The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics held a four-day assembly in Rome over the weekend

A group for gay Catholics launched in Rome just before the start of the synod on the family.

People from 31 countries gathered in Italy’s capital from October 1-4 for an assembly to launch the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC).

A steering committee was elected for the Network with representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. The committee includes women, men and the parent of a gay person.

The GNRC Assembly included a public conference, entitled Ways of Love: Snapshots of Catholic Pastoral Encounters with LGBT People and their Families. The conference featured an interview with former Irish President, Dr Mary McAleese. A keynote address was given by Bishop Raul Vera OP of Saltillo, Mexico, who also presided at a closing Mass on Sunday.

GNRC Assembly delegates approved a letter that has been sent to all of the participants in the synod on the family.

“We come from over thirty countries, both as individuals and as representatives of groups, who have been involved with the flourishing of people like ourselves in the lives of our local churches, (as well as with many other tasks),” the letter said.

“The last years have not been an easy ride! Many in our Church thought that they were serving God by hating us, and some still do, especially among the hierarchy; but we can tell you with joy, that we have kept alive our Confession of the Catholic faith! We have kept the faith under persecution, and are ready to join with you in the joyful announcement of the Gospel to which Pope Francis has called us.”

It added: “Because God is wonderful, we have found that through this life as dregs among the people of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a surprising (at least to us) capacity to stand up and be counted, not to be frightened of those who fear us, not to be resentful of the incapacity for approval, and the bureaucratic meanness of spirit and dishonesty to which we have regularly been subjected. We have learned that it is not what the Church can do for us, but what we can do for the Church that matters.”

The synod on the family began in Rome today with Pope Francis telling participants that the “synod is a journey undertaken together in the spirit of collegiality”.