Jul 27 2013
Lauren and I attend a parish that we love in Baltimore. We feel very welcomed as a couple there, and never have to worry about being turned away from Communion or any of that other lame stuff. Here at World Youth Day, I have felt a little bit more nervous about that other lame stuff. We have been donning loads of rainbow attire, after all: rainbow sashes, rainbow pins, rainbow stickers, etc. Since I make a point of not attending churches in the U.S. where this might be a possibility, receiving communion at the masses we attended this week felt like a big deal to me.
We attended mass on Wednesday and on Friday of this week, and I am happy to report that all who went up for communion were able to receive. But standing in line to receive (especially on Wednesday), I have never felt so nervous in a communion line. It was a powerful spiritual experience for me.
Recently our parish back home has been doing a lot with the Eucharist, and it has begun to take on a new meaning for me. A book we read about the Eucharist talked about it being the only physical connection we have to Jesus. I also am so moved by the communal aspect of the Eucharist. In my mind, it is only because we all believe that the bread is transformed that it is actually transformed. I doubt that is sound Catholic theology, but that is what I think about it! I think these thoughts about the Eucharist made receiving communion the past few days the most powerful experience I have had while we've been here. It is a definite experience to be surrounded by hundreds of your peers receiving communion. It's even more of an experience to do it while worried the whole time that you might be denied.
The experience made me want to work all the more for this cause, because I know for some LGBT people, the threat of not receiving is with them every week. Maybe they are afraid of being out for that very reason. We have had some wonderful conversations here, productive and affirming. As we come to the end of our week, I hope to keep with me that feeling I had while walking down the aisle to receive communion. I hope it motivates me to keep doing this work, and to be even more grateful for the spaces where it is not a worry.
(photo: pilgrims receiving communion)