A reconciling faith
October 2, 2012 | 1:00 pm
(Updated: January 17, 2013 | 2:36 pm)
By Fr. Frank Quintana
Being raised in Catholic school, reciting the rosary, serving as an altar boy, receiving communion, enveloped in swirling clouds of incense to the mystical tones of Gregorian chant was de rigueur. Although much has changed since then, that somewhat mystical and spiritual experience was deeply imprinted on my soul. I knew from a very early age I wanted to be a priest.
Catholic spirituality was deeply rooted in my life, until I came out of the closet. I tried for so many years to be straight, or at least deny my “gayness.” In my ministry as a priest, I founded and directed a housing ministry for people living with HIV/AIDS. It was during that time – as I observed the faith, courage and love of those living and dying in my care – that I came to realize that gay folk were not “inherently disordered” nor their love “intrinsically evil.” It gave me the courage to be honest about who I am. It also signaled the end of my ministry, for a time. I was excused from the ministry, and for a number of years, I left the church.
Yet years later, I realized that my deep spiritual roots and love of Jesus was just as much a part of me as my sexuality. I had to face coming out yet again. This time I had to come out to my partner and my friends. “Yes, I am religious. And yes, I am no longer an ex-priest.” For many in our community, that would render me anathema. Little wonder, given the rhetoric emanating from the “institutional” church.
Religion and spirituality have been a source of controversy for the LGBTQ community. Conversely, it has been a source of controversy in the Church. Although we have many allies among Catholics, seemingly the issue is moot in Rome. As we strive for equality, we realize that we have few options with the inhibiting bias of that tradition.
The Spirit is changing the world and with that comes reclaiming our place as followers of Jesus. To paraphrase Mohandas Gandhi, Be the change you want to see in the Church.
We have survived our personal struggles to exemplify God’s outrageously inclusive Love. We have an inherently larger spiritual vision and an intrinsic sense of God’s all-embracing goodness.
I found a home in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. Most of us are life-long Catholics. We share a common theology and liturgical tradition with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We do not participate in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. We possess the long Catholic tradition of the Gospel of Justice and Peace. Our by-word is “All are welcome.” We embrace and celebrate the LGBTQ community in five congregations along the Front Range.
In our efforts to expand that same Spirit of inclusion, we are exploring further opportunities to build relationships in the Metro area. On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., we will hold ‘Bless our Pets.’ The Blessing will take place at Stapleton’s Central Park near the entrance, just east of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Xenia Street, north of the playground. Pets must be leashed, kenneled or caged. We will collect animal food to donate to P.A.W.S., which provides supportive care for companion animals of seniors, persons with disabilities or with life-challenging illnesses. There will be photo ops for you and your pet. For further information call 303-394-3034.
Father Frank Quintana is priest in charge of Imago Dei Ministries, providing pastoral care, meaningful liturgy, spiritual direction, retreats, couples ministry, sacramental ministry. Father Frank is also available for weddings/holy unions, anniversary renewal of vows, baptisms, house
blessings, adoption Blessings, hospital/sick visitation and mass of Christian burial/funeral rites. Online at http://imagodei-ecc.org. For information on the Ecumenical Catholic Communion visit http://ecumenical-catholic-communion.org.