Who We Are & What We Do

What is CPCSM?

CPCSM is a 33-year-old, Minnesota-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization composed of Catholic lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, parents of LGBT persons, supportive clergy, religious, and other pastoral and educational professionals, and community allies. Together we are dedicated to promoting ministry to, with, and on behalf of LGBT persons and their families and friends – primarily those of a Catholic background.

Catholic and Gay?

Yes, for some people putting these two words together seems strange. After all, doesn’t the Catholic Church condemn homosexual activity? Well, the Vatican may think this way but we do not believe that being Catholic means unquestioning obedience to every utterance of the Vatican. There’s so much more to being a Catholic than that. And the Catholic Church is so much bigger than simply “the Vatican.”

We understand the Church, not as an exclusive club, but as primarily the People of God. This way of understanding the Church was highlighted by Pope John XXIII during the Second Vatican Council of 1963-1965. He’s also famous for saying that, “We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.” This implies that, as the Church, we’re continually living and growing in our understanding of God’s presence within and among us.

Therefore, like many Catholics, we believe the hallmark of our Catholic faith is a trusting openness and loving response to the presence and action of God within all of creation, including the vast and diverse arena of human life and relationships. We see this “trusting openness and loving response” as a profoundly catholic (i.e., universal) endeavor. We work toward recognizing and celebrating a catholicity of life, by which we mean the discovery and celebration of God as creator and lover of all humanity, a God who desires all people to experience both personal and communal flourishing.

What Does CPCSM Do?

We work to create environments of respect, acceptance and safety for LGBT persons and their families in the Catholic Church and wider society. We seek to identify and celebrate the loving and transforming presence of God in the lives and relationships of all people – though especially LGBT people.

An integral part of our work is the belief that members of sexual minorities, by virtue of their struggle to maintain a sense of personal integrity and authenticity, have unique gifts to offer the Church and society. Accordingly, our ministry is rooted in the belief that one’s sexuality can and must be affirmed as a gift and as an essential element to be integrated holistically into all areas of one’s life – including one’s faith life.

Our work has included a range of services – from the training of parish-based professionals and volunteers working with LGBT persons to “safe staff” training of secondary school professionals at eight of the eleven local Catholic high schools. Our work is also comprised of a variety of educational and consultative programs – from family support groups and parish-based educational lectures and workshops to consultations provided to a number of parishes, religious communities, and other church and community groups.

In 2007 we had our first book published: Creating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective. This collection of strategies, resources, and reflections helps Catholic high school teachers and counselors in their interactions with students who have either “come out” as LGBT or who are struggling with questions related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Our book is the first of its kind to be specifically written for the Catholic high school context.

Our most recent initiative has been Catholics for Marriage Equality MN, one that in September 2011 premiered a powerful series of video vignettes of faith, marriage and family from the perspective of LGBT Catholics and supportive family members. Produced in response to efforts to amend the Minnesota State Constitution to ban civil marriage rights for same-sex couples, our video series (available on DVD) invited people to seek and discern the face of God in the lives and relationships it presents, and to prayerfully reflect upon the impact of the proposed “marriage amendment” on these lives and relationships.

Through all of our justice-making and educational initiatives, CPCSM seeks to create environments of respect, acceptance and safety within both Church and society wherein the experiences, insights, and integrity of LGBT persons and their families are recognized, affirmed and celebrated.

For more information, contact Michael Bayly, CPCSM's executive coordinator: Phone: 612-201-4534.

To make a financial contribution to our work, donation checks can be made out to “CPCSM” and mailed to: CPCSM, c/o The House of the Beloved Disciple, 4001 38th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406.

It may be helpful to know that the Minnesota Tax Code now provides a 50% tax deduction for charitable contributions over $500.