Lenten Message from Our Director
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8).
Dear Courage and EnCourage family,
It is a special gift of Divine Providence that the sixth commandment and the sixth beatitude are linked. In the Mosaic law, God commands his people to respect the covenant of marriage and to avoid sexual immorality -- "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex 20:14). The virtue of continence enables one to practice self-control and abstain from sinful desires and actions. In the Sermon on the Mount, He invites us to go deeper, to grow from continence to chastity, which is "the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being" (Catechism, 2337). And he promises that our efforts to be integrated, authentic and chaste will be rewarded with the ability to "see God" -- to understand ourselves, our relationships with God and others, and God's plan for our lives, from His perspective. Impure thoughts and desires cloud our vision and become obstacles. When we are able to put them aside, we can see more clearly what God sees. We can "see God."
"As we turn away from the world and towards the Cross , we rely less on earthly pleasures to provide comfort and security, and find our consolation and peace more completely in God alone. "
Here is the secret to all of our Lenten observances. Over the next six weeks, we will make many sacrifices: setting aside more time for prayer; fasting and giving up favorite treats; donating time and resources to those in need. All of these traditional Lenten practices are beneficial, but only if we recognize that they are not ends in themselves. They are meant to lead us deeper in our relationship with God. 

The Church reminds us that we "are called to enact the will of God" in our lives "by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties" we experience "to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross" (CDF, Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986, no. 11). We are familiar with this idea of "offering up" our daily pains and struggles as a sacrifice, and Lent is a time to do that more intentionally. This sacrifice "is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself, who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practice virtue in place of vice" (ibid.). In other words, we do not make Lenten sacrifices for their own sake, but because making such sacrifices makes way for a new way of life to emerge. As we turn away from the world and towards the Cross, we rely less on earthly pleasures to provide comfort and security, and find our consolation and peace more completely in God alone. As we take our eyes off of earthly things, we see God and his plan for us more clearly.

I pray that this season of Lent will be peaceful and fruitful for you, a time of conversion, healing and enlightenment, and that our sacrifices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving will strengthen and purify the whole Courage and EnCourage family, with whom each of us is united by the love that binds us together in Christ. Be sure of my prayers for you and your loved ones, especially when the Courage Office team gathers in our chapel for daily Mass. May this sacred time purify your heart, so that with eyes renewed you may see as never before the glory of the Risen Lord at Easter.

Father Philip Bochanski
Executive Director
  • "Closet, cage, or Cross?": Fr. Bochanski on Priests with Same-Sex Attractions
  • Invitation to Prayer and Fasting
  • New Courage Chapters
  • Courage Now on Instagram!
  • Divine Mercy University Tuition Discount
  • Correction: Fr. Robert Blyman, EnCourage chaplain

  • Courage Chaplain, Fr. Chris Rogers, on Local Television
  • Scotland Member Stands Up for Courage
  • Fr. Bochanski on Catholic Man Show

  • EnCourage Nightly Prayer Conference Call
  • Serving Persons with Loved-Ones with Sexual Identity Confusion

  • Courage-Latino Launches E-Newsletter in Spanish (Courage-Latino lanza su primer boletín electrónico)
  • Courage Spanish Website (Sitio web para Courage en español)

  • Lots of opportunities for Courage, EnCourage, and those in ministry
Courage News
"Closet, cage, or Cross?" Priests with same-sex attractions
Fr. Bochanski responds to a recent New York Times article
"I cannot understand, and I will not accept, the charge made in the New York Times’s headline, that the teaching of the Church on the subject of homosexuality is 'a cage' designed to trap and torture priests who experience same-sex attractions. This notion, that the Church’s moral teaching is inherently harmful and intentionally hateful, is false and is an impediment to understanding that teaching fully."

Invitation to Prayer and Fasting
Join with Courage and EnCourage on Wednesdays during Lent 
During Lent, all members of Courage and EnCourage are invited to unite on Wednesdays in prayer and fasting for our intentions. We will come together each week for a nine-hour fast as well as opening and closing prayers and a Memorare every hour to our Blessed Mother.

For more information or to sign up so we know how many are participating, please send an email to praywithcourage@gmail.com.

