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Catholics with Same-Sex Attractions Receive Support from Courage Apostolate

Did you know that our Catholic Church has a apostolate specifically for men and women experiencing same-sex attraction who desire support in living a chaste life? This ministry is called Courage.

Recently, Jerry, Courage facilitator for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, was interviewed by Deacon Mike Sweeney of Spirit FM about this apostolate’s work in our community.

Jerry, you originally lived a lifestyle that was not allowed by Church teaching. Was there an event in your life where you said, I need to get things in line with the teachings of the Church?

I lived as a gay man for 30 years. Then through a series of incidences, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. In one instance, it was very strong, and the overwhelming ask of the Holy Spirit was for chastity. So, I consented to that, and began my journey into Courage and into the spiritual life that I'm living now.

Did you hear a sort of voice in your heart?

Well, it was not a voice. It was just in the interior of my heart; I knew that God was asking me for that. It was going to change my entire life and the way I was living. So, at first, it was stunning and unexpected. But then once I worked into it, God gave me the grace to really obey his commandments more and more. And so, as I started to live a faith-filled life, that became much easier.

We all might have something we need to change about how we're living. This is about doing God's will instead, right?

One of my favorite quotes is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He said that obedience and faith are two sides of the same coin. I've often pondered that, because I think the more obedient we become to God, the more faith He gives us, and we can become more obedient because of that. It's a cycle I think that leads us upwards and upwards.

Some people believe that being a person with a same-sex attraction is sinful, but that is not the case, correct? Where does it cross the line into being sinful?

Having the orientation is not sinful. The activity itself is considered sinful, but not the orientation.

How do you fight temptations to sin? Is it praying the Rosary, do you attend Mass? We all have temptations. How do you fight temptations?

Pretty much all the above. I pray the rosary every day, attend Mass as often as possible, and go to regular Sacrament of Reconciliation. But a lot of the battle also takes place at Courage meetings because as a support group, we are always supporting each other in the journey and that becomes very important to living it.

How often do you meet?

We meet twice a month, the second and the fourth Mondays of each month. Anyone that would like to attend, we would love to have you. In those meetings, we try to give you the tools in which to carry on spiritually and fight the good fight. We're not reparative or conversion therapy, just so people know. We're not out to change anybody's orientation. We just want to help people live with that orientation and the teachings of the Church.

There is anonymity involved, right? You first start communicating with the members of the Courage Ministry to build a relationship before you are invited to the meetings?

That's correct. Also, we have goals for Courage. Number one is to live chaste lives in accordance with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality. Two, is to dedicate our entire lives to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, and the Sacraments. Three is to foster a spirit of fellowship, in which we may share one another's thoughts and experiences and to ensure that no one will have to face the issues of homosexuality alone. Four, to be mindful that chaste friendships are not only possible, but they are encouraged and helpful. And then number five is to live lives that are good examples to others.

For more information about the local Courage Ministry contact:, (727) 223-1666

This interview is part of a longer segment that was conducted by Deacon Mike Sweeney, host of “How We See It,” a public affairs program that airs on Spirit FM 90.5 each Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The program can also be heard on Soundcloud.