Ministry supports those with same-sex attraction

| April 11, 2013
Archbishop Nienstedt

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

Courage, also known in Minnesota as “Faith in Action” (FIA), is a  Catholic ministry, endorsed by the Holy See, serving those persons with same-sex attraction (SSA) who seek spiritual and moral support to live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on human sexuality.

Before all else, FIA is a spiritual program, albeit one with very practical methods. In a confidential setting, greatly diverse people mentor and are mentored in the sometimes difficult path of faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his way of life.

Through honesty, accountability, friendly encouragement, mutual prayerful support and commonly held goals, FIA provides a safe and healthy environment to grow in holiness, hope and virtue.

FIA’s five goals are:

1) to live chaste lives as in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality;

2) to dedicate one’s life to Christ through prayer, sacraments and service;

3) to foster a spirit of fellowship, sharing thoughts and experiences, so that no one will have to be alone in facing the unique problems associated with having same-sex attraction;

4) to encourage one another in forming and sustaining chaste friendships; and

5) to serve as good examples to others.

Making a difference

The FIA program helps each person take the best step forward from his or her own individual and unique starting point. Attractions and desires may not be voluntary but one’s response to them ought to be made responsibly, based on moral soundness.

Recently, one member of the Twin Cities Faith in Action group gave witness to his own experience with these powerful words:

“Faith in Action saved my life. FIA, for me, is a lot more than simply not acting out sexually. It gave me a family, a social milieu in which I could explore my relationships with others and with God, and lessen the emotional and spiritual gravity homosexuality had in my life. I have a group of men who are willing to take my phone calls, give me advice, do untold acts of charity, and ultimately die with me if it comes to that. Not many straight men have friends with that level of solidarity.

“Another thing is that Faith in Action helps teach me about how to achieve happiness — not through changing my external circumstances, but by building up those natural proclivities to virtue that God endowed me with when I was born.

While chastity is naturally the virtue that we are most explicit about, I don’t think that it is the only one. As a gay man, it’s easy for me to say, ‘I would be happy if I had a boyfriend,’ or ‘I would be happy if I were straight,’ and it’s easy to create a sort of fantasy perception of other people’s lives. But the empirically and scientifically tested truth is that people are most happy when they exercise the virtues. FIA helps me with this tremendously, whether it is helping me with chastity through accountability and confession, or teaching me charity by giving an uplifting word to a brother, or prudence by teaching me when I should talk, and when I should stay silent.”

Support for family, friends

Parents, relatives and friends of persons with same-sex attraction also have a support group available, called “Encourage.”

The purpose of Encourage is to give faithful witness to Catholic teaching on sexual morality, while helping its members find a deeper spiritual life. Members of Encourage often gain deeper understanding of the needs, problems and issues experienced by their friends and families with SSA and are able to assist one another to reach out with compassion and truth to their loved ones.

I am grateful to the men and women of Faith in Action and Encourage for their powerful witness to God’s truth and love.

Here in the archdiocese we have a weekly Faith in Action group and a monthly Encourage group. For more information about either of these groups, please call the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life at (651) 291-4488.

God bless you!

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Category: That They May All Be One

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