Comunidad 

Lesbian and Gay Ministry at St. Matthew’s Church, Long Beach, CA

Some Recent Events and Posts

If you’re looking for our upcoming events and current announcements, they’re listed here.

Our May Meeting: Cinco de Mayo Fun—Potluck and Lotería!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Come join us for our annual Cinco de Mayo celebration! Once again, generous patrocinadores (patrons) will be supplying wonderful platos principales (main course) and bebidas (drinks). If you’re able, please bring a acompañamiento or guarnición (side dish) or postre (dessert) to share with fellow partygoers (enough to serve, say, 4 or 6 people). If not, don’t keep that from holding you back from attending.

Our handsome and decked-out bastonero extraordianorio (extraordinary Master of Ceremonies), Ray Ramirez, will entertain, first with the parade of the flags, and then, after dinner, as gamemaster for the main event, a lotería game.

To help put you in the mood, take a look at these loteria decks!

Our April Meeting: Stations of the Cross

Jesus is given his cross by Jessica Miller Kelley

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On Tuesday, April 2nd, Comunidad prays the Stations of the Cross. The Stations recall the Via Dolorosa, the path that Jesus walked on the way to His crucifixion. Along the way we reflect on our own journey as Gay and Lesbian Catholics. We will begin in the Fr. Gerald Meisel Parish Hall at 7PM with Stations following at 7:30PM in the Church. At the completion of the Stations, we will return to the hall for light refreshments per the Lenten season. All are welcome to share in this experience. Please join us.

Our March Meeting - Shrove Tuesday Explained

Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras are the various titles used to describe the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Shrove is derived from the word shrive which means to go to or make confession and confess one's sins. This is a far cry from the carnival—like celebration that is usually associated with the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Confusing. Yes.

Join us for our March 5 meeting as Comunidad will shed light on the meaning and purpose of Shrove Tuesday. Light refreshment will be served.

Our February Meeting - Dr. Aaron Bianco: ‘Hate isn't Holy’

A basket of flowers hangs from the fence where Matthew Shepard was left tied and beaten Photograph: Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Tuesday, February 5 2019, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

The troglodytes don’t like us, well not only us but everyone who is different from them. Threats and harassment are their weapons. After two years of persistent harassment and threats, Vermont’s only black female state representative Kiah Morris resigned her post to protect her family. Comunidad has not been immune to hate mail. In my St. Matthew’s mail slot, I received a copy of a letter addressed to Archdiocese José Gomez. The author of the letter writes: “People have no moral right engaging with the same sex, just as they have no right engaging in rape.”

With those introductory remarks, I would like to introduce our speaker for our February meeting. He is Dr. Aaron Bianco. Dr. Bianco was a pastoral associate at St. John the Evangelist Parish located in the gay–friendly Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. Aaron said he had “endured physical and emotional violence from groups like Church Militant and LifeSite News for the past year and a half.” On Oct 14-15 the parish rectory was broken into and ‘no fags’ spray-painted on the conference room wall. On Oct. 17 posted on the internet were pictures of his family, including a picture of his deceased mother and his address. Aaron had no choice but to resign. The information for this was taken from an article in the National Catholic Reporter. Read complete article.

Please join us to hear Dr. Bianco speak on the powerful forces of hate extant in our society. Light refreshment will be served.

Our January Meeting: Pope Francis ‑ A Man of His Word

Tuesday, January 8, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Note the date change: Since the first Tuesday falls on New Years Day. our meeting has been moved to Tuesday January 8.

On January 8 Comunidad is proud to screen the documentary, Pope Francis – a Man of His Word
German director, Wim Wenders, was granted unprecedented access to interview Pope Francis. The result was the documentary, Pope Francis ‑ A Man of His Word. Justin Chang, film critic for the Los Angeles Times writes: Wenders “films the pope in close-up, allowing the viewer to bask at length in the beatific warmth of his smile and his infectious, magnetic way with language. As the director notes in his own recurring voice-over, ‘Pope Francis has no weapons other than words.’ But what words! His rhetoric can be compassionate and humorous, fiery and bracingly down‑to‑earth. He extols the dignity of work, denounces a culture obsessed with material wealth and calls the global hunger epidemic ‘a scandal.” Read Justin Chang's complete review.

