REGINA — A gay Catholic priest, a mother with a lesbian daughter, a lesbian, a mother who lost a gay son through suicide and a gay man all told their stories as more than 100 people listened with respect. The event was called Listening: The Call to Love and the audience did listen as each told of their journey at the Feb. 3 event held in Campion College’s Riffel Auditorium. The panel was suggested by Campion College chaplain Stephanie Molloy and organized by the Campion College Vocations Committee as part of the Campion Controversies Series.
Campion College president Rev. John Meehan, SJ, quoted Pope Francis in his introduction. “In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens the Holy Spirit inspires us to say the right thing,” Meehan quoted. He thanked everyone for taking the time to listen to and “to reverence these stories and to be agents of change in our church and society.”
Michael Fahlman, Jacq Brosseur and Leo Keiser all said they knew they were gay at an early age. Fahlman identified himself as a gay Catholic priest of the Regina archdiocese but has not been in ministry since 2003 because he could not agree with what the church was saying. He did not become a priest because he is gay, he said, but because he felt a calling.
Brosseur said she came out in a letter to her mother who responded lovingly and taught her about homophobia and how to protect herself. She still considers herself Catholic. “I will not abandon God because the messengers got it wrong.”
Leo Keiser did not go into detail about his history but said he works with U of R Pride and hopes to take away from the evening a better sense of how we can support each other.
Mary Ann Bachelu described how her daughter came out to her and how she became involved in LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) to help her daughter and others. “The Catholic Church has to be more open and it should be in the Catholic schools curriculum.”
Francine Proulx-Kensie lost her son to suicide. She said she knew her son was different and was happy when he came out. “I continue to live my faith but sometimes I feel I am in two worlds. Perhaps if everyone came out we would have more compassion.”
Rev. Gilles Mongeau, SJ, who has for about 20 years worked with gay people in Toronto, talked about his work and gave the Catholic Church’s perspective. “It’s important to remember that people are on a journey.” Mongeau said that the Catholic Church is waking up to the issue “but we don’t know how to accompany that well.”
Molloy said she was really happy with the way it turned out. “It was respectful and there was no political agenda.”