Sunday Sundries … Goodbye May … Hello June

tumblr_lxerkgWVPI1r556eno1_500 followeedCourtesy: Followeed

The weather has definitely shifted overnight. Yesterday we hit the 30c mark. Today, when I left the house it was 14c. It was a little chilly, so it was a second layer kind of evening. I did not have to travel far today, the Tour De L’ Isle was today, thankfully they stayed away from downtown.

I left early and arrived at the church and was greeted by the church super. He wanted to tell me of the plans they are putting in place to uber secure the church, after the break in and theft that took place a couple weeks ago. He was able to purchase his stolen tools (read: saws, routers, and other assorted power tools), at a reduced price, less than half of what he paid for them originally, thank you Home Depot for the deals. New doors were put in and other security features will go in including an alarm in our end of the basement. Churches are very popular in the thieving ring in the city. Over the last decade, St. Leon’s has been hit several times.

I find it sad and also sacrilegious to steal from a church, especially one that is on the Heritage Site list. Surely, some people are going to burn in hell for robbing the parish.

We sat an uber full house. And we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Five.

“Each group has one primary purpose, to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

Over the years, meeting numbers go up and down. We attribute that to seasons and weather patterns, and also the frequency of hockey games.

I guess you could say that Sunday Niter’s does well in the “carrying the message” responsibility, because our numbers are way up from this past winter. Many folks, this evening, spoke to that effect. We have an open and honest bunch of folks, from across the board, with various lengths of sobriety, and we work very hard at welcoming the newcomer and making you feel at home for the hour or so you are with us.

Some of our folks keep coming back, and over time they learn to share what they have been given, and that keeps them in the loop, and reminds them of how important it is to reach out to new folks as they come in the hall. A day sober will perk someone’s life up, in unexpected ways.

Can you believe it, May is done and Tomorrow is June 1st.

Summer is some time away, but as things go here in Montreal, the Summer season has already started for tourism and the get outside event calendar. We are hopeful that our seasonal summer visitors will return. As the Summer concert series begin and film houses come to film here in Montreal, our numbers will swell. Sunday Niters is a very popular stop on the tour circuit.

Another successful month of meetings in the book. The jobs are all taken for June. The matriarch of our meeting has indicated that she is stepping down and she handed the meeting off to our small group of trusted servants, our main goal, as always, is to keep the doors open for as long as we can.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … Pride … Tour La Nuit Montreal 2015

tumblr_mn0exfnZhI1ra77uvo1_500 heartblackCourtesy: Heart Black

The weather is holding, which was very good tonight.

As the weather gets good, things to do outside increase. There is no time to waste when the weather is this good, because sooner or later, Mother Nature is gonna piss on us.

Tonight in Montreal, was the Tour La Nuit. The first of two bicycle events circling the Island of Montreal and the mountain. The Big Bicycle event comes on Sunday with the Island wide riding event.

I had checked on the transit website before I left to make sure I would not find my travel route blocked. Well, that did not go so well. I departed with PLENTY of time to get up to the church, and made it all the way to my bus transfer, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a stoppage sign on the pole at the bus stop. On TOP OF THAT there was a bus sitting in the bay, with a driver behind the wheel, going no where fast.

I stood for a bit, I had my tunes and my patience was ok. But that did not last. People started leaving the bus queue and others were talking to the driver. I waited, patiently. After while, with the bus still sitting there, I went to talk to the driver.

No Bus – Streets Closed – If you gotta get there, you are gonna WALK !!!

I half decided to turn around and come home. I got past the turnstile, and almost to the platform, and met one of my friends coming from a train that just went through. I told him, “no buses…” And his reply was, “well, we’ll walk it, 20 minutes tops!” I know the route, I could walk it blindfolded.

So we walked a mile to the church.

All the main streets were blocked off. The tour began at seven and began to wind its way around the island of Montreal. Numbers were nominal. We sat two groups. People had decided to walk the mile to the meeting instead of turning around and going home.

The weather was on our side tonight.

Two kinds of Pride

“The prideful righteousness of “good people” may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposedly not so good.”

In sobriety, is there any kind of good pride? Not really.

