Listening Parents

“Listening Parents” are Catholic parents of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender daughter or son who have graciously volunteered to listen to and share their personal experience with other parents. While the Listening Parents do not act as representatives of Fortunate Families, we know them as loving parents. If you contact a Listening Parent by e-mail, please be sure to put “Listening Parents” or “Fortunate Families” on the subject line, as unidentified e-mails may be discarded as junk mail. We welcome any feedback you care to provide on your experience of contacting a Listening Parent.

All viewers are invited to download, print, and display the brochure or the flyer wherever it will reach people who may need it — with permission from whoever has responsibility for the display area. Having copies available for people to take would be even better! We appreciate whatever you can do to get the word out about the Listening Parents Network.

 Use of the term: “Queer” on the Fortunate Families Website

In the table below, click on any of the column titles to sort the matrix by that column.

Listening Parents

STATE/CITY(Diocese where reside)
CA/ Dublin (Oakland)
94568Mother of lesbian daughterMcNamara, Valerie PFLAG: Women in God’s Spirit; Retired Marriage/Family Therapist
CA/Burbank (Los Angeles )91505Mother of gay sons (2)Cisneros, Armida818-848-3172;; Founded and head a parish support group for Catholic parents of LGBT children; facility in Spanish.
CA/Diamond Bar (Los Angeles)91765Mother of gay sonNaughton, or 909-896-8362. Involved in Always Our Children a parish-based support group for parents of gay and lesbian Catholics.
CA/Diamond Bar (Los Angeles) 91765 Parents of gay sonPlascencia, Javier and or; 909-860-5950. Members of Always Our Children for past 5 years. Ministry with Lesbian and Gay Catholics for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Education Committee of same. Translators of all material pertinent to presentations related to LGBT issues from a Catholic perspective. We are both bi lingual English/Spanish.
CA/Fullerton (Orange)92831Mother of gay sonHand, or 714-871-4815. Member of Koinonia, diocesan ministry to the Catholic gay community. Member of PFLAG Speakers Bureau. Wrote What keeps you in the Church?
CA/Los Angeles (Los Angeles) 90022 Mother of lesbian daughters (2) Manriquez, Rosa, IHM or 323-369-4355 Speaker with GLIDE (Gays and Lesbians Initiating a Dialogue for Equality); Hablo espanol; Active lector in my parish; In the past, I have been a catechist, Parish Council member and Eucharistic minister; Member of the Immaculate Heart Community, candidate in discernment with RCWP; on the board of Call to Action; I am an activist for the LGBTQ community. One of my daughters was married during the time that same-sex marriage was legal in California. I have a granddaughter with two mommies. The father of my daughters was gay. I believe in the unconditional love Jesus taught us in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
CA/Moreno Valley (San Bernardino)92553Mother of gay sonMadrid, or 951-653-9713. Masters in marriage and family therapy. Member of Bishop's Commission on Ministry to Families of Gay and Lesbian Catholics, and facilitator of parents support group.
CA/Palo Alto (San Jose)94303Mother of lesbian daughterIdzik, of 650-493-7350. Retired educator.
CA/Pleasanton (Oakland)94566Father of lesbian daughterHarmuth, Michael or 925-426-8848. Fortunate Families board member. Former President and office director of Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM). Diocesan ministry and PFLAG experience.
CA/Rocklin (Sacramento)95677Mother of gay sonKolb, Susan or 916-425-0013. Active in PFLAG. Wrote My many blessings
CA/Sacramento (Sacramento)95816Mother of lesbian daughters (2)Skonieczny, or 916-443-8084 x111. Has two lesbian daughters. Retired parish pastoral minister. Wrote Grace and gratitude abound where love and forgiveness live.
CA/San Francisco (San Francisco) 94112Father of gay sonCahill, or 415-608-6815; Social worker; retired executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities
CA/San Jose (San Jose)95122Parents of gay sonJohnson, Helen & or 408-210-5518 (Ted) or 408-258-8416 (Helen). Involved in diocesan ministry. PFLAG experience. Helen has HIV/AIDS caregiver experience
CA/Santa Barbara (Los Angeles)93105Parents of lesbian daughterSchneider. Joe & or 805-687-4338. Leaders of support group for Catholic parents of LGBT persons
Canada/BC/Vancouver (Vancouver)V3M 1X5Mother of gay sonMurray, or 604-525-5123. Teacher
Canada/ON/Ajax (Toronto)L1T 3K5Parents of gay son & lesbian daughterHyland, Mike & Mary or 905-686-7106. Mike is parish RCIA coordinator. Mary is step-mother.
