World Youth Day Pilgrim Profile: Delfin Bautista

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. Here on the 20/30 blog, we’re introducing you to these brave young adults. And now, Delfin Bautista, member of Call To Action and Dignity USA:

delfin bautista

My desire to become part of this pilgrimage stems from wanting to work with others in creating spaces where queer folk are celebrated as whole persons in both the church and in society. As a social worker and theologian I am passionate about helping others claim and reclaim their voices within religious circles in order to challenge our faith communities to radically embrace inclusivity and justice. Having been raised in a conservative Catholic home, I understand the fears of considering progressive ideas of faith, sexuality, and God—while also knowing first hand the hope-filled reality that transformation is possible within oneself, one’s family, and one’s community. As a trans Latino Catholic I want to ensure that our church fully live a gospel that embraces and celebrates people from brokenness into wholeness.

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World Youth Day Pilgrim Profile: Sara Kelley

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.  Here on the 20/30 blog, we’re introducing you to these brave young adults.  Next up, Sara Kelley:

Sara Kelley, Call To Action member

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I feel called because of my own experience stumbling upon LGBTQ Catholics, which is where I learned that queer and Catholic aren’t mutually exclusive. I was a Jesuit Volunteer in 2008-2009, and planned on spending the year learning about other faiths which might welcome me, as I had not had that experience in the Catholic church (in which I was raised) or in the Bahai faith (which I was involved with for several years in college). I attended several denominations, met many welcoming people, but nothing compared the curiosity and joy I felt when I was told about a retreat for gay Catholics. I attended the retreat and met many wonderful people who had been brave enough not to let go of something they loved simply because someone told them they should. That was my discovery not just of queer Catholics, but progressives within the church. If I can be a part of helping any youth’s life who realized s/he does not need to give up a faith which s/he loves because of sexuality, I would relish that opportunity.

World Youth Day Pilgrim Profile: Megan Graves

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:

Megan Graves

Megan Graves photo

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.

The “JP2 Generation”

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the passing from this world of the late Servant of God: Pope John Paul II. Acclaimed by some already as “the Great” Pope John Paul II was undoubtedly one of the most charismatic and influential Pontiffs of the Church during the Twentieth Century. One of his most endearing qualities was his ability to relate to, inspire, and identify with young people.

World Youth Day, the global youth convention of his creation held every few years, was his primary venue for unleashing his enthusiastic encouragement towards youths. The essence of Pope John Paul’s message was always that Jesus Christ is the only way to true fulfillment in one’s life. The Catholic Church as well as all Christian traditions proclaims Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. However, some of Pope John Paul’s methods and interpretations of this “Truth”

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