Liturgy at Dignity/Boston: A Prophetic, Inclusive Vision
Dignity/Boston is a lay-led, progressive, inclusive community striving to be gender-balanced and inclusive. Our Liturgy is reflective of our experience as community.
As a community, Dignity/Boston elects an Executive Board to lead us. Liturgy is coordinated by the Liturgy Committee, which is open to all members of Dignity/Boston. Our worship is in the Catholic liturgical tradition but reflects the non-canonical status of the Dignity/Boston community. There is no formal connection with and no resources provided to the community by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston or other official Church office.
Ordained presiders are not assigned by the Archdiocese of Boston or any other Roman Catholic religious authority but are active members of our community whose ministry to us is affirmed by the community. Dignity/Boston recognizes the ordination of those who are no longer in official Church ministry due solely to their sexual orientation, gender identification, or partnered status.
Our current liturgical practices have evolved over three decades with consistent participation of the community through:
- Liturgy Committee meetings: open to all members of the community
- Individual feedback
- Attendance at Liturgical Conferences
- Community Listening nights
- Educational meetings utilizing internal and external resources
- Surveys sponsored by the Liturgy Committee
- Consultation with the Executive Board and with final oversight by the Board
All presiders are active members of the community called forth by the Dignity/ Boston community to lead our worship. Ordained presiders on regular rotation are asked to be participating members of the community for six months. They participate in an interview process with the Liturgy Committee and Executive Board, and may be invited to preside for a single service prior to joining the regular rotation. Lay presiders are invited by the Liturgy Committee on the community’s behalf. Guest Homilists are invited from both outside and inside the community by the Liturgy Committee.
Other liturgical ministries include ministries of hospitality, music ministers, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, sacristans, healers, dance ministers, and bread bakers. These ministries are open to interested members, and some require completion of a training program.
Dignity/Boston has a commitment to gender balance and gender-inclusivity in language and liturgical ministries. Where possible, the community strives to be culturally inclusive, and to make liturgies accessible to those with special needs. Our community continues to struggle with the fact that our present worship space is not accessible to those who are physically challenged.
We welcome all to the Eucharistic table, regardless of faith tradition. Over the years our community has broadened its mission to embrace all sexual and gender identifications. We also welcome families of all definition.
Dignity/Boston’s liturgy reflects our commitment to the prophetic call of the Gospel, and to a collaborative vision of ministry and worship.We strive to embody the truth of our lives in our liturgies, and in the Celebration of the Sacraments. As a prophetic community, we seek to call forth and honor the gifts of all community members.We strive to conduct our liturgies in a manner respectful of individuals’ beliefs, recognizing that our liturgical practice cannot meet all the expectations and needs of all members every Sunday.
MODELS OF WORSHIP
Dignity/Boston gathers every Sunday and at other designated times to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. An ordained presider, sometimes in partnership with a lay minister or guest homilist, leads most Sunday liturgies. Most major community feasts are co-presided. Currently, a lay-led liturgy is scheduled on a monthly basis. Scheduled lay-led liturgies are announced in advance. In emergency situations when a scheduled ordained presider is not available, a lay-led liturgy will be offered without prior notice.
LITURGY AT DIGNITY/BOSTON IS CONTINUALLY EVOLVING
Response to the call of the Gospel, commitment to inclusivity, and prophetic vision bring continuing growth and change to our community, and our liturgical expression will reflect these changes.