Monday, April 30, 2007

Equality Forum: A Rainbow of Prayer

Today begins Equality Forum Week in Philadelphia. This is a week long cultural, political, and social festival to celebrate, honor, and continue the struggles of the LGBT community for equal rights under the law and in society. It's organizers over a decade ago placed this celebration in Philadelphia because Philadelphia was the site of the first public and organized march/protest by LGBT persons and supporters nearly two years before the more famous Stonewall incident in New York City.

The Rainbow flag was adopted by the LGBT community. The Alyson Almanac: A Treasury of Information for the Gay and Lesbian Community describes Rainbow Flag as follows:
In 1978, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed and made a flag with six stripes representing the six colors of the rainbow as a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride. Slowly the flag took hold, offering a colorful and optimistic alternative to the more common pink triangle symbol. Today it is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers, and is flown in lesbian and gay pride marches worldwide. In 1989, the rainbow flag received nationwide attention after John Stout successfully sued his landlords in West Hollywood, when they prohibited him from displaying the flag from his apartment balcony. Meanwhile, Baker is still in San Francisco, and still making more flags. (

Yesterday, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County dedicated their new rainbow flag as a welcoming and affirming community. The local MCC and our own St. Mary of Grace Church, with our Bishop Timothy, were part of the celebration. I was honored to give the benediction. Part of the benediction is reprinted here for your consideration and reflection:

"O Light within us and beyond us, you consist and call forth the magnificent colors of the rainbow-

RED-the color of the blood shed by so many before us for being who they were
ORANGE-the color of a sun rise announcing the a new day of hope
YELLOW-the color of warming love of all who stand with us and our partnerships
GREEN-the color of the creative energies that mark our community
BLUE-the color of the oceans' depths; sign of our integrity
PURPLE-the color of sorrow for we are not yet where we should or belong to be.

May the color we each contribute from our person hood: gay, straight, male, female, transgendered, blend in community and common struggle and active love to create a light to dispel the darkness of fear and hate."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Remember Me at the Altar

Today, I offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the eternal rest and memory of Loretta Gatto, my best friend Keith's mother. Thursday was her fifth anniversary of birth to life eternal. Our Holy Mother, St. Monica upon her own impending death after her and Augustine shared their mystical vision at Ostia, said "care not where you rest this body, just remember me at the altar of God."

I always remember that when I have the sacred opportunity and obligation to offer Mass for the dead. There is perhaps nothing greater that we can do but to gather at the altar, the eternal banquet of love, and celebrate the life of our loved ones and unite that celebration and life with the eternal memory of the love and life of Christ.

Augustine also taught, though, a sobering fact that our remembering of the dead and all our prayerful good wishes are more meant for us who are left behind than those who have gone before. We need to care and watch for each other here who are left behind to make the reality of the love of the altar real and meaningful NOW for each other gathered and also those who are still scattered.

Loretta, remember us as you journey beyond with Christ in the love of the Trinity. May we left behind who remember you remember each other still here with loving kindness while we have the time!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Mother of Good Counsel, Guide us!

This blog is dedicated on the Augustinian feast of Our Mother of Good Counsel, April 26, 2007. I pray that the deposit of wisdom, the house of the Word, show and example to me how to house and nurture the Wisdom of God in the Word in this blogging ministry.

I pray that our leaders find the wisdom to help build a world of communal values rather than individual interests. The very survival of our planet may depend on it. I hope that by reflecting on Augustinian values of Gospel living our small part of the Body of Christ may be of service to others.