Ministry to people experiencing same-sex attraction

Fr. Herold
Fr. Herold

Father Tony Herold reported on an apostolate for people with same-sex attraction called Courage, and its outreach, EnCourage, which ministers to family and friends of persons with same-sex attractions. Grassroots interest from family members and those with same-sex attractions led diocesan officials to look for resources that fit within Catholic teaching. Priests have been trained to facilitate support groups by attending conferences and sitting in on groups currently meeting in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
“They are our brothers and sisters; we want this to be a healing ministry,” Fr. Herold said. He told the Diocesan Pastoral Council that preparations are underway to launch Courage and EnCourage in about a month. “This is a Catholic organization, so we’ll deal with the issue of sexuality the way the church does. The church has a very positive understanding of sexuality. We believe our sexuality is a gift from God, so much so that we believe marriage between a man and a woman is raised to a sacrament.” He noted that every person deserves great respect and dignity as a child of God.
The five goals of Courage:
• To live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
• To dedicate our entire lives 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 Eucharist.
• To foster a spirit of fellowship in which we may share with one another our thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone.
• To be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life; and to encourage one another in forming and sustaining these friendships.
• To live lives that may serve as good examples to others.
“These are five goals of any ordinary Christian life, but people who may be struggling with these feelings and want to live in accordance with church teaching need this support,” Fr. Herold said. “The church is saying right off the bat they should be accepted.” Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he emphasized that the attraction is disordered, not the individual.

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on