We are supposed to become, humble, quiet, right sized people. Knowing that we only know a little, that more will be revealed to us. That we are not the center of the universe and that that world does not revolve around us.

I don’t have all the answers.

I’ve learned a few things about pride, righteousness, arrogance and bullshit.

Over the years, I have learned to pick my battles wisely. Like my fellows, I have various opinions on every sordid topic that we are all reading and seeing on tv, hearing on the radio, and seeing in print. I just choose not to give you my opinion, unless that opinion is backed up with honest truth, book studied knowledge and/or practical life experience.

Over the years, I have dealt with certain self righteous people. Over the years, I have dealt with people who thought that I could not possibly be honest and sober (read: at that point in my sober journey). Even when those certain people were rifling through my life tearing me apart in word and action,

I learned that I should never engage negative criticism, for ANY reason whatsoever.

Just wait a while, keep your mouth shut and eventually they will tire, and they will go away.

Eventually they got tired, and they went away.

I survived, two of the biggest hits to my pride and my life, a few years ago.

I can say that I added a few letters to the end of my business card. Twice. And that paid out to one community that disparaged me in ungodly ways. I can also say that I stayed sober, after being hit by people who wanted to drag me through the mud because of my choice in recovery methods.

Now in my late 40’s I do know certain things as truth. I know who I am, and what my message is and what my goals are. And its not about self righteous pride or ego. I have enough people in my life that keep me in check.

We all laughed at ourselves for an hour. That was right sizing.

I walked all the way back from the church to the Metro. 20 minutes tops.

There were thousands of people riding their bikes around the city, all lit up, some dragging baby buggies behind them. It was very exciting and people were in a festive party mood. Many people had front row balcony seats to watch the spectacle.

The Summer Festival season has begun. For the next three months the city will be buzzing with activity across the board, from concerts, to Pride festivals, to fireworks, to the Best Jazz Festival in the world in July. Let us not forget, the biggest draw of the summer will be the Montreal Grand Prix, that is the crown jewel in Montreal’s crowning events.

I got on the train, came home, and in the end, I got here, at the same time I usually get home on a Friday night. No loss there.

More to come, stay tuned…

Little Meetings Need Love Too …

11088247_696573470453146_8437009207107910408_nIt was an Up/Down kind of day. A little rain, a little wind, then clearing just in time for rush hour traffic. Which really did not have any effect, in lessening rush hour traffic !

They say that “If you can, live by the seat of your pants, then do it …”

Kind of like, not wearing underwear … I never leave the house without my butt covered.

I got a call from a friend this morning, asking me to hit another meeting tonight. Of course, I said yes, because, I will go where ever this particular friend asks me to go, anytime.

I don’t usually plan my days, they just happen, aside from the regular meetings schedule, but that can always change if a better choice is offered.

I kind of like living dangerously !!

There are several competing meetings on Thursday night. Two of them are in NDG, across town, and down the road. Bus and Metro meetings. The third is right up the street in Westmount,

My day consisted of receiving packages for my mama friend, who is returning from New Found Land in a couple of weeks. What she can’t bring on a plane, she is buying and shipping to me to store. What we can donate to her, will seriously help her bottom line spending.

So far we have lots of baby furniture, dishes, a dining room set, and another friend, will have furniture and kitchen appliances, so that she won’t have to buy them, in any case.

Along with her stuff that came was a little something for me. The first of two packages that traveled the world to get here. I logged into EBAY last week, and my front page was filled with little impulse things, they probably thought I’d like, to either look at, or more to the point BUY !!!

I have plenty of shoes, from all over the place. I bought a sweet pair of combat boots from a friend some years ago, and this past Winter, my left boot began to take on water during a stroll out to dinner on a winter’s night. My local shoe repair is being remodeled so that is a no go.

In any case, a sweet pair of Military Tactical Combat Boots were on offer, and the price was right, so they are on their way from China. Ebay has become an international store front. They used to only show you items for sale in ones region, and if you wanted to shop on other Ebay locales, one has to log into that area, which usually brings with it, Google Translate.

I shop in the U.K., Germany, China, the U.S. and Canada. Now on Ebay, I get search results for all over the world on the same page. But for specialty items, I go shop direct.

I had the afternoon to do nothing and take a power nap before I had to go.

