A New Book on Gay Spirituality

Gay is a Gift is a new book on Gay Spirituality from Salvatore Sapienza, the Lambda Literary award nominee for Seventy Times Seven

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fr. Mychal Judge: First Gay Saint?

I am so honored to be mentioned in SLATE's article on Fr. Mychal Judge, the "Saint of 9/11." Here's a snippet:

When Salvatore Sapienza saw the small classified ad in the back of OutWeek, a gay news magazine in New York, he thought it seemed like a sign. “In the spirit of Francis of Assisi,” the ad read, “serving our brothers and sisters affected by AIDS.” At the bottom was the address of the St. Francis AIDS Ministry on West 31st Street in Manhattan. Sapienza was gay—he had been out for years—but he was also a Marist Brother, a Catholic office similar to the priesthood. New York City in 1989 was not an easy place to be both gay and Catholic. The AIDS crisis would claim more than 5,000 people in the city that year, and the church was vocally opposed to condoms and homosexuality. Sapienza felt like that little bulletin, appearing among pages advertising sex phone lines and astrologists, was written just for him. A black-and-white drawing showed the 13th-century saint, a symbol of charity and humility, overlooking a pastoral landscape as skyscrapers loomed in the background. Sapienza found himself wondering who’d placed the ad.
The address for the St. Francis AIDS Ministry turned out to be the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Four people answered the ad, including Sapienza, and soon they were visiting AIDS patients in hospital rooms, praying for them and holding their hands. When Sapienza first showed up at the soaring 19th-century church, he was led inside to a tiny office on the ground floor of the attached friary. The beaming man who greeted him seemed big in every way: tall, loud, boisterous, and joyful. His name was Father Mychal Judge.
Read the full article HERE. Thank you to writer, Ruth Graham.
Purchase my book: Mychal's Prayer: Praying with Father Mychal Judge on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pastor Denounces Christian Church's Treatment of Gay People

Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas UCC, says the Christian Church is responsible for destroying more gay lives than the Orlando shooter ever did. This powerful message was given at a Vigil for Orlando in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Rev. Sapienza is the author of the books, Seventy Times Seven; Mychal's Prayer: Praying with Father Mychal Judge; and Gay is a Gift, all of which are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Christian Pastor Say Gay People Are Not Broken

Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas UCC, gives a message for Gay Pride Sunday about how gay people are not broken, but that being gay is a gift from God.

Rev. Sapienza's book, GAY IS A GIFT, is available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Time to Canonize Gay Saint of 9/11

Thank you to San Francisco's BAY AREA REPORTER newspaper for quoting me and my book, MYCHAL'S PRAYER in their recent article about Fr. Mychal Judge, the Saint of 9/11, and the calls for his canonization to become a saint in the Catholic Church.

In the article, reporter Seth Hemmelgard, writes: 

Advocates are pushing for a gay New York priest who ministered to people living with AIDS and rushed into the burning World Trade Center on 9/11 to be made a saint. Father Mychal Judge, a New York fire department chaplain, became known as "Victim Number One" after he died when he and other first responders went to help others. o

About two weeks ago, Pope Francis added the "Offering of Life" category so that somebody who "knowingly gives his or her life for other people" is eligible for canonization.
Salvatore Sapienza, 53, of Saugatuck, Michigan, worked with Judge in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the AIDS crisis was hitting its peak in New York.
"The Catholic Church was not responding to the crisis at all, and many people in the gay community saw the Catholic Church as the enemy," said Sapienza.
With the help of Sapienza and some others, Judge started an AIDS ministry in the monastery where he lived.
"Nobody in the church was really doing anything until Mychal had the idea to start something," he said.
Judge was "larger than life," said Sapienza. "He really was like one of those people you see when they walk into a room gets everyone's attention."
The priest "always wore the Franciscan robe and sandals everywhere in Manhattan," even on the subway, he said. Judge explained he saw it as his uniform. Just as people would seek out police or firefighters when there was an emergency, Judge wanted people to be able to find him when they needed spiritual help, said Sapienza.
"He really was a saintly figure in so many ways," he said. "Unfortunately, we think of saints as being people who were pious holy rollers, and Mychal was a very real person. He was the New York City fire chaplain, so he was hanging out with these blue-collar firefighters from the boroughs, and he could laugh with them and tell jokes with them."
Sapienza added that Judge "saw the light in everybody. He saw the goodness in all people and met them where they were."
Judge, who was out to his circle of friends, "was very clear he was a celibate man. He was faithful to his vows," he said.
Every morning, Judge recited a prayer that said, "Lord today take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet, tell me want you want me to say, and keep me out of your way," according to Sapienza.
Judge's habit of "surrendering to life" and being "in the flow of life" is probably what led him into the World Trade Center just after it was attacked, he said, adding, "That's where he was supposed to be."

A link to the full article can be read here at Bay Area Reporter.
The book, MYCHAL'S PRAYER, is available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Catholic Bishop Says Being Gay is a Gift from God

From New Ways Ministry:

Being gay is a “gift from God” according to one Catholic bishop in Brazil.  Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos said:

“‘If [being gay] is not a choice, if it is not a disease, in the perspective of faith it can only be a gift. . .The gospel par excellence is the gospel of inclusion. . .The gospel is a narrow door, yes, it is a demanding love, but it is a door that is always open.'”
Cruz added that perhaps “our prejudices do not get the gift of God” in LGBT people. Prejudice, he said, puts “concept before experience” and creates a negative impact.
As a black bishop, he related the situation with homosexuality today to a time when black people were enslaved due to white people’s prejudices, adding:
“‘Just as we were able to leap, in the wisdom of the Gospel, and overcome slavery, is it not the time for us to leap, from a perspective of faith, and overcome prejudices against our brothers who experience same-sex attraction?'”
Cruz also preached that people discover their sexual orientation rather than choose it. 
Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 10, 2017
Read Salvatore Sapienza's book GAY IS A GIFT, which has been called "Chicken Soup of the Gay Soul." It is available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Remembering John McNeill

Today, we remember John McNeill, who passed away this week. McNeill was a hero to the gay Catholic community for decades. A Jesuit priest for 40 years, McNeill was forced by the Vatican to leave the priesthood if he continued to minister to the gay and lesbian community. McNeill left religious life with no bank account, health insurance, etc., but he did not abandon his faith nor his dedication to serving LGBT people of faith. He wrote several books, including the groundbreaking The Church and the Homosexual.

"It has always been the prophetic role of lesbians and gay men to lead the Church and Western culture toward embracing embodiment, a sense of identity with the body and its sensuousness," McNeill said, and he stressed the calling of our gay community: to guide humanity to a deeper appreciation of beauty, hospitality and compassion.

"Do not waste one ounce of energy in a negative attachment of anger with the Church, but rather, let's commit every ounce of our energy to the positive ministry of love which God has called us," McNeill said. Let us remember and honor his life and spirit. #gayisagift.