The historical events on this timeline are presented succinctly for easy viewing.

For a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich and dynamic history of this apostolate, especially: the careful laying of its solid theological foundation; the establishment of a spiritual plan for its members; and the unique contributions and efforts of many laity and Chaplains over 40+ years in building a vibrant sacramental community for Christian discipleship, we recommend a careful reading of the following:

The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care by Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS (Ignatius Press, 1987)
The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful by Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS (Ignatius Press, 1996)
Courage: A Ministry of Hope by James A. Beers (Dog Ear Publishing, 2018)

1978

Cardinal Cooke’s inspiration

Cardinal Cooke’s inspiration

Terence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of New York, wishes to start an outreach to people who experience same-sex attractions and who also desire to live chastely in accordance with Catholic teaching. Cardinal Cooke consults Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR (then OFM Cap). Fr. Groeschel recommends Fr. John Harvey OSFS as a possible director of such a ministry. Fr. Harvey is asked to do this and says Yes.

1979

A Spiritual Plan to Redirect One’s Life

A Spiritual Plan to Redirect One’s Life

The Daughters of St. Paul publish a pamphlet by Fr. Harvey entitled A Spiritual Plan to Redirect One’s Life.  The pamphlet emphasizes both the possibility and necessity of chastity for faithful Catholics, and the importance of having a grace-filled spiritual plan.

1980

The first meeting

The first meeting

After two years of preparation, the fledgling apostolate is ready to have its first meeting which is held on September 26, 1980 at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in NYC.
Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1981

The Five Goals

The Five Goals

In almost-Spring, 1981, the members themselves compose and approve five goals for the apostolate.  While the goals have undergone a slight rewording over the years, they’ve remained the same in their essence.  Here they are in their current form.

 

The apostolate is named Courage

The apostolate is named Courage

On March 13, 1981, the members agree on the name “Courage” for the apostolate.

1982

Catholic New York spreads the news

Catholic New York spreads the news

Anne Buckley, Managing Editor of Catholic New York, writes an article about Courage in her Editor’s Report, with the headline “The Word is Courage”.  This is the first piece of publicity for the still young apostolate, and it attracts many new members.

1983

Courage opens a central office

Courage opens a central office

In October 1983, Courage opens a central office in the basement of the rectory at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Manhattan. Wusel007, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1984

First Handbook

First Handbook

At the beginning of 1984, Courage publishes its first Handbook which is designed to be a guide for new members as well as those who wish to start a new Courage chapter. (Front and back cover of 1991 edition pictured above.)

The office moves to midtown

The office moves to midtown

The Courage office moves to the rectory of St. Michael the Archangel on West 34th Street in midtown Manhattan.
Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1985

The Courage to Be Chaste

The Courage to Be Chaste

Fr Benedict Groeschel, CFR, publishes his book The Courage to Be Chaste and dedicates it to “the men and women of Courage and all who have the courage to try.” (Paulist Press, January 1985)

1986

Courage grows beyond Manhattan and beyond the U.S.

Courage grows beyond Manhattan and beyond the U.S.

In late Spring, 1986, a Courage chapter is established in Toronto, Canada. In October 1986, Philadelphia holds its first Courage meeting.

1987

EnCourage: support for relatives and friends

EnCourage: support for relatives and friends

In 1987, Courage establishes Catholic spiritual support groups for relatives and friends of persons experiencing same-sex attractions.  Initially referred to as Courage Anonymous or Courage-Anon, these groups come to be known as EnCourage.

Courage Newsletter is introduced

Courage Newsletter is introduced

In September 1987, Courage begins publishing a quarterly newsletter.

The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care

The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care

In October 1987, Ignatius Press publishes a book by Fr. Harvey: The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care. Cardinal John J. O’Connor says of the book “Virtually every sentence reflects the gentle concern of this dedicated priest who struggles always to understand and to teach with authenticity and integrity.”

1988

Cardinal Wright Award

Cardinal Wright Award

The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars bestow on Fr. Harvey the Cardinal Wright award, in recognition of his many years of faithful Catholic ministry in the area of homosexuality, especially through the Courage apostolate.

