December 2017

Watchful in Prayer and Already Rejoicing

For all the oracles of the prophets f oretold him, 
 the Virgin Mother  longed for him  with love beyond all telling, 
 John the Baptist sang of his coming 
 and proclaimed his presence  when he came. 
 It is by his gift that already we rejoice 
at the mystery of his Nativity, 
so that he may find us watchful in prayer 
and exultant in his praise.

Advent Preface II from the  Roman Missal 

St. John the Baptist Bearing Witness 
 by Annibale Carrici (ca. 1600)

Dear friends of Courage and EnCourage, 

As we look forward to celebrating the coming of our Lord in history we recount the many ways He has already come to us through the apostolate of Courage and EnCourage. We see Him in the peace, joy, and freedom of our lives transformed in Him; in the gifts of authentic friendships and good shepherds; and in fruitful labor for His Kingdom. Below you will find just a sampling of His abundant blessings to us. 

God bless you with expectant joy in these final days of Advent, 
The Courage Central Office 


Courage News
Religious Leaders Affirm Beauty of Being "Created Male and Female"  

On December 15 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops posted an important "Open Letter from Religious Leaders" entitled "Created Male and Female". This document affirms the "inherent beauty and dignity of being created male and female" in the context of increasing socio-cultural forces which assert that "gender" is independent from one's God-given sex. The signatories include four key US bishops along with representatives of several other ecclesial communities throughout the nation.

Some key excerpts: 

God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw--it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good.

Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy, and honesty.

We hope for a renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.

Courage Latino Conference a Blessed Success! 

Courage Latino Coordinator and liaison,  Rossana Goñi, 
gives a presentation 

The eleventh annual Courage-Latino Conference was held from November 17 to 19 in the Archdiocese of Chihuahua, Mexico. The conference was sponsored by our Courage and EnCourage chapters in Chihuahua, as the Courage chapter was celebrating its tenth anniversary. About twenty chapters of Courage and EnCourage were represented, with approximately 115 people in attendance.

Included in the conference were daily Mass, adoration, confession, spiritual talks, workshops on chastity and the virtuous life, Courage and EnCourage meetings, and fellowship.
Fr. Wainwright and Andrés C.  

Present was Fr. Buenaventura (Don) Wainwright, the pioneer who founded Courage-Latino in Mexico and worked to establish chapters in other Latin American countries. He will be turning eighty-seven this month and has led Courage Latino for fifteen years.

Fr. Philip Bochanski conducted a Clergy Study Day on Friday morning for priests of the archdiocese at the invitation of the archbishop, and he gave a talk to all participants on Saturday morning.

Remembering Dr. Peter Rudegeair  

Dr. Peter Rudegeair  
with Tina N. and Fr. John Harvey
December 15th marks the ten-year anniversary of the sudden passing of our dear friend and colleague Dr. Peter Rudegeair, a clinical psychologist who served the Courage Apostolate with great commitment and devotion. Peter was a close friend of Father Harvey and was dearly loved by all Courage and EnCourage members. He is especially remembered for giving of his time unselfishly and generously to all members and friends of this apostolate. Fr. Harvey gave the homily at Peter's funeral Mass and also remembered him in our newsletter. This month, we especially remember Peter in our prayers and we thank God for the experience of his friendship and kindness. We also remember Peter's dear wife Karen and their four beautiful children and ask God's continued blessings and protection over them.

Wanted: Your Memories of Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS

Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS
Founding Director of Courage
To commemorate Fr. John Harvey's 100th birthday next year, we're compiling a collection of stories/anecdotes about Father, written by those who knew him. The booklet will be a tribute in honour of the founding director of our apostolate.

Accordingly, we invite those of you who knew Father to please submit entries of 500 words or less, to: Submissions may be slightly edited upon receipt. You may use your full name, a pseudonym, or just your first name to go with your entry. If possible, please submit your entry before February 28, 2018.

Courage Chaplain on Great American Baking Show! 

Fr. Kyle Schnippel with other contestants
Our own Father Kyle Schnippel, the Courage chaplain in Cincinnati, Ohio, made an appearance on primetime major network television. While showing off his baking skills as a contestant on the Great American Baking Show, he also served as a joyful witness to our faith. 

Sadly, the season had to be cut short due to a controversy involving one of the hosts. Remarking on the cancellation through his  Instagram, Fr. Kyle said it was a "blessing" to be part of the show, and expressed disappointment for the remaining contestants, in light of the friendships that had been formed in the filming process. Attached to these remarks is a photo with several lines from the Book of Sirach: "Those who fear the Lord enjoy stable friendship, for as they are so will their neighbors be."

