NEW YORK – About a month after Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh cancelled a Mass in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics, the organization that planned the Mass says they have met with Zubik and are hopeful a similar kind of liturgy will take place this fall.

Kevin Hayes, president of the Board of Directors of Catholics for Change in our Church, told Crux July 20 that the theme of the potential Mass would broaden to highlight all who are marginalized by the church.

“I’m hopeful based on our conversation that there will be a Mass,” Hayes said. “I hope that Mass would happen before the first of the year, sometime in the fall, and it would be a Mass in which that theme of the Church welcoming would be highlighted especially towards any marginalized person, any person who does not feel welcomed in the Church.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Pittsburgh confirmed to Crux July 21 that the meeting took place, and that a Mass, or something similar, could happen.

“The bishop is committed to looking for ways to help people feel welcomed in the Church, and having a Mass is among several ideas,” the spokesperson said. “There are no definite plans as of now.”

The original Mass was scheduled for June 11 at Duquesne University. Catholics for Change in our Church hosted the same event last year without issue, but this year a separate organization made its own flyer for the event labeling it as a “Pride Mass,” which sparked outrage.

The outrage eventually took the form of hateful and threatening messages, which led Zubik to cancel the Mass – which he didn’t approve to begin with – in-part over safety concerns. Hayes said the flyer misrepresented the intention of the Mass.

“It was a mistake to label it a pride Mass,” Hayes said. “We have consistently last year and this year always called it a Mass in solidarity with LGBTQ Catholics and our aim was simply to make LGBTQ Catholics feel welcome in the celebration of the Eucharist. That was it.”

“We did not want to go against Church doctrine,” Hayes added.

Catholics for Change in our Church is a Pittsburgh-based organization that says it looks to bring positive change to the church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, especially as it pertains to clergy sex abuse, being more welcoming, and increasing the role of the laity.

Now about a month removed from the cancellation, Hayes said he has come to understand why Zubik made the decision for safety purposes, but wishes they had received a call. He also noted that regardless of the reasons behind the decision, the LGBTQ Catholics from the diocese who planned to attend the Mass were nonetheless “devastated” by the decision.

As for the meeting with Zubik, Hayes said it was a “good sharing of a lot of perspectives.”

“What came out of it was a commitment that we would continue talking and we would continue to find ways in which all Catholics in Pittsburgh can feel like they are welcomed,” Hayes said, adding that he believes Zubik “wants to find ways of reaching out and helping all marginalized Catholics in Pittsburgh, including LGBTQ Catholics, to feel welcomed in the Church.”

The fact that the two sides had a meeting at all wasn’t lost on Hayes, either. He noted that discussion and dialogue are needed in the Church, especially amongst those who may disagree, but also noted that ultimately actions will speak louder than words.

“We feel very good that our bishop is willing [to meet],” Hayes said.

“One thing we talked about was that … in the end the bishop’s actions are going to speak louder about these issues than his words, so I do hope that he finds concrete actions to take that can express and put real action oriented steps to make people see the Church in Pittsburgh being a welcoming Church.”

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