God, Sex and the Meaning of Life
Theology of the Body
Theology of the Body Conference in Toronto
The Humanae Vitae Conference was held in Toronto on Nov. 15, 2008.
Presentation And Training Techniques Report
S+L Program Info
In the wake of a sensationalized TV interview, Christopher West was thrust into a debate about his teaching on John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The popular author and speaker responds to the controversy in a candid discussion with host Kris Dmytrenko. Also interviewed are authors Brett Salkeld and Leah Perrault, who consider whether Catholic audiences are ready for frank discussions of faith and sexuality. (Salt & Light Promotions)
National Theology of the Body Congress
Theology of the Body Newsletter
Theology of the Body for Teens Study Group
“It changed my life.” was one student’s response at the conclusion to the Theology of the Body for Teens study group at Fr. Leo J. Austin in Durham Region. Others said....
GSML Ministry just completed a 12 week program using the ToB for Teens. Working with approximately 100 teens, it was an exciting time, and we enjoyed and learned so much from these young people.
The Religion Department made us feel very welcome, and we came to know that the school was blessed by many teachers who truly care for their students’ welfare and well-being. The students themselves participated actively and had many penetrating questions.
The “ice breaker” activity set the pace for the daily instruction and the students looked forward to them each time. Every activity taught a lesson, for example - God has a message for the Christian, but it could not be heard amid the noise of the modern age. One student (God), stood at one end of the room passing a message to another student (the Christian) in a normal voice. The rest of the students stood between the talking and singing in normal voices . The lesson was brought home so effectively that students realized that the original assurance that he or she would be able to hear God, was replaced by dismay and surprise when they didn’t hear Him over the daily noise and clamour in the room. It was good fun.
Each of the 12 sessions started with a Bible reading, followed by a prayer. The lesson would be built upon the Bible reading as we have to first listen to God than respond. After a short review of the previous week we moved on to the Story Starter, a true story that was often moving. One brought tears to my eyes each time it was read (Session 8). The story was about a soldier, Dave, who had had half his face blown away and was anxiously awaiting his fiancée hospital visit. Moments before she arrive he witness the rejection of his roommate’s wife as she declared, “I could never walk down the street with you again.” (He had been burnt from head to toe), and Dave was fearful he would be rejected also. But she, looked into his one good eye and bent down and kissed him. “Dave began to experience love in a way he never imagine...”
Each week we also listed to a 20 to 25 minute DVD talk with Jason & Crystalina Evert and Brian Butler who shared many experiences of their own lives, as well as insightful teaching on purity, chastity, dating and other Theology of the Body topics.
One topic the students found very interesting was on Dating with Purpose and Purity (Session 11).
To see a summary of the students comments click here
Elements of a National Pastoral Initiative For Life and the Family: A Fundamental Option For Life and The Family
A document recently published (Oct. 2011) by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops gives direction to matters on Life and the Family.
“This vision of the family is also a call to action..For this new generation of apostles to come forward, we need to focus on three main elements: (1) our baptismal call, (2) the laity’s role, and (3) the “theology of the body”.” p. 5
“Theology of the body is the Holy Spirit’s solution to many of the problems which confront us. If effectively communicated through the witness of lived example, it can become the corner stone, the informing principle, of all our efforts to provide formation for individuals and families. And this, clearly, is our single greatest need – what Blessed John Paul II referred to as “solid and deep formation”.9 On that condition, the family can become “an effective agent of evangelization” in Canada.
According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, it is only in making a sincere gift of self that the individual can fully find himself (Gaudium et Spes, 24).” p. 7
A few of the many proposed strategies include:
- Mandatory Marriage preparation consistently based on Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body
- Confirmation preparation highlighting chastity as self-possession for self-donation (editor’s note - Our new confirmation workshop is in line with this.)
- Workshops & sessions addressing the concerns of parents (concrete challenges in education, education in the virtues)
- Collaboration with Catholic schools - in provinces where they exist: providing Theology of the Body-based sex education programs, introductory parenting courses, etc.
We recently completed a Theology of the Body for Teens program at a Catholic High School in Whitby. The 12 weeks flew by as we facilitated the program to over 100 students in 4 classes from grade 9 to 10. We really enjoyed the time with the teens and their fresh perspective. We wish them all the best in the years to come and will keep them in our prayers. Here are a few of the many comments the students made:
- I really enjoyed the lesson about dating and how to treat women. I can’t thank you enough!
- I especially enjoyed the Dating and Marriage Chapters. I learned a lot about how to act and treat others in the future.
- You taught me so much but the bigger and most important lessons are the difference between loving and using, that dating is really looking for a spouse, and that it is important to find a boy who will love me no matter what, not try to change me, and treat me how I should be treated. ... I shouldn’t be dating him if I can’t see myself marrying him.
- Without the help and guidance from you, I would not have understood God’s call fully... I have perceived life in a new light...
- The chapters that really struck me were, Dating with Purpose and the Language of the Body... The way you related it to our lives as teens really made it hit home.
- What moved me the most during the program were the lectures on marriage and how we were created to love each other. It is a life changing experience.
- I really liked the activities that we played, my favorites were the one where we learned about each other and the one where we are all talking and there was a message trying to get from God.
- So many of my questions have been answered that were burning holes in my mind.
