For 25 years, the Catholic Church has been reaching out to the gay and lesbian community in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In a homily Feb. 2, 1986 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, Archbishop Roger Mahony envisioned an archdiocesan organization that would “foster a spirit of community and fellowship among gay [and lesbian] Catholics so that they can offer and receive mutual support in living out their lives of faith within the Church.”“This Ministry was pivotal in 1986, and it remains vital today,” said Arthur Fitzmaurice, a board member of the Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics (MLGC), which will celebrate its 25th anniversary Oct. 22 with a Mass at 6 p.m. hosted at Blessed Sacrament Church. Father Chris Ponnet, pastor of St. Camillus Center for Pastoral Care, will preside; Father Brian Doran will share a homily.While fellowship remains a goal of the Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics (MLGC), the MLGC’s mission has expanded to include outreach to parents, following the publication in 1997 of “Always Our Children” by the U.S. Catholic bishops. In response to overwhelming requests from confirmation catechists and Catholic high school teachers, the MLGC travels beyond the archdiocese to present workshops such as “Someone’s Knocking at the Door: How Do We Answer?” and “How to Be Church to Our LGBT Brothers and Sisters.”Throughout the past year, the MLGC has celebrated its 25th anniversary with events at several churches throughout the archdiocese, including St. Denis (Diamond Bar), St. Matthew (Long Beach) and St. Monica (Santa Monica).“These events have offered an opportunity for ministry with lesbian and gay Catholics, their parents, priests and nuns, Catholic high school teachers, confirmation catechists and many others,” said Fitzmaurice, noting that in recent years, the issue of same-sex marriage has polarized the nation and created controversy within the Catholic Church.“In the meantime,” he noted, “lesbian and gay Catholics themselves have gotten lost in the shuffle, sometimes even being denied Communion or told to leave their own churches. Fortunately, many Catholic parishes are doing their parts to show compassion and bring healing by preaching the same ‘all are welcome’ message taught by Jesus.”During the Oct. 22 Mass at Blessed Sacrament, the Lumen Christi Awards will be presented to several who have made a significant contribution to the Ministry. The Mass will be followed by a reception.Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference set Nov. 11 in L.A.“Finding Hope in Challenging Times: Gathering Strength from Our Traditions” is the theme of the 35th annual Catholic-Jewish Women’s Conference scheduled Nov. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School, Los Angeles.Morning keynote speakers will be Margarita Flores, Parish Life Director at Sagrado Corazon Church, Compton, and Holli Levitsky, Ph.D., director of Jewish Studies and associate professor of English at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. A question and answer period will follow their presentations.Flores, as Sagrado Corazon’s Parish Life Director since 2009, provides for the overall day-to-day pastoral care and administration of her parish. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.Levitsky, founder and director of LMU’s Jewish Studies Program, serves on the boards of the Western Jewish Studies Association, the Jewish American and Holocaust Literature Association, and Cal State Long Beach Jewish Studies Program.The day will include a cultural experience. Following a box lunch, conference participants will take part in small dialogue groups. Registration is $40, student fee $25; scholarships are available.Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School is located at 2900 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Further information is available from the conference co-chairs Agnes Adlhoch, (818) 992-6953, and Doris Haims, (310) 440-9580.‘Pray for a Cure for Cancer’ Mass set Oct. 30The sixth annual “Pray for a Cure for Cancer” Mass will be celebrated Oct. 30, 3:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.The Mass was started in 2006 by Deacon couple Mark and Vickie Race of St. Bernadette Church in Los Angeles, soon after Vickie got through with her cancer treatments. The couple began the Faith, Hope and Charity Catholic Cancer Ministry which hosts the Mass and anointing of the sick.It is the couple’s hope that the annual Mass --- celebrated during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month --- “will take away the fear from cancer sufferers and reassure them that God is walking alongside them,” Mark Race told The Tidings.The Cathedral is located at 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. For information, call (310) 259-6430 or email [email protected].