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 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.
The Religious Education Congress
The Religious Education Congress is being held March 15 (Youth Day) & March 16-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Congress offers workshops in evangelization, liturgy, theology, Scripture, spirituality, morality, parish leadership, detention ministry, peace and justice. Fr. Chris Bazyourous, director of the Congress, urges: "Come and hear the voice of Jesus calling to you to a more abundant life through the many conferences liturgies entertainment and resources that are offered throughout the weekend. Come and be replenished deep in your spirit and be challenged to live as a disciple fully alive in Christ."
The following workshops discuss LGBT issues:
Transgender in Our Schools: One Bread, One Body
Friday, March 16 - 1:00-2:00 pm
Arthur Fitzmaurice, PhD
Building a Bridge: Bringing Together LGBT Catholics and the Church
Saturday, March 17 - 1:00-2:30 pm
James Martin, SJ
The People of God Living with HIV/AIDS
Saturday, March 17 - 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Elizabeth Crabb Breen, Phd
Fr. Chris Ponnet
Teaching Mercy: Accompanying LGBT Students
Sunday, March 18 - 10:00 - 11:30 pm
Arthur Fitzmaurice, PhD
Fr. Chris Ponnet
Our February Meeting: La Maschera
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 December Meeting: Our Annual Christmas Party
Tuesday, December 5, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
As we love to do each Christmas season, we’ll be gathering together to celebrate the holiday in style and good cheer. This year, Comunidad will be hosting a holiday party potluck with lots of goodies and some classic Christmas tunes, which will make for a perfect excuse to wear that Christmas sweater or tie or scarf or hat that you haven’t been able to part with after all these years. So keep the date free on your calendar. If you’re able, please bring a side dish or dessert to share with fellow partygoers. There will also be a White Elephant exchange (the gifts will be provided).
Our November Meeting: All Soul Remembrance
Tuesday, November 7, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
From the Gospel reading for All Souls day Jesus said: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”(John 6:40). All Souls day is not merely a remembrance of our loved ones. For those who are saved are saved; those who are damned are damned. However, it is necessary to pray for those who have died and have been saved but need purification to achieve the holiness to enter the joy of heaven (Catholic Catechism: 1030-1032). Thus, praying for the dead is the real meaning of All Saints
Comunidad will meet on Tuesday, November 7th at 7:00 pm in the Fr. Gerald Meisel Parish Hall to remember family members and friends who have died. We will pray and share our memories of those we mourn. Participants are invited to bring photos and/or other remembrances. There will also be displays of various cultural traditions which comfort those who mourn. Lite refreshments will be served. All are welcome.
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.
Summer Ecumenical BBQ
Saturday, August 19th, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. in Huntington Beach
As happens every summer, members of Comunidad and members of lesbian and gay ministries of other faith traditions gather in Huntington Beach for an “ecumenical” barbeque. A relaxing and fun time is had by all. Please join us! Our hosts provide hamburgers, hot dogs, and margaritas—feel free to bring something other than an entrée to share. Please text Steven at (714) 536-5172 to RSVP and get directions.
Our June Meeting: Our Annual Pride Mass
Sunday, June 25th, 4:00 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 the LGBT community. This year our Annual Pride Mass celebrates our 31st 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 31 years together as a community that openly and happily includes all of God’s people.
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 April Meeting: Stations of the Cross
Jesus is given his cross by Jessica Miller Kelley
Tuesday, March 7, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
On Tuesday, March 7th, 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 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.
Parish Kermes Festival
Sunday, September 18th, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., St. Matthew Catholic Church grounds, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
Kermes Festival at St. Matthrew's Church in Winder, GA - April 2016
As parish communities do all over the world on or near the feast day of their patron, Saint Matthew’s Church hosts our annual festival on the Sunday nearest September 21st, the feast day of Saint Matthew, tax collector turned evangelizer, and the man credited with authorship of the first synoptic gospel.
On festival weekend, St. Matthew’s does not forget those sick either physically or spiritually. On Saturday September 17 at the 5:30 pm Mass, there will be a special Anointing of the Sick. Invoking our patron St. Matthew, the parish community will pray for healing.
This year’s festival begins after the 10:30a Mass on Sunday, the 18th, and continues until 4:00p. This year, as last, Comunidad will be sponsoring/staffing our ever-popular snow cone booth.
