Norwalk, Conn., Sep 8, 2016 / 02:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After 14 years of serving the Church’s apostolate for men and women with same-sex attraction, Fr. Paul Check will step down from his current position as Executive Director in order to take up his new position as rector of the seminary in his diocese.
“I will leave my current role with a measure of both peace and sadness,” Fr. Check wrote in an announcement. “I am peaceful because I trust in my Bishop's decision, and I am grateful for and humbled by the confidence that he has placed in me.” “At the same time, however, I will be sad to leave what is such a unique and vital apostolate in the life of the Church today - ‘a light that shines in the darkness’ - and one that offers hope to many. Pope Benedict once wrote that Jesus is both logos and agape. I believe the Courage/EnCourage ministry reflects that twofold character of Christ in its clarity and charity, even as it remains a ‘sign of contradiction’ to the world, all in fidelity to the Master.”
Courage, founded in 1980, aims to help Catholics with same-sex attraction in their spiritual growth, including life in chastity. Its partner organization EnCourage is an apostolate for parents, friends, and family members those with same-sex attraction. Fr. Check has been involved with both organizations for 14 years, serving as Executive Director of both groups for almost nine years.
He will be transferring to his new position as rector of St. John Fisher seminary by December 31, having received the appointment from Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In his announcement, Fr. Check called his time with the apostolate a “tremendous blessing, in particular by deepening my understanding of the tangle and the nobility of the human heart, and of my appreciation for the beauty and efficacy of grace.”
“My work with the members of Courage and EnCourage has changed my priesthood, and I will always be edified by your example. As our beloved Fr. John Harvey, OSFS, of happy memory, liked to say, ‘Our members are our best ambassadors.’ Your voice and experience deserve a wider audience, for the good of many souls.”
He said he also believes the apostolate has prepared him well for his new assignment at the seminary, and that he plans to share what he’s learned through his involvement with the ministry with the students under his charge. Courage has not yet announced who will succeed Fr. Check as Executive Director.
Fr. Paul Scalia, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Courage International, expressed “tremendous thanks” to Fr. Check for his service to the apostolate in a statement. He also asked for prayers for both Fr. Check and the organization during this time of transition.
“One sign of a health in any organization is the capacity to make a transition in leadership. Courage International is blessed with an exceptionally dedicated staff who is working tirelessly to be sure this transition happens smoothly,” Fr. Scalia said.
“The Courage apostolate already experienced one such transition when Father Check succeeded Father Harvey. We are being asked again to trust in the providence of our loving Father — that, as He has never left Courage without strong leadership, so now He is already at work for our good. Indeed, I am very grateful for the leadership of the episcopal board and pleased with the plans in place to announce Father Check’s successor soon.”
Fr. Check plans to remain involved with the apostolate as a member of the board of directors, and that he hopes to continue attending the annual Courage conference for years to come. He said he has great faith and hope in the current members of the apostolate, that they will carry the ministry forward. “Please be sure of my sincere gratitude for your friendship in the Lord and your prayers.”