Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

July 28, 2007


Cecilia, a friend of mine, is a vivacious Italian- American woman of forty. Her marriage to Marco, born in Malta, has produced two daughters, Rosa and Eleanora. They seem, in disposition and attractiveness, to be two distillations of their mother. Cecilia, among other activities in church affairs, gives reflections and meditations during Lent but in the hall of a neighboring parish. Her talks are well attended. Her own pastor does not favor such a role for a woman.

Chatting with Cecilia one day, I asked how things were going in her own parish. “Oh,” she replied, “I’ve switched to another parish. You know my brother, Sam, the gay one. He has been with his partner for over twenty years. Sam is very devout. He attends Mass regularly and is a member of the Padre Pio Association. He receives Communion.”

“Rosa and I and Sam,” she continued, “attended Mass together one Sunday. In his homily, the priest excoriated homosexuals on a number of accounts. As he warmed in his fervor, My daughter leaned over towards me. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ she said. ‘I can’t take this.’ I began to gather my things together and started to get up. Sam, my brother, my gay brother, caught my arm. ‘No,’ he said. ‘we’re staying. This is the Church of Jesus, not the church of that priest.’ We stayed for that Mass. But we soon enrolled in another parish.”

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