''RECONCILING YOUR spirituality with your sexuality'' is not easy, says Bob Miailovich, board member and treasurer of Dignity/Washington.
''It's an ongoing challenge,'' he says. ''Some people have more difficulty with that than others. I've been a member for 30 years, I can articulate the reasons why one can be gay and Catholic, and you keep hoping to believe it more strongly as you continue to grow.
''The other cliché,'' he continues, ''is that it's difficult being gay in the Catholic Church, and it's difficult being Catholic in the gay community. We have a tough job convincing people on both directions.''
Yet Dignity/Washington, a community of nearly 250 LGBT Catholics and other Christians with a 12-member board of directors, has been doing it for 35 years now. And a lack of recognition by the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church has not stopped Dignity/Washington, which is affiliated with a nationwide string of other Dignity chapters from across the country.
''We are a self-formed group,'' Miailovich says. ''We have priests who are willing to minister to us on Sundays. They do it quietly mostly, because the hierarchy does not like it, but that doesn't make it any less Catholic, in our opinion.''
Dignity/Washington members gather every Sunday for Mass at the St. Margaret's Episcopal Church at 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW.
''The ritual is a typical Catholic Sunday ritual,'' Miailovich says. ''The preaching, obviously, is attuned to the nature of the congregation -- gay-friendly I would say.''
For more information call 202-546-2235 or visit www.dignitywashington.org.