World Youth Day is this July 23-28 — and six Equally Blessed pilgrims are preparing for their journey to Rio de Janeiro, where they plan to be LGBTQ-positive presences at the large gathering of Catholic youth. According to the pilgrims’ website, their goal is “to raise awareness about issues of gender and sexuality in the lives of Catholics while also challenging harmful teachings and pastoral practices that dehumanize rather than celebrate the gifts LGBTQ people are to the church and to the world.” Learn more about their mission and plans here.
Here on the 20/30 blog, we’ll introduce you to these brave young adults. First up, Megan Graves:
The theme of WYD this year is “Go and make disciples of all nations” from the Gospel of Matthew. This theme indicates that it is the responsibility of the Church to welcome all people. In all honestly, I feel that the Catholic Church has done a poor job of welcoming those from the LGBTQ community. I constantly see media clips or news articles that shun people, and this must come to an end.
I would like to be a witness for the LGBTQ community because my Catholic faith challenges me to stand up and advocate for those who are turned away and belittled by society, even if I must stand up to my own faith who has taught me these very values. I am not afraid to stand up against injustice, and I want to work with others who are willing to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. As a bisexual Black Catholic, I feel as if the Church has taught me that I am not quite right, well I know who I am, and I know that I am loved by God, and no human institution can tell me otherwise.