Wanted: Your Input for Courage Newsletter 
First Courage E-Newsletter February 2016

Dear Courage and EnCourage friends, 

We are fast approaching the third anniversary of the Courage e-newsletter in February. Since then our email list has doubled to more than 3000 subscribers! To revisit past newsletters, please check out our newsletter archives. Thanks to your dedicated interest, the rates at which our subscribers open our emails and click on links dramatically surpass the industry average.  

Building on this great start, we'd like to invite you to please fill out this short survey to let us know what you like and where you think we could improve. 
Please also include your suggestions for content, topics we can address, or your favorite resources to share. Recommendations can be included in the survey, or you may   send us an email  anytime. 

God bless you,
The Courage Central Office


Contents of this Newsletter 

Courage News 

Remembering Fr. Robert Blyman, EnCourage Chaplain
From Peggy, Yvonne, and the Long Island EnCourage Ministry

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beloved co-chaplain and dear friend, Fr. Robert Blyman. We are indebted to this extraordinary priest for assisting us in getting Long Island Courage off the ground in December of 2015 (along with Co-Chaplain Msgr. Robert Batule).

This greatly gifted priest, with a background in psychiatry and medicine, was a man of deep wisdom and insight who imparted clarity, peace, and hope to our EnCourage members, now numbering over 100 in just three short years. One of our members said of him, "He had such a calming and positive outlook for us."

There is no doubt that he will be a major advocate now for each and every one of us in our needs. Father passed away on January 5, after a tough battle with a range of health issues that accelerated after he returned this past May from his assignment as Director of Psychological Counseling at the North American College in Rome.

More about Fr. Blyman, including his background and accomplishments, can be found in the 2011 edition of the Long Island Catholic

May our beloved friend and most dedicated priest now rest in peace in the loving arms of Christ.

New Joint Online and Email Discussion Group:
Courage & EnCourage Together!

Join the conversation at 
 Courage & EnCourage Together
A member of Courage and one from EnCourage wanted a space where they could learn from each other and support one another in friendship and prayer. This gave birth to our new online support group: Courage & EnCourage Together. We hope this new listserv will grow into a thriving subset of our larger Courage-EnCourage community. Approved and owned by Fr. Bochanski, the group is moderated by Frances. This new group is not meant to replace already existing groups, but to provide new opportunities of support.

This discussion forum is a Yahoo Group. Members can access the discussion by logging into the private group or they can set their preferences for how often they want to receive email updates. 

Invitation to Prayer and Fasting
Join with Courage and EnCourage on Wednesdays during Lent 

Christ in the Wilderness
by Ivan Kromskoi
This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.
(Mark 9:29)

Several members of EnCourage have begun praying and fasting on Wednesdays for our intentions. During Lent this year, all members of Courage and EnCourage are invited to unite on Wednesdays in this spiritual effort. 

The Wednesdays of united prayer and fasting consist of a nine-hour fast, praying a Memorare each hour to our Blessed Mother, with a united opening and closing prayer. The particular type of fast is optional (e.g. fasting on diluted juices, vegetable or bone broth, water etc. or fasting from things like television, the news, social media, sugar and coffee.) The hours of fasting are also optional, so long as it is nine hours.  S ome members set their cell phones to remember to pray each hour. Calling a friend/relative/spouse each hour to pray the Memorare together is particularly helpful, if that is possible. 

If you would like additional details about these Lenten days of united prayer and fasting, or you would like to sign up, so that we know, for encouragement purposes, how many are praying and fasting, please send an email to praywithcourage@gmail.com.

Courage Has 2000 Twitter Followers!  
Join our friends on social media! 

Thanks, in part, to your promotion, we hit  2000 followers on Twitter and almost 1800 followers on Facebook !   If you haven't seen our daily posts with news, resources, and inspiration, check out our social media today. Be sure to also visit our Truth & Love social media platforms, created for those seeking tools to better accompany persons who experience same-sex attractions. Then invite your friends!

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter

From Our Members 

Toronto Courage's Tribute to Their Chaplain 
Fr. Kevin Belgrave: A priest of "sensitivity, sagacity, and charity"

Fr. Kevin Belgrave Toronto Courage chaplain
Courage and EnCourage members agree that we are privileged to be served by some of the finest priest-chaplains in the Church. We recently encouraged you to submit your stories about them to share our appreciation. The first received is a collaborative effort of the Toronto Courage chapter: 

Fr. Kevin Belgrave is the current chaplain of Courage Toronto since 2014. We, the members of this Courage chapter, would like to thank him for being a kind, dedicated, and patient pastor who generously contributes his time for our group despite his very busy schedule. 

