We gathered on Sunday, 9 December at the Bar Convent, York to celebrate the first anniversary of the inauguration of the new ministry that gives an explicit welcome to LGBT+ Catholics, their families and friends.

  Every second Sunday of the month since December, 2017, the Sisters of the Bar Convent have welcomed hundreds from across the north of England – and from all Dioceses – who would like to attend the mid-afternoon Mass, ministered by Fr Tony.

  At these monthly Masses, LGBT sisters and brothers and their families and friends come to truly know that they are welcome and have a place in the Diocese and in the celebration of the Holy Mass.  Finally, the question that was asked, “How do the people of faith and who identify as LGBT+ hear the Good News of Jesus Christ in a place where All Are Welcome” has been answered.  One year on from that momentous beginning, attendance at these monthly Masses has exceeded all expectations with the Chapel being packed to the rafters.  It has been a truly remarkable journey and an incredible outpouring that has reaffirmed many people in their faith and in their sense of belonging within the Catholic Church.

  In reaching out, and through prayer and patient listening, this outreach has proven to be completely transparent and genuinely focussed on assuaging the anxieties of LGBT+ Catholics progressing in their journey to God and in their relationship with the Church.

  All people of Good Will are welcome to be part of this great development and we are especially grateful for all the prayers and kind words that have come our way because of this ground-breaking ministry.  At the Celebration Mass in December, Bishop Terry, Diocese of Middlesbrough, co-celebrated and affirmed his support for the wonderful work that has been undertaken by Fr Tony and his team.

  In December it was announced that another English Diocese – with the active support of their Bishop – will also begin regular Masses for the LGBT+ community, family and friends.  This Diocese will make its own announcement in due time and we offer them all our prayers that the Holy Spirit guide and lead this new ministry to ever closer union with the merciful heart of Jesus Christ our saviour.  Anyone from Hallam Diocese who would like to know more about this ministry can visit https://www.lgbtmiddlesbroughcatholic.org.uk/ to get the latest information.

Dominic Maloney, Sacred Heart Church, Hillsborough