Courage & EnCourage Conference to Reflect on Prayer and Spiritual Life

TRUMBULL, Conn., May 23, 2022 /Christian Newswire/ — “Lord, teach us to pray” is the theme of Courage International’s 34th Annual Conference, which will take place at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, from July 28 to 31, 2022. The annual conference draws members of Courage – adults who experience same-sex attractions and freely desire to live a chaste life – and EnCourage – family members and friends of people who experience same-sex attractions or gender identity discordance – as well as clergy, religious and laity who serve in pastoral ministry to this community.

Father Philip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International, explained that “our focus on spirituality this year is especially important when there is so much confusion and division in the world, and even in the Church, about the nature of the human person, the beauty of marriage and sexual intimacy, and the Church’s teaching about sexual identity and sexual morality”. He added “rather than expend our energy and distract our attention with culture wars and social media arguments, the Lord calls us to be more recollected, more grounded, and more silent. This is only possible in a life of deep prayer and devotion. As Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote a few years ago, ‘Christ lived for thirty years in silence. Then, during his public life, he withdrew to the desert to listen to and speak with his Father. The world vitally needs those who go off into the desert. Because God speaks in silence.'”

The keynote presentation at the 2022 conference will be given by Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, with the talk “The Doctor of Love: On the Spiritual Life.” Other speakers include Dr. Timothy Lock, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Fr. Colin Blatchford, associate director, Courage International; Sr. Bethany Madonna, SV, Sister of Life and local superior in Phoenix, Arizona; Mrs. Vicki Burbach, author of How to Read Your Way to Heaven: A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners ; Fr. Sean Kilcawley, director of the Office of Family Life, Diocese of Lincoln, among many others, including Spanish-speaking presenters from different countries.

The international event will offer spiritual topics based on the goals of the apostolate. “The Goal of ‘dedicating our entire lives to Christ’ is common to the Courage apostolate (its Second Goal) and the EnCourage apostolate (its First Goal)”, Father Bochanski shared. “So reflecting on prayer and dedication is important to the whole Courage International family. That one goal contains a lot of practical steps, and it’s easy to recite them at our meetings without reflecting much on them. This is especially true, I think, because these steps are common to all Catholics, and it can be tempting to hurry on to other “Courage-specific” or “EnCourage-specific” matters.”

The conference – hybrid for the second consecutive year – will also offer simultaneous Spanish interpretation in-person and online. This will be a special opportunity for hundreds of Courage and EnCourage Spanish-speaking members who are not able to participate in person.

“I want to extend a very cordial invitation to members, chaplains, and friends of Courage and EnCourage throughout the world to join us this year at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Last year’s conference, held just as COVID restrictions were being lifted, was a powerful reminder of the blessings we receive through the family atmosphere of the annual conference,” Fr. Bochanski said. “It will be a particular joy to welcome the many religious sisters, brothers, and priests who often attend to show support and solidarity to our members, as well as a number of bishops who will celebrate Mass and share their spiritual fatherhood with us.”

The main conference will be preceded by a Clergy Day on July 27 for priests, deacons and seminarians that will address how to understand and present the Church’s teaching with clarity and charity, and to provide authentic pastoral care.

Registration for English-speaking participants is now open and will close on July 13. For Spanish-speaking participants registrations online will open on May 31 and will close on July 5.

More information about conference speakers and registrations is on the Courage website at:

SOURCE Courage International, Inc.