John J. McNeill, an Irish-American priest from Buffalo, New York, was a POW in Nazi Germany and a voice for peace during the Vietnam War. A pioneer of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) liberation, McNeill was co-founded Dignity New York in 1972. He was an author of best-selling books on Catholicism and homosexuality. His groundbreaking 1976 book The Church and Homosexual has been translated into many languages and inspired countless persons throughout the world. In 1977 and in 1983, McNeill was silenced for speaking and writing on issues of homosexuality by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. For disobedience to this order, John was expelled from the Jesuit community in 1987. For his courageous witness and ministry as therapist and theologian to the LGBTQ community he was honored as Grand Marshal of the NYC Pride Parade in 1987.
In this inspiring program, Brendan Fay, director of the award-winning film Taking A Chance on God, will share film clips, artifacts and stories from McNeill's life and journey. Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D. will offer reflections on her interactions with this courageous gay priest.