Courage apostolate offers annual conference for Catholics who experience same-sex attractions


Courage, the Church-approved ministry devoted to helping Catholics who experience same-sex attractions live in accordance with Catholic moral teaching, will hold its 22nd annual conference in Mundelein, Illinois next week.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is hosting the group's July 29 – Aug. 1 conference at the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary. The conference, which has taken the Sacred Heart as this year's theme, was expected to draw over 300 attendees at the close of its registration deadline on Tuesday.

The weekend's programs are aimed at strengthening chastity, religious devotion, healthy friendships, and a spirit of fellowship and support among Catholics who experience same-sex attractions. Courage incorporates a modified version of the “Twelve Steps,” traditionally used in the treatment of substance-abuse, in its work helping Catholics who struggle with homosexuality to lead chaste lives.

A group of psychologists, scholars, and pastoral workers will lead next week's conference attendees in a series of workshops, along with times set aside for prayer and reception of the sacraments. Friday, the first full day of the gathering, will also feature a special set of programs designed particularly for priests, deacons, seminarians, and other pastoral ministers.

Featured speakers this year include noted professor Dr. Janet E. Smith, Byzantine Catholic theologian Fr. Thomas Loya, and professional counselor and therapist Suzanne Baars, along with the priests who serve as national and local directors of Courage.

Speaking to CNA Friday, Pat Size at Courage's New York office said that the weekend would provide “fellowship, prayer, and mutual support in a joyous retreat atmosphere,” both for those Catholics seeking help with homosexual attractions, and those interested in supporting their friends and family.

The conference, she said, displays “many facets of the face of the faithful Church.” Size told CNA that although registration has ended for overnight accommodations, those able to provide their own lodging and commute to the daily events could still register by contacting Courage directly.

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