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October 2023

An icon of Saint Ignatius of Antioch from the Menologian of Basil II.

October 17 is the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr.

Message from Our Acting Director

Dear friends,

I was praying recently over Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd." But what struck me anew was the last line: "I will dwell in the House of the Lord for endless days." As I sat in the chapel pondering that, I wondered at the doorway that leads into the House of the Lord.

For sure, it is undoubtedly a magnificent and glorious door, befitting the Lord’s Temple! But I also wondered if there might be a small, nearly insignificant passage cut into the massive gates as well?

Today’s saint, St. Ignatius of Antioch, led me down this meandering thought, as we recently had a passage from him in the Office of Readings, as part of the Liturgy of the Hours. In this passage, he was writing to the church in Tralles upon the visit of their bishop to him as St. Ignatius made his way to Rome to be cast before the lions, an image of which tops this newsletter. We so often think of the bravery of this scene, the courage it took for Ignatius to desire to be ground up like kernels of wheat so that he could become a part of the Living Bread of Jesus.

Yet, in this letter, he talked of his anxiety at facing such a fate: "I know not whether I am worthy of [martyrdom]," he writes. So many do not know of his urgent desire, therefore, he continues: "My present need, then, is for that humility by which the prince of this world is overthrown."

Boom. We come to the secret of his strength. Not relying on his own power, but that of Jesus, whom he humbly approached. Not walking with head held high, but crawling in his littleness, needing God’s strength and confidence, the confidence that comes from the Gospel.

So while we may not face the same fate as St. Ignatius, that of being tossed to the lions, we can all emulate and follow his example: approaching the great gates of heaven as little children, seeking the small door which is approached on penitent and humble knees, knowing that the Lord God is our strength.

In Christ,

Father Kyle Schnippel

Acting Director

Our executive director transition webpage



  • Diocesan Paper Covers Both Courage and EnCourage
  • Chaplain, Fr. James Lloyd, on 75 Years of Priesthood
  • Promote Our Apostolate at Your Diocesan Events 
  • New Chapters and Other Ways to Stay Connected

General Resources

  • 2023 Conference Audio Now Available!
  • Pray for the Synod in Rome this Month
  • Courage and EnCourage Chaplain Handbook in Slovak!


  • "Our Members are Our Best Ambassadors"
  • How Does Pornography Impact the "Brain, Heart, World"?


  • Navigating the Holidays with Loved Ones
  • Getting Along with Family During the Holidays

For Spanish Speaking Members and Friends

  • October Newsletter in Spanish

Pastoral Resources

  • Fr. Bochanski on Pastoral Care for Transgender Issues
  • Dioceses Across the Nation Developing Guidelines 



Diocesan Paper Covers Both Courage and EnCourage

The Catholic Times of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, ran not just one but two stories about our apostolate in their September 24 edition! In the first story, about Courage, Columbus Courage and EnCourage chaplain, Father William Ferguson, was quoted extensively as he drew on his training in St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body to explain the goodness and beauty of the Church's teaching on sexuality. There were additional insights from Father Kyle Schnippel, our interim director.

A Courage member added, “The Courage group is indispensable! The support offered when experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction is invaluable."

In the story about EnCourage, Father Ferguson spoke of how this branch of our apostolate "helps [participants] to know that they’re not alone and that they have the support of the Church and other fellow disciples as Catholics in the midst of their family situations.”

An EnCourage member said about their meetings that "at the heart of this sharing is our desire to increase in understanding, compassion, and love, grounded in God’s revealed truth." 

Read "Courage ministry counsels same-sex-attracted Catholics"

Read "Families find support through EnCourage"

See both stories in the Catholic Times September 24 print edition

Chaplain, Fr. James Lloyd, on 75 Years of Priesthood

Courage's oldest chaplain, Father James Lloyd, CSP, was interviewed in a nicely-produced story on the Catholic Faith Network. Father has served for many years as a chaplain for Courage Manhattan. He reflects on "his life, the lessons he's learned, and what it's been like after 75 years in the priesthood." As the host of the CFN show remarked, Father is "more witty and charming than ever at 102 years old." 

