Today, the Feast of St John, marks the second anniversary of the death of the co-founder of the Courage Apostolate, Fr John Harvey, OSFS, who so fittingly passed away at the hour of mercy. Here he is relaxing with little Aby at St Norbert's Rectory on his last visit to Toronto, in August 2009.
He was fondly remembered at the next year's Courage conference, not least by those who'd worked closely with him.
Father Harvey is still with us, although he has entered a new chapter in his life. Certainly, there’s a poignancy and sadness at the loss of his physical presence. I also detected a confidence and trust in the people as Courage enters a new chapter, building upon what Father Harvey gave to us and their hope for the future.
Emphatically agreed. Church teaching will stand the test of time -- and God calls people of every age to present it anew. Key to the New Evangelization is explaining how the gift of sexuality is linked to the gift of life; how chastity is part of the good news.
In 2012 one of the best, most concise and powerful contributions to this effort was from Fr Pontifex, in his spoken word video, "(The Church says) Yes to You" (lyrics available at the link).
For more in-depth education, at the invitation of the local ordinary Courage offers four-part training as follows:
Whenever Courage is invited for a clergy study day, the plan is always to address the question of same-sex attraction from four perspectives: theological anthropology (the natural moral law and Church teaching on homosexuality); psychological sciences (presented by an MD or PhD who works with Courage); witness talk (a testimonial by a Courage member); and a talk specifically about Courage.
If you or a loved one are experiencing same-sex attraction, such that you would be eligible for Courage or EnCourage respectively, why not approach your bishop and request that Fr Check be invited to schedule a presentation? Given that these requests are received from around the world, count on waiting a while for the event. In the meantime, please consider praying for and donating to the apostolate, and contacting the chaplain of the nearest chapter to request an approved member testimony. If you don't have a local chapter but are looking for support, please join a ListServ.
And consider attending our next Courage/EnCourage conference in Mundelein, Illinois, July 25 to July 28, 2013. (If you have a financial barrier, act now to request a scholarship from the head office or your local diocese.)
Separate Courage Latino and Oceania conferences are also available. Kudos to Most Rev Anthony Fisher of the Diocese of Parramatta in Australia for this homily on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Competent pastoral care for persons with same-sex attraction and their families is needed now more than ever. Do you know a priest, deacon, religious, or lay minister who is warm, orthodox, knowledgeable, quick-thinking, and non-squeamish? Might that person have a gift for working with Courage? If so, why not suggest that he or she attend the next conference to develop those gifts? Faithful priests are especially needed as chaplains, because they can hear confessions and celebrate Mass for local groups.
We hear all too frequently about priests who have either given poor guidance ("Why not just try monogamy? Get a boyfriend"); or who have been naive, hoping that all SSA is transient and not quite knowing what to do with those for whom it is deep-seated; or who have been too harsh, reducing homosexuality to a set of policy issues without recognizing that it affects real people in the pews.
As neighbours to one fine seminary and students of another, we are delighted to see the calibre of current candidates for the priesthood, who thirst for authentic tools to meet the needs of the people of God. As often as we can, we let seminarians and priests know about Priests with Courage:
a network of priests committed to ministering to persons struggling with homosexuality with the love of Christ and the full teachings of the Catholic Church, especially in the area of chastity.
If every reader of this blog post would share it with one good priest or seminarian, thousands of people could be reached with better pastoral care. In memory of Fr Harvey, will you take up our challenge today? Thank you, and God bless.