Light refreshments will be served. Please joins us to view this inspiring documentary. All are welcome.

Our December Meeting - Annual Christmas Party

Tuesday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On December 4, Comunidad will gather together to celebrate Christmas in style and good cheer. As is our tradition, Comunidad will be hosting a holiday party with lots of goodies and some classic Christmas tunes. So, keep the date free on your calendar. Comunidad will be supplying the main course and drinks. If you’re able, please bring a side dish or dessert to share with fellow partygoers. Members are encouraged to bring unwanted Christmas ornaments to help decorate. There will also be a White Elephant exchange (the gifts will be provided).

Our November Meeting - The Day of the Dead

Tuesday, November 6, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

For our November 6 meeting Comunidad will be celebrating Mexican Day of the Dead. Comunidad members are encouraged to pictures for loved ones to place on the altar. There will be film clips of the movie CoCo to explain the Day of the Dead tradition and a prayer service to commemorate our deceased loved ones.

Mexican Day of the Dead is an interesting holiday celebrated in the cities and countryside in central and southern Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 &, 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Souls & All Saints Day. The indigenous people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. Read More

To highlight the event Comunidad will serve champurrado and sweet breads. Please join us

Our October Meeting - The Legacy of Sor Juana de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 — 1695)

Tuesday, October 2 2018, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Comunidad is extremely fortunate that Dr. Theresa Yugar consented to speak at our October 2 meeting. Dr. Yugar wrote her Master's and Doctoral theses on Sor Juana Inés la Cruz (Sister Joan Agnes of the Cross), entitled Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography and Text. Sor Juana was a 17th Century nun of Order of St. Jerome, a self-taught scholar and student of scientific thought, a philosopher, a composer, and a poet.

In her thesis Dr. Yugar discusses the life of Sor Juana through a feminist lense. Dr. Yugar argues Sor Juana is the first feminist of the Americas and even one of the first ecofeminists. She claims that Sor Juana was ahead of her time and was able to intelligently critique the oppressive, patriarchal structures of the church. The areas of focus in terms of Sor Juana’s advocacy are: compulsory education, gender equality, linguistic rights, and ecology.

Light refreshment will be served. Please join us in for what promises to be an enlightening evening.

Friday, August 3, 2018 The Twentieth-Century Way - a play by Tom Jacobson

Join the members of Comunidad, step into the time machine and examine the antagonistic relationship between the police and the LGBTQ community in 1914 Long Beach. “Based on the true story of two actors who hired themselves out to the Long Beach Police Department in 1914 to entrap “the unwary” in public restrooms, this highly theatrical tour-de-force brings to life a little-known episode in Long Beach history and the history of LGBTQ rights. As these two actors become absorbed within their play-within-a-play, they explore sexual identity, institutional corruption, self-deception, and the mysteries of the craft of the theatre. This timely look at another time warns of the dangers of a government infringing on the private right to love.”

Comunidad will be meeting at the Long Beach Playhouse on Friday, August 3 at 8:00 pm. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Ed at (714) 876-7414.

Comunidad’s 2018 Long Beach Pride Plans

Pride weekend is Saturday and Sunday, May 19 & 20.

The Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Phd wrote: “LGBT Pride is more than just a celebration of secular values of equality, justice, human rights, and freedom. Pride Month is also a profoundly spiritual celebration of seeing ourselves as beloved children of God. Sometimes we may fall short of the mark, but who doesn't? In the end, we are made in the image and likeness of a God who loves us for who we are. Period. And that is truly a cause for celebration!”

God created us in the womb, and declared us acceptable. No one has the right to deny us our full inheritance as children of God, or to make our membership provisional. For 30 years this has been the constant message of Comunidad.

Every year at the Long Beach Pride festival Comunidad sponsors the "Welcome Home, Catholics" booth. Comunidad proclaims our message and our life in the Church. If you attend the festival, drop by our booth and say "Hello" to Comunidad members-at-large David Kennedy or Steven Nadolny. If you would like to spread the Comunidad message, join David and Steven and help staff the booth, please contact David Kennedy at our May meeting or by email at comunidad@comunidadlb.org

Our April Meeting: Movie Night - Love Free or Die

Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On Tuesday, April 3rd, Comunidad will show the documentary Love Free or Die. Love Free or Die is about a man whose two defining passions are in direct conflict: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Gene Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom.

