Religion and society have often dishonored and desecrated queer lives. May all saints and all souls be restored to wholeness and holiness as we remember them.We give thanks for the lives lost, and carry them in our hearts with the hope that we shall see them again. May perpetual light shine upon them as they rest in peace and in power. More info is at the end of the memorial.
Compassionate Spirit of God, unite us with the lives and visions of lesbian and gay heroes of our time… Unite us with all the souls living and dead, especially those souls taken by violence and AIDS. Unite us with all who boldly pioneered a way of pride and justice.
–from “Invocation for All Saints Day” by James Lancaster, published in Equal Rites
In memory of: Tyler Clementi, Leelah Alcorn, Haylee Fentress, Paige Moravetz, Seth Walsh, Jeanine Blanchette, Chantal Dube and all other LGBTIQ youths who have committed suicide. Gwen Araujo, Rita Hester, Brandon Teena and all others who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, FannyAnn Eddy, David Kato, Alan Schindler, and all others who were murdered in homophobic violence. Marcella Althaus-Reid, John Boswell, Peter Gomes, Bayard Rustin and all others who came out and supported LGBT people during their lifetimes. Mychal Judge, Henri Nouwen, Pauli Murray and all other religious leaders who worked for justice while keeping quiet about their sexual orientation. For Jeanne Manford, Adele Starr, and all others who stood as allies to LGBT family and friends. Rock Hudson, Freddie Mercury, Keith Haring, Alvin Ailey, Rev. Ron Russell-Coons, Rev. Jim Sandmire, Rev. Howard Wells and all others who died of AIDS. And for all saints and all souls, named and unnamed.
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the God they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
— from “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” by Lesbia Scott, 1929
All Saints Day (Nov. 1) used to be called All Hallows Day, and the preceding evening was the Eve of All Hallows, now celebrated as Halloween. In Catholic and Protestant Christianity, the Feast of All Saints commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The following day, the Feast of All Souls, pays respect to the faithful departed who have not yet reached heaven. Prayers are offered to ask the saints to help the living, and to offer help to the souls of deceased friends and family.
All Souls Day is celebrated in Latin America as the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The holiday is especially popular in Mexico, where the happy celebration is one of the biggest events of the year. These holidays are associated with the Celtic Festival of the Dead (Samhain). They grow out of the pagan belief that the souls of the dead return to visit at this time of year.
Why we need LGBT saints: A queer theology of sainthood by Kittredge Cherry
This post is part of the LGBTQ Calendar series by Kittredge Cherry. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, events in LGBTQ history, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of faith and our allies.
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