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April 2024

Duccio di Buoninsegna. Appearance Behind Locked Doors. Between 1308 and 1311.

Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana del Duomo. 

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20, from the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter)

Message From Our Interim Director

Happy Easter!  

Jesus Christ is truly Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!  

From the experience of the Cross, during which He was broken for our sake, He has returned to life under His own power, and by doing so has broken the power of sin and death, restoring us to our true identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Father. 

As always, when we keep this true depth of our identity at the heart of who we are, we experience the true freedom that Jesus came to inaugurate. As we bask in the glow of the Easter fire over these fifty days, may the Lord’s true blessings be upon all the members, chaplains, and supporters of Courage and EnCourage. 

This brings me to our annual Conference, held this year at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center/Mundelein Seminary in Chicago from July 25 to 28, the week following the National Eucharistic Conference in Indianapolis. There will be much to celebrate when we gather and many new faces to welcome and meet. As long-time attendees know, it is wonderful to connect with old friends while also making new friends along the way. For new attendees, it really is an opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience of what Courage and EnCourage truly are. As an added benefit, Mundelein’s campus is absolutely lovely! 

Finally, it was just about a year ago that the announcement was made regarding Fr. Bochanski’s change in assignment as he was called back home to be a Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We all still certainly miss him, as I know I do! But your patience and understanding towards me while trying to shepherd this ministry from afar has been a true blessing, to say nothing of your prayers, too. Working with Courage and EnCourage has had a tremendous impact on my priesthood, for which I am extremely grateful to God. As always, you remain very close in my prayers and I look forward to seeing many of you this summer in Chicago.

In Christ, 

Father Kyle Schnippel

Interim Director



  • Conference Page is Ready: See Schedule, Speakers, and More
  • Featured Conference Speaker: Fr. Tad Pacholczyk
  • Fr. Bochanski's 25th Anniversary of Ordination
  • Member Testimonies Promote Courage in Southern Dioceses
  • Join the Father John Harvey Guild
  • Happy 103rd Birthday, Fr. Lloyd!
  • Monthly Prayer Intentions for Courage and EnCourage
  • Stay Connected With Fellow Members Near and Far

General Resources

  • What is Love? USCCB Launches Love Means More
  • Handbook Filled with Guidance for Chapters
  • Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a Powerful Favorite Devotion


  • Conversation About Same-Sex Attractions and Chastity
  • Chaste Friendships and Men With Same-Sex Attractions


  • A Mother's Wounded Heart
  • New Video Resource on Identity, Sex, "Gender," and More

For Spanish Speaking Members and Friends

  • Online Spiritual Activities Empower Members
  • April Newsletter in Spanish 

Pastoral Resources

  • Attend the Clergy Study Day and Invite Others
  • Gender Ideology: What Catholics Need to Know
  • Dignitatis Infinita, on Human Dignity, Addresses Gender Ideology



Conference Page is Up! See Schedule, Speakers, and More

Registration will be opening in early May. We'll let you know in a separate email.

2024 Courage & EnCourage conference page

Featured Conference Speaker: Fr. Tad Pacholczyk

To speak on a Catholic understanding of same-sex attractions

We are blessed to have Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., scheduled to speak at our conference this summer. "Father Tad" (as he is better known) currently serves as senior ethicist at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, and writes and speaks widely on bioethics and medical ethics. Since 2001, he has given several hundred presentations and invited lectures, and participated in debates and roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. 

Fr. Tad, in his presentation on "The Church & Same Sex Attraction," speaks with his characteristic clarity on how we can share with persons experiencing same-sex attractions, not only respect, compassion, and sensitivity, but also the full vision of human sexuality.

See Fr. Tad's many talks and writings on his website

Visit our YouTube channel for lots of helpful content like this video, 

especially in the Catholicism and Same-Sex Attraction playlist.

Subscribe, like, and share to spread the word.

Fr. Bochanski's 25th Anniversary of Ordination

Father Philip Bochanski served as the executive director of Courage from 2017 through 2023, when Archbishop Nelson Perez appointed him to serve as the vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He will be celebrating and giving thanks for twenty-five years of priestly life and ministry with a special Mass on May 26. We offer him our warmest congratulations and prayers and remain grateful for the years he spent caring for the Courage family as our beloved spiritual father.

Read story about Fr. Bochanski's tenure with Courage

Photos of Father's time with Courage on Facebook and Instagram

Member Testimonies Promote Courage in Southern Dioceses

Personal stories are a great way for dioceses to promote the apostolate of Courage. An interview with Jerry, the Courage moderator for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, was featured on the diocesan news website, Gulf Coast Catholic. Jerry talked about how the Holy Spirit broke into his life, calling him to chastity and providing the grace he needed to change his life, particularly through his participation in the local Courage chapter.