1989

The first Courage Conference

The first Courage Conference

The first Courage Conference is held August 11 – 13, 1989 at Cardinal Spellman Retreat House in Riverdale, NY. Members from the U.S. and Canada attend.

1990

The second Annual Courage Conference

The second Annual Courage Conference

The second annual Courage Conference is held in Rosemont College in Philadelphia, August 9 – 12, 1990
Montgomery County Planning Commission, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

1991

First EnCourage retreat

First EnCourage retreat

The first retreat for members of EnCourage (then known as Courage-Anon) is held April 5-7, 1991 at the Cardinal Spellman Retreat House in Riverdale, NY.

The third Annual Courage Conference

The third Annual Courage Conference

The third Annual Courage Conference is held at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts on August 8-11, 1991. (Image from assumption.edu)

1992

The fourth Annual Courage Conference

The fourth Annual Courage Conference

This is the first annual conference to be held outside of the United States, at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, in Toronto, Canada, August 6 – 9, 1992. Jphillips23, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Courage reparation group starts meeting

Courage reparation group starts meeting

With the approval of Cardinal O’Connor, a Courage group focused on reparational prayer begins meeting on November 21, the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Staten Island.

1993

The fifth Annual Courage Conference

The fifth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held at the Cardinal Spellman Retreat House in Riverdale, NY, August 19 – 22, 1993.

1994

Courage is endorsed by the Holy See

Courage is endorsed by the Holy See

Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family states the following: “This Pontifical Council for the Family supports the organization, Courage, which was founded by Father John Harvey, O.S.F.S., for helping homosexual persons to live in accordance with the laws of God and the teachings of His Church.”

The sixth Annual Courage Conference

The sixth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held August 18-21 at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, NY, in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

1995

Courage begins in the Philippines

Courage begins in the Philippines

On July 29th, 1995, a Courage chapter is started in the Archdiocese of Manila. Over the years, many more chapters are established in the Philippines. Front view of The Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila by Patrickroque01 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The seventh Annual Courage Conference

The seventh Annual Courage Conference

This year’s conference is held at the Cardinal Spellman Retreat House in the Bronx, August 17-20.

1996

The eighth Annual Courage Conference

The eighth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held August 8-11, at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.
PearlJamNoCode at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful

The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful

Ignatius Press publishes Fr. Harvey’s second book The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful in September 1996. Fr. Benedict Groeschel says, “This book offers not only good advice, wise counsel and intelligent discussion, but also the bright light of hope and fresh insights from some of the most positive Christian thinking in a complex and sensitive area.”

1997

The ninth Annual Courage Conference

The ninth Annual Courage Conference

This is the second annual conference to be held outside of the United States.  It is held August 14-17 in Canada, at Le Monastere Christian Renewal Centre in Aylmer, Quebec. (photo: Google Maps)

1998

Courage officially begins in Australia

Courage officially begins in Australia

A Courage chapter is officially formed in Brisbane, Australia in February 1998.  This is the first chapter to be established in Australia. Other chapters eventually form in other parts of the country/continent.

The central office moves again

The central office moves again

In Spring of 1998, the Courage office moves to the Church of St. John the Baptist on West 31st Street, across from Penn Station and Madison Square Gardens in Manhattan. (30th Street entrance pictured here)

The tenth Annual Courage Conference

The tenth Annual Courage Conference

The venue for this conference is Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.  The conference dates are July 30 – August 2. Mike Murray (Michael_brazell) at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My Brother’s Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper

“My Brother’s Keeper” is Courage’s first conference specifically for adult leaders of youth. The conference is held at the Cardinal Spellman Retreat House in Riverdale, NY on November 15th and 16th. Attendees include youth ministers, teachers, counsellors, and priests. Courage and EnCourage members are available as well, to assist and answer questions.

1999

CMAC is born

CMAC is born

CMAC – the Courage Members’ Action Committee  – is formed by dedicated members who wish to do more for the apostolate.  This initiative leads to future Sports Camps, retreats, talent shows, a coffeehouse, plays, videos, and other inspired endeavours.

