Reclaim Program to Offer Support to Gays in Raleigh

HNP Communications Around the Province

RALEIGH, N.C. — A support group at St. Francis of Assisi Church for gay and lesbian Catholics has gained community attention for its upcoming Reclaim program. This six-week program is aimed at providing a welcoming and accepting place to share journeys as a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) Catholic, according to its leaders.

A Nov. 22 article in the Independent Weekly newspaper, serving “the Triangle” area, said that people use the parish-supported St. Francis Gay and Lesbian Ministry to gays and lesbians to “reclaim their Catholic identity.”

Reclaim is not an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, said Jane Paris, one of the ministry’s co-leaders, according to the article which can be found through the newspaper’s web site. It is designed as a support group for GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) Catholics. The ministry, which includes a mission statement and a gay and straight steering committee, has been “viscerally integrated into the life of the community at St. Francis,” according  to Chuck Small, the ministry’s co-leader.

The six-week program “assumes an acceptance of GLBT people as a wonderful part of God’s creation,” says a promotional flier.

An information session about Reclaim is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, Jan. 7, at St. Francis of Assisi Church.  Information about the St. Francis Gay and Lesbian ministry is available on the parish’s Web site.

“We’re an evolving Church,” said Jane.