There were more Courage testimonies in the March edition of Southern Cross, the magazine of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia. Pete and Sam, lay leaders for the Macon Courage chapter, were interviewed for a piece where they shared about the impact of Courage on their lives and the strategies they employ as they strive for chastity. After seventeen years of identifying and living as a gay man, Pete recounts, "When I finally decided to leave, the very first place that I went to was Courage …. I said, If I’m going to try to leave this lifestyle, I’m going to have to look for other people who have the same ideas and goals that I have. I can honestly say that Courage has changed my life. I’ve met people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life, and they’re walking the same walk that I’m trying to walk." 

Read Jerry's interview in the Gulf Coast Catholic

Read Sam and Pete's stories on page 9 of the Southern Cross

Join the Father John Harvey Guild

Remembering the saintly life of our founding director

April 14 was the 106th anniversary of the birth of our apostolate's founding director, Father John F. Harvey, OSFS.

We invite all Courage and EnCourage members and chaplains to join the Father John Harvey Guild (membership is free) and pray for the opening of Father Harvey's cause for beatification and canonization. The guild aims to have at least 1000 members before approaching the appropriate bishop about the possibility of having Father's cause officially opened for examination.

In thanksgiving for their support, all new and existing guild members will be sent a medal (21 mm diameter).

New members will receive a medal, five free prayer cards, and a subscription to the guild's eNewsletter, sent out at least four times a year. Guild members also benefit by having monthly Masses said for them by Father Paul Check, executive director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and former executive director of Courage.

May the Church one day officially recognize our founder's saintly life of charity, courage, and compassion.

Join the Fr. Harvey Guild

Read the latest Guild eNewsletter

Learn more about Fr. Harvey at FrJohnHarvey.com

Happy 103rd Birthday, Fr. Lloyd!

Father James B. Lloyd, CSP, longtime, recently-retired Courage chaplain (Manhattan chapter), celebrated his 103rd birthday on April 3. He is a beloved spiritual father to many in our apostolate, including Courage staff members, Tina and Angelo, pictured here with him. We thank God for the many years we have been blessed by his priestly ministry!

He recently said to a Courage member who visited him, "Out of all the things I've ever done," the ministry "I enjoyed the most" was Courage. He was deeply inspired by the "living witness" of Courage members who were willing to "pay the price" to follow Christ. He offered some good counsel: “Pray hard” and "have some appropriate fun." 

Watch Fr. Lloyd answer "Five Questions"

See lots more at FrJamesLloyd.com

Monthly Prayer Intentions for Courage and EnCourage

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We have introduced a new opportunity for our members to be united in prayer this year. We invite you to pray each month for a specific intention related to our apostolate. We encourage you to consider praying for these intentions at your local Courage and EnCourage chapter meetings.

The upcoming monthly intentions are as follows:

  • April: For a greater trust in God’s mercy
  • May: To grow in our love for Mary  

See complete list of monthly intentions

Stay Connected With Fellow Members Near and Far

New Courage chapter:

New EnCourage chapter:

Ways to find support: 

Courage & EnCourage 

around the world

General Resources

What is Love? USCCB Launches Love Means More

Is love how someone makes you feel?  Is the statement "love is love" adequate? In February, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops launched an initiative called Love Means More, designed to “bring clarity and compassion” to questions like these, which the culture is asking about "love, marriage, and sexuality." As described in the National Catholic Register, the "initiative is meant to reflect the foundational principles of a Catholic understanding of love to these questions in a way that anyone — even those who are against Church teaching — can understand." While the site has a unique format that should be followed for sequential learning, you can also easily navigate to specific topics, for example, same-sex attraction, via the lexicon in the menu.

See the USCCB's Love Means More site

Read about the Love Means More intiative

Handbook Filled with Guidance for Chaplains and Members

It's been four years since we released the fortieth-anniversary edition of the Handbook for Courage and EnCourage chaplains. This booklet, which can be easily accessed online, remains an indispensable resource not only for chaplains but also for members, even those in dioceses where Courage and EnCourage have not yet been established. For example, on page 10 there is a section on "Establishing a chapter" where tips are given for clergy and the lay faithful approaching their bishop and expressing their desire for Courage to be established in their diocese. Further guidance is provided about interviewing potential members and publicizing a chapter while keeping the time and location of meetings confidential. 

