Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Courage Participates in Congress on Family


On July 25, Courage was invited to participate in the Congress on Family organized by the Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines (MEFP). The MEFP is a national umbrella organization of family and life ministries. They organized this congress to gather the reflections and views of the laity on the key points from the Final Relatio for the upcoming Synod on the Family in Vatican in October.

One of the seven points of reflection is “Pastoral Attention Towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies”. This was the section our Spiritual Director, Fr. Daniel Healy, was invited to speak on. His talk started on a reflection on the Woman Caught in Adultery from the Gospel according to John. It reflects on how Jesus treats sinfulness and sin. Jesus’ words are: “Is there no one left to condemn you?”“No one, sir” she answered. “Well then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and sin no more.” (Jn 8: 10-11) These inspired words are to be our guide in providing pastoral attention towards person with homosexual tendencies.




From this, Fr. Daniel further expounded on the topic and clarified three basic aspects of the homosexual tendency: person, inclination, and acts. On person, the Christian believes that every human being is born in the image and likeness of God, homosexual persons included, and they are therefore to be loved. On inclination, the Church does not consider this as sinful in itself but it predisposes a person toward what is not truly good for him or her. The term used by the Church is “objective disorder” as it is a burden, a weakness, a share in the cross of Christ. What one must do on this is to have the discipline and to grow in chastity and other virtues. On homosexual acts, the Church has always been consistent on this: “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered…under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357). Since it is intrinsically disordered or in other words, a sin, this is where the Church makes judgment on. As Jesus told the woman caught in adultery…”Go, and sin no more.” No sin is permissible and so the pastoral care for this is to lead persons who have committed homosexual acts to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

After Fr. Daniel, one of the Courage brothers gave his testimony on his struggles and redemption. Several questions and suggestions were then mentioned by the audience including a massive education program, setting up help desks at a parish level, and formation of married couples on parenting since our Courage brother has testified that the homosexual tendency has its roots in the family.

The genuine concern that the participants showed after the talk are the seeds that God has planted in everyone’s hearts. We can just hope that God will continue to finish the work He has started. It was truly a grace from God for Courage to have participated in this very important pre-meeting on the Synod on the Family and to speak about pastoral attention for persons with homosexual tendencies. This is God’s work after all and we are mere instruments. Praise be to God!



Joseph Anthony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Invited to Courageous Love





Courage International is proud to announce the release of "Invited to Courageous Love", a five-part series on the Catholic Church and Homosexuality. These videos present a unique perspective on the lives of Catholics who experience same-sex attractions and the peace and joy they have found by embracing the Gospel call to charity and fellowship.


Each 30-minute episode will include testimony from Courage members and interviews with professionals in the fields of pastoral care, philosophy and theology, and the medical and social sciences. Topics include:

1. "The Good News About Chaste Love" --- Courage members tell their stories about living with same-sex attraction, hearing and embracing God's call to chastity, and finding a spiritual home in the Catholic Church.

2. "Sex and Sexuality in the Divine Design" --- Theologians and philosophers discuss the plan for sex and sexuality that is visible in the way human beings are created, and is revealed in the Sacred Scripture and in the teachings of the Church.

3. "Insights from the Medical and Social Sciences" --- Experts in psychology, medicine and pastoral care examine important questions about the origins of same-sex attraction, and the emotional and physical health issues often faced by people in homosexual relationships.

4. "Homosexuality and the Family" --- Parents, spouses and loved ones of people who experience same-sex attractions talk about the challenge of balancing healthy family relationships, concern for their children, and the demands of the life of Faith.

5. "Providing Authentic Pastoral Care" --- Bishops and priests speak from experience about accompanying men and women with same-sex attraction along the way of holiness, and helping them to find their vocations in the Church and in service to others.

"Invited to Courageous Love" will be released as a 5-DVD set, complete with a Study Guide for individuals or groups, on September 1, 2015.

It is sure to become an important resource for dioceses, parishes, schools and anyone wishing to know more about the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, and the lives of people who are faithfully living them out.


