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Epistles from Within our Midst

By Marianne Duddy-Burke

Marty Haugen’s All Are Welcome has become something of an anthem for LGBT Catholics, and for good reason. The conviction that our Church, our Eucharistic table, should be a place where everyone is honored and embraced has deep resonance in a community that has known exclusion and isolation.

The hymn’s third verse is

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
And words are strong and true,
Where all God's children dare to seek
To dream God's reign anew.

These words feel particularly relevant for this issue of Quarterly Voices, in which we’ve asked members of underrepresented groups within Dignity to share their reflections. We are striving to be a community that lives out our belief that the Divine is incarnated in every human being. That means ensuring that everyone has a place, a voice, and a chance to shine her or his own light.

Since our earliest days, DignityUSA has been a community made up of lots of different kinds of people. We have had members of many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, identities, genders, income levels, health statuses, ages, etc. That has been part of our strength. Yet, we continue to hear that some in our midst—and some who try us for a while but don’t find a home with us—feel disregarded when they voice their experiences and perspectives.

In these pages, we have Epistles from prophets whose stories help shape the Dignity story. I found their messages moving, inspiring, and honest. I feel grateful each is a part of our community, and that they are willing to speak strong, true words. I hope that you, too, hear the voice of God in these sacred texts, and that our house becomes stronger, more beautiful, and a more open and welcoming place.