New Courage Chapters
200 chapters of Courage and EnCourage
around the world
Courage Now on Instagram!
You now have one more way to stay connected with Courage on social media by following our brand new Instagram account for updates, news, and inspiration -- as well as the occasional peak inside the Courage International headquarters!

Divine Mercy University Tuition Discount
Divine Mercy University offers a 20% tuition reduction to those associated with Courage and EnCourage in hopes that "the Holy Spirit is drawing more people to serve the mental health needs of people with same-sex attraction." Divine Mercy University "is committed to mental health rooted in the Catholic understanding of the human person, the family, and society."

Programs offered at Divine Mercy University:

Contact Divine Mercy University admissions today at 703-416-1441 or enroll.divinemercy.edu. Be sure to tell them Courage sent you!  

Fr. Robert Blyman, EnCourage chaplain
In our January newsletter, we paid tribute to Fr. Robert Blyman, from the Diocese of Rockville Center, who recently passed away. We inadvertently wrote that he helped to launch Courage on Long Island Courage. He was actually involved in the establishment of the EnCourage chapter there, where his contributions were deeply appreciated. Fr. Charles Mangano and Fr. Tony Stanganelli are the priests who initiated the establishment of Courage on Long Island back in 2005.
Courage Resources
Courage Chaplain, Fr. Chris Rogers, on Local Television
By Karl M., Philadelphia Courage chapter member
Rev. Christopher Rogers has served as chaplain to the Philadelphia Courage chapter since 2015. As chaplain to the group, he provides leadership at meetings, spiritual direction outside of a group format, and insight on living the Five Goals of Courage through recommended reading materials and other resources. Fr. Chris' "enthusiastic spirit" has been a "blessing for our chapter" according to one of the Philly members. He "does a great job challenging our group to live true to Church teachings". He also throws a great Christmas party! 

Fr. Chris has been a featured speaker at the annual Courage Conference [ talk on spiritual direction] and at local events in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He recently taped an episode of the TV show Counterpoint where he discussed the Courage and Encourage apostolates with host Kathy Myers. 
Scotland Member Stands Up for Courage
Elena is a member of the Courage chapter in the Diocese of Paisley in the west Central Lowlands of Scotland. Elena confidently and courageously responded to some media mischaracterizations of Courage in a video produced by Sancta Familia Media, in which she explains the goals of Courage and the blessings of her personal experience receiving chapter support to live the beautiful virtue of chastity in freedom and joy. She also did a full length interview with more of her story and an explanation of the reasonableness of Church teaching, finishing off with a beautiful song of hope.
Fr. Bochanski on the Catholic Man Show
In January, Fr. Philip Bochanski had a great time sitting down with Catholic Man Show hosts, Adam Minahan and David Niles, addressing a number of terrific questions. Watch or listen to their engaging conversation about Courage, living with same-sex attractions, and how to love the people in our lives who experience these feelings. Be sure to check out the video because at the end there are about fifteen additional minutes of valuable content not included in the audio.
EnCourage Nightly Prayer Conference Call
The EnCourage prayer conference calls begin every night at 9:00 p.m. We welcome relatives and friends of persons who experience same-sex attractions (or sexual identity confusion) to join us in this blessed time before our Heavenly Father as we unite our prayers for our loved ones, Courage, and EnCourage.

  • Call 712-770-8055. You may call as early as at 8:50 p.m.
  • When prompted, enter the access code: 602930.  
  • You are free to remain anonymous or silent, or to mute your phone. 
  • Optional spiritual reading will follow. 
  • The prayers are posted daily on the EnCourage online forum
  • Back-up conference call number, to be used if our standard number fails, is 302-202-1119. Use same access code as above: 602930. 
Again, Amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth 
about anything for which they are to pray, 
it shall be granted to them
by my heavenly Father. 
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
there am I in the midst of them. 

