One of the hallmarks of the Catholic Church has been its prayers, some to be said individually and others in community, often commemorating one or more saints. Contrary to popular belief, Catholics do not pray to the saints or Mary; they pray through them. They are not icons to be adored, but rather persons of proven caliber to be revered as role models, like Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson in the secular world. We commemorate saints in our prayers precisely because they were human beings just like us with all the frailties and mistakes that go with being human. Yet despite all that, they triumphed. When confronted with adversity, it can be overwhelming and daunting to think of a flawless Supreme Being, yet that is precisely who we must approach. It is so much easier and more comforting to call to mind a person, just like us, who somehow found favor with God.
Historically, the problem is that the Church has expunged all references to the LGBTQ+ life of the saints she recognizes and never canonized many who should have been precisely because they were known to be gay. It is time to reclaim our hagiology (study of saints)!
With that, DignityHouston offers a small but growing, collection of LGBTQ+ prayers that commemorate our very own saints and life.
The Rainbow Christ Prayer was originally developed by Kittredge Cherry and Patrick Cheng, queer theologians.
The original version of the Litany of Saints was commissioned by DignityUSA and written by Dr. Rachel Waltz in 2013. DignityHouston continues the development of that prayer.
Originally written for the interfaith prayer service at the Los Angeles Pride Parade, this prayer reminds us of all those who were brave enough to stand up and challenge the system giving us the freedom we have today.