December 2019
Detail of Translation of the Holy House by Francesco Foschi, 1755, in Museo Pontificio della Santa Casa di Loreto
Message from Our Director
Dear Friends,

It is a pleasure to greet you at the beginning of the Advent season, when we prepare our hearts to commemorate the birth of the Word Made Flesh. The Incarnation of the Lord is at the heart of our Christian faith; only Christians believe that God loved the world so much that He not only saved us from sin and death, but did so by taking on our human nature, and living a real human life. The nine months between the Annunciation (March 25) and Christmas (December 25) teach us that, in his desire to make us one with Himself, Jesus Christ did not skip one moment of a full human life, nor does He shy away from any part of human experience, except for sin. So, the foundation of our faith is also the reason for our hope: no matter what suffering or sacrifice we may be facing, we know the Lord Jesus is able "to sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb 4:15) and offer us the wisdom and grace we need to face it with His help. [ read more]
Fr. Philip G. Bochanski
Executive Director
  • Courage Executive Director Honored with Papal Medal
  • Bishop Paul Sirba, Former Chaplain, Rest in Peace
  • Gift Idea for Favorite Clergy, Catechists, Teachers, etc.
  • New Chapters
  • New Courage Online Forums Coming Soon

General Resources
  • 2019 conference videos
  • Come Away with Our Lord on Courage or EnCourage Retreat

  • "How to Win at Spiritual Warfare"
  • "A Holiday Meal, Same-Sex Attraction, and Catholicism"

  • "The Cry of St. Monica"

Courage Internacional (Spanish)
  • Courage Internacional December E-Newsletter in Spanish

Pastoral resources
  • What is Truth & Love?
  • Plan Now to Join Us at April Truth & Love Conference

Events—Too many great opportunities to list here!
Courage Executive Director Honored with Papal Medal
Father Bochanski was commended with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for his distinguished service to the Church and to the pope on December 9 at the evening Vespers service at the Cathedral Basilica in Philadelphia. The medal was presented to him by Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said, "We are grateful for his courage." Catholic News Agency wrote that the papal honors "are a recognition of the Courage apostolate’s ministry for people with same-sex attraction at a time when the world, and even parts of the Catholic Church, are unsupportive, confusing, or hostile to their desire to live the Catholic faith in its fullness."
Bishop Paul Sirba, Former Chaplain, Rest in Peace
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Duluth's Bishop Paul Sirba, who died suddenly after suffering a heart attack while preparing for Mass on December 1. Bishop Sirba was an EnCourage chaplain in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the 1990's and early 2000's before his consecration as a bishop in 2009.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine on him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

Gift Idea for Favorite Clergy, Catechists, Teachers, etc.
Treat them to the April Truth & Love conference!
Are you trying to find the perfect Christmas gift for that wonderful priest, deacon, religious, director of religious education, teacher, doctor, or therapist in your life? Look no further! Treat them to the Truth & Love Conference near Washington, D.C., on April 27-29, 2020. There they will be equipped with the tools they need to serve people who experience same-sex attractions and sexual identity difficulties. This could make for a terrific group gift from your Courage or EnCourage chapter!
Spread the word!
Tell all the people you know who are in the target audience about the conference by sending them a link to the conference page or by printing a copy of the conference brochure for them.
New Chapters
About 170 Courage chapters and
100 EnCourage chapters around the world
New Courage Online Forums Coming Soon
For many years, Courage and EnCourage members, especially those who don't have their own local chapters, have been able to find online support in our Yahoo Groups. Yahoo is cutting back their services, and we're not quite sure how significant the impact will be. We are working on an alternative to replace these groups in the near future and will be rolling out our own online discussion forums via the Courage website. Watch your inbox for an announcement in the coming weeks so you can join in the conversation. As in the past, there will be separate forums for Courage and EnCourage, as well as specialized groups for Courage women, bible study, and prayer.

General Resources
Videos from 2019 Conference Now Available!
Ten videos of inspiring presentations from the 2019 Courage and EnCourage summer conference are now ready for your viewing pleasure. Included among them are homilies from the cardinal and bishops who attended, several talks related to the conference theme of "Courageous Friendship," and additional talks to strengthen your spiritual life. Listen and then share with others!
Here is a beautiful tribute to Courage by Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley, Scotland, from his homily at the closing Mass: "I'm convinced Courage is a special instrument of God's salvation for these times." Courage is not only "an organization through which we will have our wounds healed," but it may also be a "providential instrument…whereby, through the offering up of the afflictions of our flesh, the Lord might complete the redemption of His Body which is the Catholic Church we love so dearly."

Come Away with Our Lord on Courage or EnCourage Retreat
In addition to our annual conference, Courage has a long history of running smaller local retreats. Retreats allow us to withdraw from the busyness of life and draw closer to God and one another. The schedule includes Mass and Confession, inspiring talks, shared prayer, silent reflection, and a Courage or EnCourage meeting. The retreats are usually directed by our local chaplains, with Fr. Bochanski, when possible.

