Its philosophy is simply to help people to live chaste lives, said Fr. John F. Harvey, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales and the first national director of Courage.
Spiritual support group
The Courage apostolate, according to Father Harvey, "is a spiritual support group which reaches out to persons with same-sex attractions who desire to live by the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."
Founded in 1980 by Cardinal Terence Cooke, it began with a meeting with a handful of men attending. But now this Vatican-approved organization has grown to more than 101 chapters in dioceses around the country and the world.
Father Harvey recently visited the Diocese of Madison on the invitation of Bishop Robert C. Morlino to work with priests to start a chapter here.
To live chastely
According to Catholic teaching, explained especially in the letter On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (1986), same-sex attraction is not sinful. But acting upon those attractions and engaging in homosexual activity is not a morally acceptable option.
Therefore Courage helps those who experience same-sex attraction strengthen their interior life and live chastely, just as all of us are called to live chastely, Father Harvey said.
"We want to bring people from a 'white-knuckle chastity' to a chastity of the heart, where they've reached a place in their spiritual development where they really want to be chaste," he said.
The group makes no pretense of bringing about a psychological healing. Instead, "we do everything possible to bring about a spiritual healing," Father Harvey said. "Our work is the spiritual healing, to bring them back to a state of grace, teach them to practice virtue." Full story ...
From Portage to Haiti
By Eileen Knect
Operation Rice BowlBy Susanna Herro
Office of Justice and Pastoral
Outreach, Diocese of Madison
Each week of Lent, Operation Rice Bowl, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, highlights various countries to help us, in the United States, learn about others, pray with them, and share with them.
PORTAGE -- Nancy Hibbard has been in Haiti, working as a missionary, for a little over three years.
Her journey actually began 15 years ago when she heard a talk given by the former director of the Portage Chamber of Commerce. This former director gave up a prestigious position and moved to Chiapas, Mexico, in order to help the poor. A seed was planted in Nancy's soul.
Five years later, Nancy's friend, Jane Zander, felt led to go on a mission trip to Haiti. Jane describes her 12 days in Haiti as phenomenal and life-changing.
"What struck me most," says Jane "was how joyful the Haitian people were. Being joyful is different than being happy. They had this deep, pervasive joy that just filled every part of their lives."
Jane recalls seeing hundreds of sick people making their way to the clinic. "They waited in line for hours to be seen by one of the medical staff. These people were sick and hurting, some of them very badly, and they had walked for hours and days with little or no food." Full story ...
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