Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, presided for the second time at the Mass welcoming LGBT+ Catholics, parents and families, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Sunday, 13 January, at Farm Street Jesuit Church. The church in Mayfair, hosts the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council and its pastoral outreach activities, as mandated by the Cardinal.
In his homily, Cardinal Vincent Nichols referred to the radical identity which all Christians have by their baptism, transcending all other identities. The community of Church, formed by baptismal unity, is rooted in love, and this is lived out in profound commitments of friendship, including marriage and family life.
In this he echoed his recent Pastoral Letter to Westminster Diocese: Being 'at home', in its obvious sense, is to be in the circle into which we were born, bringing together the generations of which we are a part. Yet, 'at home' also means celebrating all the love and friendships that sustain us. It includes embracing again the important life-choices we have made, the duties of faithfulness and its graces, too ...... a moment for thanking God for the family, the families, to which we belong, be they bonds of flesh and blood, bonds of friendship, or bonds created by freely given commitments, including the promises of religious life. The word 'family', then, is capable of including many different patterns and dimensions of life, and some bring with them the experience of sadness and failure. (30 December 2018)
Speaking after the Mass, the Cardinal commended LGBT+ Catholics Westminster as an important sign of welcome and inclusion within Westminster Diocese, not only as individuals who are welcomed but as an identifiable community which is at home within the Church.
During an after-Mass reception, Cardinal Vincent engaged warmly with various Farm Street Church parishioners and members of the congregation including some LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers who are supported by the LGBT+ Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council.