Beyond merely attending the festival—which features food, games, and music—you can help in one of two ways. The first is to purchase raffle tickets ($1 per ticket; for sale in the church courtyard after masses or at the Kermes; the drawing takes place at 5:00p on the 18th. The second is to help staff the Comunidad booth. Contact Steven Nadolny at (714) 536-5172 to help with the Snow Cone booth,
Friday, July 22, 2016 No-Host Dinner to honor St. Mary Magdalene.
St. Mary Magdalene at the Crucifixion
Friday, July 22, 2016 No-Host Dinner to honor St. Mary Magdalene.
When we think of Mary Magdalene, we recall her intense love of Jesus. She received this love from the Holy Spirit. She received the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way because of her perseverance. Just as Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit by preserving in sticking with him, so Mary Magdalene received the Spirit’s gift of love through her perseverance.
When almost all Jesus' disciples had abandoned him, Mary preserved at the foot of the cross. When everyone else has left Jesus’ tomb, Mary Magdalene preserved and was the first to meet the risen Christ. Moreover, when she recognized the risen Jesus, she clung to Him. Only Jesus’ words could break Mary Magdalene’s stick-to-it-iveness.
Friday July 22 is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene. If you have the opportunity to go to Mass, pray to St. Mary for perseverance to stay the course in our quest to know what the divine plan is for the LGBT community. In honor of St. Mary you are requested to join us at 6:30 pm at Baba Ghanouj Lebanese Restaurant in Long Beach for a no-host Mideastern dinner. Baba Ghanouj is located at 4276 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA just north of Carson St.
To be guaranteed a seat, please text Marilyn Pires at 562-706-7214.
Hollywood Bowl: Tango Under The Stars With Dudamel
Comunidad has purchased a limited number of tickets for the Hollywood Bowl's Tuesday August 2, 2016 performance of Tango Under the Stars with Gustavo Dudamel. Gustavo Dudamel accents the colors, rhythms, and passion of music by leading composers from Argentina in this invigorating evening under the stars.
If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, please contact David Kennedy at this e-mail address.
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.
Our April Meeting: LGBT Repression in Uganda
A 26-year-old gay Ugandan man, who insisted on anonymity because of fears for his safety, speaks to The Associated Press, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Tuesday, April 5th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
On Tuesday, April 5th at 7 PM in the Fr. Gerald Meisel Parish Hall, Comunidad is pleased to host a special speaker who will share his story of seeking asylum to escape from persecution in his homeland of Uganda because of his sexuality. He will discuss the life threatening conditions for LGBT persons in Uganda and recount his journey to say here in Long Beach. Please join us.
Our February Meeting: Comunidad celebrates Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras Lets Get the Party Started by Anthony Falbo
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 January Meeting: Comunidad Starts the New Year with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Tuesday, January 5th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
Starting the year in prayer, the first Comunidad meeting of 2016 will be a celebration of Mass in the Fr. Jerry Meisel Parish Hall by Comunidad's chaplain, Fr. Bill McLean. The Mass will include a dialog homily exploring the meaning of Epiphany in our lives. The meeting will start with socialization and announcements at 7:00 PM followed Mass at 7:30 PM. Refreshment will be served after the Mass. All are welcome.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
With sadness in our hearts, we announce the passing of Fr. Jerry Meisel
Our longtime and beloved pastor, Fr. Jerry Meisel, died early Monday morning, January 19th. Comunidad began in 1986 with his strong support, which continued throughout these many years.
Rev. Gerald Meisel, 1935-2015
Vigil with Rosary Tuesday, February 27th, 6:00–7:00 p.m; Funeral Mass Wednesday, February 28th, 11:00 a.m. at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
It is with tremendous sadness that Comunidad—indeed the whole parish community of St. Matthew’s—announces the passing of our beloved ex-pastor, Fr. Jerry Mesiel. Ordained a deacon in 1960 and a priest in 1961, he arrived at our parish in October of 1981. Two years later he became the parish’s administrator pro tem, and a few months later, on New Year’s day of 1984, he became our pastor and remained in that position until his retirement at the end of June in 2005. To our good fortune, Fr. Jerry continued to live in the parish rectory after his retirement from full-time ministry, and it was not unusual to see him greeting everyone whether coming to or leaving Mass on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings—no matter whether he was saying Mass. He enjoyed staying in-touch with the parishoners as much as we enjoyed staying in touch with him. He was a dedicated servant of the Lord who kept an ear and an eye open for those in need, and we will miss him deeply.