His consecration in 2003, to which he wore a bullet-proof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since. The film follows Robinson's personal story as American churches debate whether or not lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of God while our nation debates whether LGBT people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of the law. In Love Free or Die, Bishop Gene steps onto the world stage as he travels from small-town churches to Washington's Lincoln Memorial to London's Lambeth Palace calling for all to stand for equality - inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history.(from IMDB)

"Movie" refreshments will be served. Please join us for a look at this unique man. All are welcome.

Our March Meeting: Mary and the Passion

Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On Tuesday, March 6th for our Lenten program we will gather in the Church at 7:00 pm where the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary will be conjoined. We will concentrate on the five Stations which focus on Mary’s interactions with her son. Participants are encouraged to bring their Rosaries. We will also have some available.

Lent is a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. On Ash Wednesday we are called to “Repent and be faithful to the Gospel.” We look at what we need to change in our lives to help us get closer to God and to live more fully who God calls us to be. We are called to “Rend our hearts and not our garments” – to be true disciples.

As Catholics we see Mary as not only Jesus’ Mother, but as our spiritual mother as well. In our spiritual tradition as in life we often turn to our mothers for encouragement, consolation and support in times of need. Many of us often turn to Mary for strength, guidance and support. Our Mother Mary has a unique place in our Catholic faith as the faithful servant of God’s Plan, handmaiden of God and the first disciple. She also has a special place in the Way of the Cross. Please join us for a program of prayer and discussion.

After the program we will proceed to Father Gerald Meisel Parish Hall for a simple soup supper. All are welcome.

Our February Meeting: La Maschera

Mario Lanza as Canio the clown

Tuesday, February 6, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

In the opera Pagliacci (The Clowns), Canio, the clown, must put on his clown mask and play a clown despite his painful existence. He must convince himself of his role; he must make the audience laugh. Masking is a process in which we change or “mask” our natural personality to conform to social pressures, abuse, and/or harassment. We may not even be conscious of wearing the mask or the image we are projecting.

Comunidad will meet in the Father Gerald Meisel Parish Hall on Tuesday, February 6th at 7 PM for our pre-Lent meeting. We will have an interactive discussion of the psychological masks we wear. There will also be a display of Mardi Gras masks representing celebrations from Venice and New Orleans. The meeting will be followed by an Italian meal. All are welcome

Our January Meeting: A Eucharistic Meal

Tuesday, Januray 2, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

This year and every year Comunidad begins the new year with a Eucharistic Meal. Our spiritual director, Fr. Bill McLean, will celebrate the Mass. Please join us on January 2 as Comunidad celebrates the Eucharistic Meal.

The Gospel reading for January 2 depicts the Pharisees interrogating John the Baptist: “ Who are you?” John knew who he was and what his role was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, Make straight the way of the Lord.” John’s role was to give testimony to the Christ. As LGBT persons we should ask ourselves: who are we, how do we give testimony to the Christ. By our baptism we receive the seal of Christ. However, we live in a world of sin. Have we ceased giving testimony to Christ, to our children, to our families, to the world? Have we become vectors of sin? The Church offers to us the sacraments to steer us along the right path.

Our October Meeting: Movie - Anyone and Everyone

Tuesday, October 3, 7:00 p.m., Class Room #2, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On Tuesday October 3 Comunidad will feature the 2007 documentary Anyone and Everyone. Coming out is often fraught with problems for both the person coming out and the parents. Anyone and Everyone depicts families connected by having a son or daughter who is gay. Individuals from such diverse backgrounds as Japanese, Bolivian, and Cherokee, as well as from various religious denominations such as Mormon, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Hindu, and Southern Baptist, share intimate accounts of how their children revealed their sexual orientation and discuss their responses. The parents also talk about struggling with the pain of their sons and daughters dealing with not being accepted by relatives or friends, and being ostracized by religious congregations (IMDB.com).
Light refreshments will be served. Please join us for this unique look at the coming out process. All are welcome.

Our April Meeting: Seven Last Words of Jesus

Jesus dies on the cross by Jessica Miller Kelley

Tuesday, April 4, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

On Tuesday, April 4th, our Lenten journey continues. Please join us as we examine ”The Last Words of Jesus“ through reading, meditation, prayer, reflection and sharing. While theses seven last statements of Jesus on the cross do not appear in any one Gospel account, together they explore the universal themes of forgiveness, salvation, relationship, abandonment, distress, triumph and reunion.

