After fourteen years at Courage International and its companion apostolate EnCourage, including nine years as its Executive Director, Fr. Paul Check has announced that he will be leaving that position to accept another assignment. Bishop Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, has appointed Fr. Check to the post of rector at the diocesan seminary, St. John Fisher, effective at the end of the year.

Courage is the Catholic apostolate which offers support for men and women who experience same-sex attraction but who want to remain chaste. EnCourage is a ministry within Courage dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents, siblings, children, and other relatives and friends of persons who have same-sex attractions.

Last year, I had the opportunity to interview Father Check for the National Catholic Register, as he planned for the apostolate’s first international conference in Plymouth, Michigan, and again during the conference.  “The distinguishing characteristics of human intimacy — love and life — are not just protections from harm,” he told me, “but they mark out the path to fulfillment. This is the way the human heart is designed by God.”

On October 2, 2015, Courage sponsored a one-day symposium, “Living the Truth in Love,” at the Angelicum in Rome. Father Check hoped that the symposium would attract many of the Synod Fathers, gathering in Rome for the Synod on the Family.

May God richly bless Fr. Paul Check as he prepares to accept his new assignment; and may He continue to bless the courageous men and women who, while experiencing attractions to a homosexual lifestyle which is contrary to God’s plan, strive with the help of Courage International to continue in faith, trusting in God’s perfect will for their lives.

Here in its entirety is the letter from Fr. Paul Check, announcing his new assignment and looking back at his fourteen years with Courage.

Fr. Paul Check  
Executive Director of Courage 
From Fr. Paul Check,
Executive Director 
September 6, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Many of you have heard the story of how, 14 years ago, I started with Courage and EnCourage: through the request of my Bishop. It is a blessing to be asked by one’s superior to work in a particular part of the Lord’s vineyard. A person’s initiative in beginning or asking for a certain ministry can, of course, be meritorious. But as a man “under authority,” I find peace and freedom when a change of assignment comes at the initiative of the Church.
After almost nine years now of serving as the Executive Director of Courage and EnCourage, the Church is, once again, directing me to another field in the vineyard. Bishop Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, has appointed me the rector of our diocesan seminary, called St. John Fisher, with a transfer date of December 31st of this year. I am grateful to him for this assignment, because the desire to help form men for the priesthood resides strongly and deeply in my heart. I have been an adjunct faculty member of St. John Fisher for more than 15 years, and it is the house of formation where I began my own preparation for the priesthood in 1992.
I will leave my current role with a measure of both peace and sadness (I am thinking back to my talk at the conference this past July on the Christian life as both “joy and sorrow”). 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 logosand 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.
My assignments as a local Courage chaplain and as the Executive Director have been 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. You are the strength and promise of the apostolate, and that is why I have great faith in what lies ahead.
In God’s providence, I believe that my time with the apostolate has prepared me very well for what the Church now asks of me. I can share my experience with young men as they prepare to give their hearts to the Lord in the service of His people, at an especially challenging time in salvation history.
Since I am a former military man, the centurion has always been one of my favorite figures in the Gospel. A person whose understanding of obedience and whose trust in the goodness of God won the praise of Jesus is a person whom I wish not only to admire, but also to imitate.
Please be sure of my sincere gratitude for your friendship in the Lord and your prayers. With the approval of the episcopal board, I plan to continue my service to the apostolate as a member of the board of directors, and therefore, I will hope to see many of you at the annual conference for years to come.
God bless you,
Fr. PNC

And here, Courage’s chairman of the board Fr. Paul Scalia expresses his thanks to Fr. Paul Check for his work over the past fourteen years, and pledges a smooth transition, as the apostolate moves forward under new leadership.

Fr. Paul Scalia
Chairman, Board of Directors
From Fr. Paul Scalia,
Chairman, Board of Directors 

Dear Friends of Courage,

On behalf of the Courage Board of Directors I would like to express, first of all, our tremendous thanks to Father Check for his nine years of service as Executive Director of Courage. As you know, he was the first successor to our founder Father John Harvey. We thank God that Father Check both continued and built upon the work of that saintly man.

I likewise extend our thanks to Archbishop Lori, who as then-Bishop of Bridgeport first called Father Check to work with Courage and then generously released him from diocesan duties to full-time service as Executive Director. Finally, we thank Bishop Caggiano for his continued generosity and support since he became Bishop of Bridgeport.

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. 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.

Finally, please keep Father Check in your prayers during this time of transition for him. Yes, being under obedience brings certainty and therefore peace to a change of apostolates. Nevertheless, there will be sadness and pain in no longer working as closely with the Courage community that has been at the center of his priesthood for so many years. That sadness will be a measure of his dedication to the apostolate — for which he richly deserves our prayers.

Sincerely in Christ,
Reverend Paul D. Scalia
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Courage International