A Weekend with Dignity
This year I spent a long Fourth of July weekend in the beautiful city of Seattle. I was in Seattle to represent CTA at the bi-annual Dignity USA Convention. I would like to share with you three of my most profound experiences at the convention.
First experience was on Thursday evening. We began with Opening Ceremonies, it was my first chance to see so many old friends whom I hadn’t seen in years. During the opening ceremonies Dignity recognized high school students from Eastside Catholic. They organized protest when one of their teachers was fired for marrying his partner. One of the students, Sam Kehoe blew us all away with his poise and dedication to justice during his speech. He is an incredible ally and there is no doubt in my mind he will be very successful in whatever he chooses to do. It is important for the Church to recognize the changing attitudes held by most young people in our church. His open heart and open mind were a breath of fresh air.
Second, was the Saturday morning Plenary talk by Paul Coutinho. He challenged us to look at God anew, to change our perceptions of our relationships with God. In his unique Ignatian way, he moved us beyond our own boundaries to new levels of intimacy with our God. One quote I have thought of so many times since Saturday morning was ” If you think you can offend God by your sin you must be very arrogant.” Such a wonderful quote which exemplifies changing our focus from a relationship rooted in “me sinful, God holy” to a relationship totally built on love and acceptance.
Third experience, was the wonderful relationships that were formed. From reconnecting with all my old friends and sharing stories both old and new, to building lifelong relationships with new friends. After I was introduced as the representative for CTA National, it was amazing how many people came up to me to express gratitude for CTA’s mission and the work that CTA does.
Laughs over wine, tears during liturgy, times to just sit and talk or explore the city, It was wonderful to be with so many people going through the struggles and joys of this church we call home. If you have never attended a Dignity Convention I encourage you to do so. I am looking forward to 2017 when we will all meet again in the great city of Boston.