To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!
Like many older Catholic gay guys I am incredibly fortunate. I was born into a poor Catholic family in Toronto, the month after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. Growing up in St. Dunstan’s Parish, our Pastor was a simple kind man who had a reputation for holiness.
I have known I was gay since the age of eight. My parents were confused and my father never accepted it. Perhaps that explains why, for the past seventeen years I have facilitated a Day of Reflection for Catholic parents of LGBT people.
The world has changed considerably since the fifties, and me along with it. Probably the biggest change is discovering why God made me. I’ve often asked myself: “what is the purpose of my life?” Oh I remember the Baltimore Catechism answer: “God made you to love and serve Him, and be happy with Him in heaven.”
Ya, right, but there have to be some particulars as to how. Discerning my vocation has taken half a century. I have accepted God’s gifts of discernment, prophecy, and counselling. I have witnessed other families pain and confusion. In the early nineties I joined the Catholic spiritual support team for people affected by HIV and AIDS. I took communion to dying gay men.
I stay in the Catholic Church because through the Eucharist I feel a greater sense of interior peace and freedom from anxiety. By IgNation discernment I have come to understand advice given by several spiritual guides: “Don’t let the institutional Church get in the way of your relationship with the Lord.”
Through good times and bad, God has sent companions on my journey. One of the most helpful was my now deceased spiritual director Father John Veltri s.j. He was both a father and a brother to me. He enfleshed the living gospel, not piety, not phoney, but an example of faithfulness in difficulties. Some of us laughed at the irony that he was buried on Halloween.
Thank you to the priest who preached retreats here to us gay folk in the nineteen eighties. He encouraged us not to be trapped by homophobic confessors, and said unless we knew the priests views on gay sexuality, going to confession could be psychological suicide. This was very helpful.
He taught us not to let the Church get in the way of our relationship with the Lord. Thank you to all those who have helped me understand that Jesus didn’t promise us happiness, but He promised us peace. Shalom