Source:  Courage International

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Healing the Child Within


Forwarded invitation by Bro. Alfie of Living Waters Philippines. For inquiries, kindly contact him at 0917-8922257. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Courage Orientation Seminar


The poster above says it all. If you are struggling with same-sex attractions and searching for answers you have come to the right place. Contact Bro. Edwin at (0916) 313-7249 or e-mail him at edwin.courageous@gmail.com for more info. This event will be on August 15, 2015, Saturday, coinciding with the Feast of our Lady's Assumption.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Disagree But It's Not Hate



I encourage everyone to fight and stand up for the culture of life. We cannot afford to just sit and watch; we need to get involved. To start, you can like the following Facebook pages to receive up-to-date news feeds on pro-life issues including same-sex marriage.

1. Filipinos for Life

2. No to Gay 'Marriage'

3. No to Same-Sex 'Marriage' in the Philippines

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sodomy - A Sin that Cries to Heaven


I once heard a certain pastor of a gay church here in the Philippines said on a national TV debate that often quoted argument that Sodom and Gomorrah were punished because of the sin of inhospitality. Seriously? Fire and brimstone punishment for being inhospitable? Sodomy is so grave that it is one of the sins that cries to heaven. It is a sin against nature and an abomination in the eyes of God. Persist in this sin and you will be lost forever. Repentance is the only way out and like Lot and his daughters never ever look back.


And the Lord said: The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied, and their sin is become exceedingly grievous. I will go down and see whether they have done according to the cry that is come to me: or whether it be not so, that I may know. – Gen. 18:20-21

The “Sin of Sodom” is described as “carnal sin against nature, which is a voluntary shedding of the seed of nature, out of the due use of marriage, or lust with a different sex.”1 Given modernity’s substitution of God and Nature with the will of the individual as an autonomous moral universe, sodomy – more specifically active homosexuality, not orientation – has become part of the new post-Christian norm. Neither Divine Law nor Natural Law form an external guide for the modern man; thus, the only boundary of autonomous individual is the autonomy of another. The boundary for what is and is not moral appears to be consent. Consequently, moral dialogue has been flattened to mere platitudes, e.g., this isn’t hurting anyone, it’s my body and my choice, love is love. Many often comment on the modern West’s apparent lack of morality, but few comment on the fact the West has lost the vocabulary to even discuss on morality.2

A few distinctions. First, the issue of same-sex marriage is not a religious issue, it is a rational and philosophical one. Considerations of marriage as a natural institution, the moral import of natural law, and the harmony between unity and procreation in sex are all within the purview of the natural virtues and reason; however, as geology and astronomy may both tell us the Earth is round, so too can the two sciences of theology and philosophy tell us the same thing.3 For example, no one holds that the commandment thou shall not murder was unknown before God revealed it on Mt. Sinai. It was revelation confirming reason, a demonstration of the greater truth that grace perfects nature.

The discussion for this list is less about same-sex marriage and more about a proper interpretation of Scripture. It is a conversation about those who do see Sacred Scripture as a moral authority, but attempt to harmonize their modernist views on sexuality with the Holy Bible. Typically, this leads to “new” interpretations of Scriptures on homosexuality. These interpretations are often weak and out of context, but since they serve the end that people want people follow them. A tenuous intellectual argument will always serve as long as it achieves the end people desire, especially if that end is wrapped in autonomy and sexual gratification.


On the Interpretation of Hospitality Violations

Those who argue that Sodom and Gomorrah should be understood outside any homosexual context often submit that the divine judgment of those cities was due to violations of Ancient Near East hospitality laws. In The Sin of Sodom & Gomorrah is not about Hospitality, the good Msgr. Pope offers a strong rebuttal. In part:

First there is a text from Ezekiel:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

Now this is the text used most often by those who deny any homosexual context in the sin of Sodom. And, to be fair, it does add a dimension to the outcry God hears. There are clearly additional sins at work in the outcry: pride, excess or greed, and indifference to the poor and needy. But there are also mentioned here unspecified “abominations.” The Hebrew word is תּוֹעֵבָ֖ה (tō·w·‘ê·ḇāh) which refers to any number of things God considers especially detestable, such as worshiping idols, immolating children, wrongful marriage and also homosexual acts. For example, Leviticus 18:22 uses the word in this context: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.4

But of itself, this text from Ezekiel does remind us that widespread homosexuality is not the only sin of Sodom. And while the abomination mentioned here may not be specified exactly, there is another Scriptural text that does specify things more clearly for us. It is from the Letter of Jude:

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. (Jude 7-8)

And thus it is specified that the central sin of Sodom involved “sexual immorality (ἐκπορνεύσασαι) and perversion (ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας – literally having departed to strange or different flesh).” And this would comport with the description of widespread homosexual practice in Sodom wherein the practitioners of this sin are described in Genesis 19 as including, “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old.”