Canada/ON/Camlachie (London)N0N 1E0Parent of a gay sonPayne, Gerry519-869-4331. Part of parish discussion group.
Canada/ON/Kitchener (Hamilton)N2B 3H1Parents of gay sonBeck, Nick & Sylvia or 519-576-6837. Experienced with temporary care and shelter for homeless gay and lesbian youth. Speak Hungarian.
Canada/ON/Sarnia (London)N7T 7H6Parents of gay sonNichols, Marianne and or 519-869-4024 or Skype (marianne.nichols). Only reachable by email until after August 2. 2010. Teacher. PFLAG experience. 519-869-4024 Retired high school teacher; member of Sarnia/Port Huron PFLAG.
CO/Castle Rock (Colorado Springs)80108Parents of gay sonConneen, Drew and; 303-683-1718 Originated a parish support group for families of GBLT; we meet monthly; PFLAG experience as members and parade participants; actively have sought dialogue with Denver archdiocese, most recently by trying to encourage outreach to teens struggling with sexual identity.
CO/Lakewood (Denver)80232Mother of transgender m>f daughterGallagher, or 303-986-7510
CT/Middlebury (Hartford)06762Mother of lesbian daughterLevine, or 602-571-8362. Former teacher, hospice volunteer, PFLAG experience.
CT/Milford (Hartford)06460Mother of gay sonMohring, or 203-874-7365. Involved in local PFLAG chapters. Wrote: A Father's Day Gift for a Mother.
FL/Ft. Myers (Venice)33912Mother of gay sonMattras, or 239-561-5720 (email checked when traveling). Facilitation experience with parish support group for families of LGBT persons. PFLAG experience. Speaks Czech.
FL/Miami (Miami)33015Mother of gay sondel Cristo, Rebeca or 305-829-9019 (h) or 305-318-2022 (cell). Spanish-speaking. Teacher and Gay-Straight-Alliance club sponsor. PFLAG experience. Spiritual companion.
FL/Palm Coast (St. Augustine)32137Parents of gay sonJacobs, Karyn & (Karyn) or (Jim) or 386-503-1710 (Karyn) or 386-793-7595 (Jim). 12-step support group experience.
GA/Lilburn (Atlanta)30047Mother of gay sonFarrell, or 770-564-0532. Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Seminary. Listed in "Friends for the Journey: Spiritual Directors of Middle and North Georgia."
HI/Honolulu (Honolulu)96186Mother of gay sonRoth, or 808-735-1631. Has presented educational sessions on sexual orientation to school faculties, students, and parishes. Advocated at state capitol.
IA/Davenport (Davenport)52807Mother of lesbian daughter & gay sonWillaert, or 563-359-6133. Masters in Pastoral Studies with an integrated project/thesis on Homosexuality and Catholic Church Teaching. Spiritual Director.
IA/Des Moines (Des Moines)50315Parents of gay sonMc Coy, Mary Ann & or 512-288-2605. Mary Ann is former director of religious education.
ID/Boise (Boise)83702Parents of gay sonCurtis, Don & or 208-344-3434. Both retired and active in Human Rights organizations. Susan is an RN. Volunteer parish ministers.
ID/Boise (Boise)83706Mother of lesbian daughter & gay sonAustin-Calkins, or 208-331-7941.
IL/ Chicago (Chicago)60645Mother of gay sonEllis, or 773-338-4342 Founding member of parish Gay and Lesbian Family and Friends Ministry (GLFF); speaks to groups about my personal journey of recognition and acceptance of my son's orientation as a gay man.
IL/Chicago (Chicago)60626Parents of lesbian daughterBowers, Mary Jo & or 773-274-1981. Parish ministers. Mary Jo is a social worker. Norm is a psychologist.