More New Chapters!

Courage and EnCourage chapters 
 around the world
In the November newsletter we announced the nearly thirty new Courage and EnCourage chapters that have been established over the past year. We plan to make it a regular feature to let you know of additional chapters as they are created.

Courage Chapter:  
EnCourage Chapters:

Fr. Bochanski - "Courage: Speaking the Truth in Love"
A talk on same-sex attractions - recommended for all 

Click to view Fr. Bochanski 's presentation
to a parish in Southhampton in the United Kingdom 
In October, Fr. Philip Bochanski, the Executive Director of Courage, visited a parish in the United Kingdom where he presented a clear overview of Church teaching on same-sex attractions and helpful suggestions for those who love and accompany those who experience these attractions. 

We encourage all members of Courage and EnCourage as well those involved in pastoral care to take the time to watch and then share with family and friends who have questions about Church teaching. 

Shannon's Story 

View Shannon's testimony
Courage friend, Shannon O., does a beautiful job of explaining how, after grappling with understanding her experience of same-sex attractions, she has come to find peace and joy in her identity as a woman and a beloved daughter of the Father, and in the care of supportive friends and spiritual mentors who walk with her as she strives to continue living for Him.

If you would like to share your story of God's action in your life, please check last newsletter or contact our Communications Director, Ann Schneible, at

"Coming Out" at Christmas: A Pastoral Response to Parents 

In the most recent post on the Truth & Love blog, Fr. Bochanski advises clergy and pastoral ministers on how to guide parents whose visiting children announce during the holidays, "Mom, Dad, ... I'm gay." Written for those who provide pastoral care, there is also much for EnCourage parents to glean as Father explains how parents can find inspiration in the Nativity story.

Further insight on how to respond to a loved one's revelation of their same-sex attractions can be found in an earlier blog post from Anna Carter entitled "Coming Out for the Holidays." Anna is the co-founder, along with Shannon Ochoa, whose testimony was featured above, of Eden Invitation, an evangelistic outreach to millennial Catholics experiencing same-sex attractions.

Read more about the new blog in the Truth & Love section of this newsletter. 


Pastoral and Catechetical Resources
Truth & Love Introduces Weekly Blog
Insights from experts for ministers and others who care

Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Chairman of Courage Episcopal Board 
dolanThe new Truth & Love blog was launched in early November by Cardinal Timothy Dolan with a welcome and a hearty recommendation of the Truth & Love site to "anyone who wishes to understand the host of theological and pastoral issues related to the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. ...This website contains a multitude of relevant resources." 

Fr. Paul Scalia 
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Courage
scaliaThe following week featured a post from the gifted preacher and teacher, Fr. Paul Scalia on "Preaching with Clarity and Charity About Homosexuality" .  Fr. Scalia outlines several key points for preachers who would like to effectively guide the faithful to a deeper understanding of the challenging and sensitive subject of same-sex attractions.  

New posts are added weekly with insights from a variety of expert contributors, so be sure to stop by and check the Truth & Love blog regularly. 


"Gender Matters: Fighting for a New Generation" 
January 20, 2018 in Queens, New York
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Streams Ministries  

Courage Men's Retreat 
January 26-28, 2018 in Stamford, Connecticut

Living Waters Leadership Training Seminar
January 27 - February 2, 2018 in Calabasas, California
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Streams Ministries  

Courage & EnCourage Atlanta Open House 
February 3, 2018 in Atlanta, GA

"Gender Matters: Fighting for a New Generation" 
February 10, 2018 in Overland Park, Kansas
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Streams Ministries  

First Midwest Courage Men's Retreat: Registration Now Open!
February 16-18, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Diocese of St. Petersburg Courage/EnCourage Day of Recollection 
February 24, 2018 in Tampa Bay Area, Florida

Courage Women's Retreat
April 12-15, 2018, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 
Email Tina at for more info.

Courage/EnCourage Annual Conference  
July 12-15, 2018, at Villanova, Pennsylvania (Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

Courage/EnCourage Canada Shrines Pilgrimage
October 6-11, 2018 

Truth & Love Conference 
October 22-24, 2018 in Bloomfield, Connecticut (Archdiocese of Hartford)
For  clergy, religious, lay faithful who work in ecclesial ministry, medical and mental health professionals
Watch for details on  Truth & Love conference page in 2018.

Courage does not necessarily fully endorse all of the ideas included in resources that are not produced by Courage, but we still like to share items that we and our members have found to have considerable helpful content. 

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