So that we can explore various translations, participants are invited to bring their favorite New Testament translations in print or via their smart phones. Light refreshments will be served.

Our February Meeting: Special Screening of the Documentary, Inspired - Voices against Prop 8.

Tuesday, February 7, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Comunidad is proud to screen Inspired, The Voices against Prop. 8. INSPIRED is a documentary film chronicling several people's lives in the wake of the passage of Prop 8. Arresting live footage follows average people from all walks of life, inspired to action in ways they never dreamed. Experience the passionate rallies and defiant marches of the new gay rights movement as it swept through Southern California. Intimate interviews reveal all the ways the movement comes together, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways it can be pulled apart from within. INSPIRED: THE VOICES AGAINST PROP 8 goes behind the headlines and propaganda to explore the real people who make up a movement. The producer of Inspired, Charlie Gage, will be present to answer your questions.

Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

Our January Meeting: Comunidad Prays a Special Mass of Trust in the God's Love.

Tuesday, January 3, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

The prophet Isaiah reassured the Israelites that God would always be with them: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”

As Isaiah reassured the Israelites of God's uncompromising love, in these uncertain times we need a reminder that God is with us. Comunidad will begin the new year with our chaplain Fr. Bill McLean celebrating a dialogue Mass focusing on the topic of Trust in God's Love.

Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

Our October Meeting: Remembering Matthew Shepard by screening the video October Mourning - A Song for Matthew Shepard

Tuesday, October 4th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

October 6, 1998 is a date which still resonates with the Gay community. It was the date that Matthew Shepard, a gay, twenty-one-year college student was savagely beaten, tied to a remote fence and left to die. The account of his torture was oft depicted in the arts, mostly notably in the play The Laramie Project . For our October meeting, Comunidad will pay tribute to Matthew by presenting the video October Mourning-A Song for Matthew Shepard. October Morning was initially performed on October 17, 2012 at the First Congregational Church Long Beach. The book and lyrics was written by Lesléa Newman and the music was composed by Curtis Heard. A brief excerpt of this moving performance can be found by Clicking Here. Please join us.

Our 30th Anniversary Mass

A photo of the altar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood taken a few years ago, just prior the start of the mass celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics (now called Catholic Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Persons)—which Saint Matthew’s was a founding member of back in 1986.
Credit: Gretchen German.

Sunday, June 26th, 3:00 p.m., St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Saint Matthew’s Church in Long Beach is proud to be a parish that offers a welcoming attitude to gays and lesbians. This year our Annual Pride Mass has a special significance since it celebrates our 30 Anniversary as a Catholic LGBT outreach group. The Mass follows Los Angeles County’s two major gay pride festivals. This year’s mass will be held in the church sanctuary and will be followed with a reception in the parish hall, which will include food, drinks, and an opportunity to celebrate our 30 years together as a community that openly and happily includes all of God’s people—gay and straight alike.

We hope you’ll join us!

Comunidad’s 2016 Long Beach Pride Plans

Pride weekend is Saturday and Sunday, May 21st and 22nd. We’ll be hosting a booth at the festival. Stop by and say “Hello!”

The relationship between the LGBT community and most Christian Churches has been decideldly strained. The following two remarks emphasize the strain. They are taken from the Gay Christian Network as quoted by the Huffington Post:

“This time last year I was standing in my closet with a noose around my neck wondering what it would be like to just end it all. I didn’t really have any hope.”
“My number one question I’ve asked everyone in one way or another was if I was good enough. I asked God if I was straight, could I be good enough?”

Comunidad member-at-large Anna Totta received the following text message for Irma J.

“Hi Anna! We finally set a date to baptize our daughter. It will be Sunday April 24 at 2pm at St Matthews. We would love it if you and any other Comunidad members can join us. Comunidad is an instrumental part of why we are able to have this baptism for her.”

The theme of this year's Long Beach Pride is “Solidarity through Pride.” As Catholic Christians we also have mystical solidarity, Solidarity through Baptism.

