Fortunate Families Records

Span Dates: 2000-2017
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 1 box and electronic records


The Fortunate Families (FF) records are arranged into three series. They include electronic as well as paper formats. Both of these formats have been integrated into the arrangement scheme and are available to on-site researchers. Paper documents are stored in cardboard boxes and folders. Electronic records (ER) reside in electronic folders on a computer server and are clearly identified as such on the inventories (e.g. ER-1). Series 1, Governance Files, 2004-2014, contains minutes of board meetings and legal and policy documents. Series 2, Project Files, 2000-2014, consists of files on the Seeds of Hope project, a survey of Catholic parents of LGBT children, and the Listening Parents Network. Series 3, Publications, 2001-2017, contains annual reports, newsletters, and the resource manual Seeds of Hope, first published in 2001 with supplements issued in 2002, 2003, and 2006.

Hist/Bio Note

Fortunate Families, a Catholic Family, Friends & Allies Ministry, supports LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers by facilitating respectful conversation and sharing personal stories within dioceses, parishes and communities, especially with bishops, pastors and Church leadership. History Highlights 1992 March Eight religious and lay ministers, including Casey & Mary Ellen Lopata, parents of a gay son, from Rochester, NY begin meeting regularly and eventually becomes Catholic Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry (CGLFM). 1994 July National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian & Gay Ministries (NACDLGM) (Now: Catholic Association of Lesbian and Gay Ministries -CALGM) is founded at a meeting of representatives from thirteen dioceses. The Lopatas are among the 28 founding members. October The Lopatas attend and become charter members of the Catholic Parents Network. December The first issue of the CGLFM Newsletter is published by Casey Lopata. 1995-1996 The Lopatas are consulters to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and the Family on Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children –AND—Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, issued in September 1997. 1997 March CGLFM and the Diocese of Rochester celebrate a Mass with Gay and Lesbian People, Families and Friends, with Bishop Matthew Clark as presider and homilist. Over 1300 people attend. 1998 September The Lopata's chair the annual NACDLGM conference. Held in Rochester, the theme is “Imaging Justice.” December Fortunate Families becomes a not-for-profit corporation. 2010 September Fortunate Families joins with Call To Action, Dignity USA and New Ways Ministry to form the Equally Blessed coalition. 2011 March As an Equally Blessed partner, Fortunate Families co-sponsors the first-ever Congressional Briefing that presented positive Catholic perspectives on LGBT equality to federal legislators and their staffs. 2012 September Letters are sent to more than 400 Catholic campus ministers. Casey Lopata develops Fortunate Families’ “Talking Points for Catholic Parents with LGBT Daughters and Sons.” 2013 January Newsletter is published for the first time under its new name Voices for Justice. September A new every-other-month electronic communication The Families Forum is introduced. 2014 February Fortunate Families is included in the Equally Blessed Arcus two-year grant proposal for $15,000 each year. June The Lopatas, donors of these records, officially retire from the Fortunate Families Board of Directors.

Finding Aid

A finding aid is available online.


Marquette University Special Collections and University Archives Raynor Memorial Libraries 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53233


Catholic (Roman) | New Ways Ministry | Lopata, Casey and Mary Ellen | National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian & Gay Ministries (NACDLGM)