PHOTOS: LGBT Catholics and Supporters Call for Greater Inclusion in Notre Dame Event

By Adam Polaski • October 3, 2016 • 10:00 am

This Sunday, October 2, dozens of LGBT Catholics, people of faith, and their friends, families, and supporters came together for a Pilgrimage of Mercy in New York City. The event brought together alumni from the University of Notre Dame to call on Catholic bishops and institutions across the United States to embrace Pope Francis’ vision for greater mercy and compassion for LGBT Catholics, who continue to be marginalized by the Catholic Church. Much of the event specifically centered on the need to end discrimination against LGBT people in every sphere of life, including how the Catholic Church should be a leader in this work.

The event was led by the University of Notre Dame LGBT alumni group GALAND/SMC and supporters and coordinated in support of full inclusion and compassion for LGBT Catholics.

Chris Hartman, head of the Fairness Campaign in Kentucky, led the peaceful rally following the march at Columbus Circle. Raised Catholic himself, Hartman and the Fairness Campaign have been coordinating similar Catholics for Fairness events all across Kentucky for several years now. This event was modeled off of those events.

Next up was Jack Bergen, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1977 and is currently the chair of GALA ND/SMC. Freedom for All Americans profiled Jack last week in conjunction with this event. Check out his story here.

Phil Donahue, a media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show, graduated from Notre Dame in 1957 and is a board member of GALA ND/SMC. He spoke about his own journey toward full understanding and accept of LGBT people – and he encouraged the Catholic Church to do the same.

Francis DeBernardo, the Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, joined the crowd for a moving prayer and powerful request from the Catholic Church.

Warren Hall, who has made headlines this fall following as a priest who has been suspended by the Church for his support of LGBT people, also spoke.

And Holly Cargill-Cramer and Rosemary Grebin Palms represented Fortunate Families, a network of Catholic parents of LGBT children. They spoke about the importance of allies, the significance of remaining supportive, and more.

Greg Bourke (ND ’82) and his husband Michael De Leon, former plaintiffs in the Kentucky marriage lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court, ended the rally. The two men were named 2015 Persons of the Year by the National Catholic Reporter and have been instrumental in coordinating this event.

Several Freedom for All Americans staffers – Angela Dallara, Director of External Relations, and Adam Polaski, Deputy Digital Director – also attended.


Freedom for All Americans was proud to support this event, coordinated largely by the Fairness Campaign. Additional organizational support came from GLAADHuman Rights CampaignNew Ways MinistryEquality BlessedDignity/USA & local affiliate Dignity/New YorkOut At St PaulFortunate FamiliesBelieve Out Loud and Equality Federation.

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