Among the millions of people gathered in Rio for World Youth Day this week will be six young adults on a unique mission.
Delfin Bautista, Amelia Blanton, Lauren Carpenter, Ellen Euclide, Megan Graves and Sara Kelley are on a pilgrimage to Brazil to help counter the Roman Catholic church's often harmful rhetoric about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. DignityUSA and Call to Action, as part of the Equally Blessed coalition, are sponsoring the trip.
Here is how these pilgrims describe their mission :
"By embracing the spirit of prophetic non-violence, we will witness to our fellow WYD participants by ...
- Living out "Street ministry" = having one-on-one conversations
- Engaging the media
- Being a visible presence at WYD events, especially by distributing materials that affirm LGBTQ Catholics
- Witness/rally with message that we are all Equally Blessed
The goal of this pilgrimage is to raise awareness about issues of gender and sexuality in the lives of Catholics while also challenging harmful teachings and pastoral practices that dehumanize rather than celebrate the gifts LGBTQ people are to the church and to the world."
The pilgrims will be keeping a blog  as they journey through Rio this week. Check it often for updates and insights!