IL/Clarendon Hills (Joliet)60514Parents of gay sonFrett, Dan & or or 630-920-1444. PFLAG and parish ministry experience. Jackie wrote: Let Me Sow Love; Always Our Children: Accepting God's Plan and the Church's Ministry; Finding our place; Always Our Children: Bulletin insert from Notre Dame Parish; This won't happen again!; Remarkable people, powerful stories
IL/DeKalb (Rockford )60115Parents of lesbian daughterJudkins, Dean and Lori 815-981-5901
PFLAG DeKalb County
IL/Harvard (Rockford)60033Parents of lesbian daughterMarian, Barbara & Powers, Jerry or 815-943-5504. Active in PFLAG.
IL/McHenry (Rockford)60050Mother of gay sonWeaver, or 815-385-9068. MA in theology. PFLAG leader experience. Wrote: Dear (Boulder) Pastor
IN/Evansville (Evansville) 47720Parents of transgender m>f daughterCovington, Bob and Lisa812-303-8865, & Lisa holds degrees in Pastoral Leadership and Theology; 11 years parish ministry experience; helps coordinate Rainbow Catholics in Christ; involved in PFLAG. Both Bob and Lisa have been involved with the TSA Holiday Project for a number of years and support the TSA Youth Group
IN/South Bend (Ft. Wayne-South Bend)46637Parents of gay sonMascotte, Hank & or 574-277-2684. Hank has a lesbian sister. Nancy was a therapist at Saint Mary's College and Notre Dame, and Hank was a Catholic priest. Both facilitate the local PFLAG chapter and are members of the Marianist GLBT outreach team.
IN/South Bend (Ft. Wayne-South Bend)46614Parents of gay son & lesbian daughterGarascia, Beth & (Tony) or or 574-287-0904. Tony worked for the RC Church in different capacities for 29 years and is now a counselor. Beth is chair of a GLBT issue team for the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative. Both have PFLAG experience. Beth wrote: Pain and possibility: Being a Catholic parent of gay and lesbian children; A place at the Marianist table 2010
(Covington )
41017Parents of gay son. Kathy & Ed both have a gay son from a prior marriage so each also has a step son who is gay. Buechel, Kathy and Ed Kathy: cell: 859-468-2960
Ed: cell: 859-653-9291
home: 859-331-2707
Host a support group for parents of LGBT children. This group grew out of a diocesan support group, but is not affiliated with the diocese.
MA/Arlington, (Boston)02476Mother of gay sonKean, Educational therapist working with students in higher education. Wrote An insight into the Blessed Mother
MA/Needham (Boston)02492Parents of gay sonGeishecker, Brenda & or 781-444-4884. Wrote 2008 open letter to U.S. bishops (and collected other signatures) protesting USCCB and K of C financial support for California Proposition 8.
MA/Quincy (Boston)02169Parents of transgender f>m sonGarber, or 617-472-5189. Marcia is RN. Dignity Boston member, with PFLAG experience. involved in trans-activism.
MA/W. Springfield (Springfield)01089Parents of gay sonFranczyk, Ann & (Ann) or (Chet). 413-736-6803. Co-founders of Always Our Children in W. Springfield, MA. Ann is a nurse practitioner and was a Board member of Fortunate Families. Chet is a pediatrician. They wrote: Always Our Children - Hope amongst the mixed messages.. Ann wrote: Educating Educators
MA/Westborough (Worcester)01581Mother of lesbian daughterMcCann, Suzanne508-366-8727 or (checks weekly).
MA/Westborough (Worcester)01581Mother of lesbian daughterMalone, or 508-366-2050 or 508-330-4558 (cell)
MD/Annapolis (Baltimore)21401Mother of gay sonPluecker, or 410-295-2900 or 240-606-8549 (cell). Has experience with Catholic LGBT and parents ministry groups.
MD/Cambridge (Wilmington)21613Parents of gay sonNugent, Jenny & or 410-228-8382. Both active with parish social justice committee, parish council and RCIA. Wrote: Dear Bishop Malooly Made video: The Nugent's Story
MD/Gaithersburg (Washington)20878Parents of gay sonBrady, Robert & or 301-840-9496. Active in parish-based Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons: Opportunity Knocks. Bob has an MA in spirituality and pastoral care, and is a Stephen Ministry leader.