Bring a retreat to your area:
We are looking to expand these special opportunities for our members, but we need local members to help coordinate them. Contact us to find out more.
Click the link or send an email to the given address for information and registration.

Courage Men's Retreat Midwest on January 10–12 in Indianapolis, IN

Courage Men's Retreat East on January 17–19 in Stamford, CT

EnCourage Retreat West on January 31–February 2 in Menlo Park, CA

Courage Retreat South on March 27–29 in Birmingham, AL

Courage Women's Spring Retreat in June 4-7 in Bethlehem, PA
"How to Win at Spiritual Warfare"
Alison Ricciardi, the founder of, offers a concise four-minute battle plan for "How to Win at Spiritual Warfare." She talks about recognizing when we are under spiritual attack and what we can do to rout the enemy.

"A Holiday Meal, Same-Sex Attraction, and Catholicism"
Courage member, Richard G. Evans, writes at Catholic Stand about his personal experience of an increasingly common phenomena: "In this lovely but challenging holiday season of get-togethers, parties, and family meals, most of us will be of necessity faced with possibly uncomfortable questions and thought-provoking table scraps. Five to ten minutes is not long enough to answer questions regarding why we believe as we do on any number of topics connected to the Church’s position on same-sex attraction, particularly with friends or relatives who do not or cannot imagine why we returned to Rome or stay there to embrace chastity."

"The Cry of St. Monica"
"Being Willing to Cry Out to God, 'Lord, the One We Love Is Lost!' " recently featured a compelling article that speaks directly to the experiences of many EnCourage members. It was adapted from a chapter of the St. Monica Club by Maggie Green.
"Monica’s faith converted both her husband and her son, and it is this steadfastness of faith we seek to imitate. She’s the patron saint of parents and spouses who bear the same cross of having someone they love not love the Faith. She knew the pain we know. She prayed and wept and wrestled with it, and she saw God’s generous response. She loved her husband and her son through the long desert into the promised land of faith. She loved them before they converted. She loved them through their conversions. She remains the model for all of us, showing us how to weather this storm, not because she suffered but because she loved."

by Dirk Bouts (follower of) c. 1415-1475
Courage Internacional
For our Spanish-speaking members and friends
Courage Internacional December E-Newsletter in Spanish
El boletín electrónico de diciembre de Courage Internacional
Pastoral Resources
What is Truth & Love?
Truth & Love is a multifaceted Catholic resource for anyone seeking the tools to support those who experience same-sex attractions. It is an initiative of Courage International. For a quick look at all that Truth & Love has to offer, watch this one -minute video:
Plan Now to Join Us at the April Truth & Love Conference
A conference offering
practical and pastoral guidance
on the topics of homosexuality
and sexual identity
to those who minister to them.
April 27-29, 2020
Holiday Inn
Washington-Dulles International Airport
Sterling, Virginia
Join us as we mark
the 100th birthday
of Pope Saint John Paul II
by naming him
the official patron
of Truth & Love
WHAT: Comprehensive formation from experts in the fields of pastoral ministry, theology, philosophy, psychology, and health care in caring for people who experience same-sex attractions and/or gender dysphoria. It will also feature testimonials from men and women who themselves experience SSA and who have embraced the Church’s teaching on chastity.

WHO: Attendees will include clergy, religious, and professionals who are seeking comprehensive formation on the topics of homosexuality and gender identity. The event is especially geared towards those working in pastoral care, education, medicine, and the mental health professions.

Spread the word!
Your invitation could make the difference!
Print and share the conference brochure.
Give attendance to the conference as a Christmas gift.
Courage Men's Retreat Midwest
January 10–12, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana
Courage Men's Retreat East
January 17–19, 2020, in Stamford, Connecticut
EnCourage Retreat West
January 31–February 2, 2020 in Menlo Park, California
Orlando Courage and EnCourage Day of Recollection
February 15, 2020, in Orlando, Florida
Courage Men and Women's Retreat South
March 27–29, 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama
Information and registration:
West Coast Living Waters Leadership Training Seminar 
March 28–April 3, 2020, in Scottsdale, Arizona 
Equips participants for ministry to the sexually and relationally broken. 
With Andrew Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries
Truth & Love Conference
"'Be Not Afraid'': Affirming the Truth about Sex and Identity"
April 27–29, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia (Holiday Inn, Washington-Dulles)
For those involved in ministry to persons with same-sex attractions.
An initiative of Courage International.
Courage Women's Spring Retreat
June 4-7, 2020 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Information and registration:
Courage & EnCourage Annual Conference
July 23-26, 2020 in Mundelein, Illinois (Archdiocese of Chicago)
Kickoff for our 40th Anniversary celebration
40th Anniversary of Courage's First Meeting
Holy Mass with Cardinal Timothy Dolan
September 26, 2020, at 12:00 noon, in New York, New York
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary Seton Shrine (site of first Courage meeting)
Courage & EnCourage Annual Conference
July 15-18, 2021 in Mundelein, Illinois (Archdiocese of Chicago)
Closing of our 40th Anniversary celebration
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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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