Adapting the Long Beach Pride website definition:
SOLIDARITY: unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
THROUGH: moving in one side and out of the other side of (an opening, channel, or location).
BAPTISM: infusion of the grace by the Spirit which binds us to each other by becoming a full member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Does not the shepherd care for all of his sheep? God created us in the womb, and declared us acceptable. No one has the right to deny us our full inheritance as children of God, or to make our membership provisional. For 30 years this has been the constant message of Comunidad.

Every year at the Long Beach Pride festival Comunidad sponsors the "Welcome Home, Catholics" booth. Comunidad proclaims our message and our life in the Church. If you attend the festival, drop by our booth and say "Hello" to Comunidad members-at-large David Kennedy or Steven Nadolny. If you would like to spread the Comunidad message, join David and Steven and help staff the booth, please contact David Kennedy at this e-mail address.

Tuesday, Februray 2nd, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

A Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations–on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. The "Carnival" season begins after the feast of the Epiphany. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.

For Comunidad February meeting, test your Mardi Gras knowledge with a special quiz. Please bring a dish or dessert to share. Celebratory dress and masks are optional, but don’t forget your beads.

Our October Meeting: Celebrating National Coming Out Day with a screening of the film Pride

Pride directed by Matthew Warchus, screenplay by Stephen Beresford, and staring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, and Paddy Considine, was nominated, among many other awards, for the Golden Globe (Holywood Foreign Press Assn.) best picture of the year, and it won many others, incl. Best British Independent Film of the year (British Independent Film Awards) and LGBTQ Film of the Year (Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association).

Tuesday, October 6th, 7:00 p.m. sharp!, Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

A reminder that our October meeting is tonight. We’ll be screening Pride, Matthew Warchus’ debut film of last year that turned heads and delighted audiences everywhere. Its subject is the inspiring, surprising, and true story of Thatcher-era LGBT advocates from London who took up the cause of out-of-work miners from Wales and improved the lot of both groups in the process. If you’ve never seen the film, please come, for you’ll be glad you did. It’s a terrific film. If you’ve already seen it, you’ll no doubt want to see it again. The film runs just under two hours, so we’ll be starting tonight’s meeting right on time at 7:00 p.m. Doors will be open a few minutes early and, as we do at each of our monthly gatherings, complimentary light food and drinks will be served.

Join us and the GLBT & Friends Groups from St. Luke’s and St. Wilfred’s Episcopal Churches in the 11th annual National Coming Out Day Service

Sunday, October 11th, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Santuary/Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 525 E. 7th Street, Long Beach

The program include testimonies by LGBTQ persons of faith, family members, and other supporters, and it will also include music and prayers. What is especially wonderful about the serivce is that, as it has for the past ten years, it is held as potent witness against the anti-queer violence and hate-filled messages that permeate our society, too much of it from religious organizations. A reception follows in the parish hall. For additional information, contact Tom Crowe at (562) 436-4047 or tomcrowelb@gmail.com.

A note about parking: St. Luke’s (map) has two parking lots, one just north of the church on the Atlantic Avenue side, the other on the back side of the church at the intersection of 7th Street and Linden Avenue.

Our February Meeting: A Screening of A Place To Live

Tuesday, February 3rd, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Join us for the award-winning documentary A Place to Live, directed by Carolyn Coal, which tells the story of seven individuals as they attempt to secure a home in Triangle Square, in Hollywood, CA, the nation’s first affordable housing community specifically for LGBT elders. Winner of the Audience Award at Outfest 2008, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, this insightful documentary will surely provoke a lively and important discussion about issues that concern many of us as we contemplate retirement.

The film will start at 7:15 p.m. (a little earlier than usual for the presentation part of our meetings) and a discussion period will follow. Refreshments and drinks will be provided.

“There is a misperception that all gays are young, fabulous and wealthy—but we’re not. We are all ethnicities, all socio-economic levels and all ages. I hope our film will bring attention to this issue of neglect and marginalization of our elders. Unless we work together as a community today, we will be confronted by the very same frustrations and difficulties that many older LGBT adults face now.”—Carolyn Coal, director

Our November Meeting: A presentation of Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall by the book’s author, Dr. Marie Cartier, with a Q&A to follow that will include testimony and participation of several persons who are profiled in the book.

Tuesday, November 4th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Parish Hall at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Dr. Marie Cartier and a cover of her book,
Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Rutledge, 2012).