I took the train into NDG and got picked up for the evening event. I had been to this particular church before, I used to go to another meeting there, in the past. I don’t usually go into NDG for a meeting, because there are closer ones a short walk from home.

Anyways, we sat an intimate little group. When we got there, my friend said, “oh, hey, you wanna chair tonight?” I’ve never been to this meeting before, and he asked me to chair. Obviously, I said ok. What ever works.

We talked about “Things we heard from Old Timers that made a difference in our lives.”

This particular meeting was began by a guy who runs a rehab, so the chair book has the meeting script, the readings, and also pages and pages of meeting topics for discussion. I had plenty to choose from, I just chose an easy one for this evening.

I find it enjoyable going to small, intimate meetings. It was a good hour.

That little group is trying to keep the doors open, so they need a little love.

On the way home he asked me if going there was a problem, and I said no, a meeting is a meeting where ever it is. If you wanna go there you make the time and put forth the effort to get there, no matter where it is.

It’s a little more work to get there, but smiles on one’s friend’s faces is priceless.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday … Now, Later, Maybe and Never

friends becomeThe Up/Down temperature swings have leveled off, and today we swung into sunny, hot and moderate humidex readings. Thank God for Air conditioning. I was wise to load it up a few days ago, when they warned us that this trend would come.

When temps rise above 18c and above, things begin to get sticky. Living amid the concrete jungle, here in Western Downtown, cement and concrete buildings, warm during the day, then radiate heat when the sun goes down.

We aren’t insulated for seasonal hot and cold. This building is concrete and most apartments have windows across one entire wall, no matter what direction you face. We face West, which means, we get direct sunlight from 11 a.m. through till sundown.

That gets very warm. We get so much sun, that over the past decade or so, we had hung blinds, we papered or foiled the windows to turn sunlight away, these things did not help very much.

When we renovated the space a few months ago, we splurged on special sun sensitive roll blinds that work really well. They cut the heat quotient in a great way. With the added a.c. unit in the bedroom, we can maintain the apartment at a steady cool and comfy level.

It was so beautiful today, that I walked from the Metro to the church on the way out. (read: there was no bus waiting at the station, so I walked it).

It was our fourth year anniversary for the meeting today.

It’s very funny, our meeting.

They say, that all you need to have, to open a meeting, is a resentment and a coffee pot…

You actually need at minimum $350.00 to do it right.

And that is exactly how Vendome started. ONE pissed off alcoholic and his resentments.

Many years ago, well, four to be exact, Tuesday Beginners was in transition. We dropped from two meetings on a Tuesday Night, to just one. One of our members wanted the key and said he would operate the second meeting himself, in our space, inside our window of occupancy.

That idea was instantly nixed …

So he left, and along with my current sponsor, opened a brand new meeting right up against Tuesday Beginners, but half an hour earlier. Which put it smack dab in the middle of the Five o’clock shadows meeting at 5 and Tuesday Beginners at 7.

All three meetings are close. They are all on bus and Metro lines.

A couple of years later, I decided to leave Tuesday Beginners and followed my friends over to Vendome. By that time, the original member who opened the meeting copped another resentment with the group, and he fled. Which left us with a meeting to run and populate.

We were at Trinity for a little more than a year, then the N.D.G. Food Bank, was tossed on the street by their landlord, so they really needed a place to operate, because the food bank serves the entire N.D.G. and surrounding Burroughs. They came to Trinity.

Our meeting was tossed into the auditorium where the food bank had set up all around us, so we were sharing space with them, and several other meetings that book ended ours.

That did not go very well, and we ended up moving the meeting to where it is now. Up the hill and close to Villa Maria Metro and the 24 bus route. Sadly, most of the folks who used to come to Trinity, did not follow. We could never figure out the why? It was only 2 city blocks away.

We’ve maintained the group, albeit, by the skin of our teeth. We aren’t making seventh, hand over fist, and funds have fallen off because we can’t seem to hold over many people, they just don’t come week after week, however, we do have a small group of committed members.

Along with our anniversary today, one of our old timers celebrated 29 years of sobriety.

There was cake, and other goodies to feast upon.

We are closing in on the end of our Joe and Charlie Big Book tapes.

