"To know that (Chaput) notices the work I'm doing here at Courage means a great deal to me," said Bochanski, who added that Archbishop Chaput has "always been very supportive of my participation in the apostolate."
The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, Bochanski said, is a reminder that the Courage apostolate is living and teaching in harmony with the Church and with the Church's expectations for pastoral care and ministry.
He hoped the honors will provide clarity, both for Courage members and for others who "may be confused by some of the ambiguities and the controversies in the world and in the Church with regard to those teachings."
Bochanski said the main difficulty for the Catholics in Courage is is that the secular world and some parts of the Church "don't value the sacrifices that our members are making in terms of living chaste lives and starting to pursue holiness according to the mind of the Church."
"Some of our members, in coming back to the Church and embracing a chaste life, lost a lot of friends they had before," he said. "People don't understand why they would follow a Catholic teaching that requires so much sacrifice." For many, this means choosing a celibate life that "certainly requires a new way of looking at themselves and relationships."
"They've had that experience of being misunderstood or even pushed aside because of the commitments that they are making to the Church," said Bochanski. Such attitudes can provide obstacles for those who "don't feel support from people around them and sometimes from people in the hierarchy of the Church."
Bochanski also praised the Christian witness of Courage members, whether in public or private.
"Many want to be private about their experience but an increasing number are willing to speak about how participating in Courage and living according to Church teaching have changed their lives," he told CNA. "A number of them talk about how they feel much more free to be themselves, to have strong friendships, to live fully alive because they are embracing this invitation to chastity."
Some members have reported that people who tried to affirm them in their attractions and desires only increased their unhappiness.
"The fact that people weren't giving them the truth about their identity and morality was making that much worse." said Bochanski.
"When they hear the teaching of the Church that our identity is not in our sexual orientation but in our identity as sons and daughters of God, and that God's plan for chaste relationships is meant to build this up and lead us to fulfillment, it's a real liberation. They experience a great real freedom by embracing their Church's teachings."
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Others can learn from Courage members, he said.
"Whether people themselves are experiencing same-sex attraction, just to see the witness of our members who are living in such a heroic way inspires all of us to take our own commitment to holiness more seriously and to be always growing in our ongoing conversion, our ongoing acceptance of God's plan for each our lives," said the priest.
"People who are living that in a radical way, which many of our Courage members are doing at real personal sacrifice, can become a real inspiration and encouragement to pursue our universal call to holiness," he added.
Church teaching on sexual morality is "really coming from a great love and desire that people live an authentic, happy and holy life," the priest explained. "That would be a counter-witness to people who would suggest that the Church teaching is harmful or hateful."
After his ordination, Bochanski was a pastoral associate in several Philadelphia parishes and a chaplain for the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, the Catholic Medical Association's Philadelphia guild, and the Courage apostolate's Philadelphia chapter.
He joined Courage International in 2016 as associate director.