Fortunately, I have an incredible best friend. We've had many conversations about cultural catholicism, and feeling as though there is a certain peace we both found in the ritual and tradition of not only Catholic masses, but the true, honest tenets of the faith. We also discussed our discomfort with the dogma of Roman Catholicism as well as the abuses of power that have damaged the lives of thousands of young people over the past many centuries. And, as women, I think we both disliked the patriarchy.
A few years ago, she uncovered St. Sebastian Independent Catholic Church in Fells Point, Baltimore. And with it, she discovered Father David. This is when a lot of things started making sense for me. The movement has many different names, but in general you'll hear it referred to as the Independent Catholic Church. I haven't wholly committed myself to it, in that I still feel a lot of residual distrust and reticency from my religious upbringing, but when I want the peace of a relatively conventional mass and the understanding/embrace of a faith-based community that is welcoming of people like me (LGBTQ folk) and focused on actually serving their community, I go there. It fulfills me, and time with Father David is profoundly wonderful. Em and I both love him so much that we've asked him to officiate our wedding.
On Saturday, Father David became Bishop Flaherty for the archdiocese of Baltimore for the Independent Catholic Church. The ordination was beautiful and moving. I was asked to take pictures at the last minute, and I've shared a few here.
Religion is such an awkward and polarizing subject. I have strong feelings about people, bloggers even, who make their faith abundantly obvious while writing about their daily goings-on. For some people, it is something that matters on a daily basis. For others, like me, it is just something that's there. I don't feel the need to proselytize or even think about it daily, but in the moments that I do, I feel especially appreciative to be a part of such a welcoming, progressive and unique congregation.