Fortunate & Faithful Families is a ministry in the Atlanta Archdiocese that fosters mutual understanding, spiritual renewal, and inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse individuals and their families through dialogue, hospitality, education, and support.
We are in the process of redesigning our website. For the most current FFF news in the meantime, please visit and like our Facebook page. Make sure to click on our FB events to see a list of our current activities and gatherings.
Fortunate and Faithful Families hosts
“A Gathering of Hearts”
On Sunday, February 24, 2019, Fortunate and Faithful Families hosted its annual retreat at the Archdiocesan Chancery. Beginning with affirming words of faith and an opening prayer by Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the day unfolded with compassion, openness to the Holy Spirit and deep sharing among the participants.
We were blessed to have a number of priests and deacons working with us to enrich the day’s programming. Father Dennis Dorner was our opening speaker, assisted with the Heart of the Family track and celebrated the marvelous closing Mass. His words and caring heart were sources of hope for all in attendance. Father John Adamski and Father Desmond Drummer also participated in track presentations and both shared their deep understanding and desire to bring all into oneness in the heart of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Attending the day were over seventy individuals – LGBT persons, parents and several grandparents, priests and a large number of deacons and men in the diaconate program, high school counselors and teachers, persons offering shelter for LGBT youth at risk, and allies that know that this issue affects all of us in the Church and in society. The wonderful diversity of the group exemplified God’s desire for us to recognize Christ in each person and to come together in love and holiness, celebrating our uniqueness and differences, each a beloved child of our Creator.
Everyone said that hearing the diverse stories opened their vision to the many joys and sorrows shared by those of us on this journey. The real-life stories shared by a high school counselor and a poem written by a young LGBT student were especially poignant.
Sometimes just being able to share honestly and vulnerably is immensely liberating for our souls. As one attendee wrote: “Words cannot express how full my heart is now of love since attending this retreat!” Another said, “I came without a real need, but was blown away…it was perfect!” Or another, “It was the perfect gift for me!”
Amid tears and laughter, sharing over coffee, deep listening, a feeling of “safety” and acceptance, culminated by a powerful liturgy celebrated by Fr. Dennis with glorious music led by Donal Noonan, the Holy Spirit was in wondrous evidence all day.
We thank Archbishop Gregory and his marvelous staff, all the presenters and moderators, all who shared their Sunday with us…but most of all, we thank our God, who draws all with bands of love. Truly, the day was a Gathering of Hearts!
“Building a Bridge”: Fr. James Martin Speaks at Two Atlanta Churches
Fortunate and Faithful Families, together with the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. Thomas More (STM) parish and Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center, welcomed Father James Martin to Atlanta the weekend of October 20-21, 2018. Father Martin is editor at large for America magazine, consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, best-selling author of numerous books and tireless voice for justice, inclusion and love on social media. He presented to packed churches at STM and the Shrine. His book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity was the basis of his talk. Father Martin’s message was met with standing ovations, tears, and heartfelt thanks. His books sold out and people patiently waited to get them signed and to take pictures with this wonderful priest and prophet.
Fr. Martin’s talk, “Showing Welcome and Respect in our Parishes for ‘LGBT’ People and their Families”, was first delivered to an overflow crowd at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018. With deep compassion, a wonderful sense of humor, and great wisdom, Father Martin outlines practical considerations and practices that can form a “bridge” of love drawing LGBT persons back to a church that respects and welcomes them and their gifts.
Another gift from Father’s visit was the special collection that we took up for Lost N Found Youth, a program and shelter for homeless youth, primarily LGBT persons, which raised over $1000.
We thank all who made this amazing weekend possible, including Archbishop Gregory who extended the official invitation to Fr. Martin. Our prayers and gratitude remain with Father Martin who blessed us so abundantly with his extraordinary self. We are thankful to be on the bridge (literally and figuratively!) with such a wonderful man of God.
