roman Catholic Church,” and was written by Jill Peterfeso and published by Fordham University Press.

Currently, the Kindle edition through Amazon it is available and there is no charge (see the link below to get a copy). Amazon says: “This book is openly available in digital formats thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.” A hard copy will probably be available for sale in about 90 days.

Womanpriest- Tradition and Transgression in the Contemporary Roman Catholic Church

While some Catholics and even non-Catholics today are asking whether priests are necessary, especially given the ongoing sex-abuse scandal, The Roman Catholic Womanpriests (RCWP) looks to reframe and reform Roman Catholic priesthood, starting with ordained women. Womanpriest is the first academic study of the RCWP movement. As an ethnography, Womanpriest analyzes the womenpriests’ actions and lived theologies in order to explore ongoing tensions in Roman Catholicism around gender and sexuality, priestly authority, and religious change.

We think you will find it very interesting reading and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Ann Penick and Kathleen Blank Riether

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Update on Dignity Center

There is much activity regarding the sale of the Dignity Center. Currently, the Re-envisioning group is processing paperwork related to the sale and anticipate closing on the deal in mid-July. They anticipate vacating the Center soon after the July 4th Holiday weekend. Options for a new space are being considered and consist of purchasing a new Dignity Center and moving in, continuing the search for space and temporarily storing materials, or operating the office from a separate space.

As we move ahead, we are now investigating professional moving services and would appreciate learning of any recommendations. We also are looking for people to volunteer regarding the move. Should you have suggestions or be available to assist, please contact Jake Hudson (jakeghudson@gmail.com) or Tom Bower (tom1545@verizon.net). Thank you.

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Faith Sharing Group

Dignity/Washington members will meet every other Thursday to share reflections of faith. The next two meetings are scheduled for June 4 and June 18, from 7:00 – 8:30 pm, and will convene by Zoom.

The Zoom Meeting ID is 665-454-7037, and the password is 738445. Alternating members will take turns determining the content and developing agendas. Sessions will prioritize communal prayer experiences and the opportunity to share our faith and spiritual journeys with one another. All are welcome! Contact Jeff (jeffvomund@gmail.com), Denis (dppringle@juno.com), or Kathleen (kathblankriether@gmail.com) with questions or comments.

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Dignity/Washington Virtual Sunday Mass


Dignity/Washington in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be recording and posting a celebration of our Mass each week made with contributions from the community and safe procedures. This Mass will be posted online to our Dignity/Washington Facebook Page and our Dignity/Washington YouTube every Sunday afternoon in some form while we are unable to meet in person.

We invite you to join us in our celebration, comment and share reflections to grow our community and stay connected. Both the YouTube and Facebook recordings can be viewed without an account, but you do need an account to comment.


For updates on D/W’s response to COVID-19 and cancelations in our community please visit www.dignitywashington.org/covid19.

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