The DFW chapter of Courage was founded in 1999. Several local Catholics had begun developing contacts in order to found a support group people whose lives included both homosexuality and a commitment to a chaste lifestyle. They reached out for help to Fr. John Harvey, the founder of Courage International. They also reached out to Dr. Janet Smith, then a professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, and Bishop Charles Grahmann, both of whom became instrumental in the founding of Courage DFW.
At Bishop Grahmann’s invitation, Fr. Mark Seitz (then pastor of St. Joseph’s, Waxahachie) volunteered to serve as the first chaplain of the group. Fr. Seitz assisted regularly at meetings from 1999 until he was called to serve as auxiliary bishop of Dallas in 2005. (Bishop Seitz has since moved to El Paso, where he was called in 2013. He remains a key supporter of the chapter, and now serves on the board of Courage International.) He was succeeded as chaplain by Fr. Jim Gigliotti, TOR (2010 – 2013), and Fr. Joseph Van House, O Cist (2013 – present).
The chapter has met continuously since 1999, steadily and discreetly offering mutual support, guidance, and friendship to a great variety of members as they have pursued God’s plan for their lives. Most of the founding members either still attend meetings, or remain in touch and available to assist as needed.
The Five Goals of Courage:
1. Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)
2. Dedicate one’s life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)
3. Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that none of us has to face the problems of same sex attraction alone. (Fellowship)
4. Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)
5. Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example)