It was only two years into his tenure as pastor, in February 1986, that he responded gladly to Archbishop Roger Mahoney’s call to create welcoming and supportive ministries within archdiocesan parishes for gay and lesbian persons. Thus began our ministry. During these past twenty-eight years, even after Fr. Jerry retired, and in ways that many may not even realize, he remained an advocate and friend of our work. His memory and example will continue to inspire us.
We ask you to keep him in your prayers, and, if you can, please join us next week in celebrating his life.
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.).
The Stations service will take place in the parish church at 7:00p. Afterward, we’ll move to the hall, where a few announcements will be made and one important business matter will take place, which we urge you to be present for: a vote on proposed changes to Comunidad’s bylaws, which were formulated at the annual steering committee retreat, which took place in January. You can preview the proposed changes here.
There is still opportunity for readers of short passages that will be read during the Stations service, so please consider contacting Steven Nadolny at (714) 536-5172, who is coordinating the service part of the meeting, and lending your help. It will be much appreciated.
No matter your ability or desire to volunteer, we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
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.
Our January Meeting: Relationships, Recommitment, Renewal
Tuesday, January 7th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
In keeping with the spirit of the new year, our January meeting features a theme of renewal—renewal to ourselves, others, and the world at large. Vicki Sparks will be with us to facilitate a ritual of prayer and reflection on the previous year's experiences, which will culminate in an invitation, led by Anna Totta, to renew our spirits and make some meaningful resolutions for the New Year. Take a moment to invigorate your spiritual and physical life in this special event.
Our November Meeting: News on InterPride’s work for Human Rights
Tuesday, November 5th, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
We’re especially delighted to announce that Frank Rubio and Rhonda Fuller of Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride will be visiting in order to share important news from this year’s 21st annual InterPride meeting that took place in October in Montreal, Canada. Frank and Rhonda will be discussing the organization’s recent human rights achievements—and its struggles. They’ll also be screening of a short film about this work.
Have you traveled to a country where GLBTQ persons face persecution and even death? What about the upcoming winter Olympics in Russia? What is the international GLBTQ community doing to offer help? What can you do about it?
One of InterPride’s core missions, beyond coordinating and strengthening the planning of pride festivals around the globe, lies in the work of strengthening the efforts of human rights campaigns around the world for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals by bringing to bear the talents of its many international member groups with local leaders who are fighting for such rights in their respective countries. We should not forget that there are still many places around the globe (Russia, Jamaica, Uganda, to name only a few) where hostility and violence are common reactions to nascent Pride movements.
Learn how InterPride’s Human Rights committee helps throughout the world and what you and others can do to help the plight of our GLBTQ brothers and sisters.
Gender and Leadership Forum
Saturday, October 5th, 11:00 a.m., St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 525 E. 7th St. (7th St at Atlantic Ave), Long Beach
In connection with St. Luke’s annual “Coming Out in Long Beach” event, which will take place on the evening of Sunday, 6 October, a forum titled “Gender and Leadership: What Difference Does it Make?” will be led by the Very Rev. Silvia Sweeney, Dean of the Episcopal School of Theology at Claremont. The event is free and lunch is included—but please RSVP to Tom Crowe at (562) 491-3174 or via this e-mail address so that enough food can be prepared.
N.B. St. Luke’s 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. FParking that day will also be available at Trinity Lutheran Church, which is located at 7th and Linden (across from St. Luke’s parking lot).
Our October Meeting: An Important Film and Discussion
Tuesday, October 1st, 7:00 p.m., Fr. Gerald Meisel Hall, St. Matthew Catholic Church, 672 Temple Ave., Long Beach
We’re back on our normal meeting schedule with gatherings every first Tuesday of the month. This year’s kick-off meeting, in recognition of Coming Out month, is a screening of The Matthew Sheppard Story starring Stockard Channing and Sam Waterston. Dr. Marie Cartier, Film and Media Studies Professor at UCI, will be on hand to introduce the film and lead what we hope will be a lively discussion afterward. As usual, free food and drink will be offered. Apropos to a film screening, it will be hot dogs and popcorn. Donations are welcomed to help offset the cost.