In addition to individual counselling, these support groups very often conduct their sessions with the assistance of the 12 step format developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.
The 12 steps can aid any individuals spiritual growth, whether or not there are issues of addiction in that persons life. At Courage groups, the 12 steps are presented in the context of solid Catholic spirituality. When appropriate individuals are referred to Catholic therapists.
Each year, usually during the summer months, Courage holds an International Conference where hundreds of men and women gather to pray, study and support each other.
Individual Chapters of COURAGE will also sponsor DAYS OF RECOLLECTION at different times of the year to assist the members of our support groups.
It is with a deeply grateful heart that we are able to celebrate our 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Prayer Apostolate in support of Pastoral Care within our Diocese this month on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
In 2004 it was brought to my attention that we had a significant number of Pastoral Care volunteers who were slowly moving toward retirement from active ministry and yet at the same time, they felt a sincere desire to somehow stay connected to this wonderful ministry. The establishment of a "Prayer Apostolate" seemed to be a marvellous way to allowed those who were no longer able to do visits, to still support and feel connected to the ministry through their prayers. Since 2004 we have enrolled more than 240 individuals who have joined this prayer chain in support of the Ministry of Pastoral Care!
It has often been said that "prayer is the backbone of the Church". Indeed I am certain that the success of our ministry is intrinsically connected to the support we receive from the prayers of the community. Our prayers support the sick and elderly, the dying and infirm as well as all health care professionals, all caregivers, all laity and clergy ministering in the name of Christ and his Church.
This month, with profound gratitude, we embark on our next decade of the Prayer Apostolate. Let us ask the Lord of Life to abundantly bless and keep in his loving care, all those who support this ministry with their daily prayers!
If you feel a desire to be part of the "Prayer Apostolate" enrol yourself here on our website or call 403-218-5501.
The Goals of Courage were formulated by the original members. Fr. John Harvey, OSFS, the Found Director of Courage, has listed these goals and purposes of Courage as follows;
- 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 direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.
- To foster a spirit of fellowship in which we may share with one another our thoughts and experiences and so ensure that none of us has to face the problems of homosexuality alone.
- To be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in chaste Christian life—to encourage one another in forming and sustaining them.
- To live lives that may serve as good examples to others.
" We are called 'to be' church to one another, to be God's family to one another,…..We need to be sure that we do not leave anyone behind, to be sure that all are welcome in their own home and to be sure that we promote genuine gratitude and reverence for the gift that each one is to the church."
- Bishop J. Terry Steib, Memphis, Tennessee
Develop the ability to RELAX—to slowdown and be at peace in the presence of a loving God. Good exercise and/or a hobby can be useful in this regard.
Practice an EXAMINATION of conscience that helps you see yourself as Christ sees you—with love, respect, forgiveness. Keeping a small journal can help you see the virtue in your life as well as any faults.
Choose a SPIRITUAL GUIDE—someone who can help you keep in touch with the forgiving and creative presence of Christ in your life. A regular confessor is the best
Starting place for personal spiritual direction.
READ & MEDITATE each day on the life of Jesus Christ and His teachings. A slow prayerful reading of scripture with the Lord is an excellent starting place.
PRAY—each and every day—especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, if at all possible. The rosary and other devotions are also important aids to spiritual growth.
Finally, SERVE—volunteer your time and energy, your mind and heart to help others come closer to Jesus Christ and His Church. Give or yourself—the value of a Christian life is not defined by sexual attractions.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14: 27
"The General Directory for Catechesis says that we must give absolute priority to the formation of lay catechists."
The Religious Education Secretariat of the Diocese of Calgary is pleased to offer the Echoes of Faith ~ Plus Program as an option for catechist and parish volunteers' enrichment.
To order copies click on the links below:
Click here to view Topic Descriptions
What will the format be?
The Facilitator will follow the Director's Manual which lays out the process in a clear and user friendly manner. The Facilitator may be the Pastor, Pastoral Assistant, Sacramental Preparation Coordinator or another lay person assigned by the Pastor to take on this role.
Each Parish or Group can determine how often and when they will meet to view the DVD together, dialogue and work on their individual workbooks. This will vary by parish.
Upon completion of working through all of the materials outlined above the Facilitator will be able to issue a Certificate prepared by the Diocese. Certificates may be obtained by contacting Norline Johnson at 403-218-5503
What if my parish does not offer this formation program?
Individuals wishing to pursue this training on their own may contact the Resource Centre at 403-218-5510 and borrow the DVD's one at a time as per Resource Centre lending policies. Upon completion of the program, please contact Norline Johnson at 403-218-5503 to arrange for a certificate to be issued.
Questions, comments, or concerns?
This program is an integrated learning design with a DVD component. It will provide a solid foundation for a catechist or anyone working in various ministries within a parish.
For information or help in establishing or maintaining your Echoes of Faith ~ Plus Program, please contact: Norline Johnson, Religious Education Consultant at 403-218-5503.