In the face of deepening concern from Ottawa-area Catholics, St. Joseph’s Church, on June 15 hosted Celebration of Life, an ecumenical memorial service for people who have died of AIDS.

“What should have been an occasion to gather to pray for those who have succumbed to this deadly disease was in fact, a reaffirmation of the ‘gay’ lifestyle, said Ottawa nurse Sylvia MacEachern, who attended the service.

The memorial service included denunciations of ‘homophobia’ by Anglican minister, Rev. Sally Eaton, and a musical performance by the Ottawa Men’s Chorus, a group of homosexual singers, Mrs. MacEachern said.

Sponsors of the event included the church-affiliated, groups Affirm (United Church); Integrity (Anglican Church); Dignity (Roman Catholic); and the Metropolitan Community (non-denominational). All these organizations deny that homosexuality is a disordered condition or that homosexual activity is intrinsically immoral.

Fathers Jerry Morris, OMI and John Hunt, OMI, have permitted members of the pro-homosexual rights group Dignity, to use the facilities at St. Joseph’s Church, a practice forbidden by the Vatican since 1987. (see “Inaction in Ottawa,” The Interim, July/August 1990)

Protests, media coverage and letters to Archbishop Marcel Gervais have failed to put an end to what some members of the Roman Catholic community have called a scandalous situation.