See the Handbook for Courage and EnCourage for Chaplains

Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a Powerful Favorite Devotion

A favorite devotion of many of our members is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the inspired prayer of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, invoking the power of the Passion of Christ to open the floodgates of God's mercy for sinners. There are many resources available to help people pray the chaplet. Some of our members like to pray with the daily live video broadcast of the chaplet from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy at 3:00 p.m., Eastern Time. 

How to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy 

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Conversation About Same-Sex Attractions and Chastity

For The Catholic World Report, Rob Marco documented a rich conversation with Courage member, Paul Darrow (of the Desire of the Everlasting Hills documentary). Given Paul's experience of thirty years away from the Church, identifying and living as a "gay" man, he has profound insights into the hearts and minds of people who live with same-sex attractions and the challenges they face. He also offers some good advice for both parents and Church leaders. When Rob asked Paul if he had difficulty with the Chuch's teaching, his reply was particularly striking: "Quite the opposite. … It was the truth I recognized in Church teaching on human sexuality that brought me back. This truth convinced me to reject the way I had been living and to strive for purity."

Read Paul's interview

Chaste Friendships and Men With Same-Sex Attractions

Our featured conference speaker this month is Father Tad Pacholczyk. (Don't miss his talk on same-sex attractions highlighted earlier in this newsletter.) Over the years, Father has written over 200 offerings for his "Making Sense of Bioethics" column, which have appeared in diocesan newspapers nationwide. Several of these columns may be of interest to our members.

For example, in "Homosexual Men and Chaste Friendships," Father Tad observes that many Catholic men facing same-sex attractions, "understand that the Church invites them to order their feelings and attractions through a life of chaste continence, but they also wrestle with a strong desire for same-sex friendship and bonding." In the rest of the column, he addresses the question, "How can young men hope to encounter friends with whom they might cultivate healthy and chaste relationships? "Among other things, he speaks highly of how Courage helps provide such support. 

Read Fr. Tad's "Homosexual Men and Chaste Friendships"

Read Fr. Tad's "I'm Not 'Intrinsically Disordered' " 


A Mother's Wounded Heart

An anonymous mother reflects insightfully and vulnerably on the painful experience of her daughter identifying as "trans" and pulling away from faith and family. This is part one of a four-part series; we'll share the rest as it's released.  

… It is a wound that most of the time I prefer not to see, not to look at, to cover up and turn my eye from, to ignore so I can go about my daily business of caring for a home, teaching or being mother to my other children. It’s too painful. Too jagged and gaping. And no one wants to look long at that, for goodness’ sake. Today, at this moment, I am willing to uncover it, air it, probe its diameter and depth just a bit in order to share with you something that I have learned from it. And perhaps in the probing, there will be a bit of healing. For me as well as for you. …

Read part one of "A Mother's Heart"

Visit The Upper Room blog to read more from

Courage and EnCourage members and chaplains

as they share their stories of God's work in their lives. 

New Video Resource on Identity, Sex, "Gender," and More

The Identity Project is a new "resource for parents, grandparents, teachers, leaders, ministers, medical professionals, and anyone who wants to know, speak, and advocate for the truth about human identity amid cultural chaos." It is a "comprehensive library of videos and other resources addressing issues of identity, sex, 'gender,' and sexuality, featuring world-class experts." This is not a specifically Catholic resource but represents a Judeo-Christian worldview and features highly respected Catholic experts like Mary Hasson (Courage board member and co-founder of the Person & Identity Project) and Andrew Sodergren, PsyD. The "Parenting" playlist is just one example of the wealth of offerings from the Identity Project. 

Check out the Identity Project video library

For Spanish-Speaking Members and Friends

Online Spiritual Activities Empower Members


In recent years Courage International has been offering online spiritual activities for Spanish-speaking members of Courage and EnCourage to accompany them in their daily battles and create opportunities for communion and supportive fellowship. Here is what some participants had to say about their experiences: 


“Participating in Courage's online activities in Spanish is a blessing. It allows me to experience the Courage family. Meeting each other, sharing in groups, and seeing each other's faces helps me to feel that I am not alone — that I am accompanied. It gives me strength and hope to follow the path of holiness with Jesus. Praying together and listening to the talks also help me." (Male member of Courage in Argentina)


“My participation in EnCourage online activities has been the hand of our Lord Jesus on earth helping me with my daughter's same-sex attraction. There I feel comforted and embraced by Him, the other members, and the priests. I take comfort in the support of our Mother Church who tells me, 'You are not alone — we are with you, accompanying you very closely on this path.' ” (EnCourage mother in Peru)


To learn more about spiritual activities in Spanish, email oficina@couragerc.org

April Newsletter in Spanish 

Read the April newsletter in Spanish

Subscribe to the Spanish language newsletter

Courage Internacional website in Spanish

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Couragerc.org/español | Contáctanos

Para suscribirse al boletín en español | Archivo

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Pastoral Resources

Attend the Clergy Study Day and Invite Others

A pre-conference Courage Clergy Study Day will be held on Wednesday, July 24, free for all clergy. We invite you to attend and encourage you to share the invitation with your bishop, archbishop, or superior as well as priests and deacons. This study day is a unique opportunity for both learning and fraternity among brother priests doing this important work.  

