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Diocese of Boise hosting Courage International director

The following story appeared in the February 25 Idaho Catholic Register.

Father Philip Bochanski


The Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Boise is sponsoring an evening event with Father Philip Bochanski, the executive director of Courage International, a Roman Catholic apostolate for men and women who experience same-sex attractions and those who love them.


During his March 9 talk at 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Church, 7960 W. Northview St. in Boise, Father Bochanski will explore key teachings of the Catholic Church on Christian anthropology and human sexuality. He will discuss the Church’s teaching on same-sex at-traction and provide insights for the pastoral care for men and women who experience same-sex attraction and who have made a commitment to living chastely. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers following the lecture.


“This talk is open to anyone interested in learning more about this area of pastoral care,” said Jay Wonacott, director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life. “Deacons, as well as lay and pastoral ministers are especially welcome.”


Father Bochanski’s talk will be from 7 to 8 p.m. followed by a 15 minute break with refreshments and then a question-and-answer session from 8:15 to 9 p.m.

Father Bochanski will also offer to the diocese’s priests a “Clergy Study Day,” on issues relating to Christian anthropology (what the Church teaches and why) and pastoral care related to issues of same-sex attraction and gender identity.


He will also speak to college students in Boise.


Father Bochanski, a native of Philadelphia, studied at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1999. In addition to several parish assignments in the archdiocese, he has served as a high school religion teacher, chaplain to cloistered nuns, and a spiritual director for seminarians.


In 2009, Father Bochanski began serving as chaplain for the Philadelphia chapter of Courage International, an apostolate founded in 1980 to provide pastoral care for men and women who experience same-sex attraction and who have made a commitment to living chastely.


In 2015, he was appointed as Associate Director of the Courage apostolate, at which time he moved to the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., where the apostolate is based. He was appointed Executive Director of Courage International at the beginning of 2017.


Father Bochanski is the author of six books, five sets of audio lectures, and numerous articles and book chapters, on various topics including church history, spirituality, evangelization and pastoral care. His most recent book, “Wisdom of the Desert Fathers: Ancient Advice for the Modern World,” was published by TAN Books in April 2020.


Father Bochanski currently serves as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

In December 2019, Pope Francis awarded him the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a medal given in recognition of sustained and exceptional service to the Church.


Father Bochanski told Catholic News Agency that the papal honors received by him and Courage International “are a recognition of the Courage apostolate’s ministry for people with same-sex attraction at a time when the world, and even parts of the Catholic Church, are unsupportive, confusing, or hostile to their desire to live the Catholic faith in its fullness.”


“In this apostolate, I’ve met some of the most dedicated people I know,” Father Bochanski said. “People who at great personal sacrifice are following Jesus with what I would say is heroic virtue. For me, it’s been a real blessing to be able to be a spiritual father to them.”


The Courage apostolate has grown since its founding in New York in 1980. It is currently present in more than 15 countries, with about 110 chapters in the U.S. alone. It also has an outreach to parents and spouses, called EnCourage.


“There’s a significant amount of opposition that the Church’s teaching receives from the secular world, of course, but even in recent years it’s not always clear that everyone within the Church acknowledges and accepts the goodness and the truth of those teachings,” Father Bochanski told Catholic News Agency.


Father Bochanski said the main difficulty for the Catholics in Courage is that the secular world and some parts of the Church “don’t value the sacrifices that our members are making in terms of living chaste lives and starting to pursue holiness according to the mind of the Church.”


“Some of our members, in coming back to the Church and embracing a chaste life, lost a lot of friends they had before,” he said. “People don’t understand why they would follow

a Catholic teaching that requires so much sacrifice.” For many, this means choosing a celibate life that “certainly requires a new way of looking at them-selves and relationships.”


Bochanski praised the Christian witness of Courage members, whether in public or private.


“Many want to be private about their experience, but an increasing number are willing to speak about how participating in Courage and living according to Church teaching have changed their lives,” he told CNA. “A number of them talk about how they feel much more free to be themselves, to have strong friendships, to live fully alive because they are embracing this invitation to chastity.”


Some members have reported that people who tried to affirm them in their attractions and desires only increased their unhappiness. “The fact that people weren’t giving them the truth about their identity and morality was making that much worse,” said Bochanski.


“When they hear the teaching of the Church that our identity is not in our sexual orientation but in our identity as sons and daughters of God, and that God’s plan for chaste relationships is meant to build this up and lead us to fulfillment, it’s a real liberation. They experience a great real freedom by embracing their Church’s teachings.”

To register for the event, go to “Up-coming Events” on catholicidaho.org, or go to Eventbrite.com, and search “Courage” in events in Boise.


For more information about Courage and EnCourage, go to couragerc.org.


If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.




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Diocesan Pastoral Center

FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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