Father Richard Mickley, a Pioneer of the LGBT Movement in the Philippines, Has Passed Away

Father Richard Mickley, Founding Pastor of MCC in the Philippines, died peacefully on February 14, 2023, in his home in Cavite City. He was 94.

Father Mickley was prominently known in the local LGBT movement in the Philippines as the one who brought the first LGBT-affirming Christian ministry to the country.

He was also a Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit Philippines.

Richard grew up on a farm in a village in Ohio, United States. At a young age, he knew he had a calling to become a priest. In fact, he became an altar server during his 5th grade, while also learning Latin prayers. At the age of 13, he entered Brunnerdale Seminary.

Mickley at age 10 with parents and six siblings.
Mickley at age 10 with parents and six siblings.

During his time at the seminary, he started questioning his own sexuality. He was eventually convinced by his superiors to exit his celibate life and enter a heterosexual marriage, which he eventually did with Nancy, whom he met during his time with the United States Army. They became parents to eight children.

Mickley at age 22, in the Society of the Precious Blood.
Mickley at age 22, in the Society of the Precious Blood.
Mickley and wife with their 8 children.
Mickley and wife with their 8 children.

He eventually moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he became the Director of Religious Education. He was named one of the first Lay Ministers of the Eucharist in the country. It was in the big city of Detroit where he confirmed to himself that he was gay. A year after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which awakened the LGBT movement in America and in the world, he joined the Gay Liberation Front. Then, in 1970, he became a member of a group of pastors leading the worship services for the Metropolitan Community Church, which was established by Reverend Troy Perry a year before the Stonewall event. As all of these events developed, he eventually divorced his wife.

Editor, MCC’s In Unity magazine in 1975.
Editor, MCC’s In Unity magazine in 1975.

In 1988, he was called as a pastor for the struggling MCC Auckland in New Zealand. After three and a half years, with a much-improved congregation of MCC Auckland, he decided to answer a call from another country – the Philippines. Giving up almost all of his properties, he established MCC Manila on September 7, 1991, which pioneered the first LGBT-affirming Christian ministry in the country.

On June 26, 1994, Pro-Gay Philippines and MCC Manila co-sponsored the first Pride March in the Philippines and in Asia, which was bravely attended by 50 people during a rainy day.

The Pride Mass at the First Pride March in Manila (and Asia) in 1994.
The Pride Mass at the First Pride March in Manila (and Asia) in 1994.
The First Pride March in Manila (and Asia) in 1994.
The First Pride March in Manila (and Asia) in 1994.

After being required by the MCC pastoral policy to retire in 1995, he founded the Order of St. Aelred to continue supplementary ministry while not duplicating the MCC parish ministry.

In 2003, he was invited to join the alumni group, Amicus CPPS of the Society of Precious Blood – ironically the same order that convinced him to enter a heterosexual marriage, which now has an LGBT-affirming ministry.

In 2004, he was ordained under the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit (CDOS), making him the Bishop of CDOS Philippines.

In 2013, he received the honor of being included in the annual “Ten Outstanding Elderly Awards” by the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) Philippines.

Mickley delivering his acceptance speech at COSE Award 2013.
Mickley delivering his acceptance speech at COSE Award 2013.

He stayed in the Philippines until his last dying breath, with his loving partner, Simeon Arias, where he continued to be an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ movement, HIV awareness, and sex-positive Christian ministry.

Father Richard has been honorably and peacefully laid to rest in Cavite City on February 19, 2023.

Marching On: The Story of Fr. Richard Mickley – Courtesy of Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Sources and References:

Financial Report For Father Richard Mickley Funeral

We would like to thank everyone who gave and donated to cover for all the expenses related to the wake and funeral of Fr. Richard Mickley.

We would like to thank the Office of Mayor Joy Belmonte for sending flowers and cash assistance.

Similarly, we would like to thank organizations who gave financial donations:

  • Ladlad c/o Professor Danton Remoto
  • Akbayan
  • Metro Manila Pride
  • Babaylanes
  • GANDA Filipinas c/o Ms. Naomi Fontanos

We also recognize those who sent flowers, previously mentioned, the office of the Quezon City Mayor, Tito Boy Abunda, Galang Philippines, Lea and Amy, CLIC.

For the protection of individual donors, we are not able to name them and instead use codes or initials. Thank you to all individual friends and allies who also gave cash donations and those who also contributed food and utensils. We apologize that we were not able to take note all of the names of those who donated food.

As early as February 14, the day Fr. Richard passed away, Open Table MCC responded immediately when Rev. Joseph went to Cavite City late in the evening of that day to assist, coordinate and provide immediate funds to Simon, Fr. Richard’s partner. From February 14 to February 18, Open Table in cooperation and coordination with Simon’s niece Kath Rina, organized and made arrangements for the wake and viewing of Fr. Richard in St. Peter Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. We extend also our utmost gratitude to Kath for supporting and helping his uncle Simon and closely working with Open Table.