Topics to be covered (detailed schedule):

  • Christian Anthropology
  • Providing Authentic Pastoral Care
  • Courage Witness Talk
  • Transgender Surgery and Christian Anthropology

For more information to share with your presbyterate, email bonnies@couragerc.org.

Information about conference and clergy day | Registration opens in early May

"Gender Ideology: What Catholics Need to Know"

Online course with much sought-after expert, Mary Hasson

The Archdiocese of San Francisco's Online School of Pastoral Ministry is offering what is sure to be a superb overview of the complex subject of gender ideology. The six-week course, offered on Tuesday evenings from April 9 through May 14, will be taught by Mary Hasson, J.D, Courage board member and co-founder and director of the Person & Identity Project. The course is suitable for all Catholics: clergy, pastoral ministers, educators, and the lay faithful. EnCourage chaplains are encouraged to let their members who have loved ones who experience gender identity discordance know about the course. 

Topics to be covered include: 

  • The Big Question: “Who am I?” 
  • Transgender Tipping Point: 10 Years Later
  • The LGBTQ Generation: The Influences on Youth
  • What About “Transgender” Body Modifications?
  • Gender, Mental Health, and Suicide: The Facts
  • The Catholic Response: Truth and Charity

Even though the course started on April 9, it is fine if you register later. You will be given access to the classes you missed.

Details and registration for gender ideology online course

Dignitas Infinita on Human Dignity, Discusses Gender Ideology

On April 8, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a new document, Dignitas Infinita, on the human dignity of all persons "in and beyond every circumstance, state, or situation the person may ever encounter," ultimately grounded in the fact that they are "created in the image and likeness of God." Of particular relevance to our apostolate are paragraphs 55 through 59 which address the dangers of gender ideology and attempts at "sex change." 

Courage's assistant director, Father Colin Blatchford, reminds us that the Church has always been a defender of human dignity in the midst of the cultural milieu. Dignitas Infinita rests on this tradition. A foundational document is Pope Leo XIII's 1900 encyclical, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus (On Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer), which explains how Jesus, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, revives the fullness of human dignity.

For a clear summary of the Church’s teaching on human dignity, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, beginning with the chapter on "The Dignity of the Human Person" (par 1700, 1701-1715). Then look up “Man” in the index and peruse what it says. Note how communion with God grants us our dignity (27, 357, 1700) and how that dignity is damaged or lost as a consequence of sin (396–401, 705-706). In this case, the Catechism refers to how the moral, social, and existential dignity of the human person can be diminished; the ontological dignity can never be reduced, as noted in Dignitas Infinita

Another good place to look is the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. In the section on "The Many Aspects of the Human Person" (par. 124–151), you can see how the Church combines all her knowledge and teachings on human dignity into a coherent social doctrine. The subsection on "The Dignity and Rights of Children" (par. 246-251) gives a robust foundational theology of human dignity in the Church's perennial teaching.

Read DDF's new document, Dignitas Infinita

Truth & Love, an initiative of Courage International, is a multifaceted Catholic resource for anyone seeking the tools to support men and women who experience same-sex attractions.



Conference videos




"Gender Ideology: What Catholics Need to Know" with Mary Hasson

Six Tuesday evenings, April 9–May 14, 2024

Online course hosted by the Archdiocese of San Francisco

Even though the course started on April 9, signing up later is OK; you will be given access to missed classes.

Information and registration

Courage Men's Sports Camp XXIV

May 23–26, 2024

Southeastern Pennsylvania

General information and testimonies 

More information: cmacsportscamp@gmail.com 

Dawn of Mercy 10-Week Healing Group for Women


Begins the week of June 23, 2024

Hosted by our friends at Dawn of Mercy.

For women who have experienced sexual assault. 

General information | Information and registration

Clergy Study Day

July 24, 2024

University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois

Information | Schedule | Registration opens in early May

Courage & EnCourage Annual Conference

July 25–28, 2024

University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois

Information | Registration opens in early May

Watch our Events Calendar regularly for updates.

NOTE TO CHAPLAINS: You are encouraged and welcome to participate in all Courage and EnCourage events. Feel free to contact to the event organizer to see how you can be involved.

Photo credits:

Disclaimer: 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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