For our November meeting, we’re excited to host Dr. Marie Cartier—scholar, artist, and activist who teaches in the Departments of Film and Media Studies at UC Irvine, and Gender and Women’s Studies at CSU Northridge—who will be discussing her new book, Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall. It’s a book that examines the American butch-femme bar culture of the mid-twentieth century, a topic that, even in its secular aspects, scholars have insufficiently studied, let alone with respect to the topic’s religious aspects, which Dr. Cartier places a special emphasis on. One of the book’s central arguments is that lesbian bars should be understood not as spaces in which women merely hid out in, but as sacred spaces where women congregated, community flourished, and where traditional and non-traditional religious activities took place. Before Stonewall, she reminds us, when homosexuals were still deemed mentally ill by the medical establishment and declared unwelcome by people all around them, bars were often the only place where gays and lesbians could experience any sense of community. Her book explores this largely unexamined and important history, revealing, for example, that religious institutions such as the Metropolitan Community Church were founded in such bars. Dr. Cartier’s work draws on more than 100 interviews, a third of them from residents in Long Beach, and a quarter of them with women of color. We’re delighted to announce that several of these women will be on hand to participate in our discussion of the book and the lived and lively history that the book documents.

Copies of Baby You Are My Religion can be purchased at the meeting and Dr. Cartier has graciously agreed to sign copies if persons wish them to be inscribed.

Our October Meeting: Exploring Franciscan Spirituality with Fr. William “Rusty” Shaughnessy, ofm

Tuesday, October 7th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Parish Hall at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Detail from stained glass window at Demindere Franciscus Museum in Sint-Truiden, Belgium

This October we’re partnering with the parish’s Faith Formation committee to host an evening of learning and understanding about Franciscan spirituality. It’s one of three events that the parish is holding this fall to explore this important, rich, and ancient tradition within Catholic life.

It’s hard to underestimate the profound effect that St Francis has had on the Church. His vision of a more harmonious and Christ-like life has contrasted, sometimes wildly, with other spiritual philosophies. And, yet, the Church continues to come back again and again to Francis’s writings and teachings and be inspired by Francis’s example (witness the Holy Father today) and the Franciscan Order continues to serve as an attractive, viable, and meaningful way of living in community with others. Born in 1181 or 1182, Francis did not show any serious interest in ministry until about 1208, when he was 25 years old, and he died a short 20 years later. Nevertheless, so remarkable, widespread, and positive was his re-imagining of what lived Christianity could be, which he and the Order he founded carried out, that Gregory IX canonized him, in 1228, only two years after his death. Indeed, it’s not far reaching to say that Francis’s teachings and example revolutionized the Church in his own day. But for those of us living in the twenty-first century, just what is “Franciscan Spirituality,” and how does it contrast and compare with other popular and still-present Catholic traditions such as Benedictine, Jesuit, and Dominican prayer, service, and devotional practices? And how can lay persons implement various features of Franciscan spirituality into their own lives?

That is in part, the topic of our program. And we are blessed to have as our speaker Fr. William “Rusty” Shaughnessy, ofm—a Fransciscan friar—of Ss. Simon and Jude parish in Huntington Beach.

Please join us for what will surely be an interesting and informative presentation. As is Comunidad’s custom, drinks and light food will be available.

A Note about parking for those that have never been to Saint Matthew Church: There are three entrances to the parking lot, one off Temple Ave. (to the right of the rectory/parish office building, which is just to the right of the church building), and two others off Theresa St (which parallels 7th St.).

Our February Meeting: Prayers for Bobby

Tuesday, February 4th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach

Marie Cartier joins us this month for an important discussion about the intersection of religious convictions, family life, and homosexuality. Our program will begin with an introduction to these themes, and then move into a screening of the powerful and award-winning film Prayers for Bobby that stars Sigourney Weaver, Ryan Kelly, and Henry Czerny. In universally praised performances, Prayers for Bobby depicts the real-life story of Mary Griffith, a devout, suburban housewife from Walnut Creek, California who comes to realize, struggle, and come to terms with the fact that her son is gay. As insightful and entertaining as the film is, it's the discussion after the film, which Marie will facilitate, that will permit us to consider some of the film's messages and how they might prove useful in our lives.