( Chicago, April 29, 2017 )Dignity/Chicago, the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and their allies, will celebrate its 45th Anniversary on Saturday, May 20, 2017 with a dinner at Francesca's on Taylor, 1400 W Taylor St.. DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke is the guest speaker and the James A. Bussen Award will be presented to Lambda Legal.
Ramon Rodriguez, president of the Dignity/Chicago board of directors, said, "We are very proud of our legacy as a progressive agent of change within the Catholic Church, but our work isn't finished yet — not by a long shot. The challenge for the next 45 years will be to better support and empower LGBTQI people of faith in the totality of their life experiences. Dignity/Chicago will rise to that challenge by going beyond liturgy and advocacy work to promote spiritual education, social connections, and full access to the sacraments for all LGBTQI people and their families, including their spouses and their children."
Ms. Duddy-Burke will speak on "Dignity at the Crossroads" with an emphasis on reaching into new communities and a focus on the organization's work in Chicago. She said, "I am thrilled to be present to celebrate Dignity/Chicago's 45th anniversary. The Chapter has provided extraordinary leadership to the LGBTQI justice movement for decades, improving the lives of many throughout the Midwest and beyond. This is a time to ensure that our voice remains fearless, strong, and inclusive, and Dignity/Chicago is proudly committed to continuing to challenge all discrimination that claims religious justification."
The James A. Bussen Award is presented to individuals or organizations that promote justice and equality on behalf of LGBTQI individuals. This year's awardee is Lambda Legal in recognition of their work to secure equality under the law for LGBTQI people and everyone living with HIV. The award will be accepted by Christopher R. Clark, Midwest Regional Director of Lambda Legal. "It is an honor to be recognized in this way by Dignity/Chicago," said Mr. Clark. "The work of affirming faith communities, such as Dignity/Chicago, and the movement for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, are rooted in love, acceptance and truth and this award is a testament to that."
Additionally, Dignity/Chicago will present its "Spirit of Dignity" and President's Awards that evening to individuals in the Chicago chapter who have particularly demonstrated a spirit of inclusion.
A VIP reception will be held from 5:30 — 6:30, with a general reception and the dinner from 6:30 — 9:00. Dinner tickets are $40 and $75 and can be purchased at: www.dignity-chicago.com or by mailing a check to: Dignity/Chicago, 3023 N Clark St., Box 237, Chicago, IL 60657-5200. For more information call: 312-458-9438 or write to DignityChicago@gmail.com
The Anniversary Dinner will be followed on Sunday, May 21 by a celebration Mass in Dignity/Chicago's host church at 3338 N Broadway in Chicago ( Broadway United Methodist Church ). Dignity cannot meet in a Catholic space because of its public stance in opposition to Roman Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality and women's ordination.
As independent organizations created to support LGBT Catholics and our families and friends, DignityUSA and Dignity/Chicago envision and work for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and, as beloved persons of God, participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society. We minister through education, advocacy and worship and believe that same-sex relationships are loving, life-giving and life-affirming. DignityUSA and Dignity/Chicago opens their doors to welcome all.