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Courage & EnCourage Conference to Reflect on Prayer and Spiritual Life

Courage International, Inc.
May 23, 2022

TRUMBULL, Conn., May 23, 2022 /Christian Newswire/ -- "Lord, teach us to pray" is the theme of Courage International's 34th Annual Conference, which will take place at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, from July 28 to 31, 2022. The annual conference draws members of Courage – adults who experience same-sex attractions and freely desire to live a chaste life – and EnCourage – family members and friends of people who experience same-sex attractions or gender identity discordance – as well as clergy, religious and laity who serve in pastoral ministry to this community.

Father Philip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International, explained that "our focus on spirituality this year is especially important when there is so much confusion and division in the world, and even in the Church, about the nature of the human person, the beauty of marriage and sexual intimacy, and the Church's teaching about sexual identity and sexual morality". He added "rather than expend our energy and distract our attention with culture wars and social media arguments, the Lord calls us to be more recollected, more grounded, and more silent. This is only possible in a life of deep prayer and devotion. As Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote a few years ago, 'Christ lived for thirty years in silence. Then, during his public life, he withdrew to the desert to listen to and speak with his Father. The world vitally needs those who go off into the desert. Because God speaks in silence.'"

The keynote presentation at the 2022 conference will be given by Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, with the talk "The Doctor of Love: On the Spiritual Life." Other speakers include Dr. Timothy Lock, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Fr. Colin Blatchford, associate director, Courage International; Sr. Bethany Madonna, SV, Sister of Life and local superior in Phoenix, Arizona; Mrs. Vicki Burbach, author of How to Read Your Way to Heaven: A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners ; Fr. Sean Kilcawley, director of the Office of Family Life, Diocese of Lincoln, among many others, including Spanish-speaking presenters from different countries.

The international event will offer spiritual topics based on the goals of the apostolate. "The Goal of 'dedicating our entire lives to Christ' is common to the Courage apostolate (its Second Goal) and the EnCourage apostolate (its First Goal)", Father Bochanski shared. "So reflecting on prayer and dedication is important to the whole Courage International family. That one goal contains a lot of practical steps, and it's easy to recite them at our meetings without reflecting much on them. This is especially true, I think, because these steps are common to all Catholics, and it can be tempting to hurry on to other "Courage-specific" or "EnCourage-specific" matters."

The conference – hybrid for the second consecutive year – will also offer simultaneous Spanish interpretation in-person and online. This will be a special opportunity for hundreds of Courage and EnCourage Spanish-speaking members who are not able to participate in person.

"I want to extend a very cordial invitation to members, chaplains and friends of Courage and EnCourage throughout the world to join us this year at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Last year's conference, held just as COVID restrictions were being lifted, was a powerful reminder of the blessings we receive through the family atmosphere of the annual conference," Fr. Bochanski said. "It will be a particular joy to welcome the many religious sisters, brothers, and priests who often attend to show support and solidarity to our members, as well as a number of bishops who will celebrate Mass and share their spiritual fatherhood with us."

The main conference will be preceded by a Clergy Day on July 27 for priests, deacons and seminarians that will address how to understand and present the Church's teaching with clarity and charity, and to provide authentic pastoral care.

Registration for English-speaking participants are now open and will close July 13. For Spanish speaking participants registrations online will open on May 31 and will close July 5.

More information about conference speakers and registrations is on the Courage website at: https://couragerc.org/conference2022


Background on Courage International and EnCourage
Courage International, Inc. is an apostolate of the Catholic Church which offers support to people who experience same-sex attractions who have chosen to live a chaste life. It was founded by Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS, at the request of the late Cardinal Terence Cooke. The first Courage chapter meeting was held in New York City in 1980, and it was this initial group which developed the Five Goals of Courage: Chastity, Prayer and Dedication, Fellowship, Support, and Good Example. Fr. Harvey was succeeded as executive director by Fr. Paul Check, who held the position from 2008 to the end of 2016. Fr. Check was then succeeded by Fr. Philip Bochanski in January 2017. Today, Courage has more than 150 chapters in eighteen countries. Courage and EnCourage received canonical status in the Roman Catholic Church as a diocesan clerical public association of the faithful on November 28, 2016.

EnCourage is an apostolate under the Courage umbrella which provides support for families and friends of persons who identify as LGBT and aims to teach them how to reach out to their loved ones with compassion and understanding. The group was first formed in 1987 by families in search of guidance for supporting their loved ones who experience same-sex attractions. In 1992, this group adopted the name EnCourage. Currently, there are more than eighty EnCourage chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Australia, Italy, Spain, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

For additional information, please visit our website at CourageRC.org

Stay up to date with Courage International by following us on social media:
Twitter: @RCCourage
Facebook: @CourageEnCourageRC
Instagram: @courageinternationalrc

SOURCE Courage International, Inc.

CONTACT: Bonnie Srubas, 203-803-1564, communications@couragerc.org