Prayer and Community

The following prayer vigil was composed by Robert Shine, a Theology and Religious Studies graduate from CUA in 2012. Over five dozen students and community members attended the vigil in the spring of 2012, which included a procession from Gibbons Hall to the Pryzbyla Center and prayer in front of the student center. 

Lighting of Candles for Procession

Leader 1: Tonight, I want to welcome everyone on behalf of CUAllies. Your presence with us is a powerful manifestation of the best that CUAllies wishes to achieve at The Catholic University of America, in conjunction with the deepest traditions of Christian faith and the lived spirituality flowing from it. We are ultimately about community. A community that is safe, a community that is welcoming, and a community that is affirming.

Leader 2: Tonight is not about making any statement more than we stand as members of the Catholic University community united in solidarity with those who feel lessened, who feel harassed or discriminated against, who do not feel the love for who they are. We wish to send a message to the campus, especially to those suffering or struggling, that we are your companions. We are lights in the darkness of misunderstanding, injustice, fear and hate and we carry these lit candles to signify our companionship with one another and with Christ on the journey towards the fulfillment of God’s kingdom in some small way on the grounds of this University.

Leader 1: We will process, with prayerful deliberateness, to signify the journey we walk all daily in mutual support. We call to mind especially those LGBTQ community members and their Allies who do not feel welcomed. We call to mind our responsibility to always stand up for justice and the common good, thus requiring us to be with anyone on this campus who is uncomfortable or injured.

Leader 2: So let us walk, singing our songs for justice to the heart of campus where we will gather in public witness to pray for a safe, welcoming, and affirming community.

Introductory Remarks on Darkness

Leader 1: Even today, we hear the words and witness the actions of those who seek to oppress others, who wish to deny them their right to love and be loved, who work hard to deny full participation by all members of our world in the public forum.

We hear the words of an email sent to CUAllies saying, in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic Church that, “Homosexuality…is preventable and treatable.” That it is a sickness, masking truth, and “psychological disorders of deep- seated gender self-alienation.”

These people, who often speak in the name of religion, wish to destroy the safe, welcoming, and affirming community we are building tonight. They say, “Life is short. Don’t waste it on a fool’s errand. Get the help you need…”

Leader 2: Yet, that is not what our Catholic faith teaches and this is not the mentality we are called to. We’re gathered at the heart of campus now – we are a community of friends, of brothers and sisters in the human family, of people with faith and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community at Catholic University.

Let us reflect momentarily on what the Catholic faith that we abide by at CUA says about our efforts at community and solidarity:

Scripture Reading/Theology Documents

Reader 1: The US bishops have written: “Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation…. They have a right to respect, friendship and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community.”[1]

Reader 2: The US bishops further wrote: “God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God’s love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it… Our church communities are likewise called to an exemplary standard of love and justice.”[2]

Reader 3: The Church addresses members of the gay and lesbian community specifically: “Though at times you may feel discouraged, hurt, or angry, do not walk away from your families, from the Christian community, from all those who love you. In you God’s love is revealed. You are always our children.”[3]

Reflection and Intercessions

Leader 1: In the light of Catholic social teachings, rooted in the Gospels and exemplar of Jesus Christ, we know that our foundational interpersonal love will become communities based upon mutual respect, understanding, and an affirmation of each person as made in God’s image and likeness.

Leader 2: We know, firmly and without hesitation, that the continued denial of LGBTQ community members and their Allies to participate as cherished members of the CUA community is an injustice. That this situation contradicts the very basis of this University’s roots in the Catholic faith. That the greatest commandment to love one another unconditionally has become trapped under the pharisaic policies of the University administration.

Leader 1: And we know it must get better. It needs to get better, so trusting in God who liberates people throughout history and helps bring about justice, we offer everyone here tonight the opportunity to please express your prayers aloud. We will respond, “God of love, hear our prayer.”

Closing Remarks

Leader 1: With these intentions and those kept in silence, we call to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

Leader 2: We know that the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties, of every person at Catholic University are valid, are real, and are ours too. We know that in this age, we have read the signs of the times – we have seen the plague of injustices committed against gays and lesbians, in silent suffering, in self-injury, in suicide. In harassment, in acts of psychological and physical violence.

Leader 2: We cannot tolerate injustices at CUA any longer, so we stand united as we pray the Our Father in the words of Jesus and in the spirit of change…

[1] USCCB, To Live in Christ Jesus. 1976.

[2] USCCB, Always Our Children. 1998.

[3] USCCB, Always Our Children. 1998.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s