Supportive Masses for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics.
Post Office Box 8113, Portland, ME 04104-8113
Dignity/Maine is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics; it is the Maine branch of the national organization Dignity/USA.
Dignity/USA was started in 1969 by Father Pat Nidorf, an Augustinian priest and psychologist who ministered to the lesbian and gay community in San Diego. Father Pat named the group Dignity because his goal was "to bring dignity into the spiritual and social lives of some very special people." He believed that lesbian women and gay men can express their sexuality in a way that is not sinful, and consonant with Christ's teaching. His organization grew and moved to Los Angeles, where it met at St. Brendan's parish. There, the group helped many lesbian and gay Catholics live more holy and sacramental lives.
Despite opposition from the Church, Dignity grew to become an international organization with 110 chapters. At present there are 78 chapters in cities throughout the United States. Dignity's members include gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics, clergy, people in religious orders, and supportive friends and family.
Here in Maine, Dignity has been active since the mid 1980's. With a volunteer priest, we celebrate the Mass together once a week, and take part in retreats and conferences sponsored by Dignity/USA. Our goal is to be of service to one another and to the community as Christ taught us to be. We are committed to spiritual development, educational outreach, social and religious reform, and advocacy of some feminist and progressive issues. Although most of us are active in our own parishes, we look forward to our weekly Masses and the social time we spend together after them.
We believe that gay and lesbian Catholics are members of Christ's mystical body, numbered among the people of God. We have an inherent dignity because God created us, Christ died for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctified us in Baptism, making us Temples of the Spirit, and channels through which God's love might become visible.
Because of this, it is our right, our privilege, and our duty to live the sacramental life of the Church, so that we might become more powerful instruments of God's love working among all people. We believe that gay men and lesbian women can express their sexuality in a manner that is consonant with Christ's teaching. We believe that we can express our sexuality physically in a manner that is loving, life-giving, and life-affirming. We believe that all sexuality should be exercised in an ethically responsible and unselfish way. Dignity is organized to unite gay and lesbian Catholics, to develop leadership, and to be an instrument through which we may be heard by the Church and Society.
You can join Dignity/USA (and at the same time join Dignity/Maine) by calling 800-877-8797. The address is:
1500 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005.
It is not necessary to be a member of Dignity to attend services. Scholarships are available for those in need. For more information, contact: Rosemary & Janet: 207-646-2820.