Fr John McNeill at EuroPride Rome 2011
Diane Xuereb, gayandblessed.blogspot.com, June 7, 2011
Rome, beautiful Rome, I was here almost thirty years ago, back then, I was too young to appreciate its beautiful history as well as its charm. I think its still the same however I landed early in the evening (8.20pm) so it was already dark.
A city looks different during the day. In any case, as soon as I got off the plane, I was greeted by a hot sticky wind, which immediately reminded me of my beloved rock, Malta.
I was excited as well as frustrated because the plane was delayed by an hour and the premiere of John McNeill’s documentary ‘Taking a Chance on God’ was due to be screened at 9.45pm. I was definitely not going to make it on time. In fact I arrved at the hotel at 10.30pm.
I quickly deposited my lugguage and made my way to the EuroPride park which happily, is only 300 meters away from the hotel.
I thought that I would get there to find that it was all over, however in true Italian fashion (practically always late ;)) it had only just started. It was 10.45pm. I arrived just in time to hear Fr. John introduce himself as well as the documentary.
The tent was packed, all the chairs were taken, there was barely a place to stand and everyone was listening attentively. Listening to this charismatic 85 year old legendary, gay Jesuit priest, hanging on to his every word.
Short description about the documentary, not my words: ‘Taking A Chance on God’ is a 48 minute view of Fr. John’s life and his dedication to the LGBT community.
It is a story of the heart; the story of John McNeill’s love for his Church, his gay community, his Jesuit brothers, and his beloved companion and now legally wed spouse, Charlie Chiarelli.
Taking A Chance on God gives a rare look into the heart of one inspiring man’s journey, as he negotiates his life as a Catholic priest, a gay man, and a courageous advocate for LGBT rights.