Their tribute describes how Fr. Belgrave exhibits "solicitude and zeal in the sacrament of confession and the Holy Eucharist," "listens attentively and empathetically to each member during the sharing," and possesses a "willingness to go the extra mile."  Be sure to read the whole inspiring account of the generosity of this good and faithful spiritual father.   

Please continue to send in your stories of the men of God who have served as channels of grace for you so we can feature some of them here or on social media. Accounts should be 500 words or less and can include photos or links. 


Fr. Bochanski Answers Young People's Questions 

Fr. Phili p Bochanski, Executive Director of Courage, answered questions from young people and a youth minister on the Archdiocese of Bridgeport's The Face of Prayer site. Questions included: 
  • What does the Church have to say about bisexual and transgender people? 
  • Why does the Church teach that gay marriage is wrong? 
  • If your have friends who are transgender, do you call them by their preferred name and pronouns? 
  • Do we still welcome gays into our [Church] community?


Courage - Latino
En Español & In English
Únete a la lista de correo electrónico de Courage-Latino
Join the email list for Courage Latino

En el 2019 empezaremos a enviar boletines a nuestros miembros que hablan español. Enviar un correo electrónico para ser añadido en la lista de Courage-Latino.  

We will start sending messages to our Spanish-speaking members in 2019. If you would like to join, click the "Update Profile" at the bottom of this email, and, on the page to which you are directed, check the box for "Courage-Latino."  Alternatively, you may simply send us an email requesting to be added to the Courage-Latino email list. 

Courage fue presentado en España
Courage is introduced in Spain

Un equipo de Courage-Latino compuesto por el P. Víctor de Luna (capellán de Courage en Roma), Ángel, S. (miembro y coordinador de Courage en Ciudad de México) y Rossana Goñi-Cuba (Coordinadora de Courage-Latino) fue invitado por la Arquidiócesis de Toledo, España, para explicar sobre el apostolado de Courage y EnCourage en las Jornadas de Pastoral de la arquidiócesis.  Ellos ofrecieron presentaciones a más de 130 participantes en las jornadas y en otro momento a 80 sacerdotes de la arquidiócesis española, incluyendo a quienes aparecen en la foto de izquierda a derecha: P. Álvaro García, Vicario para el Clero en Toledo; Rossana; Exmo. Monseñor Braulio Rodríguez, Primado de España y Arzobispo de Toledo; Ángel, P. de Luna y P. Miguel Garrigós, Delegado para la Oficina de Familia en Toledo.

A Courage-Latino team composed of Fr. Victor de Luna (Courage chaplain in Rome), Angel S. (Courage member and coordinator in Mexico City), and Rossana Goñi-Cuba (Coordinator of Courage-Latino) traveled to Spain earlier this month to introduce the Courage and EnCourage apostolate during the Archdiocesan Pastoral Conference in Toledo. They delivered their presentation at the conference to more than 130 people. They also spoke with 80 clergy members. Pictured above, from left to right are Fr. Alvaro García, Vicar for the Clergy in Toledo; Rossana; Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez, Primate Archbishop of Spain and Archbishop of Toledo; Ángel; Fr. de Luna; and Fr. Miguel Garrigós, Delegate for the Family Life office of Toledo.

Courage pudos estar en algunos medios de comunicación españoles
Courage featured in Spanish media

Durante su estadía en España, el equipo de Courage-Latino fue entrevistado por algunos medios de comunicación en Madrid y Toledo:
  • Alfa y OmegaEntrevista al P. Víctor de Luna y Rossana Goñi. (Madrid)
  • Religión Libertad. Testimonio de Ángel. (Madrid)
  • Periferias programa televisión en TreceTV. Entrevista al Ángel y Rossana Goñi. (Madrid)
  • Religión en LibertadEntrevista al P. Víctor de Luna y Rossana Goñi. (Madrid)
  • RTVDToledoEntrevista al P. Víctor de Luna, en el minuto 18:30.(Toledo)
  • Experiencias Extradiocesanas fotografías (durante las Jornadas Pastorales Arquidiocesanas en Toledo)

Ángel y Rossana en TreceTV

While the Courage-Latino team was in Spain, they were interviewed by several different media outlets in Madrid and Toledo:

Pastoral Resources
For clergy, parish and diocesan staff, catechists, 
mental/medical health care professionals, and other pastoral ministers
Truth & Love Conference Videos: Sexual Identity Track 

On the second day of October's Truth & Love Conference, "Proclaiming the Splendor of Truth in Love," participants had the opportunity to focus on one of three tracks: pastoral care, mental health or sexual identity. Attendees at the conference were those who minister to persons who experience same-sex attractions or have confusion about their sexual identity.

