Wednesday, June 25, 2008


As he has done for a number of years, Michael Bayly will arrive tonight at St. Joan of Arc Church ready to celebrate his God, his faith and his homosexuality.

But this year, Bayly and other Catholic gays and lesbians will not be allowed to celebrate their lifestyle in the church sanctuary following an edict handed down by Archbishop John Nienstedt, who has barred the annual gay pride prayer service at the south Minneapolis church.

In protest, Bayly and others have decided to hold their own lay service outside the church tonight. They are also calling for a mass rally at the church tonight to condemn the archdiocese.

The annual gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service, designed to coincide with gay pride week celebrations, instead will be characterized as a "peace" service, said Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for Nienstedt and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"Celebrating the GLBT lifestyle is contrary to the teachings of our church -- plain and simple," McGrath said.

The ban has caused an uproar inside and outside the church, which for years has been known as a liberal bastion supporting GLBT people.

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