On 21 May, Cardinal Joseph Tobin personally welcomed LGBTI people to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey as part of what he called the ‘LGBT Pilgrimage.’
A collaboration with a gay parish ministry group, this welcoming of LGBTI people in a Catholic setting is historic. In the past, marchers at the New York Pride parade were barred from entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue.
Cardinal Tobin, appointed by Pope Francis, worked with Redemptorist Father Francis Gargan to host this event. Featuring mass, a tour of the Cathedral, and an optional dinner, Tobin was happy to welcome any LGBTI person who chose to attend. Though it’s unclear how many people attended, photos of the event show a moderate turnout.
A flyer was sent around to promote the event.
‘I am delighted that you and the LGBTQ brothers and sisters plan to visit our beautiful cathedral,’ Tobin wrote in an email upon receiving the flyer.
‘I had the privilege of collaborating recently with a talented team offering a day of prayer and reflection for the LGBT community of New Jersey and will do so for an upcoming June retreat,’ Fr. Gargan said of this event.
This newfound acceptance of homosexuality began in 2013 when Pope Francis now-famously said, ‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?’