MD/Glen Arm (Baltimore)21057Mother of gay sonDurkin, or 410-592-8453. Many years in Catholic religious education. Active in parish ministry and PFLAG.
MD/Lutherville (Baltimore)21093Mother of gay sonHillis, or 410-252-3484. PFLAG experience.
MI/Beverly Hills (Detroit)48025Parents of lesbian daughterBlack, Jerry & or 248-644-4479. Members of Always Our Children - Detroit, a panel of parents and LGBT children that tell their stories in churches. Active in PFLAG. Mary wrote A Letter From Meg and narrated "Knowing Makes the Difference" (an audio file - temporarily unavailble).
MI/Detroit (Detroit)48223Mother of lesbian daughter & gay sonAnderson, or 313-836-2389. Commissioned spiritual director.
MI/Farmington Hills (Detroit)48331Parents of gay sons (2)Nelson, Linda Karle & (Tom); (Linda) 248-489-1505. Linda is President, Fortunate Families and Tom is a board member. Members of Always Our Children, a panel of parents and LGBT children that tell their stories in churches. Involved in PFLAG. Tom wrote: God gave me a gay son for Notre Dame Magazine; Stories make a difference: An activist is born; An activist?; "Letter from a father of a gay son", and narrated "Father Knows Best-Eventually" (audio file - temporarily unavailable).
MI/Gaylord (Gaylord)49735Mother of gay sonCotant, or 231-546-3421 or 989-858-1267 (cell).
MI/Orchard Lake (Detroit)48323Parents of gay sonByrd, Thomas & or 248-681-9311. Thomas is an MD. Teresa is an advanced practice nurse.
MI/Royal Oak (Detroit )48073Mother of lesbian daughterElwart, Chris 248-398-2247; PFLAG experience; psychotherapist
MI/West Bloomfield (Detroit)48323Mother of lesbian daughterLe Brun, 248-682-0836 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit- RN retired; also have a gay brother; practicing Catholic, participated in support group for parents of LGBT kids; lesbian daughter now Jewish who is legally married and happily expecting her first child; have educated myself on the civil rights of gay citizens.
MN/Bloomington (St. Paul/Minneapolis)55431Father of gay sonBurg, or 952-881-6170. Stephen Minister trained. Member, Catholic Pastoral Committee for Sexual Minorities in St. Paul MN.
MN/Clearwater (St. Cloud)55320Mother of gay sonOhmann, or 320-223-1008 (cell). Fortunate Families board member. Wrote Minneapolis Vigil
MN/Minneapolis (St. Paul.Minneapolis)55413-2274Parents of gay sons (2)Larkey, John & or Phones - John: 920-265-0646; Loretta: 920-819-1179 Have two gay sons. Members of St. Norbert College worshipping community. Loretta is a trained social worker and works as a psychotherapist.
MO/Kansas City (Kansas City)64113Mother of gay sonMcGannon, or 816-523-8404 or 913-461-4541 (cell).
MO/St Louis (St Louis)63110Mother of Queer DaughterRauch, Gerry 314-664-5770
RN; Massage Therapist; I am part of a welcoming parish that strives to include all families. Parishes are not islands and we have struggled with the church's teachings on homosexuality and our own community's lived experiences and acceptance. I strive to be welcoming to all families, especially those who might feel marginalized. On a personal note, my cousin died of AIDS very early in 1986, so this began a journey for our family and helped to foster some dialogue amongst family members.
NC/Charlotte (Charlotte)28277Parents of gay sonMartel, Ed & or 704-542-6525. PFLAG experience. Diocesan ministry experience.
NC/Raleigh (Raleigh)27613Mother of lesbian daughterWhitehouse, Involved with parish-based support group. Spiritual Director, Shalem Institute.
NC/Raleigh (Raleigh)27615Father of gay sonPietrus, or 919-609-8425. Co-founder and former coordinator of Always Our Children support group, Cathedral of St. Matthew, Washington DC.
