On October 19 cities across the globe will raise awareness about the negative impact of bullying by participating in Spirit Day. This annual day is organized by The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as a means to remind lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth that they are loved and respected. The importance of this day is evident in the events that led to its establishment — young people who were committing suicide due to the painful realities of bullying.
With this in mind, and in embracing our faith’s social teaching, please consider taking a public stance against bullying at Mass on Sunday, October 14. This request is not political, rather this is a request for displayed compassion that will allow LGBT youth to know they are loved and created in the image of God.
Here are some ways we might consider participating as Catholic communities:
- Distribute purple ribbons at Mass along with a half-pager about bullying
- Include a prayer for youth who are victims of bullying among the petitions offered at the Mass
- Incorporate a message about the harm of bullying in the homily (the Gospel for that week is particularly meaningful)
- Offer a reflection/discussion on bullying and Catholic social teaching during religious education
- In addition, GLAAD has prepared a faith-based resource for Spirit Day, which is available at http://www.glaad.org/spiritday/faith
As someone who was a victim of bullying for most of my elementary and secondary school years, I sincerely hope that you will stand with LGBT youth at Mass on October 14 (and, again, on October 19 wearing purple) as together we work to ensure that our communities are safe for all students without exception.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding Spirit Day and how your parish can be involved in this important day of reflection and awareness: this October, we have yet another opportunity to be bearers of the Gospel message of inclusion.
Let us go forth, speak prophetically, and let it be know — omnia vincit amor.