(Shown: FFF members with Fr. Martin after his talk)
Sharing, discussion and prayer about bullying and LGBT youth
Fortunate and Faithful Families hosted a time of sharing, discussion and prayer on Sunday, August 26 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception after their 11 a.m. Mass. As the World Meeting of Families in Dublin celebrated its final day, we, too, gathered to celebrate our families and address the issue of insensitive language and bullying that can erode the foundation of love in homes, schools and churches. Conal Charles, PFLAG Gulf Regional Director facilitated an informal group discussion with a group that included parents of LBGT youth and adults, LBGT Catholics, and a Catholic high school counselor. The event was meaningful to all who attended and the format worked so well that we hope to host similar gatherings in the future.
Leadership Team Members Attend State of the South: LGBT Institute Symposium
In late April, several of our FFF leadership team attended the State of the South: LGBT Institute Symposium at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Attendance at this seminar is just one demonstration of the ways that we work to expand our knowledge base and to network with others working for inclusion and understanding.
On Sunday April 15th, we hosted our annual potluck supper. This year, in addition to sharing good food and fellowship, we prepared toiletry bags for homeless youth served by our outreach beneficiary, Lost N Found. As usual, we enjoyed good conversation, laughter and fabulous food. We are especially grateful to the priests who were in attendance and for the outstanding hospitality of our hosts, Casey and Jeff.
Lost N Found Outreach
In March, several FFF members trained to be volunteers at Lost N Found, an organization for homeless youth, most of whom are LGBT. Some of our members have already volunteered at the Lost N Found Thrift Store and others have prepared and served food at the Lost N Found Day Center. Lost N Found volunteer projects will now be a consistent part of our FFF ministry outreach.
First Meeting of 2018: “Setting Goals for the New Year”
On February 4th, following Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, we held our first official meeting of the year titled “Setting Goals for the New Year.” The meeting was well attended and quite powerful. Conal Charles, Gulf Regional Director for PFLAG, was our moderator. Through honest and vulnerable sharing, we were not only moved to compassion but inspired to set goals for this year to promote such compassion and understanding in others. Our thanks to Conal and all in attendance…what an inspiring meeting!
What I Have Seen and Heard
‘The Church must welcome all of her sons and daughters’
By Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory,
The Georgia Bulletin, October 16, 2014
It took a while before our calendars could all sync, but finally the meeting took place about six weeks ago. From my point of view, it was well worth the wait. I had a superb encounter with about 10 simply wonderful folks who came from five or six of our parishes. They are members of a larger group of individuals who belong to many other parishes, but who find a common bond in the fact that they are parents of gay and lesbian children.
Like parents everywhere they love their children, and like faithful Catholics they also love our Church. Yet they also are deeply troubled to feel that our Church does not love their children, and therein is the conflict that fills and saddens their hearts . . .
I assured them that the Church must welcome all of her sons and daughters—no matter what their sexual orientation or life situation might be—and that we have not always done so with a spirit of compassion and understanding . . .
— read the entire story —
Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity
— by Rev. James Martin, SJ
Father Martin turns to three virtues from the Catechism of the Catholic Church—"respect, compassion, and sensitivity"—as a model for how both the Catholic leadership and LGBT Catholics can move together on a "two-way bridge" toward reconciliation and love. Also included: spiritual and biblical resources for the LGBT community and their families, friends, and allies.
C-SPAN / November 15, 2017 —
Racism in America
Archbishop Gregory voices support for the book Building Bridges
. . . recalls his meeting with Fortunate and Faithful Families
Georgetown University hosted a panel discussion on November 15, 2017, with religious leaders, civil rights activists, and academic scholars on racism in America. Speakers included Representative John Lewis (D-GA), Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Sojourners Magazine founder Jim Wallis and Georgetown University African American studies professor Marcia Chatelain. They discussed the role of religious faith in confronting racism, bigotry and sexism. Georgetown University president John DeGioia delivered opening remarks.
August 30 – September 1, 2019
The annual AJC Decatur Book Festival, which features an LGBT track, is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Go to www.decaturbookfestival.org for more information.
This annual event is held in October of each year. Participants include PFLAG and many LGBT members of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Go to www.atlantapride.org for more information.