AH, I can hear the angels sing …

We have reached Steps Eight and Nine.

It is said that alcoholism is a three fold disease. Spiritual, Mental and Physical.

In steps One, Two and Three, we realize our powerlessness, we come to believe in a Power Greater than Ourselves, and we decide to turn it over. For many, this might be their first time around with (a) god. But many know who God is, and they have turned away for one reason or another. That solves our spiritual problem.

In Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven, we set to paper all those things that hold us back. Resentments, Guilts, and Fears. After an exhaustive, moral personal inventory, we clear away the wreckage of our pasts. Then we unload it upon someone we trust. We figure out from that inventory our character defects and our shortcomings.

It is also said that we continue to work Six and Seven for the rest of our lives.

That solves our Mental problem.

In Steps Eight and Nine, we make our lists of those we need to make amends to, and prepare to do so, as we are able, with this proviso …

An Amends list is not something to take lightly, depending on how much damage you have done to yourself and others. (read: Family, Friends, Employers etc …)

Many come to this point and balk. So Joe and Charlie give us this tool:

  • Make Four lists:
  • Those we can make amends to NOW
  • Those we could make amends to LATER
  • Those whom we could MAYBE make amends to at some point
  • And those we will NEVER be able to make amends to

Reading the text out of the Big Book, Bill covers almost every single situation that might turn up for someone working at this juncture of The Work.

Many an old timer took to the work slowly. But it is what it is. Amends cross many areas.

  • Personal
  • Business
  • Family and
  • Financial

At some point in ones sobriety, we should complete this list, in any way possible, because we drank, for some, in any way possible. And if we had to Beg, Rob or Steal it, alcoholics and addicts have done that. It may take a lifetime, but we only have ONE lifetime.

So we better make it a good life, in the end.

I’ve done these lists. There are people on each of these lists. With the dawn of sobriety the second time, I had to make amends to certain people, which I did early on, because I could.

When I got sober the second time, about a month in, I met those friends I ditched opting for a geographic, instead of honesty and respect. Those amends were made directly, face to face.

Let me tell you, that was not easy. It took everything I had to look my friends in the eyes and ask for forgiveness.

With the dawn of Facebook, I made amends to my friends whom I had not seen in many years. Many of my drinking friends, are sober themselves, so that made it a bit easier, because they were in the program, and the amends were mutual and went both ways.

There is one woman, a good friend of mine, who is still in my life today, who WAS in my life through every stage of my life in recovery the First and Second time.

We had THAT discussion.

She forgave me. But to this day, my heart aches, every time I think about her or see activity on Facebook, because I have unfinished business with her. You see, she was the only friend who was financially involved with helping to take care of me when I was really sick, my family had long since backed out of any responsibility or desire to help me.

And she carried me to my geographical move and then she left and went on to her own geographical cure. I was all the way OUT, she was only PARTIALLY the way out.

Life went on. But I owe her more than asking for forgiveness. One day I hope to make full financial restitution to her in my own way, for everything that she did for me. But I have yet to say these words to her, because they have been a long time coming.

Then on the final list, are those who I will NEVER be able to make amends to. Those are the people who walked out of my life for various reasons, (which are all about them, and not about me, but really, it is all about me no matter how you cut it).

I was an Alcoholic. I was Gay, I was living with AIDS, and I reside in Canada.

All these things are liabilities.

So fuck me for surviving…

We’ve come a long way over the last year or so. Each pass at the steps gives us perspective, insight and then the gift of hindsight. The greater the vision, the greater the effort to sober up.

We grow up when we get sober, and hopefully, we do it right this time.

Maybe NOW, Maybe LATER, MAYBE sometime, and sadly, quite possibly NEVER.

More to come, stay tuned …

The love we are painted by

Do you believe in Love Lifted from: Jeremy Don’t Eat Trash

After the evening we had tonight, we need a little Jesus to lighten the load…

You know what grieves me to my core? Like, deeply grieves me? And has done for most of my life because I’ve seen it up close, I’ve seen it destroy peoples lives. People that i love intimately….