Watch Catholic Faith Network interview of Fr. Lloyd 

See lots more from Fr. Lloyd at FrJamesLloyd.com

Promote Our Apostolate at Your Diocesan Events 

On September 30, the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, held a ministry day. Courage International was there with a table, answering questions and talking about who we are, what we do, and what resources are available for persons who experience same-sex attractions and for those who love them. 

Is your diocese interested in sharing information about the Courage apostolate? If so, we have downloadable brochures that can easily be printed. We also have links to articles, YouTube videos, recordings of conference speakers and so much more. Feel free to contact our office for resource recommendations for your event. 

Printable brochures and business cards for Courage and EnCourage

Courage YouTube channel

Recordings of conference speakers

General resource page

New Chapters and Other Ways to Stay Connected



Courage & EnCourage around the world

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latest opportunities, news, resources, and inspiration.

Then spread the good news

by liking, retweeting, and sharing.

General Resources

2023 Conference Audio Now Available!

The audios of many of the talks, homilies, and testimonies from our 2023 Courage & EnCourage Annual Conference are now available on our website. The videos are not quite ready yet, but they should be up by the of the month.

Listen to 2023 conference talks and homilies 

View presentations from past conferences

Pray for the Synod in Rome this Month

The first assembly for the global Synod on Synodality is taking place in Rome from October 4–28. A helpful Catholic News Agency report explains "What you need to know about the synod." We are urged to be praying for those who are in attendance.

One way to pray would be to join the 40 days of prayer and fasting for the synod organized by our friends at Desert Stream Ministries. If you sign up for their prayer campaign, "Rousing Her Radiance," you will receive daily readings that will guide your prayers. 

"Rousing Her Radiance" prayer/fasting for synod: Flyer | Sign up

Courage and EnCourage Chaplain Handbook in Slovak!

Courage International is indeed an international apostolate, with a presence in 19 different countries on five continents. Our worldwide presence is further evidenced by the fact that we just added a Slovak version of our Handbook for Courage and EnCourage Chaplains to our website. It has also been published in English, Spanish, and Polish. Note, too, that our website is accessible in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Italian

See the Slovak version of our handbook


"Our Members are Our Best Ambassadors"

For many who attend our annual conference, the highlight of the entire weekend is the Saturday evening testimonies. As our founding director, Father John F. Harvey, OSFS, often said, "Our members are our best ambassadors." The testimonies of Monty J. and Kim M. at our 2023 conference were no exception! 

Listen to Monty J.'s testimony

Listen to Kim M.'s testimony 

Share your story on our blog

The Upper Room blog is where Courage and EnCourage members and chaplains share their stories of God's work in their lives. Go to CourageRC.org > Resources (dropdown) > Blog. Subscribe by clicking "Update profile" at the bottom of this email. If you prefer not to use your name, that's completely fine! 

Send us an email if you'd like to submit your story

How Does Pornography Impact the "Brain, Heart, World"?

One of our Courage chaplains emailed the Courage office with a resource recommendation: "I was just introduced to a compelling and moving three-part documentary on pornography. It is called Brain, Heart, World, and it is based entirely on science and human testimonies. I really like it. I think you will too." 

The chaplain was introduced to the series when one of his chapter members contacted him: "I just finished watching this docuseries on porn and I think it’s excellent! Extremely informative — makes me wish I had something like this shown to me when I was in high school." 

The series demonstrates the negative "impacts of porn consumption on individuals, relationships, and society." While the perspective is not religious, it just goes to show that science and personal experience serve to reinforce what our faith already tells us, that chastity leads to human flourishing. 

