Catholic Lesbian/Queer Liturgy:
Celebrating Our Epiphanies

January 10, 2016
By Diann L. Neu


Preparation: Place four candles, plus one for each participant, on a table. Put a plate of cake/bread, and a cup of wassail/drink on the table. Figure out where the directions East, South, West and North are. Have ready beads or a scarf to put on.


Welcome/Naming (Light a candle)
Share your name, where you are, and say a word, just a word, about what comes to your mind when you hear “Catholic Lesbian/Queer Epiphanies.” Then put on royal, wise lesbian/queer beads or scarf.


Introduction: (Light a candle)

Time to close the Christmas season and open another chapter in our Catholic Lesbian/Queer series! We have all gone our separate ways for the actual festivities, but come together today during the Epiphany season to bring closure to 2015 and to open a new year together.

The earliest Christians celebrated Epiphany, 12 days after Christmas, as one of the three primary holy days of the liturgical year. Epiphany, from the Greek epiphaneia, means appearance, coming, or significant manifestation.

Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of divinity on Earth. It symbolizes how each person’s life manifests the mystery of Divine love in the world. Yes, we manifest Divine love in the world! Epiphany suggests that the unfolding of our gifts and talents bears witness to the presence of the Divine with us. Yes, Divine Wisdom lives in Catholic lesbian/queer women!

Today, we gather to focus on light, stars, and wise lesbians and queers. We gather to talk about our Epiphanies. So lean back and enjoy this time together as we say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.


Carol: (Light a candle) “Angels We Have Heard on High”

Angels we have heard on high, Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains
Refrain: Gloria (4x), in excelsis Deo! Gloria (4x), in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be, Which inspire your heavenly song? (Refrain)


Lesson 1: (Light a candle) Reading from the Gospel for Epiphany Matthew 2:1-12

“And the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary, and they praised the Holy One. Then opening their treasures, they presented their gifts.”


Carol: “We Wise Ones” (We Three Kings)

We wise ones from everywhere are, Bearing gifts we’ve carried from far
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star.

Refrain: Oh, star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright,
Homeward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to they holy Light.


Lesson 2: (Light a candle) “For Those Who Have Far to Travel
A Blessing for Epiphany,” from Circle of Grace © Jan Richardson Used with permission.

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping,
step by
single step.

There is nothing
for it
but to go,
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;

to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions,
beyond fatigue,
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.

There are vows
that only you
will know:
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.

Keep them, break them,
make them again;
each promise becomes
part of the path,
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel

to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.


Carol Refrain: Oh, star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright,
Homeward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to they holy Light.


Reflection/Sharing: Why do you as a Catholic lesbian/queer woman follow the star? What gift do you offer – that only you can give? (Light a candle and share)


Uniting Our Star-Light Gifts
Take a candle. Stand and face the East. Hold the candle in front of your heart to signify that Divine light shines within you. Next, hold the candle out in front of you as far as possible, signifying an offering of Light and Love to all people who dwell in the East.

Face the South…West…North and repeat the pattern.

After all four directions have been invoked, hold the candle to your heart and move it slowly in a circle in front of you. Hold the light for family, friends, loved ones, all who are part of your circle of life. Send the light and love of the Star-light within you to all who are in this circle of your life.

Hold the light for Catholic lesbians / queers of the world who need gifts tonight. Send the light and love of the Star-light within you to all lesbians / queers / queens who need a gift.

Hold the light for people of the world who need peace. Send the light and love to worn torn countries that peace may come.


Blessing the Epiphany Eucharist
Put down your candle, pick up bread and drink.

Blessed are you, divine love, for giving us this bread and drink, this epiphany Eucharist. As we take, bless, eat and drink, may we manifest divine love in the world.

Let us eat and drink in solidarity with the LGBTIQ community.


Carol: “Silent Night” adapted by S. Jean Hughes, Synapses, Chicago, 1994. Used with permission.

Silent night, holy night, All’s not calm. All’s not bright.
Round the world there’s weeping and fright.
Hunger and wars will claim victims tonight.
Where is heavenly peace? Where is heavenly peace?

Silent night, holy night, All’s not calm. All’s not right.
Homeless are left in the streets every night.
Left in the cold so they’ll be out of sight.
Where is heavenly peace? Where is heavenly peace?

Silent night, holy night, How to share calm? How to share light?
One among many and not being first
Each with a beauty enriching the Earth,
This brings heavenly peace. This brings heavenly peace.


Greeting of Peace / Welcome the New Year


© Diann L. Neu, Co-founder and Co-director of WATER,