Courage offers virtual Lenten reflection

Hands in prayer at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver Jan 17 2105 Credit Catholic Charities Jeffrey Bruno CC BY 20 2 CNA 1 26 15 Catholic Charities/Jeffrey Bruno (CC BY 2.0).

As pandemic restrictions continue to affect in-person events, a pair of ministries for people with same-sex attraction and their loved ones is hosting a free, virtual Lenten reflection to foster spiritual growth and community. 

The day of reflection, hosted by Courage and Encourage, is at capacity, and registration is closed.

Father Colin Blatchford, Courage assistant director and the event’s speaker, said he is going to focus on the virtue of zeal in light of St. Joseph, to whom Pope Francis has dedicated this year. 

“I’m going to talk about the virtue of zeal, which is the virtue by which we have passion or are consumed in obtaining the object of our love, Christ,” he told CNA. 

“I've been thinking a lot because we've been going through the Litany of St. Joseph, and one of his titles is Zealous for Christ.”

The Lenten Day of Reflection will take place on March 6 via Zoom. This is the second virtual reflection put on by Courage and Encourage. The groups put on a similar event during Advent. 

The event will begin with a prayer to St. Joseph and then continue onto the first reflection with Fr. Blatchford. Afterward, the attendees will break into small groups to discuss their Lenten experiences and their thoughts on the reflection. The priest will then hold a final discussion before closing with an additional prayer to St. Joseph. 

Blatchford said the reflections will not necessarily be academic but will focus on practical ways to encounter the genuine and affirming love of God. He said Joseph is the perfect model for Christian zeal.

He said the event will look at a practical approach to zeal and seek to identify how to pursue God, raise children, and love one’s spouse amidst one’s daily routine and work.

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He said Joseph took up God's will with trust and abandon to escape with his family to Egypt and then return back to Nazareth. He said the saint lived out “this weird sort of family life in which the Blessed Mother is his wife, and he's the most chaste spouse and he's also the [foster] father of God.”

The priest reflected on the importance of this event during Lent. While the purpose of Lent is sacrifice, he said, it should not be an experience of self-deprecation, but rather, stripping away the excess to prepare for Easter and the resurrection. 

Courage International is a Catholic group for those who experience same-sex attraction and are seeking to live chaste and faithful lives. 

Encourage is a partner organization that seeks to provide spiritual support for parents, spouses, and other family members of people who have same-sex attractions or identify as LGBT. It emphasizes prayer, formation, charity, and unity. 

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