Courage members from all over the world will gather at the 2013 Annual Courage/EnCourage Conference being held at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary & Conference Center in the Archdiocese of Chicago, IL, USA from July 25th through July 28th.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Courage these conferences, a Roman Catholic Apostolate offering spiritual support for Catholic men and women with same-sex attractions who desire to live chaste lives in accordance with the Church’s teachings. Begun in 1980 by the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York, who called on the late Fr. John Harvey, O.S.F.S. to be its founding Executive Director, the apostolate has developed a global community of dedicated members with chapters in thirteen countries, an international online community, a comprehensive web site visited by more than 36,000 people from all over the world in 2013 alone, and a spiritually-based support system that is life-enhancing and faith-enriching for both members and supporters. Fr. Paul Check, who succeeded Fr. John Harvey as Executive Director, leads the Courage Apostolate with the guidance of the episcopal board chaired by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
In full communion with the Magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church regarding same-sex attractions, Courage members strive to live chaste lives. They are guided by the understanding that the dignity and identity of Christian persons are not determined by their sexual attractions, but by their relation to Jesus Christ through faith, hope, and love. Chastity, made possible by Christ’s redemption, is a liberating virtue and a source of joy and human freedom. Members regularly gather at local meetings which provide confidential, welcoming, and informative support in a 12-step format. These meetings provide opportunities for the development of chaste friendship and ongoing spiritual fellowship. Spiritual direction and the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, are integral facets of Courage membership.
EnCourage is the affiliate support ministry for family members, spouses, and friends of men and women with same-sex attractions (SSA). Standing by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, EnCourage members support one another and their loved ones through discussion, prayer, fellowship, and sacrifice. EnCourage offers faithful witness to Catholic teaching on sexual morality, while meeting the needs of its members with charity and compassion.
This year’s Annual Courage/EnCourage Conference has a powerful line-up of speakers. Dr. J. Budziszewski will deliver the opening keynote address: “Why Is There Sex?” Bishop John M. LeVoir (New Ulm, Minnesota) will be the main celebrant for the conference’s opening Mass on Thursday evening, as well as the first speaker on Friday morning with a presentation titled: “What Does It Mean to be a Human Image of God?” Courage is also pleased to welcome Francis Cardinal George who will be the main celebrant for the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Friday.
Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., the founder of the 12-Step Review, Sr. Marysia Weber, R.S.M. who will address the issue of internet pornography addiction, and Dawn Eden, author of Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, are all provocative and engaging speakers. Dr. Bill Consiglio will address participants in the Pastoral Seminar for Clergy on Friday, as well as all conference attendees on Saturday morning with a presentation titled “All Things For Good.” Fr. Paul Scalia (Courage Chairman of the Board) will speak on “Fearing the Lord and Not Being Afraid,” and on Sunday morning Fr. Paul Check, Executive Director of Courage, will deliver his closing address: “The Joy of the Lord Will Be Your Strength.” Throughout the conference, participants will be invited to sit in on a variety of workshops and meetings, participate daily in the celebration of the Eucharist, and have the opportunity for confession.
The campus of the University of St. Mary of the Lake is beautiful, tranquil, and perfect for quiet reflection, solitary prayer, or interpersonal sharing. The conference offers an ideal opportunity for spiritual enrichment and provides the perfect context for inspiration, encouragement, and spiritual fellowship. Comprehensive information about the conference, including online registration, housing, and transportation details, as well as a complete daily schedule of events and biographical sketches of each of our main speakers is available on the “Conferences” page of the Courage web site: www.couragerc.org.