The eleventh Annual Courage Conference

The eleventh Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held August 12-15, 1999 at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. Tirussell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2000

The first Sports Camp weekend

The first Sports Camp weekend

The first Sports Camp is held in the Princeton, New Jersey area. This becomes an annual event.

The twelfth Annual Courage Conference

The twelfth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held August 24-27 at the Mont Marie Conference Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The first Courage Women’s Retreat

The first Courage Women’s Retreat

The women of Courage hold their first private retreat on October 27 – 29, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This event proceeds to be held annually through 2005 and is then resurrected in 2016, after an 11-year hiatus.

My Brother’s Keeper II

My Brother’s Keeper II

The second “My Brother’s Keeper” conference is held November 12-13 at Bishop Molloy Retreat House in Queens. NY. In addition to presenters, the event includes a play performed by CMAC members.`

2001

The thirteenth Annual Courage Conference

The thirteenth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held August 9-12 in Mundelein, Illinois at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center. Portraits of Courage, a much-awaited video produced by CMAC is premiered at this event. In subsequent years, the video is made available in DVD format. The Mundelein venue immediately becomes a favourite among attendees because of its beautiful surroundings and central location, and the annual conference returns to this venue many times over the years.

2002

The fourteenth Annual Courage Conference

The fourteenth Annual Courage Conference

This year’s conference is held in San Diego, California, August 1 – 4, at the University of San Diego. Chris Palmer from San Diego, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My Brother’s Keeper III

My Brother’s Keeper III

On November 10-11, Courage hosts its third “My Brother’s Keeper” Conference at Bishop Molloy Retreat House in Queens, New York.

2003

The fifteenth Annual Courage Conference

The fifteenth Annual Courage Conference

On August 7-10, the conference is held at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Fr. Harvey receives the Cardinal Cooke Medal of Peace

Fr. Harvey receives the Cardinal Cooke Medal of Peace

The October 6th, 2003 ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral marks the twentieth anniversary of Cardinal Cooke’s death. In accepting the award, Father Harvey says: “I am grateful for this award that recognizes the work of Courage leaders and Courage members over many years. Courage witnesses to the truth that persons with same-sex attractions can lead lives of holiness out of love for Jesus Christ.”

2004

The seeds of Courage Latino are planted

The seeds of Courage Latino are planted

A Mexico City email contact is first listed on the Courage website in January 2004. This eventually leads to the development of Courage chapters and official recognition and support by the Mexican Bishops in July 2005. At present, there is a Spanish language version of the main Courage website, with listings of Spanish-speaking Courage chapters in several countries

My Brother’s Keeper IV

My Brother’s Keeper IV

Courage holds its fourth “My Brother’s Keeper” conference at Bishop Molloy Retreat House in Queens, New York, on Saturday, May 15th. (photo: Google Maps)

The sixteenth Annual Courage Conference

The sixteenth Annual Courage Conference

This year, the conference returns to the University of St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois, on August 5-8.

2005

The seventeenth Annual Courage Conference

The seventeenth Annual Courage Conference

To celebrate 25 years of ministry, Courage holds this year’s conference in New York City, where the apostolate was born. The conference is held August 11 – 14 at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, in the Borough of Queens. (screenshot from video by JJB Film)

2006

Courage participates in March for Life

Courage participates in March for Life

On Monday, January 23rd, Fr. Harvey, Courage members, and friends of the apostolate participate in the 33rd Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., under a banner that reads “Pro Life = Pro Chastity”. The banner is sponsored by three pro-chastity groups: couragerc.org, lovematters.com, and reallove.net.

The eighteenth Annual Courage Conference

The eighteenth Annual Courage Conference

This conference is held at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, July 27 – July 30.

2007

March for Life again

March for Life again

Courage members and friends again participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., with Fr. Harvey walking just ahead of our banner and setting the pace.

The nineteenth Annual Courage Conference

The nineteenth Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois, August 2-5.

