From Facebook, a remarkable picture and post from Lady Gaga:
Thank you Father Duffell for a beautiful homily as always and lunch at my pop’s restaurant. I was so moved today when you said.. “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us.” – Father Duffell, Blessed Sacrament Church
Father John Duffell was profiled in The New York Timesa few years back, and gained some media attention for growing his parish using innovative methods of outreach and liturgy:
At a time when the Roman Catholic Church is grappling with sexual abuse scandals, a shortage of priests and the consolidating of churches and schools in many urban areas, including dozens in New York City, Ascension stands as just one example of a parish that remains a vibrant presence in the lives of its ever-changing — and still growing — congregation.
The church has remained relevant for more than 1,500 parishioners not just by varying music styles, but by adapting to the shifting neighborhood and times. At a shrine in one corner of the church, there are pictures of Virgin Marys from across the world. A martini night has replaced coffee hour after Sunday evening Mass. There are citizenship and English classes for immigrants, an active lay leadership and welcoming messages to gays and lesbians.
…For the young, there are more avant-garde ways of worship, like the Sunday evening jazz Mass. Started in 1999, the service attracts 200 to 300 people, and a vast majority are under 40. The jazz service has all the traditional rites, and Father Duffell delivers a nearly identical homily as at the more formal morning service. But instead of a choir there is a jazz trio, and parishioners are often young Catholics who are attending Mass for the first time in years.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re in church. For some people that’s a bad thing, but for a lot of us, it’s a great and exciting feeling,” said Rosa Arenas, 33, a legal translator who grew up in the neighborhood and returned to the parish as an adult. “This is my sanctuary, at any time. There’s just a sense of hope and renewal that I have every time I walk in.”
Lady Gaga—formerly known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta —attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York, and has been a big fundraiser for it in the past.
She’s also an outspoken activist for LGBT issues and, according to her biography, was reportedly ordained a minister for the Universal Life Church Monastery, so she could preside at the wedding of two women friends.