The following comes from a September 29 Catholic News Agency article by Kevin J. Jones:
Expansion and further welcoming outreach are the plans for the next head of Courage International, a Catholic apostolate for people with same-sex attraction.
“I look forward to welcoming more courageous men and women in the name of the Church, to hear the stories of how God has been acting in their lives and relationships, and to walk with them along the way to holiness that the Church proposes for our happiness and fulfillment,” said Father Philip G. Bochanski, the apostolate’s new executive director.
Fr. Bochanski told CNA Sept. 28 that he is most impressed with the “spiritual fatherhood” that the apostolate’s chaplains show to Courage and EnCourage members.
“My plan at this point is to continue their good work and do what I can to expand the reach of our local chapters,” he added. “Today we are present in about two-thirds of the dioceses of the United States, and in 14 countries overseas, but there are many more places in the universal Church that could benefit from our presence and our pastoral work.”
The apostolate was founded in New York City in 1980 when a small group of Catholic men with same-sex attraction and wanted to live chaste lives according to Catholic teaching met with the priest Fr. John F. Harvey, the apostolate’s first director. The group’s five goals are chastity, prayer, fellowship, support and service.
Fr. Bochanski was ordained a priest in 1999 for the Philadelphia archdiocese. He was a pastoral associate in several Philadelphia parishes and a chaplain for the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, the Catholic Medical Association’s Philadelphia guild, and the Courage apostolate’s Philadelphia chapter.
He became associate director of Courage last year. He has helped implement the apostolate’s “Courage Study Days” to help form priests about Catholic teaching on homosexuality, how to be clear and compassion in presenting Catholic teaching, and how to provide authentic pastoral care to men and women with same-sex attractions. He has helped oversee existing and new chapters of Courage and EnCourage, a ministry outreach to parents and spouses.
“Courage and EnCourage are, and always have been, about bringing people together for mutual support and encouragement, and about building people up to embrace God’s call and be formed as disciples,” Fr. Bochanski said.
“We are not out to ‘fix’ anyone or to replace anyone’s personality, to put heavy burdens on anyone or to make anyone feel terrible about their lives or their desires,” he added. “As the Church does for every person (regardless of whether their sexual attractions are for the same or the opposite sex), Courage invites each member to embrace chastity in mind, heart and body, and to move away from relationships and behaviors that are not chaste.”