NE/Omaha (Omaha)68130Father of gay sonFurlong, 402-895-6386. Fortunate Families board member. Member of local area ministry, "Caring Catholic Families" and parish ministry. Created Let's Talk About Homosexuality - educational series. Wrote GLAAD series suggests ways to more effectively discuss issues of LGBT justice with undecided Americans; Catholic LGBT ministries address a particular need - often with the involvement of PFLAG people; Fortunate Families co-sponsors ad decrying action against children of lesbian couple
Nicaragua/Managua (Managua)HipposParents of lesbian daughterWalsh, Tom & Duarte, or or +505 8432 6952. Tom is bilingual in English and Spanish; Julia prefers Spanish. Both experienced in parish LGBT ministry.
NJ/Pequannock (Paterson)07440Parents of gay sonRestaino, Carmen & (Carmen) or (Cheryl) or 973-633-6720. Carmen is a Roman Catholic permanent deacon. Cheryl is a retired teacher, and is active in PFLAG with experience in leading beginner's meetings. Cheryl wrote Being a Listening Parent
NY/Brooklyn (Brooklyn)11238Mother of lesbian daughterPalms. Rosemary or 718-638-7365. Involved in parish LGBT ministry. Wrote: A ministry grows in Brooklyn
NY/Floral Park (Brooklyn)11004Parents of gay sonButvick, Bill & or or 347-528-7165 (Bill) or 917-568-8687 (Kathryn). Kathryn is an RN with Ph.D. in Psychology.
NY/Rochester (Rochester)14623Father of transgender m>f daughterPickett, Bill 585-442-3866. Advisor to Fortunate Families and webmaster. Wrote: A Parent's Perspective: Transsexual Identity and Wholeness
NY/Rochester (Rochester)14616Mother of lesbian daughters (2)Newman, or 585-425-9347. Mother of 2 lesbian daughters. Stephen minister and teaching assistant experience. Wrote Speaking up
NY/Rochester (Rochester)14620Parents of gay sonLopata, Casey & Mary or 585-698-6100. Co-founders and board members of Fortunate Families. Casey has MDiv. Mary Ellen has MS in Liberal Arts with focus on homosexuality and the family. Together wrote Dear Pope... ; Suggestions for Addressing Gay and Lesbian Related Legislation.. Casey wrote: Can my son be Gay and Catholic?; Moral Values; Not Master Builders; and The sin of heterosexism?. Mary Ellen wrote God's Love Revealed: reflections on being a Catholic Mother
NY/Troy (Albany)12180Mother of gay sonde Seve, or 518-272-4637 or 518-421-4723 (cell).
NY/Weedsport (Rochester)13166Parents of gay sons (2)Cichello, Eileen & or 315-834-9725. Have 2 gay sons.
OH/Brecksville (Cleveland)44141Mother of gay sonBuccini, or 440-759-8524. MSW. Community college counselor and LGBT Safe Zone trainer. PFLAG experience.
OH/Columbus (Columbus)43085Mother of gay sonBarkhurst, or 614-736-1256 (cell). Teacher and Newman community experience.
OH/Euclid (Cleveland)44143Mother of lesbian daughterBuchanan, or 216-486-2176. Member of diocesan Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry Council, and speaker. Facilitator of parish parent support group.
OH/Gates Mills (Cleveland)44040Parents of lesbian daughterHoenigman, Ann & or 440-449-1848. Active in parish-based parent support group. Ann wrote Parents of homosexuals speak in Catholic Schools in Cleveland Diocese. Ed wrote Emmaus Retreat presentation
Ohio/Cincinnati (Cincinnati )45247Parents of lesbian daughterDirr, Mike and or 513-385-3954 Participate in local parish support group for parents of LGBT children.
OR/Mt. Angel (Portland)97362Parents of lesbian daughters (2) (twins)Balog, Florence & or 503-845-7850. Co-founders of Welcoming the Whole Family in St. Andrew's Parish, Portland, OR. Florence wrote My Twin Lesbian Daughters. Also founded and facilitated a parents support group in the archdiocese. Steve wrote: The Light Has Been Passed ; A Story of Trust; A Reality Check; Assumptions; Being Called Out , Again; and A bruised reed he will not break...(Isaiah 42:3).
PA/Wynnewood (Philadelphia)19096Mother of gay sonCassidy, or 610-649-0698. PFLAG experience.
