Courage International yearly conference

TRUMBULL—“40 Years of Courage: A Legacy of Hope”, is the theme of Courage International’s upcoming conference, celebrating four decades of pastoral care for men and women who experience same-sex attractions (SSA).

The Courage and EnCourage conference, which is held annually, will take place at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake (also known as Mundelein Seminary) in Mundelein, IL from July 23-26, 2020.

All this year, Courage is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first meeting, which took place in New York City in September 1980, under the direction of founding director, Father John Harvey, OSFS.

Celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Courage apostolate will be the central focus of the 2020 gathering.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, this year’s conference will feature a testimony by Gary H., one of the original Courage members, and a fine artist whose paintings have been featured in connection with the apostolate, including “Our Lady of Courage” and a recent portrait of founding director, Father John Harvey.

Fr. Sean Kilcawley, director of the office for Family Life for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebr., will deliver the keynote address, while Father Glenn Sudano, CFR will deliver one of the plenary session talks.

Other speakers will include Father Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P. Parochial Vicar and director of Faith Formation and Evangelization at Blessed Sacrament parish in Seattle, Wash., and Deacon Patrick Lappert, MD, plastic surgeon.

The event will also include a prayer service, which will be led by Father James Livingston, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The event will include daily Mass, an evening of all-night Eucharistic Adoration, and opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Simultaneous translations from English to Spanish will be made available.

(Additional information and updates will be available at the event page:

Background on Courage International and EnCourage  

Courage International, Inc. is an apostolate of the Catholic Church which offers support to persons experiencing SSA who have chosen to live a chaste life. It was founded by Fr. John Harvey, OSFS at the request of the late Cardinal Terence Cooke. The first Courage chapter meeting was held in New York City in 1980, and it was this initial group which developed the Five Goals of Courage: Chastity, prayer and dedication, fellowship, support, and good example/role model. Fr. Harvey was succeeded as executive director by Fr. Paul Check, who held the position from 2008-2016. Fr. Check was then succeeded by Fr. Philip Bochanski in January, 2017. Today, Courage has more than 150 chapters in eighteen countries. Courage and EnCourage received canonical status in the Roman Catholic Church as a diocesan clerical public association of the faithful on November 28, 2016.   

EnCourage is an apostolate under the Courage umbrella which provides support for families and friends of persons who identify as LGBT, and aims to teach them how to reach out to their loved ones with compassion and understanding. The group was first formed in 1987 by families in search of guidance for supporting their loved ones who experience SSA. In 1992, this group adopted the name EnCourage. Currently, they have more than seventy-five chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

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