Hence we see that, while we should avoid seeing the sin of Sodom as only widespread homosexual acts (for what city has only one sin?), we cannot avoid that the Scriptures do teach that homosexual acts are central to the sins of Sodom which cry to heaven for vengeance, and for which God saw fit to bring a fiery end.

Genesis 19 speaks plainly of the sin, Ezekiel 16 broadens the description but retains the word “abomination,” and Jude 7 clearly attests to sexual perversion as being the central sin with which Sodom and Gomorrah were connected.

One of the takeaways from the good monsignor’s commentary is that sexual perversion is not the only sin of which Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty. Many allow themselves to be confused by arguments that attempt to replace the primary sin (sexual perversion in a homosexual context) with the secondary sins.5 And while the discussion here is not necessarily why homosexuality is a sin that cries to heaven, it should serve to clarify that it is impossible to read the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative outside a homosexual context.


[Source: www.stpeterslist.com]

Footnotes:

1Douay Catholic Catechism of 1649, Q. 928 – Thank you to Taylor Marshal for posting this excerpt on his blog. Marshall makes the point that America has failed “four for four” on these sins that cry out to heaven.

2. Moral Vocabulary: When he was Archbishop of Denver, His Excellency Chaput gave a talk that incorporated the problem of the lost moral vocabulary. Repentance & Renewal, 2010.

3. Theology as a Science: For an introduction to understanding Sacred Doctrine as the Queen of the Sciences and how she orders those sciences, see Queen of the Sciences and Queen of the Sciences II.

4. SPL Note on Leviticus & Homosexuality: When Lev. 18:22 is cited as an undeniable condemnation of homosexuality in Scripture, it is often met with certain sophist rebuttals, e.g., Leviticus also outlaws shaving, tattoos, and eating pork. First note that these statements are an assertion, not an argument. The underlying argument that is needed on both sides is how one decides what is still valid law and what is not. In short, as Catholics we know that the OT is perfected in the NT and the NT is foreshadowed in the OT; thus, we see in Scripture Christ’s intent to perfect the law, not abolish it. Certain laws, however, demand a change in order to be perfected. For example, the OT law of circumcision was perfected in the Sacrament of Baptism. The Levitical laws on purity are a subject we see both St. Peter and St. Paul address. Homosexuality, on the other hand, was restated as a sin by St. Paul. In reverse, one could always ask those who use this argument against Leviticus what their hermeneutic for understanding the OT and NT is. It will, inevitably, be their own autonomous will. For more see Catholic Answers on the subject. 

5. Further Commentary on the Hospitality View: In addition to Msgr. Pope’s article, Catholic Answers addresses it in their treatment of homosexuality in general and Fr. Longenecker comments on it in his article The Sin of SodomIn related studies, the good Msgr. Pope has written about the wrath of God and several other articles on homosexuality (Biblical Teaching on Homosexuality, the “Lost Generation of the Church,” and a Pastor’s Attempt to Teaching the Bible on Homosexuality). Catholicism holds that the laws of the State are drawn from the laws of nature, and the laws of nature are distinct from the divine laws in Scripture. To understanding the relationship of laws and the context in which Catholicism advocates for the legal defense of natural marriage, see Think like a Catholic – 7 Questions on the Four Laws. A collection of Catholic documents on sexuality and the pastoral care of homosexually oriented person is found at 5 Catholic Documents on Family, Sex, and Homosexuality. Those who still question the traditional interpretation of the Church on homosexuality may reference Early Church: 12 Quotes on Homosexuality & Other Sexual Sins

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Gospel of the Family Today: 2nd MEFP National Congress




Venue: Century Park Hotel
Date: July 25, 2015
Time: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Theme "The Gospel of the Family Today"


Congress Objectives:

  • Formulation of motions for theXIV Ordinary General Assembly (Synod of Bishops) to take place from October 4 to 25, 2015 in the Vatican
  • To provide a venue for common study and reflection on various pastoral considerations affecting families in the Philippines today
  • Consensus building on common marital and family enrichment programs that can be shared by faith-based organizations