The body of Fr. Richard arrived in St. Peter, Quezon Avenue approximately 9:00PM, evening of February 15. The Board of Open Table MCC was already in St. Peter prior to the arrival of the body. Rev. Joseph assisted in properly dressing Fr. Richard with priestly vestments. The body then was placed in the chapel-room around 10:30PM of February 15th.

MCC Marikina led by Pastor Jason Masaganda together with his church-member, Bernie Aldana, officiated a funeral service morning of February 16th and Bishop Regen Luna officiated a funeral service evening of that same day.

Open Table MCC officiated a Requiem Service evening of February 17th.

Morning of February 18th at around 11:00AM, the body of Fr. Richard was transported back to Cavite City by St. Peter and was taken to Tupas Funeral Chapel for 1 more night.

At 1:00PM of February 19th, the body was taken to a Roman Catholic church for final rites and afterwards was then interred in a newly built sepulcher (nitso) in Cavite City Public Cemetery.

The organizing team and the leadership of Open Table MCC together with Simon Arias expresses our gratitude to everyone who honored Fr. Richard with their time, effort, and financial resources. Salamat po. May his memory and the love he proclaimed fuel our commitment and zeal to continue the struggle for a just, equal, and more loving Church and Philippine society.

Donations (Abuloy) Received For Father Richard Mickley


Donations Received Via GCash:

DateMobile #IdentifierAmount
15-Feb-235852KA****A IS***L L.1,000.00
16-Feb-239704RO******N D.500.00
16-Feb-239748JA*****O A.1,000.00
16-Feb-234210AL***A A.1,000.00
16-Feb-233360MY**S V.300.00
16-Feb-235928LI*O L.2,000.00
16-Feb-236832KR*****E AN*E T.500.00
17-Feb-236613RO*****K C.500.00
17-Feb-237279MA**E IR**H I.500.00
17-Feb-236729OL***A DO******E P.300.00
17-Feb-230511 G&R2,000.00
17-Feb-232129JO*E LO**E R.200.00
17-Feb-235957DA*N MI****L A.500.00
17-Feb-238933JH****A LY*N D.500.00
17-Feb-231251JA******N L.500.00
17-Feb-230879MA**A EN***N N.400.00
18-Feb-233463AR**L T.1,800.00
18-Feb-239313MA*****E C.1,500.00
18-Feb-236725KA**O P.100.00
18-Feb-237314KE**N KA*E L.1,000.00
18-Feb-233578JE*****R L.1,000.00
18-Feb-233724M* EL***A P.1,000.00
18-Feb-239749 BrAve1,000.00
18-Feb-230657EL*A S.1,000.00
18-Feb-230614 Office of Mayor Joy Belmonte10,000.00
19-Feb-231454E** AU***A C.1,000.00
19-Feb-232816 Metro Manila Pride15,000.00
20-Feb-231342AM**A B.1,500.00
20-Feb-235259CH*****E J.1,000.00
23-Feb-231533M* ME***R A.2,000.00

Donations Received as Cash-on-Hand

We noted the cash donations as they were received and through the envelopes that had names.

Ladlad c/o Prof Danton Remoto5,000.00
L & A1,500.00
GANDA FIl c/o Ms. Naomi Fontanos1,000.00
Open Table Service Offering3,870.00

Donations Received via Bank Transfer and Directly Received in our Bank Account


For the security of individual donors, we did not reveal their names except via codes and initials. We only named those who gave in the name of their organizations.

As of February 20th, Open Table MCC has announced that we are no longer accepting donations, although there were a few received or posted in our account Feb 20th and 23rd.

Expenses of the Wake and Funeral of Father Richard Mickley:

Immediate Response: cash assistance given to Simon Arias c/o Kath Rina given the same day Fr Richard passed away6,000.00
Various transportation cost of organizing team from Feb 14 to Feb 195,302.00
Total Food Expense (grocery and meals)8,974.86
Honorarium of Artist for Portrait3,000.00
Printing and Framing of Portrait3,700.00
Vestments of Father Richard6,100.00
2-Room Hotel Accommodation – for Simon Arias & his niece Kath, and Organizing Team (1 room is ₱3,000 per night for 2 nights)12,000.00
2-Room Hotel Accommodation – for 1 additional night6,000.00
Bank Transfer Fees55.00
St. Peter additional kilometers cost of transporting the body of Fr. Richard back to Cavite City1337.00
1 night chapel use in Tupas funeral home (Cavite City)5,000.00
Additional St. Peter transfer package10,714.00
Labor & materials for nitso and lapida25,025.00
Rainbow flag placed over the coffin451.00

Open Table MCC is also assisting in sorting and clearing out the material possessions of Fr. Richard in his former apartment in Kapitolyo, Pasig. This is yet to happen. This will also incur further expenses that will be taken out of the available funds. We are anticipating that this will not be much and there will still be excess funds.

As previously mentioned all excess cash donations, after we are finish with the clearing of the apartment, will be turned over and given to Fr. Richard’s surviving spouse, Simon Arias.

Salamat po!

Open Table MCC is a church for all, including LGBT+ people. All are welcome! Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from our church community.

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