The Courage apostolate will hold a conference at Villanova University this July to continue advancing its spiritual support for men and women with same-sex attractions who want to grow spiritually in lives of chastity. Father Paul N. Check, Courage’s executive director, said that the gathering is “a unique event in the life of the Church.” “The conference unites a wide range of people and experience around the person of Jesus Christ, with the strong theme of service and sacrificial love, the path to healing and to peace,” he said in an Easter letter to Courage and EnCourage members posted on the organization’s website. Courage is a Catholic apostolate founded in 1980 to provide fellowship and support for men and women with same-sex attractions. EnCourage is its partner organization for their parents and friends. The Courage conference will be held at Villanova University near Philadelphia from July 17-July 20. It is geared towards Courage and EnCourage members, their friends, clergy, religious and seminarians, as well as those who work in lay ministry. The conference will include talks, workshops, social events, prayer gatherings, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and opportunities for Confession. Speakers include Immaculée Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide; George Mason University law professor Helen Alvare; Fordham University professor Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J.; Andrew Comiskey of Desert Stream Ministries; and Philadelphia priest Fr. Philip Bochanski, C.O. Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will celebrate the conference’s opening Mass. Philadelphia auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will celebrate Saturday Mass while Bishop Frank Caggiano will celebrate the Sunday Mass. The conference will also host a showing of a new Courage documentary, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills.” Fr. Check said the group is continuing to seek canonical status under the Holy See. Another Courage conference will be held in Sydney, Australia on Sept. 27. The registration deadline for the Philadelphia conference is July 3. Registration and more information about the Philadelphia conference is available at the Courage website www.couragerc.net.