Eden Invitation is a relatively new ministry in the Catholic Church that seeks to provide community, accompaniment and resources for people who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria and who want to unashamedly follow Christ and Catholic Church teaching.
Shannon Ochoa, co-founder of Eden Invitation, told CNA that the ecumenical movement currently has chapters, called “hubs,” in three cities in the Midwest. The hubs lead retreats and online small groups to help build community, she said.
With the help of the OSV grant, they hope to expand to at least seven additional cities soon.
The idea that they pitched to OSV is called "Hearth and Porch," Ochoa said.
The "Hearth" portion involves forming the city-based hubs for young adults to join, where they can pray together and support each other.
The "Porch" portion consists of a testimonial campaign from Catholics who experience same-sex attraction— ideally to be released during June, aka "Pride Month," 2021.
Both Ochoa and Anna Carter, Eden Invitation’s other co-founder, experience same-sex attraction and credit their strong faith backgrounds with providing them the framework and the love for God necessary to stay and thrive in the Catholic Church.
Ochoa said one thing that makes Eden Invitation new and different is the attention they pay to the secular LGBT community, seeking to imitate that movement's sense of radical community and joyful witness— but in service of the Church's teaching, rather than LGBT ideology.
"It's a fresh take in the Church," she said.
Often times when the conversation comes up in the Church, people with same-sex attraction may feel "on the receiving end of ministry" rather than a part of a community, she said.
Ochoa said their ministry wants to encourage Catholics and Christians to be unashamed to talk about their experience of same-sex attraction, and also to be unafraid to proclaim Christ and the Church's teaching related to same-sex attraction.
Ochoa said the outpouring of excitement and support after their project won the OSV prize was very encouraging for them.
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"The whole community was really moved. It's really more than $100,000...it's people's lives changed, it's hearts knowing that they have a space in the Church, and recognition that we're loved in God's eyes," she said.
Juan Diego Network
José Manuel De Urquidi, founder and CEO of JDN, told CNA the project's goal is to "evangelize, inform, and entertain Latinos"— both in Latin America and in the USA— with high-quality, engaging podcast content.
In the Latino world, De Urquidi said, people tend to be culturally Catholic, but not well-formed in the faith.
In addition, he said, Latinos are consuming more and more podcasts, and the quality of Latino Catholic podcasts is generally not very high.
"It seems that the New Evangelization has not been reaching Latinos. So that's the idea," De Urquidi told CNA.