Encouraging Words from Our Director 

Fr. Philip Bochanski 
 Executive Director
Dear Courage and EnCourage family,

Happy anniversary! At this time of year, we commemorate the first Courage meeting, which took place in New York on September 26, 1980. What a legacy those founding members have left to us --- a rich heritage of trust in the Providence of God and of commitment to living holy lives and giving witness to the power of grace at work in us. Nearly forty years later, we work to stay true to that legacy even as we extend the mission and adapt to challenging times in the Church and in the world.

One of  the most precious gifts we have received from those founding members are the Five Goals of the apostolate, which still guide everything we do. Even before that, however, came the very name of the apostolate itself -- and this inspired choice has much to teach us today, perhaps now more than ever. As the story goes, the first members came up with a long list of virtues that they wanted to pursue: chastity, of course; humility, integrity, charity, and many more. At last they saw the common thread connecting all of these virtues; namely, that to exercise any of them required a great deal of courage -- the spiritual gift, also called fortitude, that enables us to embrace and do God's will no matter the cost. And so the name stuck, and the apostolate became a place where we could gather to support one another and to ask the Lord for the courage and strength we need to answer his call to holiness.

The crisis that the Church is facing in these days has led many faithful Catholics to become discouraged, to lose, at least for a little while, their spiritual vigor and strength in the face of very public examples of selfishness, unchastity, arrogance and dishonesty. But we know better. Our efforts, individually and as an apostolate, to hand over to the Lord what we cannot do for ourselves, has taught us the truth that real strength, real courage, comes from God alone.  With his help, and only with his help, we can strive in our own lives to replace selfishness, unchastity and arrogance with the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience -- and by living these virtues ourselves with integrity, we become a sign and example to the rest of the Church, and to the world.

"In the world you will have trouble," Jesus admitted to his disciples the night before he died for them and for us, "but take courage: I have overcome the world!" (Jn 16:33)  On our anniversary, let us continue to take courage and to draw strength from how close the Lord has been to us as we strive to serve and follow him. And let us share that courage with the Church in these troubling times, by our witness, by our striving, and by our love.

Father Philip Bochanski


Contents of this Newsletter 

Focus on Fr. John F. Harvey, O.S.F.S.  
Celebrating the 100th Birthday Jubilee of our Founding Director
firstmeetingAnniversary of First Courage Meeting on September 26 
"These men were strangers who became friends and confidants. They could have gone to a gay bar that Friday evening, but they chose something different."

Read the story of the very first Courage meeting on September 26, 1980, as told in James Beers' new book, Courage: A Ministry of Hope

Click to read story of first meeting
In the fall of 1980, some clergy and laymen in a small church at the southern tip of Manhattan were planning a meeting to usher in a unique new organization to assist Catholic homosexual men and women in their quest to remain chaste.

Their pastor, Monsignor Robert Brown, was a humble man who asked everyone to call him Father Brown. He made sure that everything was ready for the first meeting on Friday, September 26. Father Harvey arrived in New York on Thursday and stayed at the rectory as Monsignor Brown's guest. Father Harvey recalled that there were more chiefs than Indians present. In addition to himself and Father O'Brien, there were Fr. Groeschel, Dr. Wapnick, and a few other priests who arrived early for the eight o'clock meeting. Father Harvey has always stated that there were just five men at that first meeting. But Graveline and two other participants insist that there were at least ten men present that night. [... Read the rest of the story of the first meeting.]
If this story has whet your appetite for more, order James' book,  Courage a Ministry of Hope , to hear the details of how these fledgling members chose a name for the group and discerned the goals of Courage. In later chapters you will read numerous testimonies of lives transformed, be inspired by the tireless perseverance of our strong yet humble founding director, and follow the growth of the apostolate now known as Courage International.  


Deacon Promotes Courage in His Diocese
"Courage: The best-kept secret in the Catholic Church"

Deacon Hilmar Pabel 
Vancouver Courage coordinator 
(Photo courtesy of  B.C. Catholic )  
Deacon Hilmar Pabel, Courage coordinator in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, gave a workshop on "The Benefits of Courage" at the Courage conference in Villanova in July. He summarized the workshop in an article for the archdiocesan newspaper, the  B.C. Catholic , in which he presented the members of Courage as an inspiration for the entire Church, modeling a "complete and authentic way of discipleship." 

We need to hear and honour the stories of grace, the ways in which Jesus has made and continues to make a difference in the lives of Courage members. In their commitment to a liberating and loving chastity and to the other goals, men and women who experience same-sex attraction invite all of us to embrace the five goals so that along with Courage members we may wash each other's feet.

That wasn't the first time this zealous deacon went out of his way to raise the profile of Courage in his archdiocese. Shortly after he was given the role of coordinator of Courage in 2017, just two years after his diaconal ordination, he began to promote the apostolate. He  spoke from the pulpit in multiple parishes, conducted a  town hall meeting, did an  interview for the archdiocesan newspaper, and wrote an introductory  article for the paper. In the article, he explained the apostolate and spoke of how he has been struck by the holiness of the members of his Courage chapter: "God is alive and at work in these wonderful people!" Let's all follow Dcn. Pabel's courageous example and do what we can to help the light of truth and goodness shine! 

wantedWanted: Your Stories About Exemplary Chaplains

Deacon Hilmar Pabel is just one example of the exceptional priest chaplains and deacon coordinators who serve Courage and EnCourage. As we come to terms with the reality that some ordained men have failed in their roles as spiritual fathers and shepherds, it is also a time to be especially grateful for the many who have remained faithful and have been tremendous blessings to us, supporting us with the sacraments and good counsel as we carry our crosses, pointing the way to prayerful union with God and holiness. 