Topics and Speakers:

OPENING PLENARY

Proclaiming the Gospel of the Family Today in Various Contexts

Speaker: H.E. The Most Reverend Socrates Villegas
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines


MORNING SESSION

Pastoral Care for Couples Civilly Married or Living Together

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Dominador G. Guzman, Jr., SSP
Provincial Vicar, Philippine-Macau Mission of the Society of St. Paul

Caring for Wounded Families (Separated, Divorced and not Remarried, Divorced and Remarried, Single-Parent Families)

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Rex M. Mananzan, S. J.
Canon Lawyer
Professor, Loyola School of Theology

Pastoral Attention Towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Daniel Healy
Spiritual Director, Courage Philippines

The Transmission of Life and the Challenge of the Declining Birthrate

Speaker: Ms. Mitos Rivera
Executive Director, Institute for Reproductive Health-Philippines


AFTERNOON SESSION

Guiding Engaged Couples in Their Preparation for Marriage

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Benito B. Tuazon
President, Radio Veritas Philippines
Executive Director, Caritas Manila

Accompanying Married Couples in the Initial Years of Marriage

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Ruben M. Tanseco, S.J.
Founder, Marriage Encounter Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.

Upbringing and the Role of the Family in Evangelization

Speaker: Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual
National Spiritual Director, MEFP
Parish Priest, St. Anthony of Padua, Singalong, Manila


CONGRESS FORMAT

Congress Methodologist: Rev. Fr. Dominador G. Guzman, SSP
Plenary Moderator: Rev. Fr. Edwin E. Mercado
Each Breakout Group will have:

Resource Speaker (30 minutes)
Couple Sharer (15 minutes)
Facilitator (45 minutes for Open Forum)
Actuarian
(Note: 1.5 hours per Workshop)


REGISTRATION FEE

P2,600 per person, inclusive of Congress Kit, snacks, lunch, dinner, and Fellowship
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT

50% discount for MEFP members
20% discount for non-MEFP members Special fee arrangement for a limited number of qualified delegates
MUST REGISTER AND PAY ON OR BEFORE JUNE 25, 2015 TO AVAIL OF THE DISCOUNT
PROFILE OF DELEGATES

MEFP and other faith-based organizations members
Concerned NGOs and cause-oriented groups
Academe
Heads of Family and Life Ministries of the different dioceses in the Philippines
Others

Visit their website to register at www.mefp.info.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Same-Sex 'Marriage' and the Marxist Agenda


Did you think that the SCOTUS ruling upholding the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States was just about tolerance and marriage equality rights? Think again.


The Marxist Agenda Behind the Rainbow
by Douglas Hagmann


If you think Friday’s Supreme Court decision was about equality or equal rights for the three percent of the American population (at the expense of the 97 percent), you couldn’t be more wrong. If you think that Friday’s decision has no impact on you because you don’t care what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, you couldn’t be more wrong. If you think the homosexual agenda is about tolerance, diversity or other slick marketing buzzwords, you are not only wrong, but sorely misinformed, misguided or you are purposely facilitating a lie.

America has a huge problem right now. Multiple problems, in fact, but like the victims of a train wreck, we must do triage so we can apply treatment in order of importance. The blunt force trauma inflicted upon America by five rogue members of our judiciary, redefining marriage as a result of a highly potent cabal of activists intent on America’s destruction, certainly moves this problem up the list of importance.

In order to know how to fix the problem, however, you’ve got to know as much about the problem as possible. You need accurate information, not the spin of some morally bankrupt politician or the spin of agenda-driven talking heads who confine their discourse to the captive narrative of the archaic and completely fictitious right-left political paradigm. The next federal election will not solve our problems, for our problems are so threatening to our life and liberty, we might not have the time.

As I’ve already suggested, those reveling in the rainbow of diversity and whose chests swell with pride at the luminous display at the seat of American power fall into one of two groups: the ignorant, misguided, brainwashed and/or spiritually, morally and selfishly decadent (i.e. unwitting dupes), or the facilitators of one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated on our nation. What we have witnessed is not the beginning of tolerance and diversity, but its unceremonious demise through the completion of one giant step in the orchestrated dismantling of our country that is part of a much larger plan. It is a critical and vitally important step toward the formation of a “new world order” that no “dignified” journalist or syndicated talk show host will ever acknowledge exists.