- They really opened my eyes. I am putting God first and I feel a new sense of inner peace.
- Before you came, I was unsure of the consequences of some things, such as premarital sex. I also thought many things could not be forgiven, but you taught me otherwise...
- It gave me hope that true faithful marriage is still out there.
- It taught me to DREAM BIG to achieve my goal in life.
- When we did the activity about God speaking to the Catholic - it taught me that its truly hard to hear him sometimes.
- It told me to DREAM BIG and because of that lesson, I think I will become a nun.
- Chapter 2 & 5 sent me the most powerful messages because I learned the differences love and lust, the values of abstinence and chastity, and a thorough understanding of free will and comparing authentic freedom with the cultural view of freedom.
Theology of the Body for Teens - Response - 2013
Spiritual Anatomy of An Individual
by Tom Kennedy (from God, Sex and the Meaning of Life Ministry)
From the head to the heart. Author and speaker Christopher West, and others, call it the longest fifteen or so inches anyone will ever know. It is the distance they say our faith and understanding has to travel for it to become fulfilled. Some say it comes naturally to them, some say it takes a little effort, some say they know it in their heart but not in their head (in other words, they find faith hard to explain), and some, like me, find the concept and practice very vague, and difficult to understand.
On Our Daily Bread website, Julie Ackerman says "Eventually I realized that the Word of God had to spread through my whole being. I needed to internalize Scripture, to hide it “in my heart” the way a musician does a piece of music. I had to live the Bible as well as I could quote it. As God’s Word spreads from our heads to our hearts, sin loses its power over us." This and many other statements like it are great insights into what we have to do and why we have to do it, but it still doesn't explain what the process is and how it works.
After several years of studying Pope John Paul II's Theology of The Body, and reading explanations of it by authors such as Christopher West, Katrina Zeno, Brian Butler and Jason and Crystalina Evert, and facilitating presentations based on Fr. Robert Barron's great Catholicism series, I have started to glimpse a concept that makes sense to me, a concept that is simple, and, hopefully, one that might help a few of us understand the concept better.
When using the terms Nature, Person, Soul, Spirit, Body and Individual we must remember that although these are individual parts of existence, they are indivisible, and except for Body, they are invisible. Without any one of these attributes, no one would, or could, exist as an individual. So what is an individual?
Nature + Person + Body = Individual. Let's look at these terms one at a time.
Article in the Catholic Register
Church approved sex-ed
Written by Ruane Remy, The Catholic Register - Friday, 14 June 2013
Theology of the Body for Teens teaches Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality.
When Toronto-area residents want to teach teens about God and sex, they call Rose Heron.
Heron is a volunteer with God, Sex and the Meaning of Life Ministry in the Archdiocese of Toronto. The goal of the ministry is to spread Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality. And for the last four years, she and her husband Patrick, coordinator of the teen program, have offered sessions on Theology of the Body for Teens to youth groups and high schools across the archdiocese.
“We want to reach as many young people as possible,” said Heron. “It’s such an important program for them to understand what the Church teaches and why. And it gives them a better understanding of Church teachings around sexuality.”
To arrange a Theology of the Body for Teens program at your Parish or School contact us at: email@example.com
Important information for all girls/women is shared in a fun, relaxed and engaging manner. The presentation included some video clips and activities, along with handouts for further information.
Student Testimonials about “Girl Talk”
- “In my opinion Girl Talk was a great experience. I got to learn lots and meet new girls. The food was great but the interactive activities were epic. I’m glad I attended!! "
- “I thought that it was an amazing way for me and my mom to spend some time together because we are always running around. So it was an amazing time.”
- “It was really interesting. I felt like I could be myself and talk freely with the girls and moms, I even got to see some of my friends from other schools. I learned a lot of things to help me later in life and there were a lot of funny moments too!” .
Exodus: Called to Freedom
Start Dates: Wednesday, Morning Sept 15, 2021 , OR Wednesday Evening, Sept 16, 2021.
Wednesday mornings from 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Wednesday Evening from 7 - 9 pm nings from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
On ZOOM - email for the link.
Purchase of the Study Guide is optional, at a cost of $40.
St. Bernadette’s Parish Hall, 21 Bayly St. E. Ajax
Discover the Source of True Freedom
When God called Israel out of slavery in Egypt to a life of freedom as his people, it was the defining moment in Israel’s history. Exodus: Called to Freedom looks through the lens of Christ and the Church to show that, more than just seeking to free his people from the domination of Pharaoh, God desired to free his people from the far more dangerous grip of sin. Presenter Tim Gray explains how the Exodus story is not just Israel’s story but our story as well, because it reveals who God is and what he calls us to be. Discover the divine purpose behind the plagues on Egypt and how God’s law reflects his love and concern. Learn the keys to authentic freedom and how a proper understanding of the Exodus can illuminate one’s understanding of the Christian Faith.
Theology of the Body Study Group
At the present time we are studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with an eye towards the Theology of the Body. Take this opportunity to learn about your faith. Bring your questions and we will find the answers together.
Please join us on Monday mornings, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. in St Bernadette’s church hall 21 Bayly St. E. Ajax. Hope to see you there.
Monday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30
From Sept to June
St. Bernadette’s Parish Hall, 21 Bayly St. E. Ajax