Homosexuality and the Catholic Church – Clear Answers to Difficult Questions

Homosexuality and the Catholic Church – Clear Answers to Difficult Questions

Fr. Harvey’s book Homosexuality and the Catholic Church – Clear Answers to Difficult Questions is published by Ascension Press in December 2007. Cardinal Raymond Burke says that “in these pages, Fr. Harvey helps us all to think more clearly and to act more rightly and lovingly…”

2008

Fr. Harvey’s 90th birthday celebration

Fr. Harvey’s 90th birthday celebration

Courage celebrates Fr. Harvey’s 90th birthday at the community hall of the Church of St. John the Baptist in Manhattan. A video of Fr. Harvey’s life A Profile in Courage is shown for the first time to all in attendance, as a special screening for the occasion. The video is publicly released the following year.

The twentieth Annual Courage Conference

The twentieth Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held in Medway, Massachusetts on August 7-10, at the Marian Community Spiritual Life Center. (photo from betaniaii.org)

Fr. Paul Check appointed to become next Executive Director

Fr. Paul Check appointed to become next Executive Director

At the request of Fr. Harvey and with the approval of Bishop Lori and Cardinal Dolan, Fr. Paul Check is appointed to become the next Executive Director of Courage International. Fr. Harvey continues to serve the apostolate as Executive Director Emeritus, and works closely with Fr. Check over the next two years.

2009

The twenty-first Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-first Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held at Villanova University, July 9-12, in Villanova, Pennsylvania.

A Profile in Courage is released


A DVD about Fr. Harvey’s life entitled A Profile in Courage (originally screened in 2008 at Fr. Harvey’s 90th birthday) is made available to the public through the Courage office. The documentary is also aired several times on EWTN, leading to greater publicity for the apostolate.  See trailer above or watch the full film here.

2010

The twenty-second Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-second Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois, July 29 – August 1. This year’s conference celebrates 30 years of ministry.

The central office moves to Connecticut

The central office moves to Connecticut

After twenty-seven years in Manhattan, the central office moves to Norwalk, Connecticut on September 30th, 2010.

Fr. John Harvey enters his eternal rest

Fr. John Harvey enters his eternal rest

Fr. Harvey dies of natural causes on December 27th, the Feast of St. John the Beloved, at 3:00 p.m., the hour of Divine Mercy, at Union Hospital in Elkton, MD. The Mass of Christian Burial is held on December 31st at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, DE, followed by interment at the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales’ Cemetery in Elkton, MD.

2011

The twenty-third Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-third Annual Courage Conference

This year’s conference is held August 4-7 in Mundelein, Illinois, at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center.

2012

The twenty-fourth Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-fourth Annual Courage Conference

This year’s conference is held July 19-22 at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Greenhonda, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Courage Italia begins

Courage Italia begins

In October 2012, an email address for potential Courage members in Italy begins to appear on the main Courage website. Over the years, Courage quietly grows and maintains a presence there. At present, there is an Italian language version of the main Courage website, with contact listings for several cities.

2013

The twenty-fifth Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-fifth Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois, July 25-28.

2014

The twenty-sixth Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-sixth Annual Courage Conference

The conference is held July 17-20 at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania. Sofia j, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2015

Fr. Philip G. Bochanski is appointed Associate Director

Fr. Philip G. Bochanski is appointed Associate Director

In January, 2015, Fr. Philip Bochanski, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, begins his role as Associate Director of Courage International.

The twenty-seventh Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-seventh Annual Courage Conference

The annual conference is held July 30 – August 2 at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois.

The first Truth & Love conference

The first Truth & Love conference

Courage hosts what comes to be known as its first Truth & Love conference on August 10-12 in Plymouth, Michigan. The conference is entitled Love One Another as I Have Loved You’: Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters with Same-Sex Attraction. Unlike the annual Courage Conference which is primarily for members of Courage and EnCourage, this conference is designed for all bishops, priests, religious, school superintendents, and diocesan personnel who minister to those with same-sex attraction and “for all those who want to be welcoming and to accompany those who have same-sex attractions.” (Screenshot from theinnatstjohns.com)

The second Truth & Love conference

The second Truth & Love conference

Courage International, along with Ignatius Press and the Napa Institute, hosts a second Truth & Love conference on October 2 in Rome, Italy, just before the start of the Ordinary Synod on the Family. The event is entitled Living the Truth in Love and features testimonials as well as presentations on pastoral theology, anthropology, and psychology. The Executive Summary of the event can be read here.

