Gays and Grays : The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish
Gays and Grays tells the story of a unique Catholic parish. Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco is in the center of the world's first gay neighborhood, The Castro. This parish was the center of the hostility to the arriving gay population in the 1970s; but paradoxically was itself transformed into a welcoming parish. The old time parishioners, 'the gray,' bonded with the new comers, 'the gay, ' particularly in a joint compassionate response to the crisis of AIDS. A charismatic pastor, FR Tony McGuire also played a key role in the transformation of this interesting parish. Most Holy Redeemer was changed from a dying parish to a vital place where gay and straight people together created something new. Father Donal Godfrey shows how this parish became prophetic and compassionate, through conflict and compromise at times; despite opposition from many sources, including the institutionalized homophobia of the church and society. Rather than becoming embittered, the parish opened up to be a place of healing and indeed sanctuary for many. This book tells this fascinating story and why it is significant beyond the scope of San Francisco. Most Holy Redeemer is a place which has remained within the institution while at the same time challenging it with grace and humor. This accessible and moving book is appropriate for all levels of students of congregational studies, Sociology of Religion, Gay or Queer Studies and Religion courses.
- Paperback | 208 pages
- 149.86 x 226.06 x 17.78mm | 317.51g
- 30 Apr 2008
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
Chapter 1 The First Eighty Years Chapter 2 Fr Anthony McGuire Chapter 3 Bearing Witness in a Time of AIDS Chapter 4 Father Zachary Shore Chapter 5 A Queer Sanctuary?
Gays and Grays is a fascinating history of a congregation in a changing neighborhood that decides to continue ministering to its existing congregation (the grays) while including a radically new constituency (the gays), and grow numerically in the process. In some ways this book could be a handbook on organizational change: Godfrey gives the reader intimate details of the step by step process through which the leadership of the congregation, clergy and lay, took initiative, resisted restraining forces, and stayed faithful to its missions (to gay and gray). What is special about this book is that it does not see change as happening through a single denouement that sets everything on the path to fulfillment; rather it documents the many, many actions and accomplishments needed to finally add up to significant change. The book is rich with understanding of the various voices within the gay community, the complexity of the Catholic Church (including the Archdiocese and Rome), and the interconnectedness of this congregation with other churches and groups with the community. If you're looking for a good read, deeper understanding of the gay community in San Francisco, how to initiate and carry out change in a congregation, this is the book for you. -- Speed Leas Gays and Grays tells the story of a colorful community of Catholic Christians that in theory cannot exist but which maintains a vibrant ministry in a community where it doesn't seem to fit. Donal Godfrey has given an important gift to all who care about congregations and their ability to adapt to changing communities. It belongs in the libraries of bishops, seminaries and students of congregational life in America across the usual lines of denomination and sexual orientation. -- William McKinney, President Emeritus, Pacific School of Religion Gays and Grays provides an excellent local history of Catholic culture and gay and lesbian issues. * Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture * This book shows how a very ordinary parish has shown remarkable pastoral strength in very changed and often hard times. -- Fergus O'Donoghue S.J. * Studies 2008 * Donal Godfrey has wriitne a loving portrait. . . . This study is filled with surprising stories and everyday heroes. . . . Godfrey has written a sensitive study that gives ample material for reflection on what it means to be church. * American Catholic Studies, Fall 2008 * Those who love Most Holy Redeemer Parish, a group far more widespread than those lucky enough to be regular worshippers there, will be delighted to have this gem of a history. It chronicles how a 'run of the mill parish' became a globally-known mission outpost. More than that, MHR found itself, through dark decades, keeping alive the deep and tender hopes of many gay people and their straight friends and relatives that the Catholic institutional structure might one day catch up with the richest directions of its own Faith. And MHR did, and does, this by manifesting that what is theoretically impossible, a normally Catholic and normally gay life of faith, is not only possible, but appears to be especially blessed by the Holy Spirit. Donal Godfrey, a master in the art of letting many different voices speak, has given us more than a record of the warts-and-all history of the parish, lovingly researched and readably retold: he offers us a theological witness to the work of the One who makes all things new. -- James Alison, priest, theologian, and author
About Donal Godfrey
Donal Godfrey, S.J., is executive director of university ministry at the University of San Francisco.