Although The Franciscan Center has been the spiritual home for the local LGBTQ Catholic Community for approximately 45 years, our community has begun celebrating Mass together every Sunday at 5:30 pm, along with other parishioners, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, located at 509 N. Florida Ave. in downtown Tampa.
All are welcome to join us for that Mass and for our socials immediately following the Mass at nearby venues. Please contact us for more information.
The Franciscan Center’s ministry to the LGBTQ community of Tampa Bay, which started in the mid-1970s, has been an expression of the Church’s most sacred pastoral mission: to reach out to those who have felt excluded, to welcome them into the community “as though they were Christ” (to quote St. Benedict). Because of this history, The Franciscan Center will continue to be the spiritual home for the local LGBTQ Catholic community. However, out of respect for Bishop Parkes’ recent request that we attend Mass at a local Catholic parish, and confident in his assertion that we are, indeed, welcome at Catholic parishes throughout the diocese, our community of LGBTQ Catholics has begun worshipping together at Sacred Heart Parish, the boundaries of which encompass the Franciscan Center. Sacred Heart Parish, like the Franciscan Center, is guided by the spirit and mission of St. Francis of Assisi; this makes us optimistic that we can preserve the sense of community that we have created over many years.
LGBTQ Catholics of Tampa Bay is available to:
- Work with parishes in our diocese to help create a welcoming environment that honors and respects the voices of LGBTQ Catholics. In their pastoral message Always Our Children (1997), the U.S. Catholic Bishops state that Catholic parishes should do more to welcome the LGBTQ community. They advise church ministers to: (a) “strive first to listen” to LGBTQ persons; (b) “do not presume that all homosexual persons are sexually active;” (c) “use the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in honest and accurate ways,” especially from the pulpit.
- Help parishes to create ministries where LGBTQ people of faith can find support, share their faith, deepen their spirituality, and experience the joy of full participation in the faith community.
- Help create an environment that allows LGBTQ Catholics to experience and express pride in their God-given gift of sexuality. Expression of pride in one’s identity is fully consistent with Catholic Church teaching that everyone is created in God’s image.
LGBTQ Catholics of Tampa Bay will continue its support of LGBTQ Catholics and of The Franciscan Center, whose mission is to assist everyone who seeks spiritual growth through a deeper relationship with God.