TN/Memphis (Memphis)38104Parents of gay sonWord, Deb & or 901-274-4039. Deb is a Fortunate Families board member. Part of the parent support team in diocesan ministry with gay and lesbian persons. Deb wrote: Parent's Journey; A Place at the Table; Offended by homily? Write!; Welcome to the (potluck) banquet; Dusty feet disciples; and Dear Bishop. Deb also writes a blog: This Catholic Mom . Article in NCR: Wife and Husband open their home to LGBT youth
TX/ Cypress (Galveston/Houston)77429Father of gay sonPickard, or 281-225-6858 Bachelor of Business Administration; President Hearts for Peace for 10 yrs. Hearts for Peace held monthly masses at different parishes in G/H diocese with confession, rosary, and a speaker to pray for peace.
TX/Colleyville (Ft. Worth)76034Mother of gay sonRose, or 817-329-7370. Member of Ft. Worth Diocese task force for ministry with GLBT community.
TX/McAllen (Brownsville)78504Parents of gay sonSaavedra, David and Dora; 956-345-5444 or; 956-454-5501 David: Marriage and Family Therapist (bilingual English/Spanish) Dora: Communication Professor; fairly fluent in Spanish although predominant English speaker. Dora has 18 years working with youth ministry. Both active in a variety of social justice issues.
TX/Melissa (Dallas)75454Parents of gay sonDalke, Rich & or 972-837-2334. Leaders in "Outstretched Hands" -- parish-based group that supports GLBT Catholics and parents of GLBT persons, and provides education to the parish. Wrote: Blessings !!!
UT/Salt Lake City (Salt Lake)84121Mother of gay sonAbele, or 801-943-8111. Medical doctor. PFLAG experience. Wrote Story of a Listening Parent
VA/Haymarket (Arlington)20169Father of gay sonKehoe, or 703-753-2906. Co-founder of Catholic support group for GLBT persons and their families.
VA/Reston (Arlington)20190Parents of gay sonComiskey, Nancy and or 571-643-0043 Participated in a support group for Catholic LGBT parents.
VA/Richmond/Henrico (Richmond)23228Mother of gay sonLowenhagen, or 804-241-8695. Parish work experience and volunteer experience with parish youth.
VT /Belmont (Burlington)05730Mother of bisexual daughterDeVine, or 802-259-2562 Retired Head of School for an independent elementary school in NYC. Member of the LGBT and Straight Ministry of St. Augustine's Church.
WA/ Mercer Island (Seattle) 98040 Mother of lesbian daughter Connolly, or (206) 232-4143I am a practicing Catholic and am active in a parish in Bellevue, WA.
WA/Kirkland (Seattle)98034Mother of gay sonCass, or 425-820-7466. PFLAG and Catholic parent support group experience.
WI/Chetek (Superior)54728Parents of lesbian daughterSmith, Jim & Mary JeanJim: or 715-458-2224 or 715-642-3786 (cell). MA in pastoral ministry. Certified spiritual director. Extensive experience in parish and retreat house ministry, and as parish pastoral associate and pastoral administrator.

Mary: or 715-458-2224 or 715-642-3787 (cell). Nursing background. MA in pastoral ministry. Certificate in CPE (chaplain). Extensive experience in parish and retreat house ministry. Parish pastoral associate experience. Wrote Letters can make a difference
WI/Hartford (Milwaukee)53027Parents of gay sonWeber, Carol & or 262-670-0448. Members of Gay and Straight in Christ a parish-based support group. Wrote Acceptance of a gay son
WI/Madison (Madison)53705Father of transgender f>m sonSubkoviak, or 608-833-4249. Retired educational psychology professor.
WI/Madison (Madison)53705Mother of Bisexual daughterThomas, or 608-231-3086. Facilitated the organization of a parish parent support group. Wrote For thousands of years
WI/Tomah (LaCrosse)54660Mother of gay sonErickson, or 608-374-2745 or 608-387-0714 (cell).
WI/Wauwatosa (Milwaukee)53213Father of lesbian daughterStaudenmaier, Bill414-453-8561 or 414-227-1216 between 9 and 2. No email. Wrote "Dear Cardinal George"
WY/Worland82401Father of lesbian daughterMcDonough, or: (307)347-3152 Co-founder of group working with LGBT community and parents to make parish more welcoming.

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