Highly-qualified experts offered unique perspectives in the  sexual identity track  which focused on the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of sexual identity confusion or gender dysphoria (also called transgenderism). Here are links to the video of the talks in this track: 
"Pastoral Care in the Light of Confusion About Sexual Identity"

The presentation by Courage Executive Director, Fr. Philip Bochanski, was filled with practical recommendations regarding the challenges found in various aspects of ministry when working with this constituency:
  • Parishes (sacraments, participation in parish life, school policy)
  • Ministering to families concerned about their loved ones 
  • Pastoral care for the individual 

View Fr. Philip Bochanski on
"Pastoral Care and Questions of Sexual Identity"

"Deacon's Role in Accompanying Those with Same-Sex Attraction"
Courage director writes for Deacon Digest magazine

Excerpted from Fr. Philip Bochanski's article:

[...] Deacons do not only serve the [Courage] apostolate as substitutes for priest chaplains; their particular ministry and the gifts that accompany it enrich the work of Courage in unique ways. In their apostolic beginnings (see Acts 6:1-6), deacons were entrusted precisely with the care of those who were marginalized in the early Jerusalem Church. In our own day, deacons, who live in the world and undertake secular occupations, become a bridge between the broader community and the parish, and are in a privileged position to take note of the particular needs of their neighbors.

Whether or not a deacon directly is involved in Courage and EnCourage, his ministry surely will include evangelizing and catechizing the faithful about the divine plan for sexuality and marriage, as well as providing pastoral care for people who experience SSA - and for their loved ones. For each of these important aspects of the deacon's ministry, Courage and EnCourage chaplains may provide important guidance. [...]


Courage Men's Retreat
January 25-27, 2019, in Stamford, Connecticut

West Coast Living Waters Leadership Training Seminar
February 2-8, 2019, in Calabasas, California 
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries.
Equips attendees for effective ministry to the sexually and relationally broken.

Ensuring Human Dignity: 
Addressing Modern Cultural Realities for Catholic Leaders Conference
February 12, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio 
Diocese of Cleveland event for clergy and staff.
Featuring Courage's Fr. Philip Bochanski and Dcn. Patrick Lappert, M.D. 
If you are from Cleveland, encourage your parish staff to attend!  

Samson Healing Retreat for Men
February 14-17, in Prescott, Arizona 
Hosted by The Kings Men.
Information |  Registration

Samson Healing Retreat for Men
March 14-17, in Hammonton, New Jersey 
Hosted by The Kings Men.
Information |  Registration

Gender Matters: Fighting for a New Generation
March 15, 2019, in Witchita, Kansas
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries
Hosted by the Diocese of Witchita. 
Discover together the compassion and clarity of Jesus towards persons facing gender and sexual identity issues.

The Transgender Moment: 
Understanding and Responding to Contemporary Culture
April 5-6, 2019, in Steubenville, Ohio 
Franciscan University Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life
Will feature Anthony Esolen, Michelle Cretella, MD, Ryan T. Anderson, and Mary Hasson, as well as Courage's Dcn. Patrick Lappert, MD.

Courage/EnCourage Day of Reflection
April 6, 2019
Tampa Bay area, Florida (Diocese of St. Petersburg)
With Fr. Philip Bochanski and Bishop Gregory Parkes

Courage/EnCourage Spiritual Conference 
April 27, 2019, in Somers, New York 
Theme: "Divine Mercy and Families"
Speakers: Fr. Jonathon Morris and Fr. Gerald Murray, JCD

Courage Men's Retreat: Midwest
May 3-5, 2019, Indianapolis, Indiana 
Details forthcoming.
Email Dan with questions or to express interest in attending. 

Courage Women's Spring Retreat
May 30 - June 2, 2019, near Allentown, Pennsylvania

Sports Camp XX
May 23-26, 2019, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Men's weekend of athletics, fellowship, and prayer designed for men who experience same-sex attractions and desire to develop and live the virtue of chastity, regardless of past sports experience or ability.

Midwest Living Waters Leadership Training Seminar
July 6-12, 2019, in Kansas City, Kansas 
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries.
Equips attendees for effective ministry to the sexually and relationally broken.

Clergy Study Day 
July 17, 2019, in Mundelein, Illinois 
Details forthcoming. 

Courage/EnCourage Annual Conference
July 18-21, 2019, in Mundelein, Illinois 
Details forthcoming. 

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. 

Photo credits: 

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