The Deacon's Bench

It’s not often that a beautiful and historic church in a city like New York gets a new altar — and gets a full-blown rededication, complete with cardinal and archbishop. But that happened recently at St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan.

The church, as you can see in the video below (beautifully shot and produced by Scott Ness, of “Currents,”) is magnificent. The parish is clearly thriving.

Some may remember that it sparked controversy recently over the parish’s participation in New York’s Gay Pride parade.
Which prompted the pastor yesterday to release the following statment:

In past years, a group of parishioners from our parish who are members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered (LGBT) Ministries have participated in the Gay Pride March. They displayed a banner identifying themselves as parishioners of St. Francis Xavier parish. This year, Archbishop Dolan has requested that this group refrain from displaying the parish banner as they March.

The participation of parishioners in the March provides an opportunity to spread the message of God’s unconditional love and thus is a form of evangelization. Spreading the Good News is an integral part of the mission of our parish. During the March, parishioners distribute Welcome Brochures. Many people have entered the Church or returned to the Sacraments through this pastoral outreach.
Nevertheless, the display of the parish banner may give the false impression that the parish is somehow serving as a sponsoring organization or officially endorsing other sentiments that may appear in the course of the March.

Avoiding such confusion is the motivation for the Archbishop’s request.

The St. Francis Xavier LGBT Ministries will respect the Archbishop’s request and will be marching this year without a banner identifying our parish. Efforts to reach out to those who are open to the Gospel will continue. The desire of everyone at St. Francis Xavier parish is that we proclaim the infinite love of God for all while upholding the Church’s spiritual values and moral teachings.

Meantime, enjoy the video below (which features members of the LGBT ministry being introduced during the mass.) 

It’s a big church. In every sense.

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