The division of Christians around the world makes me want to vomit. And i’m not talking about an 80 year old catholic being a little wary of the very outspoken, tongues-speaking, 19 year old from another country. Thats difference of experience and opinion. I’m talking about hatred. Hatred brought on by a sense of self-righteousness. A deep ignorance of Gods love for man blinded by the ‘king of the mountain’ elitist ethos that drives home the truth that man is unsavable outside of the redemptive blood of Christ.

When Jesus was asked to speak about the stoning of a woman who may have been caught in adultery he looks at the crowd and said “Throw stones if you are perfect” – They left. He then looked at the woman and said “Stop doing what you know is wrong, you are free”.

When Jesus saw a most probable fraudulent tax collector staring at Him from a tree, he didn’t start a riot to lynch Zacheus, he invited himself over for tea. Giving everyone dignity and proving that freedom is for all.

When a member of the religious elite, whom Jesus passionately defamed for their self-righteous, stumbling-block ways, met up with him to ask genuine questions, Jesus met him where he was, and treated him with respect and dignity.

When other people were casting out Demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus not only held his disciples back from stopping them, but he encouraged them that they were working together, even if it looked like they were playing for different teams.

Jesus seemed to have more issues with those making more rules, than those who were commonly looked at as rebellious. One of his own followers was a Zealot. The rock he built his church on was the same man that denied him three times even after being told he would. Others jostled for more power in the kingdom, whilst Thomas the doubter is celebrated in scripture as one who risked to make sure it was Christ.

And yet when Rob Bell reaches out to those who have completely written off Christianity as a conservative boys club, he is only befriended by Francis Chan (it seems), as the rest of Christendom (most of whom don’t know why he is black listed), black lists him as an amazing communicator and one who connects with those who do not know Jesus but deeply crave something of meaning.

When Mark Driscoll is demoted, for good reason, a fight storm blows up. Not about restoring the mans dignity, but about a whole lot of OTHER stuff that makes us feel superior somehow.

When Christian bands communicate their wish not to be labelled as that, when Christian story tellers, artists, inventors, scientists wish to contribute to the good of the world without the baggage of the destructive ununited parts of Christianity, apparently that means they are Satanists, as well as quality creators.

We don’t like doing youth group with the other church, even tho we only have 5 members each because they dress weird. Or their building isn’t hip enough. They pray differently, or they have musical instruments we don’t like.

The petty conflicts in the church have ruined Christs good name throughout the world. Jesus is presented as an ugly, trashy, irrelevant, uncreative, judgemental beast. And He is none of those things.

We should be known by our love. Our ability to get along. The way we give preference to each other, listen to each other, go out of our way to bless each others lives so that others go “WOAH, that community rules, I wanna get me some” Instead of – “Why does that community hate each other, I want nothing to do with that community”

Sunday Sundries … Insidious

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueCourtesy: The Dark Blue

It has been an up/down kind of week last week. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, gave us a week of roller coaster temperatures, from single digit pluses, to ground frost, to windy (I need a jacket) cool, and today we are in double digit pluses. People never knows what to pack, what to wear, so that was a thing…

Life has become very busy, and almost frenetic. I’ve spent a good amount of time with my friends, which has been a real good thing. Getting to spend time with friends outside the normal travel routes is a nice addition.

A few weeks ago, I went to see my main doc for my spring checkup. While I was there, he floated the idea that he might be able to put me on brand new next gen HIV medication. I’ve been on my present regimen for almost ten years now.

But because of the transition from multiple sites, into the main Glenn site, everything is upside down. Medical files are currently being digitized and uploaded to computers, because the Glenn is attempting to be paper free.

This has posed numerous problems.

For the last two weeks doc has been trying to find my archive file, which has all of my genetic coding information. They rotate old paper into archives and store them in the basement, so you have to actually go looking for them.

UGH !!!

We’ve been talking on and off for the past week. Monday last week, I got the call about the switch. Doc did eventually find my file, and double checked the genetic profile. When I was diagnosed many years ago they did genotypes and phenotypes to type and cross reference my particular virus type. This will tell doctors what will and won’t work, on a grand scale.

Depending on the viral typification certain drugs are automatically disqualified for future use.

Genetic testing has been useful to optimize drug success. But it also is problematic, because even if new drugs come online, if you don’t match, you don’t get new drugs. Even if they have been reworked and strengthened.

