Father John Harvey, founder of the Courage Apostolate, passed away at the hour of mercy, Monday, December 27. He was 92. We've been temporarily inactive with this blog in recent months (and we ask our readers' continued prayers), but we're making an exception because of the special circumstances.
We met Fr Harvey in January 2009, when he came to the Archdiocese of Toronto on a speaking tour. At a time when some family members and friends had grave reservations about The Sheepcat's capacity to be a husband, he believed in us and helped us to prepare for the great sacrament of marriage. While marriage is not the goal of Courage (most members who wish to pursue the possibility of opposite-sex relationship seek professional help outside the group), he had seen enough successes to know that The Sheepcat's transition was authentic and that we would have what we needed for our life together. We were touched that he made time to see us privately, and his advice to us has proven valuable.
The occasion of that five-day visit is memorialized in the first-ever Salt and Light FOCUS episode on homosexuality, which features Fr Harvey and other interviewees, including us.
We and other Courage members saw him again when he returned to Toronto for a social visit in August of that year, a few weeks after our wedding. Here we are at the end of the Courage lunch.
We remember Fr Harvey with affection and gratitude. May he rest in peace, and may his ministry flourish. Already a cause is pending for the canonization of his Courage co-founder, Terence Cardinal Cooke, and we wouldn't be surprised to one day see a cause put forward for Fr Harvey too.
Courage has posted a brief notice, which links to a memorial by the Order of St Francis de Sales, the order to which he belonged for 73 years. How fitting that Fr Harvey died on the feast day of his namesake, the beloved disciple, St John the Evangelist.