The Italian faith and LGBT group Progetto Gionata, with the support of the European Forum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups, has launched a call this week for participation in a Global Inter-faith Prayer Initiative, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia 2014.
This will be the 8th annual edition of the initiative which, in just a few years, has blossomed into a truly international demonstration of solidarity, and has become a key feature of the global May 17th commemorations. People of faith from all different religions, spiritualities and denominations are welcomed to join the call, by holding vigils or other services, joining in prayer or other ritual observance.
A statement announcing the call from Gionata group now follows:
Also this year, during the week before the 17th of May – the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT) – many vigils of prayer will take place in several Italian cities, European and South American countries to remember the victims of homophobia.
The project involves an increasing number of groups of homosexual believers, Christian communities (Catholic, Waldensian and Baptist), many organizations and ecclesiastical groups from several Italian cities. The relationships between homosexual believers and Christian communities have thus strengthened and deepened, producing positive results.
In 2007, 13 groups answered the call, while last year in Italy 22 vigils were organised. For the first time, the ecumenical vigils for the victims of homophobia also took place in Spain (in Madrid, Bilbao, Murcia, Valencia, Ciudad Real and La Coruna), in some South American cities and in Munich (Germany).
It’s also important to realize that something is changing in the Catholic Church: for the first time, in 2010, in 6 Italian cities, vigils were held in Catholic parish churches – and among these, in the parish church of Cremona where the bishop, Dante Lanfranconi, attended the celebration and read his homily.
As Italy is a close-minded country about homosexuality, sometimes and in particular at the beginning, it seemed impossible to find a church or a community for a public vigil.
The experience of these years has been positive, and it has displayed that you don’t have to stop knocking at the door, even if at first only few people open it.
Do you remember the bothersome friend the Holy Writ talks about? All you need is a bit of patience and goodwill, bearing always in mind that you don’t want to persuade others or take over the world, but only try to share your hope.
If we did it, others may, too! So, this year again we manage to get together in prayer in our city, in a small or big group and in any case it will be a great result – we will try to display that the Church doesn’t leave out the homosexual Christians of our city.
In spite of all, the Church, or better, the Churches are present, and it is important to remember that God says “don’t call anyone impure or unclean”. [Acts 10:28]
As the organizers say, “If you join us in prayer, the hope sign will be stronger and more meaningful, and we’ll be able to lay firm foundations for a different future when gays and lesbians will be heartily welcome in churches”.
The vigils of prayer to remember the victims of homophobia will be organized in Italy with the support of Gionata, the Italian Project on Faith and Homosexuality, and in Europe with the support of the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Christian Groups.
The volunteers of Progetto Gionata
THE SIGN> The verse vigils of prayer to remember the victims of Homophobia & Transphobia
- Year 2014> will be announced on March 1, 2014
- Year 2013> 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love!
- Year 2012> 1 John 2:9 – Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness
- Year 2011> Acts 10:28 – God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean
- Year 2010> Romans 8:35 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
- Year 2009> John 4:18 – There is no fear in love
- Year 2008> Martin Luther King – I have a dream
- Year 2007> 2 Corinthians 5:17 – the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new
For more information see the Gionata website, or email the team via: email@example.com