We invite you to send in your stories of the generous service of the holy men who have been such channels of grace so we can show our appreciation for them by featuring some of them in our newsletter or social media in the coming months. Please try to keep your stories to 500 words or less, and feel free to include photos or links.  

comiskeyBecoming Good News for Wandering Loved Ones
New 40-day prayer booklet from Andrew Comiskey

Publisher's description: 

Loved ones and friends exploring alternate sexual identities invite us into a deeper conversion. Jesus pours out His mercy on us. We cannot change anyone but we can be changed. And in our prayers, we can ask to become compelling witnesses for the wounded and confused.

Please join us for forty days of prayer from October 10th - November 18, 2018. We will follow together the new booklet "Becoming Good News" by Andrew Comiskey. 

sufferingSuffering Through the Eyes of the Saints 

St. John of the Cross  
 by Francisco de Zubaran, 1656
An Ohio EnCourage dad finds solace in the company of the saints who were able to embrace their sufferings and allow God to work a greater good through them. He has discovered that praying with their words on suffering provides grace to help him bear the cross of his sorrow about the choices his son has made. He reclaims the rainbow by writing the quotes in an array of bright colors as a reminder of the sweetness of the joy to be found alongside the bitterness of suffering, when it is united with Christ. Courage and EnCourage members alike may find it fruitful to take these to prayer. 

disorderedWhy do Catholics Use the Word, "Disordered"?

Anna Carter writes for the Truth & Love blog

As society shifts, some religious ideas can become even more difficult to fathom. Some words come with more baggage. One of those words is "disordered." [...] 

T here have been calls in some circles to end the use of this language when discussing same sex attraction. To the modern ear -- for both religious and nonreligious people -- "disordered" can sound like "disorder." We might use the word to describe a room or office space in radical disarray. But more often than not, we likely associate "disorder" with mental or psychological illness. In light of this modern understanding, should the Church change her language?

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retreatFirst EnCourage Retreats in Fall 2018!
Sign up today as spots are filling up quickly! 

Come away to the quiet for a fall retreat  
( Photo by Martin.Heiss / Wikimedia Commons /  CC BY-SA 3.0)\C
Courage Executive Director, Fr. Philip Bochanski, will be serving as the retreat  directo r at our very first EnCourage retreats. We invite EnCourage members to join us on this special weekend of prayer and reflection exclusively for them. Together, we'll seek God's guidance in cultivating peace of heart, mind, and spirit as we share our journeys with one another and grow closer to the One who created us all.

EnCourage Retreat Midwest
November 9-11, 2018, near Columbus, Ohio
Registration deadline: Friday, October 26
Information and registration: rossanag@couragerc.org

EnCourage Retreat West
November 30 - December 2, 2018, in southern California
Registration deadline: Friday, November 9
Information and registration: encourage.losangeles@gmail.com


Courage Latino
latinoconferenceCourage Latino Conference 
November 16-18 in Mexico City


Pastoral and Catechetical Resources
For clergy, parish and diocesan staff, catechists, 
mental/medical health care professionals, and other pastoral ministers
tandlconferenceTruth & Love Conference 
Monday-Wednesday, October 22-24,  in  Bloomfield, Connecticut 
Register by Friday, October 12

Mark the 25th Anniversary of John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor by attending:

WHO: Clergy, religious, lay faithful working in ecclesial ministry, educators, mental and medical health professionals

WHAT: Sound, practical, and pastoral guidance on the topics of homosexuality and sexual identity through personal testimonies and presentations from leading experts in pastoral ministry, theology, psychology, and health care



Click to view  schedule, 
speaker bios, talk descriptions 

Spread the word! 
Your invitation could make the difference


Tr uth & Love Conference 
"Proclaiming the Splendor of Truth with Love" 
October 22-24, 2018, in Bloomfield, Connecticut 
Sound, practical, and pastoral guidance on the topics of homosexuality and sexual identity. Designed for  clergy, religious, lay faithful who work in ecclesial ministry, medical and mental health professionals. 
Please invite those you know who are in the target audience.   
Registration  Deadline: Friday, October 12

East Coast Living Waters Leadership Training Seminar
November 3-9, 2018, on Enders Island, near Mystic, Connecticut  
With Andy Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries.
Equips attendees for effective ministry to the sexually and relationally broken. 

EnCourage Retreat Midwest
November 9-11, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio
Registration by October 26. 
Information and registration: rossanag@couragerc.org 

Encuentro Courage Latino 
November 16-18, 2018, in Mexico City

EnCourage Retreat West 
November 30 - December 2, 2018, in southern California
Registration by November 9. 
Information and registration information: encourage.losangeles@gmail.com 

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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