Pittsburgh bishop calls for cancellation of ‘Pride Mass’ at Catholic university

In this 2015 file photo, LGBTQ supporters wave a flag outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

(OSV News) – A Pennsylvania bishop has called for the cancellation of a “Pride Mass” reportedly set to take place at a Catholic university in his diocese.

The June 11 liturgy, coinciding with the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), is scheduled to be celebrated at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, according to The Daily Signal, which is a news platform of The Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.

An event flyer for the Mass obtained by The Daily Signal lists the presider as “Fr. Doug Boud, with Deacons Herb Riley and Keith Kondrich,” and “Vicki Sheridan” as “Scripture commentator.”

OSV News was unable to verify a priest by the name of Fr. Doug Boud, although Father Douglas A. Boyd is an institutional chaplain in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Deacons Riley and Kondrich are assigned to St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Pittsburgh, and Sheridan is a coordinator of The Welcome Table, an LGBTQ ministry based at St. Mary Magdalene Parish, a merged parish serving several communities in Pittsburgh’s East End section. St. Mary Magdalene’s pastor, Father Thomas Burke, also is a coordinator of the ministry.

Among the groups listed as “co-hosting” or affiliated with the event were Catholics for Change in Our Church, a self-described “independent organization of concerned, committed Catholics … formed to affirm the laity’s rightful role of co-responsibility in the church”; the LGBTQ Outreach Ministry at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Pittsburgh; Pax Christi; and The Welcome Table.

But the Mass, which prompted several calls and complaints, apparently came as a surprise to both the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, which is a Catholic university founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.

In a letter to clergy and to inquiries about the Mass, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said “neither I, as Bishop of the diocese, nor President Ken Gormley of Duquesne University knew anything about the Mass until calls came in to our respective offices over the (Memorial Day) holiday weekend.”

“Many of the responses to the flyer jumped to the conclusion that I gave approval to this event. I did not,” said Bishop Zubik, noting that “many of the responses also used condemning and threatening, and some might say hateful, language not in keeping with Christian charity.”

Bishop Zubik said he had learned that “independent sponsors, without the authorization of the pastors of the parishes listed, promoted the event with a flyer that confused some and enraged others.”

“This event was billed as a ‘Pride Mass,’ organized to coincide with Pride Month, an annual secular observance that supports members of the LGBTQ community on every level, including lifestyle and behavior, which the church cannot endorse,” said Bishop Zubik.

“Given all that has transpired surrounding this event, I am asking that this gathering be canceled,” he said. “It is my prayer we all, inclusive of the LGBTQ community, gather together on June 11th in our churches and chapels to celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, and focus our attention on the Body of Christ in the Sacred Eucharist and the Body of Christ as the Church.”

OSV News has not yet received responses to requests for comment by Duquesne University, Father Burke, Vicki Sheridan and Catholics for Change in Our Church.


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