The destruction of the moral fabric of America was set in motion generations ago under not a rainbow flag, but a Communist flag. Who better to usher in this mortal wound to our nation than the Manchurian Marxist Messiah of mystery and dubious origin and his cabal of renegade abettors?

What we see taking place today might not have been completely stopped, but it might have been slowed had those who held the attention of Christian conservatives pressed the legitimate issue of the eligibility and allegiance of Barack Hussein Obama as a candidate for the highest office in America. Alas, it was not to be, as those most revered by the conservative right dutifully parroted the lie that the background, origin and constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama, or Barry Soetoro, perhaps, was nothing but a distraction.

Over the din of their vocal objections, or in some instances, assurances and more lies, those of us in search of the unadulterated truth can hear the unmistakable sickening sound of our freedoms, liberties and rights Cheyne-Stoking as their traumatic death approaches. Yet, those who fought us then continue to dismiss us today. They adhere to a choreographed narrative that fits within the script of the big lie, and one that is as shrewdly narrow as it is factually shallow. For this, it appears, requires less intellectual aptitude of the entranced American than the necessary first steps of a full recovery would require.

Meanwhile, Americans are served their daily portion of the big lie – in this case, sold under the pretext of diversity and tolerance and illustrated by the silly mantra “love wins.” Love, much like equal rights, has absolutely nothing to do with the larger agenda of rending America’s moral fabric. Redefining marriage and the traditional family is a well-documented plank of the Communist takeover of America, a tactic to destroy our Constitutional Republic, and an admission requirement to enter a system of global government.


The Homosexual Agenda is rooted in Communism

The activist homosexual agenda in America has its roots in Communism. On January 10, 1963, Representative A. S. Herlong, Jr. of Florida read 45 goals of Communism in America into the Congressional Record. Listed at #26 was to “present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as normal, natural and healthy.” What was considered abhorrent behavior and a sin by all of the world’s major religions only a half-century ago is not only accepted and ostensibly “legitimized” today, but is being openly celebrated at the White House and state houses across America.

Why is virtually no one asking how approximately three-(3) percent of our population has seemingly succeeded in changing the moral and legal landscape for 97 percent of the population? How did this change happen so quickly? It nearly mirrors the meteoric rise of Barack Hussein Obama from a virtual unknown to the putative President.

The answers exist in history. The promotion of the fraudulent research of Alfred Kinsey, the highly organized and well-funded efforts of Marxist Harry Hays, founder of the Mattachine Society in 1950, the effective use of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, to the refinement of the homosexual agenda by homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in the 1980’s – when they made public their very specific tactics in their book, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s, were all cogs in the larger mechanism designed to destroy the morality of America.

When you read the dissenting opinions of Justices Thomas and Scalia in last Friday’s SCOTUS decision, you will see some very chilling statements, including these from Justice Clarence Thomas (Please read and consider these in the context of the above):


“The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits.”

“Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.”

“Our Constitution—like the Declaration of Independence before it—was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from—not provided by—the State. Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on “due process” to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the “liberty” protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society.”


The end of the beginning

Many people believe that this ruling will remedy perceived injustices against a (falsely) significant segment of our population. These same people believe that this ruling marks the end of a long and arduous journey for equal rights. They are wrong, for this is merely the end of the beginning. The global activists, the Marxists and Communists propelling this agenda don’t care about rights, despite the pretty packaging. There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Having been empowered by SCOTUS, enablers and abettors at the Executive branch and others in power, they are now “all in” to complete the destruction of our nation. The agenda is as big as the lie.

Barring any immediate intervention and unified civil disobedience, what will follow will be exponentially worse to what will be left of our nation. Unless immediate action is taken, the mortal blow that was delivered to our country last week will become fatal.

It is imperative that we understand the depth, breath and scope of the lie and the globalist, Communist agenda behind it. It is important we identify the agents of destruction. They, and their agenda, must be fully exposed.

Alternatively, the Cheyne-Stoke respirations of our liberties and freedoms we (still) enjoy under our Constitutional Republic will cease. Not because of their recovery, however, but due to their death.

Pray. Prepare.



