From Our Associate Pastor
We are in the midst of the National Eucharistic Revival that seeks to restore our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But let us not forget that the Church also teaches that we, members of the Church, are parts of the Mystical Body of Christ. With that in mind, I’d like to share a story of one of our members whom we often don’t see or recognize: whom we often don’t see or recognize: a gay person.- Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM
THIS IS (ALSO) THE BODY OF CHRIST (Part 2)
Can you briefly explain about your early faith journey as a Catholic?
I have fond memories of catechism classes and remember that I thought of becoming a priest when I grew up. Church on Sunday was a must for me, my sister, mother and father. After completing 1st Communion, Mom and Dad left it up to me and my sister if we wanted to pursue going to catechism classes for Confirmation. I decided not to continue, not because I was gay, but because of a family crisis that challenged our faith in God.
When did you first realize you were gay? How did it impact your identity as a Catholic?
I have memories of me being 4 years of age and saying to my mom and sister that when I grew up I was going to marry a man. My Mom’s response to that was “No you can’t marry a man.” However, my sister replied back and said, “Yes he can, people like that are called….” and well that is where my memory ends. As I grew up, since it was too early to teach about sexuality, I did not know that being different, gay, was something that was wrong in the church’s eyes.
I lived an abstinent lifestyle until the age of 26. At 26 years of age, I could no longer hide who I was. I went through depression and tried to commit suicide and finally decided that I needed to come out to my family and friends. To my surprise, no one left my side. All were supportive of me and still are to this day. I came back to the church 40 years after my 1st communion. When I received communion after 40 years of being away, I simply cried and a feeling of being back home came over me. And after becoming confirmed, I had this overwhelming energy to volunteer at the church and become an active parishioner of Mission San Luis Rey.
What are some challenges you now face as a gay person and as a church-going Catholic?
I feel that we are often looked at as the enemy, the devil. People seem to have this idea that homosexuals are looking to convert others to become gay/lesbian. This is simply false. I don’t look to change anyone to become gay or lesbian. When I hear what parishioners think about homosexuality, I get a feeling of disappointment, especially at this church. The Franciscans have created this church where all are welcome. We need to follow the example and extend hospitality and love to all. When I hear these bad epithets, I simply smile and think that he/she thinks this way because they don’t know me well yet. If they would take the time to see, they would realize that at the end of the day, we are all alike. We all want that special person to grow old together with. That person that accepts you 100% and does not look to change you. And at the very end, we all have this ultimate goal of going to heaven, being in front of God, getting all our questions answered, and seeing the Loved ones that left us.
How would you like your fellow parishioners at Mission San Luis Rey Parish to pray for you and to better support you?
Pray for me as you would pray for any other person. With love. Don’t pray for me with the mindset of changing me. Because I can’t change. I was created like this. God created me perfect. As for better support, we want to be welcomed. We don’t want to be judged. Support us by treating us like any other God-loving family that attends Mission San Luis Rey Parish.
Peace and all good, Fr. Sam
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