It's a good thing Pope Benedict XVI didn't try to drop in on Dignity/Washington for a special visit during his U.S. tour -- the GLBT Catholic group had a previous engagement, being on hand to accept the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance's Distinguished Service Award April 17. ''Members of Dignity/Washington and its sibling chapters across the country have held on to their Catholic identity,'' said GLAA President Barrett L. Brick, as he presented the award. ''As they do so, they stand as not so silent witnesses, refusing to be defined away.''
Dignity/Washington, a community of nearly 250 LGBT Catholics and other Christians with a 12-member board of directors, has been offering spiritual succor and standing up for gay Catholics for 36 years. A lack of recognition by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has not stopped Dignity/Washington, which is affiliated with the nationwide umbrella organization of Dignity/USA and Dignity chapters from across the country.
''We're an inclusive community, and we act as a bridge between the Catholic faith and a person's sexuality,'' says Dignity/Washington Vice President Jake Hudson. ''There are many of us who say, 'We didn't leave the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church left us.'''
Hudson emphasizes that Dignity/Washington is a diverse gathering of GLBT Catholics, family and friends celebrating the richness of their faith.
''We're an intentional community. People come to Dignity/Washington from all over the metro area to receive spiritual and social support.''
Dignity/Washington members gather every Sunday at 6 p.m. for Mass at the St. Margaret's Episcopal Church at 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW. For more information call 202-546-2235 or visit www.dignitywashington.org.