I failed the mark this time around.

Which means, I stay on the present regimen for at least another year, until the next round is released. Bummer …

I’ve been keeping an eye on my baby birdies on the balcony, and I think that mom has abandoned her chicks, because she hasn’t been in the nest for days now, and I am not sure what to do, beyond calling the ASPCA and getting someone out here to take them and nurse them.

Yesterday, it was a double layer kind of day. It was that chilly. Today we are in the twenties, and I chose to walk the outer route to the church. Everyone, well, most of our folks were at the roundup this weekend, so I pulled all the jobs tonight.

We sat a good number and read another serious war story.

The take away:

  • Alcoholism is insidious
  • If nobody says STOP the alcoholic will keep going
  • Where ever you go, there you are
  • Functional alcoholism always devolves into insanity
  • Eventually, if we are lucky, we find the solution

We read all the way around, and the shares went all the way around. What started as many message discussion, turned into a meeting for one particular woman.

Before the meeting started, I was alerted, by a friend, that there was a newcomer in the crowd, which falls to the 12 step rep.

I was feeling a little iffy early on today. I just had a sinking feeling that something was just not right. I can’t tell you where that came from, but it is what it is. I knew my Sunday guy was out at a function, and that the women were at the roundup, so nobody came in early, to either read or help set up. My uneasy-ness was confirmed shortly after the meeting started.

A friend, who is fresh, was sitting in a lump, and I knew there was something wrong.

“The alcoholic will drink again …”

You never know when it will come, but at some point, the only thing that stands between you and your next drink, will be your higher power. This time, it went unused.

Been here and done that.

It only takes a millisecond. One moment of freak. One action, putting a drink to ones lips.

For a few minutes everybody listened.

Anguish is a very heavy emotion. What do you say, what do you do?

At least she made it to the meeting, in one piece.

I just knew something was off tonight.

We strolled home, and I phoned a friend to pick up the pieces.

More to come, stay tuned …

‘A bold and joyful people’: Ireland backs gay marriage in landslide, talks about a revolution

ireland-is-the-first-country-in-the-world-to-approve-gay-marriage-by-popular-vote-body-image-1432393410

By: Shawn Pogatchnik, The Associated Press/The Canadian Press.

DUBLIN – Ireland’s citizens have voted in a landslide to legalize gay marriage, electoral officials announced Saturday — a stunningly lopsided result that illustrates what Catholic leaders and rights activists alike called a “social revolution.”

Friday’s referendum saw 62.1 per cent of Irish voters say “yes” to changing the nation’s constitution to define marriage as a union between two people regardless of their sex. Outside Dublin Castle, watching the results announcement in its cobblestoned courtyard, thousands of gay rights activists cheered, hugged and cried at the news.

“With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed as he welcomed the outcome. Beside him, Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton declared the victory “a magical moving moment, when the world’s beating heart is in Ireland.”

Ireland is the first country to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries, including most U.S. states, have legalized the practice through their legislatures and courts.

The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. More than 1.2 million Irish voters backed the “yes” side to less than 750,000 voting “no.” Only one of Ireland’s 43 constituencies recorded a narrow “no” majority, Roscommon-South Leitrim in the boggy midlands.

Analysts credited the “yes” side with adeptly employing social media to mobilize young, first-time voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The “yes” campaign also featured moving personal stories from prominent Irish people — either coming out as gays or describing their hopes for gay children — that helped convince wavering voters to back equal marriage rights.

Both Catholic Church leaders and gay rights advocates said the result signalled a social revolution in Ireland, where only a few decades ago the authority of Catholic teaching was reinforced by voters who massively backed bans on abortion and divorce in the 1980s.

Voters legalized divorce by a razor-thin margin in 1995 and now, by a firm majority, have dismissed the Catholic Church’s repeated calls to reject gay marriage. Abortion, still outlawed, looms as the country’s next great social policy fight.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the “overwhelming vote” against church teaching on gay marriage meant that Catholic leaders in Ireland needed urgently to find a new message and voice for reaching Ireland’s young.

“It’s a social revolution. … The church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Martin, who suggested that some church figures who argued for gay marriage’s rejection came across as harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention.

