OCTOBER 2019 UPDATE - THE HARVEST IS PLENTY

Dear Fortunate Family,

We have been busy helping parishes, Catholic high schools and college campuses begin LGBTQ+ Ministry Sites wherein dedicated, intentional ministry is established.

In some places we are in the process of discerning with them how they should respond to the Spirit's voice.

We have been leading Days (or evenings) of Discernment & Visioning, meeting quietly with parish staffs, priests, bishops, community leaders, education leaders, families, friends and allies to discern how to begin intentional ministry WITHIN the Church to celebrate, defend and protect the dignity of LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, those they love, and those who love them.

We've been in California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana building ministry sites and have received invitations from New Jersey, California, Missouri, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and other places, too.

We never charge a parish or school when we come to facilitate the discernment of a dedicated ministry to LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, their families, friends and allies. Most places have no money in their budget to allocate for LGBTQ+ Ministry. We trust God will provide and we say "yes" to invitations as we are able to stretch the funds we have at our disposal.

In a "parish toolkit" we provide educational materials, LGBTQ+ welcome banners, Fr. Martin's book, buttons, copies of "Always Our Children" from the USCCB, prayer cards, assistance with providing hospitality for initial meetings, a platform for virtual meetings, necessities for start up ministry, and accompaniment as ministry sites move from discernment to intentional dedicated ministry. We accompany families who struggle with accepting their LGBTQ+ daughter or son. We provide counsel to priests, deacons, religious women and men and parish leadership. We grow ministry within the Church to and with LGBTQ+ persons, their families, friends and allies.

Mostly, we facilitate respectful conversation that leads to encounter. When we encounter Jesus in another person we find heart speaking to heart. That is where ministry begins to grow.

Our Fortunate Families Board has begun two new ministries this year to assist those developing ministry sites: Evangelization Ministry and Trans Ministry. Stay tuned for more about that in another email.

Recently we have been given a $5,000 Match Grant from a religious sister who has given us until the end of November to generate $5,000 for the match. If you can help, we sure could use the funds to help others. CLICK HERE to donate toward our match. Any new monthly recurring gift will count as will any new one time gift.

A student in a large university called me because he saw my name on an ad. He had researched how to commit suicide and was ready to do it, but thought he'd call me and share his story before he did. He was about to be outed by a family member and knew his "devout Catholic family" would shun him when they found out. He heard the rhetoric that gays were going to hell. He had no hope left, so he said. The only way out, he thought, was taking his life. Thankfully, he did not. Thankfully, he placed the call. He ended up coming out to his family and they embraced him. I went with him. He now has found a parish that accepts him and has that Catholic community to support him. This is the church at its best: accompanying and supporting each other.

There are many other stories to tell. Fortunate Families is there to accompany, build bridges, begin ministry sites, speak with pastors, bishops, families, schools, and whomever - wherever - to support LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, their families, friends and allies; to help grow a more compassionate, intentionally inclusive and loving Church.

Please help us sustain our ministry by clicking HERE . We need your help now. We believe God will provide, for sure. But God provides through your generosity. I wish you could come with me as I speak and facilitate bridge building across the country, you would be moved deeply by the lives we touch in our ministry. We cannot continue doing it, though, without your help. We need help to sustain our ministry. It would be a blessing if we raised $5,000 to meet the Match Grant. It would be a miracle if someone was reading my words and was moved to endow us generously. As you are able, please do.

And please pray for me, for us. Pray for those we serve. Pray for our priests, our bishops, our deacons, women and men religious, and for our pope. Pray for every LGBTQ+ Catholic on the peripheries and especially our youth. Pray for our Catholic leaders. Then, pray and ask God how you are being called to share in our ministry.

Pray to Our Lady, Mother of Fortunate Families; she asked Jesus to do something miraculous for a young couple who ran out of wine at their wedding. Imagine what miracles Jesus will do for us when we go to Mother and ask her to speak to her son.

Please send your gift to Fortunate Families, PO Box 22317, Lexington, KY, 40522-2317 or click here and share online.

The harvest is plenty and we have much work to do. It takes money to accomplish our ministry and grow ministry sites. Help us, please, as you are able.

Grateful for your prayers and your support,

Stan "JR" Zerkowski