Matthew 18:19-20 
Serving Persons with Loved-Ones with Sexual Identity Confusion
Families of those who identify as transgender are welcome in EnCourage
EnCourage chapters are increasingly being approached by families of persons with confusion over their sexual identity, and we have found that we have been able to successfully integrate them into our groups. Fr. Bochanski's presentation at the October Truth & Love Conference covered the pastoral care of these families. He observed, "Although gender confusion and same-sex attractions are different realities, experienced rather differently by the individual, the impact on the family is similar in both cases." He then went on to explain how the goals of EnCourage apply to families whose loved ones identify as transgender, adding some recommendations for how these families can address their unique challenges. EnCourage chaplains and lay facilitators are especially encouraged to view this portion of the talk.

Courage-Latino Launches E-Newsletter in Spanish!
Courage-Latino lanza su primer boletín electrónico
Due to an increasing number of Courage and EnCourage members from the Spanish-speaking community around the world, we are launching our first e-newsletter in Spanish this month in order to educate and keep a sense of family among our members and friends of the apostolate. The Spanish newsletter will be sent by email to subscribers every six weeks.

If you know of any Spanish-speaking people who would be interested in subscribing, please tell them to send an e-mail to lorena@couragerc.org,
including their full name, city, and country. We would be happy to add them to our list. 

You may also subscribe by the clicking "Update Profile" at the bottom of this email and checking the box for "Boletín en español (Courage-Latino)."

Please, remember the Courage-Latino team in your prayers!

Debido al incremento de capítulos de Courage y EnCourage entre miembros de habla hispana y el interés de los fieles en general, se está lanzando hoy el primer boletín electrónico en español de Courage-Latino. El fin del boletín será educar sobre las enseñanzas de la Iglesia en cuanto a la atracción al mismo sexo y también mantener un espíritu de familia entre los miembros y amigos del apostolado. El boletín será enviado a través de correo electrónico a quienes quieran recibirlo. 

Si usted conoce de alguien que esté interesado, por favor, dígale que nos escriba a esta dirección electrónica:  lorena@couragerc.org . Estaremos muy contentos de añadir su nombre completo y la ciudad y país donde vive en nuestra lista de subscriptores. 

¡Por favor, rece por la misión de Courage-Latino!
Courage Spanish Website
Sitio web para Courage en español
Courage-Latino now has an easy-to-remember new address. Stop by often as new resources are being added all the time. Be sure to send your Spanish-speaking friends our way!

Courage-Latino tiene ahora una dirección de sitio web fácil de recordar. Nuevos recursos serán añadidos con frecuencia, ¡Visítanos seguido! Asegúrate de enviar estos datos a tus amigos que hablen español.
Upcoming Events
Lenten Day of Reflection
March 9, 2019, in West Vancouver, British Columbia
"God's Love Heals Our Memories"
Sponsored by Courage and EnCourage of Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Open to all
Samson Healing Retreat for Men
March 14-17, 2019, in Hammonton, New Jersey 
Hosted by The Kings Men 
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
Featuring Anthony Esolen, Michelle Cretella, Ryan T. Anderson, Mary Hasson.
Courage/EnCourage Day of Reflection
April 6, 2019, in Tampa Bay area, Florida
(Diocese of St. Petersburg)
With Fr. Philip Bochanski and Bishop Gregory Parke
Courage Men's Retreat: South
April 12-14, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana 
Retreat chaplain will be Fr. Philip Bochanski
Catholic Psychotherapy Association Conference
April 25-27, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia
"Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled"
Featuring Greg Popcak and Mark Yarhous
Courage/EnCourage Spiritual Conference 
April 27, 2019, in Somers, New York 
Theme: "Divine Mercy and Families"
With Fr. Jonathon Morris and Fr. Gerald Murray
Courage Men's Retreat: Midwest
May 3-5, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana 
Retreat chaplain will be Fr. Philip Bochanski
Sports Camp XX
May 23-26, 2019, in 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 
Courage Women's Spring Retreat
May 30 - June 2, 2019, near Allentown, Pennsylvania
Retreat chaplain will be Fr. Philip Bochanski
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 broke
Clergy Study Day
July 17, 2019, in Mundelein, Illinois 
In conjunction with Courage Conference
Registration begins in April. Watch conference page for updates.
Courage Conference
July 18-21, 2019, in Mundelein, Illinois 
Registration begins in April. Watch conference page for updates.
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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