Students organize youth summit to be held this weekend

Graphic from the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit created by Felicia Pruitt Brown
Graphic from the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit created by Felicia Pruitt Brown

BSM students Elizabeth Kupchella and Parker Breza, along with their partners OutFront Minnesota and the Justice Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, have been working for months to organize the first LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit in Minnesota, and their hard work has not been met without struggle.

Planning an event for 100+ people is difficult, especially when starting from the ground up. “We had to form an organization, then we had to contact potential partners and begin discussing the event. There was a ton of work reaching out to people,” Breza said.

For Kupchella and Breza to organize the Catholic Youth Summit by themselves was nearly impossible. Luckily they were able to get a helping hand from experienced organizations. “After getting an essential plan in place, we approached some contacts from both the Sisters of St. Joseph and OutFront Minnesota and started meeting once a week starting in about January/February,” Kupchella said.

The Justice Office of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates work hard to fulfill their consensus statement, moving always toward a profound love of God and neighbor without distinction. They have a variety of task groups that work extremely hard to live out that message. “We work on Earth sustainability; we work with dismantling racism, with immigration reform, the gospel of life, healthcare for all, LGBTQ connections, legislative advocacy, criminal justice, and Native American justice,” said Ginger Hedstrom the Justice Coordinator of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates.

The goals of the Sisters of St. Joseph Justice Office and the goals of the Catholic Youth Summit coincide in many ways. “As it’s described [the goal of the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit] is to create an atmosphere where safe conversations can be had. It’s about being who we are in whatever circumstance, and being people of faith. It’s a day of conversation and being together,” Hedstrom said.

I know how important bridging the gap between LGBTQ+ and faith communities is. These workshops serve to reconcile any differences and help us come together as people of faith.”

— Parker Breza

On Monday, May 11 an email was sent to all people involved in the Catholic Youth Summit event. The email informed readers “that on orders from the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Christ the King Catholic Church is no longer able to host the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit.”

For the people who have been engaged in the event for months this was a difficult blow in the plan, but not an unfixable one. The LGBTQ+ Catholic Student Coalition was able to find a new venue at Edina Community Lutheran Church.

The event will consist of a mass, a keynote speech from former Totino Grace teacher Kristen Ostendorf, and workshops created and led by students on many different topics including: how to have effective conversations about LGBTQ+ issues with other people of faith; creating safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ Catholics; being LGBTQ+ and Catholic. “I know how important bridging the gap between LGBTQ+ and faith communities is,” Breza said. “These workshops serve to reconcile any differences and help us come together as people of faith.”

Anyone is invited to attend the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit on Saturday, May 16. All attendees are asked to register and pay the $10 fee if possible; however, tickets will be available at the gate if necessary.

Disclaimer: This event is not a BSM sponsored event.