Chaplains and members, if you become aware of any more exceptional resources, be sure to send them our way

Watch Brain, Heart, World

Catholic resources on pornography at Courage site and Truth & Love


Navigating the Holidays with Loved Ones

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays just around the corner, many EnCourage members are wondering about how to proceed. Former executive director of Courage, Father Philip Bochanski, answers some common questions from parents:

0:12 – My son or daughter has told me that they wish to bring their partner to our home for the holidays. Should I let them come?

5:32 – How do I explain to my young children about their older sibling having a same-sex partner? 

8:08 – How should I treat my son or daughter's same-sex partner?

Viewing this video together could make for a great conversation starter in your EnCourage chapter. 

View EnCourage's "Home for the Holidays"

View the rest of our EnCourage: A Family of Hope playlist on YouTube

Visit our YouTube channel for lots of helpful content,

especially in the playlist

EnCourage: A Family of Hope.

Subscribe, like, and share to spread the word.

Getting Along with Family During the Holidays

Catholic psychologist Alison Ricciardi offers some beautiful insights about how to relate to our loved ones during the holidays. She introduces her short video:

Well, the holidays are upon us and it can be difficult for many people. We’re living in highly charged political times with much division in families. So, how can you prepare to get along better with family? Remember this, everyone wants to feel loved and valued. So, how can you be present even to those difficult family members? Being prepared ahead of time can really help.

Watch Getting Along with Family During the Holidays

For Spanish Speaking Members and Friends

October Newsletter in Spanish

October Courage & EnCourage newsletter in Spanish

Subscribe to the Spanish-language newsletter

Courage Internacional website in Spanish


Couragerc.org/español | Contáctanos

Para suscribirse al boletín en español | Archivo

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  YouTube

Pastoral Resources

Fr. Bochanski on Pastoral Care for Transgender Issues

Father Philip Bochanski, the former Executive Director of Courage, and Mary Hasson of the Person & Identity Project, appeared together in an episode of EWTN's series on The Transgender Movement. They explore the pressing need for Catholic pastoral care in this challenging new arena. They discussion questions such as: 

  • What does it really mean for the Church to be welcoming? 
  • What does pastoral care look like when leading the entire flock toward the truth with love?
  • How does one provide pastoral care for individuals who are dealing with gender identity discordance? 
  • How should families respond when one of their members identify as transgender? 

Watch Fr. Bochanski in "Catholic Pastoral Care for Transgender Issues" 

Watch entire 5-part EWTN series on The Transgender Movement 

Dioceses Across the Nation Developing Guidelines 

Over the past few years, one diocese after another has been releasing clear catechesis and policies related to gender ideology. Since our last newsletter, the bishops of both Cleveland and San Francisco have offered such guidance for their flocks. To help people keep up with all of these helpful resources, the Person & Identity Project has created a webpage where they maintain a continuously updated, comprehensive list of relevant Catholic teaching, Church documents and diocesan policies.

Visit the Person & Identity Church documents and diocesan policies page

Truth & Love, an initiative of Courage International, is a multifaceted Catholic resource for anyone seeking the tools to support men and women who experience same-sex attractions.



Conference videos



Samson Retreat

Hammonton, New Jersey

November 2–5, 2023

Hosted by our friends at The King's Men.

General information | Details and registration

Courage and EnCourage Retreat

Southern California 

November 17–19, 2023

Registration now open! Information and registration

Dawn of Mercy 10-Week Healing Group for Women


Begins the week of January 2, 2024

Hosted by our friends at Dawn of Mercy.

For women who have experienced sexual assault. 

General information | Information and registration

Courage Men's Retreat

Stamford, Connecticut 

January 26–28, 2024

Save the date.

Watch our Events Calendar regularly for updates.

NOTE TO CHAPLAINS: You are encouraged and more than welcome to participate in all Courage & EnCourage events. Please feel free to reach out to the event organizer to see how you can be involved.

Photo credits:

Disclaimer: 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.

Donations gratefully accepted

CourageRC.org | TruthandLove.com | 203.803.1564 | Contact us

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