PORTLAND — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is starting a new support group for “persons with same sex attraction.”

Bishop Richard Malone announced in a press release today that a local chapter of Courage, a worldwide spiritual support group, is being set up in Maine. Kevin Martin, a priest who serves St. Michael Parish in Augusta, has been appointed to serve as the Catholic chaplain for the ministry.

The support group will offer “hope and encouragement to men and women who desire to live in accordance with the church’s teaching on homosexuality,” said the press release. “Specifically, that the dignity and identity of every person is not determined by their sexual attractions, but by their relationship with the Lord and their striving to live the virtues of faith, hope and charity.”

The support group will practice a policy of anonymity and confidentiality and be open to people of all faiths.

The locations of local chapters will be disclosed only to those who plan to participate.

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