2016

The twenty-eighth Annual Courage Conference

The twenty-eighth Annual Courage Conference

The annual conference is held July 21-24 at Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. (Screenshot from The Catholic University of America: Cultivating Catholic Minds)

2017

Fr. Philip Bochanski becomes Executive Director

Fr. Philip Bochanski becomes Executive Director

Fr. Philip G. Bochanski is appointed the third Executive Director of the apostolate by the unanimous decision of its Board of Bishops. This takes effect on January 1, 2017.

The third Truth & Love Conference

The third Truth & Love Conference

This conference, sponsored by Courage International, Our Sunday Visitor, and the Diocese of Phoenix, is held January 9-11 at St. Paul Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona.

The twenty-ninth Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The twenty-ninth Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

This year’s conference is held on July 27-30 at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois. This year celebrates the 30th anniversary of EnCourage, and the annual conference is now officially referred to as the Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference, to acknowledge the presence of faithful EnCourage members who have participated in annual conferences, alongside Courage members, right from the start.

2018

The thirtieth Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The thirtieth Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

This year’s conference is held July 12-15 at Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania.  In addition to being the thirtieth annual conference, it’s also the year of the 100th birthday of Fr. John Harvey, founding director of Courage.  Accordingly, the conference is themed to honour this very special occasion: Artist Gary Hoff reveals his portrait of Father Harvey, and James Beer’s historical book Courage: A Ministry of Hope is made available.

Central office moves to Trumbull

Central office moves to Trumbull

Courage’s central office moves from Norwalk, Connecticut to Trumbull, Connecticut in July, right after the Annual Conference.

The fourth Truth & Love Conference

The fourth Truth & Love Conference

This conference, co-sponsored by Courage International and the Archdiocese of Hartford, is held October 22-24 at the Pastoral Center in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

2019

The thirty-first Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The thirty-first Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The annual conference is held July 18-21 at St. Mary of the Lake Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois.

Papal Honours for Courage’s Executive Director

Papal Honours for Courage’s Executive Director

Fr. Philip G. Bochanski, Executive Director of Courage International, Inc., receives the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, conferred for his distinguished service to the Church and to the office of the Pope. “The thought that the Holy Father is willing to extend the award, knowing that my nomination must have had a lot to do with my work at Courage, means a great deal to me,” says Father in an interview with Catholic News Agency.

2020

The fifth Truth & Love Conference

The fifth Truth & Love Conference

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this Truth & Love conference is held online, April 27-29.

New Handbook is published on Courage website

New Handbook is published on Courage website

To mark the occasion of its 40th anniversary of pastoral ministry, Courage International publishes the latest edition of its Handbook for Courage and EnCourage Chaplains on the Courage website. While the Handbook has undergone occasional revisions over the years, this edition is the first one to be published on the Courage website as an aid to helping not only Courage and EnCourage Chaplains, but all who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the spirituality, practices, and beliefs which lay at the heart of this apostolate.

The thirty-second Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The thirty-second Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference is held online, July 25-26. The online format results in a record number of registrants as members from around the world can participate without having to travel. Registrations come in from 42 states and 35 countries.

Chapter meetings continue online

Chapter meetings continue online

While the COVID pandemic prevents groups from meeting in-person, many Courage and EnCourage chapters temporarily switch to online video platforms, allowing members to continue sharing with each other and supporting one another.

Fr. Colin Blatchford is appointed Associate Director

Fr. Colin Blatchford is appointed Associate Director

On September 8, 2020, Fr. Colin Blatchford, a priest of the Diocese of Knoxville, becomes Associate Director of Courage International.

2021

The thirty-third Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

The thirty-third Annual Courage-EnCourage Conference

This year’s conference is held both in-person and online, July 15-18, at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Again, the option to participate online results in a record number of registrants.