Goals of Encourage

  • Help members themselves to grow spiritually through developing a vital relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as authentically taught in our Roman Catholic Tradition.
  • Enable members to gain a deeper understanding of the needs, problem and issues experienced by men and women with same-sex attractions. 
  • Help members establish and maintain a healthy and wholesome relationship with the loved one who experiences same-sex attractions. 
  • Assist other parents and families not to reject but to reach out with compassion and truth to their loved one with same-sex feelings and behaviors. 
  • Witness to our loved one by our own lives that a happy, wholesome life is to be found in union with Jesus Christ and with His body, the Church.

Five Goals of Courage

Created by the members themselves when Courage was founded, these goals are read at the start of each meeting and practiced by every member in daily life.

  1. Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)

  2. Dedicate one's life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)

  3. Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)

  4. Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)

  5. Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example)

Courage meeting format

  1. This is the format we follow at our Courage meetings. We begin the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer and the serenity prayer. We always read the five goals of Courage so there are no surprises.

    Part 1. DISCUSSION. Discussion of the ideas from a short reading covering the 12 steps or a relevant book or document.

    Part 2. SHARING. Round-robin sharing by members of inner struggles and progress in the Courage program. No one is obliged to speak. Take your time until you feel comfortable enough to participate. After all members have spoken once, people may speak a second time, this time responding to what others have said. This is where we can encourage each other.

    Guidelines for Sharing and Listening
    To foster sharing feelings, these rules are enforced clearly and quickly by leader:
    1. Listening respectfully to one another is as important as our own moment of sharing because we learn so much from others.
    -- No lecturing to other members, telling them what to do. Speak about self.
    -- No cross-talk or advice. Each member is assured they will not be interrupted.
    2. When sharing, remember that Courage is a spiritual support group. We strive to live according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in living chaste lives.
    -- No windbaggery, monologues, or vague and evasive talk. It's OK to pass rather than blab.
    -- No politics.
    -- No sexual descriptions or sexually abusive language. Have compassion for our brothers.

    CLOSING STATEMENT. (1) Please attend several meetings before deciding if this is right for you. (2) Everything shared is strictly confidential. (3) Regular attendance is important. Meetings give you the chance to express failures or difficulties without fear of being criticized or loss of confidentiality. (4) Courage is an opportunity to both receive and give support for the continual practice of virtue. We help each other foster a better spiritual life. We are not looking for mere social opportunities.

Is chastity possible?

Yes, absolutely. It may not be easy in our sex-soaked society, but with the grace that comes through the Mass, the sacraments and prayer, it is possible. And, with grace comes not only chastity, but eternal life.

"Chastity is a difficult, long-term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness." (Pope John Paul II, Love and Responsibiliity, p. 172)

What is chastity?

It's not abstinence and it's not deprivation. Chastity is a positive choice to live in accordance with God's will. God created sex for two combined purposes: the happiness of a man and woman uniting in married love, and the happiness of new life being born from that union. Take away either one -- for instance with adultery, prostitution, masturbation, premarital sex, or homogenital activity -- and sexual activity turns negative and limiting, because those two purposes are built into us. We are made physically for loving and for generating new life. Sexual acts which are anything less than that will separate us from part of our selves and from what God wants for us; they leave out and suppress part of what sex is and part of who we are. (Adapted from www.couragerc.net)