Whenever there’s any kind of discussion around the Catholic Church and sexuality it’s usually very negative and this represented something really unusual.The Novena was, she explained, an opportunity for people who are gay or lesbian to be welcomed into a Catholic church in a very obvious way.In the film, Fr Cusack explains that “the future has to be inclusion – you can’t build a world based on division”.It is, said Rodgers, a reminder that there are Catholic nuns and priests who are very inclusive.“The whole speech was about Kay and Stephen’s life stories,” she explained.It’s very hard for people to be judgemental when they come face-to-face with a real person who has a real life story and who has struggles and difficulties because of people being judgemental. It’s hard to maintain that judgement when faced with humanity.Read: Column: ‘Coming out’ as gay meant that, at 54, I could finally be myself> WATCH: How the child of a lesbian couple sums up Ireland’s family laws> http://vimeo.com/83843825FUNDING HAS POURED in for an Irish short film about a “unique event” in which two members of the LGBT community were invited to speak at a Novena.Novena, which is directed by Anna Rodgers and co-produced by her brother Hugh Rodgers, centres on a special mass at St Joseph’s Redemptorist church in Dundalk.The church holds a Novena mass every year, but last year the priest, Fr Michael Cusack, invited members of the LGBT community, Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan, to address the congregation about their experiences of being lesbian and gay in Ireland.They spoke about feeling excluded by Catholic doctrine, and also on the topic of ‘the courage to be yourself’, which was the theme for that year’s Novena.Anna Rodgers told TheJournal.ie that they were delighted the Fundit campaign has already exceeded its goal. “It’s fantastic – we didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”They used Fundit after exhausting all possibilities in terms of traditional avenues.Rodgers said that using such a means of fundraising works in a number of ways. “While you’re actually getting the financial support, you’re also buildng a bit of community around the film,” she explained.Stephen Vaughn, first got in touch with her about the event. After meeting with him, Fr Cusack and Kay Ferriter, Rodgers was on board. “It was an instant yes, even though I didn’t have any funding,” she said. “Somebody has to record this.”She said that when she spoke to Fr Cusack, she saw he was coming “from a very genuine place”.Catholic Chuch“I think within the LGBT community there would be a lot of negativity towards the Catholic Church and a lot of people would have left the church,” said Rodgers.
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