More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

11 Do Not Quench the Spirit
Rainbow Ministry and Queer Ritual
Practice in Catholic Education and Life

JOHN P. FALCONE

Boston College

When colleagues at Fordham invited me to speak about the intersection of professional life and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) identity, I was excited! After I graduated from Fordham, I spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (working with St. Louis Effort for AIDS) and almost three years as a social worker. I then earned my Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and worked for almost a de cade as a Catholic high school teacher and campus minister, often in inner-city settings. I’ve spent most of my professional life as an out gay man within Catholic institutions, living in the often difficult tension between frankness and prudence, between tradition and change. A practice of constant discernment, of continual negotiation and “coming out,” can be a source of personal and professional strength. I have come to see this practice as a “Rainbow Ministry”— a vocation, a school for discipleship, and a form of ser vice to others.

For the past five years, I have been a doctoral student in Theology and Education at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM). I’ve been involved with a group of LGB and allied/straight students also studying at the STM. (No one there has yet publicly identified as “T”ransgender.) Over time, what started as a monthly brunch meeting has turned into a leadership venue for ministers and ministers-in-training. Our group has expressed itself publicly mainly through the medium of ritual. We have created, and have invited the entire STM community to share in, a number of original and powerful prayer ser vices that combine word, image, movement, and art. At these ser vices, many queer and straight students have preached and presided at worship for the very first time. Administrators, faculty, and students have prayed for social justice and ecclesial healing. We have called for the dawn of queer liberation and for the intercession of queer and straight saints. I describe this as “Queer Ritual Practice.”

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