On Saturday, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in the morning, speak in front of Independence Hall in the afternoon and visit the Festival of Families on the Ben Franklin Parkway at night.
For his part, mayoral candidate Jim Kenney announced that he’ll spend some of the papal visit’s first day at an LGBT Family Papal Picnic in light of last month’s cancellation of series of workshops on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues.
“I’m incredibly humbled to be a part of this event,” Kenney said on Friday. “These Catholics are brave and loving people who deserve to have their families recognized by the Church. Their decision to fight for inclusion inside a religion that has not welcomed them is an example to us all.”
He will speak at the picnic at 2 p.m. Saturday.
What follows is the Kenney campaign’s release on the event:
A city parish’s decision to cancel an LGBT-friendly workshop that was supposed to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit has been resolved — with a picnic.
The LGBT Family Papal Picnic, to be held on Sept. 26 while papal festivities are in full swing, is expected to draw more than 100 guests and will include appearances by mayoral hopeful Jim Kenney; Margie Winters, a lesbian Catholic school teacher who was recently fired and Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News.
“Parents, children, teachers and caregivers will gather with leaders of LGBT Catholic support organizations to celebrate their faith and share their stories in the hopes of someday being invited to the table with other Catholic organizations globally and to eventually participate with the World Meeting of Families,” organizers announced Monday.
Last month, organizers saw their series of workshops on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues canceled by the parish that was to host it.
“Decisions regarding programs offered at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are made at the local level at each individual parish,” spokesperson Kenneth Gavin said at the time. “It is expected, however, that any parish sponsored activities would feature content that is in line with Church teaching.”
Events scheduled for the upcoming picnic include the children of LGBT families writing letters and drawing pictures of their families and faith to show to Pope Francis, who has been invited to “hear about all LGBT issues in one place and meet the children most affected by the church,” organizers said.
The documentary “LGBT Catholics: OwningOurFaith” will be show[n] in Philadelphia for the first time, as well.