Courage Ministry

I attended for the first time the annual Courage conference, this year at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. It was a four day event, the last day of which I had to skip because of travel arrangements back to Minnesota. I found the whole experience fascinating in that I was able to meet, eat with, pray with and speak with hundreds of men and women who are either members of this ministry or who are working in it as priests, deacons, or bishops. Some internationally known writers, theologians and mental health professionals were in attendance and presented a good deal of information.

Courage is the Catholic Church’s ministry to men and women with same-sex attractions. Courage avoids using the terms homosexual, gay or lesbian as much as possible because our Catholic anthropology affirms the individual’s dignity as a man or a woman. Thus, the phrase same-sex attracted is what you hear, i.e., men and women with same-sex attractions.

What I discovered, among other things, was that those involved in Courage have wonderful combination of mind and heart. Their way of knowing and upholding the beauty of human sexuality in light of the Church’s teaching on chastity is wonderful to see. Their deeply held compassion for the individual same-sex attracted person, might I say the friendship love that they offer, is something that so often is lost in our ecclesial and public discourse.

The goal of Courage is to reach out to all men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who¬†wish to live chastely in accord with the Church’s teachings on human sexuality, and in doing so embracing the fullness of what it means to be men and women, and to provide these individuals with spiritual support, a program of living that supports chaste friendships, and to grown in holiness of life.

Courage is not an attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation although we believe that such a change is possible for some individuals with the proper psychological care. This is so important to emphasize. Courage is not the Church’s effort to change sexual orientation; rather it is the opportunity for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive the spiritual and psychological support they need to live chastely and develop healthy friendships.

I will post more as time passes. For more information in the meantime, log on to:

If you are from the diocese of Winona, are experiencing same-sex attractions and desire to receive spiritual and emotional support to live chastely, email All contacts are confidential.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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