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Let Dominic Speak: Dominic Has Spoken!

Students and alumni of Sacred Heart Academy in Mount Pleasant, Mich., joined together Let Dominic Speak at an inclusive graduation event on May 20, 2012.

Students and alumni of Sacred Heart Academy in Mount Pleasant, Mich., joined together Let Dominic Speak at an inclusive graduation event on May 20, 2012.

Dominic Sheahan-Stahl is a 1998 graduate of Sacred Heart whose brother, Willi, is a member of the class of 2012. Last fall, he was invited to speak at commencement, which took place on May 20, but the invitation was rescinded on order of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw after school staff noticed engagement pictures on Facebook and realized that Sheahan-Stahl, who lives in New York City, where marriage equality recently became a reality, is gay. Current and former Sacred Heart students have spoken out in support of Sheehan-Stahl. Angie Sweeny Seder, who graduated two years ahead of Sheahan-Stahl, writes:

“I value my Catholic religion and education; however, at the same time I do not judge others based on race, gender or sexual orientation […] I believe the teachings of our religion remind us to love all. The word "catholic" is from the Latin root (thank you, Sister Thaddeus) meaning universal and the English meaning, a wide variety of things; all-embracing. The message you are sending to Dominic and his family is not all-embracing, universal or accepting.”

“Through the outpouring of love and support that I've received from family, friends, Sacred Heart students and many people I've never even met, I've come to realize that a majority of Catholics support their LGBT brothers and sisters,” said Dominic Sheahan-Stahl. “I was always taught that God is Love and I hope that that my brother and other students will come away from my speech with the knowledge that all people deserve to be treated equally.”

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Sheahan-Stahl was able to deliver the speech he wrote for his brother’s commencement at an inclusive graduation event called Live through Love, which took place on May 20 in the time between morning Mass and the graduation ceremony. Sheahan-Stahl's speech included themes such as hope, love, dreams, and conquering fear.

Dominic's speech, and the student organizing to make it happen sparked a national discussion about the role of young Christians standing up for the values they believe in.

Dominic has written to Bishop Cistone, inviting him to attend Live through Love and to have an individual conversation. See the full text of Dominic's letter at the Huffington Post