I’m From West Springfield, MA.

by Jim S.

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

It is kind of funny how someone can be so blind to things that others find so obvious.

I went to a Catholic seminary in the 1980’s. In my mind, the only way I could be gay and Catholic was to serve in a ministry where marriage and sex with women was not expected. I had no doubts that I was gay but that doesn’t mean I was okay with it.

In any case, I learned later that several of my peers were having intimate “encounters” with one another and I didn’t know it. In fact, some of my friends are amazed that I could be so clueless about the goings-on in the seminary. I didn’t understand at the time that one could be gay and Christian and sexually active without jeopardizing your eternal salvation. Didn’t these people see that? I knew that I was attracted to at least one of my peers but how could I risk my soul by engaging in sex with them? I knew I was gay but I was going to suppress that part of myself until I died.

Well, they say God works in mysterious ways. There were three directors assigned to the candidate class at the seminary, two priests and a lay woman. I came out to one of the priests and the lay woman and their wonderful acceptance and warm compassion astounded me. In the course of that year, they showed me the love of God for me as a GAY man and helped to understand that being gay and even engaging in gay sex was not an automatic ticket to Hell. It still took me several years to really incorporate that information into my heart and really come to believe it but it never would have happened without these two saintly souls. Now I look back at that year in seminary and think of the wonderful opportunities I missed to know my gay peers in a fuller way. Perhaps I still wouldn’t have had sex with any of them but I might have been a little more comfortable in my own skin if I could have let that fear go.

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