Following the Good Shepherd’s Example

Fr. Joe Palacios, who teaches sociology at Georgetown University and whom many of us know, is quoted in an online article from Religion Dispatches about immigration reform proposals and the rights of same-sex couples.

In addition to referencing Fr. Joe’s advocacy work, the story also quotes Sr. Jeannine Grammick speaking very clearly about the opposition of US Bishops to “Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)—which would close a loophole that currently prevents US citizens in same-sex, committed relationships from sponsoring their undocumented partners for citizenship.” Says Grammick, “I find their arguments specious and I think their stand, personally I find it scandalous.”

What is most heartwarming, however, is the reference to two Catholic women who seem to have found a Catholic parish and pastor that welcome them and accept them — and their family — as they are.

Fr. Piers M. Lahey is the pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic parish in Pacifica, California. Fr. Lahey lived up to the name of his parish when he went out on a limb and wrote a letter to U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein in supporting her efforts to seek legislation that would provide individual relief to one of his parishioners, Shirley Constantino Tan. Tan and her partner of 24 years are active members at Good Shepherd, but she was subject to deportation after her appeals for asylum were denied. Fr. Lahey wrote that Tan and partner Jaylynn Mercado are “wonderful Christian partners, parents, role models for their two boys, and, as Scripture says, ‘living stones’ helping to form and build up the Church, the Body of Christ, in today’s broken and violent world.”

God bless Fr. Lahey for following the example of the One True Shepherd.  His example of supporting those entrusted to his pastoral care speaks volumes when viewed next to those who claim the title of “shepherd,” but whose actions seem less than shepherd-like.

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