Church of St. Paul the Apostle, NY – Out at St. Paul

Beginning in 1991, as a response to the rising AIDS death toll, the Gay and Lesbian Catholic Ministry (GLCM) was introduced. Primarily, the focus was on hospitality for AIDS patients and defending the dignity of LGBTQ parishioners. Previously, the Paulist parish was known for its inclusivity and service to the local gay community. Started by lawyer Donald Maher, an instrumental figure in the gay rights movement, GLCM launched with monthly meetings, guest speakers, discussions, and social events. Despite its popularity, the ministry died down in the early 2000s when Maher moved away. In 2010, newfound momentum saw the creation of Out at St. Paul’s (OSP), which remains an active ministry. Members vary in age from young adults to senior citizens and include communities of various races and ethnicities. OSP’s model of ministry meets people in their comfort zones, especially if the person is hesitant to enter a church. Members participate in various activities together, such as hiking, museum trips, holiday parties, dance classes, faith sharing, lectures from theologians, and an annual retreat.


  • Outreach – Ability to be present in various spaces makes for an inclusive environment
  • Affirmation of LGBTQ Parishioners – Their identities are not a source of shame
  • Opportunity – The flow of OSP allows for members to cross over into other ministries and deepen their parish involvement