Two recent graduates of Franciscan University of Steubenville are pioneering a dynamic apostolate for Catholic students who experience same-sex attraction and/or gender dysphoria.
Called Integratis, the endeavor debuted as an officially recognized ministry of Franciscan University this academic year, but it began three years ago, when Brittany Bain and Manny Gonzalez founded Integratis in hopes of providing community for fellow Franciscan students experiencing same-sex attraction and living in accord with the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality and chastity.
Bain and Gonzalez spent two years developing the structure and programming of Integratis in partnership with the university before its launch as a public apostolate. Since then, the Integratis community has more than doubled in size, and it now includes 20 current students.
The mission statement clarified that Integratis “is not a ‘support group,’ a ‘student club,’ or an ‘advocacy group’ that might be found at other colleges and universities,” and the ministry “rejects the current cultural LGBTQ+ definitions and assumptions.” For instance, Integratis avoids identifying people by their sexual attractions or experience of gender.
Instead, Integratis provides “a faithful community that assists men and women to live full, abundant, virtuous, integrated lives in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of human sexuality as understood and proclaimed joyfully by the Catholic Church.” The group’s name means “made whole” in Latin, emphasizing that “all of us are in need of Christ and are only made whole through his Resurrection….”
The Integratis community gathers for weekly community nights, which seek to build and foster authentic friendship. The community attends Mass together for a night of prayer twice a semester. Also twice a semester are formation nights, during which Bain and Gonzalez provide more formal guidance for the community by returning to two central themes of the ministry: Who are we, and who is God? In addition to sharing personal experiences, the group takes advantage of resources such as Eden Invitation’s “Porch Series” videos, the writings of Eve Tushnet, and other sources that address gender and sexuality from a faithful Catholic perspective….
While Gonzalez said the campus reception of Integratis has been overwhelmingly positive, he mentioned that some students disagree with the mission of Integratis because they disagree with the Church’s teachings….
The above comes from a Nov. 15 story in the National Catholic Register.