“Have we drifted completely away from young people?” he asked. “Most of those people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years.”

David Quinn, leader of the Catholic think-tank Iona Institute, said he was troubled by the fact that no political party and only a half-dozen politicians backed the “no” cause.

“The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view,” he said.

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, a Cork politician whose opposition party is traditionally closest to the Catholic Church, said he couldn’t in good conscience back the anti-gay marriage side.

“It’s simply wrong in the 21st century to oppress people because of their sexuality,” he said.

Some political leaders in Canada approved of the result. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is openly gay, and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair both tweeted congratulations.

“Especially proud of my Irish roots today. A clear progressive message from voters & resounding victory for equality,” Mulcair tweeted.

After the result was announced, thousands of celebrants flooded into the Irish capital’s pubs and clubs — none more popular Saturday night than the city’s few gay venues.

At the George, Ireland’s oldest gay pub, drag queens danced and lip-synced to Queen and the founding father of Ireland’s gay rights campaign, Sen. David Norris, basked in the greatest accomplishment of the movement’s 40-year history.

“The people in this small island off the western coast of Europe have said to the rest of the world: This is what it is to be decent, to be civilized, and to be tolerant! And let the rest of the world catch up!” Norris, 70, shouted with jubilant zeal to the hundreds packing the disco ball-lit hall.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Norris waged an often lonely two-decade legal fight to force Ireland to quash its Victorian-era laws outlawing homosexual acts. Ireland finally complied in 1993, becoming the last European Union country to do so. This time, the gay community in Ireland managed to build a decisive base of support.

“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Leo Varadkar, a 36-year-old Irish Cabinet minister who in January announced on national radio that he was gay. “For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution.”

Many gay couples took the moment to declare their intentions or renew their vows. One lesbian couple in Limerick proposed on bended knee at the vote count there, while one of Ireland’s most prominent advocates for gay marriage, American-born Sen. Katherine Zappone, asked her wife live on Irish TV: “Today in this new Ireland, Ann Louise Gilligan, will you marry me?”

The couple, who met at Boston College and already were married legally in Canada in 2003, sued Ireland unsuccessfully in 2006 to have their marriage recognized as valid. Once parliament passes enabling legislation by this summer, that Canadian wedding license will become legal in Ireland. But Zappone and Gilligan, a former nun, still plan an Irish ceremony.

“There’s nothing like an Irish wedding,” Zappone said.

The Dublin Castle crowds saved their greatest roars of approval for Panti Bliss, Ireland’s most famous drag queen, who strode gingerly into the castle’s central square in high heels and a body-hugging floral dress to conduct a joint live interview on Irish TV beside Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Sinn Fein party chief Gerry Adams.

“It feels like we asked the whole country to marry us and they just said yes,” said Panti, aka Rory O’Neill, who in a viral-internet speech last year inspired a national debate on the level of homophobia in Irish society.

“Today’s vote isn’t actually for 46-year-old aging drag queens like me. This vote is about all the young faces out there,” Panti said, gesturing to the square-full of mostly 20-something onlookers, some donning rainbow-colored feather boas and parasols. Panti said that within a few years going to a gay marriage “will become an ordinary, normal part of life — and that’s what changes hearts and minds.”

When asked whether she — Panti’s preferred gender of pronoun — intended to marry, the already surreal scene turned flirty. “Sure, why not, if I can find the right fella,” Panti said, slyly putting an arm around a beaming Adams. Laughter cascaded through the crowd.

Political analyst Sean Donnelly, who has covered Irish referendums for decades, said Saturday’s landslide marked a stunning generational shift. He noted that two decades ago in Ireland’s last tortuous vote challenging a benchmark Catholic teaching, voters barely approved divorce — but only because heavy rain deterred voters in the then-conservative west. More than half of Ireland’s constituencies recorded “no” majorities to divorce.

Not this time. Even far-flung Donegal in Ireland’s northwest corner, renowned for its reactionary record of voting against the national mood, voted “yes” to gay marriage.

“We’re in a new country,” Donnelly said. “When I was reared up, the church was all powerful and the word ‘gay’ wasn’t even in use in those days. How things have moved from my childhood to now.”

With files from The Canadian Press