About Douglas Hagmann

Douglas J. Hagmann has been a veteran investigator in the private sector for nearly three decades, working for many Fortune 100 companies investigating high-value fraud cases. He is an author, public speaker and the senior host of the Hagmann & Hagmann Report.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hearts Moved by the Immaculate Heart of Mary


This is a personal testimonial of one of our Courage brothers who visited the patients living with HIV/AIDS at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.


On June 13, 2015, on the Memorial Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, Courage did one of two outreach activities planned for this year. We visited the ward for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) of San Lazaro Hospital to provide spiritual care for our brethren.

We all gathered at the Bambang LRT station at 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to San Lazaro together from there. We were met by our chaplain, Fr. E who in turn was received by the San Lazaro Chaplain, Fr. H.

We first visited the beautiful chapel inside the hospital grounds. This institution is dedicated to Lazarus, he whom Jesus loved and brought back from the dead. We knew in our hearts that this day will move us substantially and so we offered what was going to happen next to God.




We then gathered at an office by the chapel where our Courage brother L, who works there as counsellor, briefed us on what will happen. We were instructed on how to properly relate with them that will not put them in greater harm, physically and emotionally.

We then went to the ward, which is about a 5 minute walk from the chapel. At the ward, we stayed in a small room while they invited and gathered the patients to the ward lobby. When everyone was set, we sat on a big circle and prayed the rosary together. This was a most meaningful prayer of solidarity where we connected with our PLHA brethren in seeking the help of Jesus the Healer through His most tender and loving Mother. It was solemn, serene, and comforting --- as if the Lady herself was coming to each one of us and taking us all in under her maternal care.

After the rosary, Fr. E proceeded with giving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick to each of the patients who wished to receive it. I was among who followed Fr. E in the anointing and I was witness to how once the priest puts on the chrism on the patient’s forehead, a spiritual change happens. It is as if a heavy burden is taken off from them; their eyes move behind their closed lids and they take in a deep breath of air. Their faces then transform with a certain glow of peace. After the anointing, we gave each one a rosary scapular.

This is a common ward and so not all are Catholics. L warned us that based on his experience, not all patients will welcome receiving the sacraments. Some are even extremely skeptical while others will be too weak. But he observed that on this day, there was an unusually high number of patients who agreed to receive the sacrament and that the patients were very docile. There were a total of 22 patients that day and about 60-70% received the sacrament.

I believe that this is the work of the Blessed Mother. She opened the patients’ hearts to receive her Son, their one true Healer and Savior. And not just them, but our hearts too -- Fr. E’s and Courage members’. Fr. E was at his most pastoral when he joyfully administered the sacraments without fear or hesitation. He embodied what it is to be courageous for the Lord. To see the patients at their condition---so weak, so frail, so fragile, you would be very afraid to approach them for fear of hurting them. But Fr. E did otherwise. He knew Jesus would not be afraid to approach and touch them. And maybe the Blessed Mother made him see too the weak, frail, fragile suffering Christ on the way to the cross on the faces of the patients? Remember, the Blessed Mother saw the suffering Christ on His way to Calvary with her own eyes too and comforted Him despite her sorrow and pain.

We were all for sure changed by this. The post activity debrief said it all: loss of words, overwhelmed, shocked, in tears…deep feelings that linger. Inspired by the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this pierced our hearts and out came love for our PLHA brethren and for God, that moves us to serve them and to obey God’s will.

Joseph Anthony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus



"I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." - Matthew 25:36

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Courage Statement on Supreme Court Decision


For nearly 35 years, Courage International has provided authentic pastoral care to men and women who experience same-sex attraction and who have made a free choice to embrace the call of Jesus Christ to live chastely in harmony with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Some of our members follow this call in loving marriages to a person of the opposite sex, while many others live chaste celibate lives, accepting the many heroic sacrifices that this requires in a spirit of cheerful, generous self-giving. Our members are a daily inspiration to the chaplains who serve them, and to the whole Church.

Mindful of the guidance of Pope Francis, and the priorities set for the Church by the Synod on the Family, Courage remains committed to ministering to this underserved community and, through the EnCourage apostolate, to those who love them. We are daily inspired by their joyful embrace of chastity and of the freedom that it gives them to love authentically, and believe that their compelling stories are a powerful witness to others.

(Source: www.couragerc.org)