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Taking a deeper dive into the ‘Theology of the Body’

The Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC) and the Billings Ovulation Method Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BOMA-TT) will be hosting a training programme, ‘A Deeper Delve into Theology of the Body’ (ToB) to prepare a cadre of trained Catholics to spread St Pope John Paul II’s teachings.

The first session is on Thursday, June 23. Thirty-seven persons attended an online meeting May 18, the birthday of the saint to discuss the training programme.

Pauline Phelps, Coordinator of BOMA-TT explained that eight sessions will be broken down during the six-month period. It will be a combination of online and in-person, with Masses and “getting out in nature”. Phelps said: “We want to involve all the modes and media that help us not just to learn it intellectually, but to live it.”

Content will include Christopher West’s Created and Redeemed videos and workbook, and his Theology of the Body for Beginners will be available for reference through the AFLC.

“We want people to speak to ToB in the way [St] John Paul II would have wanted us to, yes, it is an encounter, yes, you will learn the ToB …but it is more than that, we want you to take it out there,” Phelps said.

Organisers are hoping participants teaching different age groups including First Communion and Confirmation tutors will take the ToB and “translate it for those particular sacramental groups”. Phelps added, members of men’s ministries can share the ToB.

Episcopal Delegate, AFLC, Tricia Syms stated, “We are looking at training persons wider not just in the Confirmation programmes…from 0-19 with people doing their own work by God’s grace, because while the emphasis is on young persons the older persons need to do their work, everybody needs to do their work.”

Syms said persons sharing personal stories while teaching ToB can be much more impactful than information. From the formation, facilitators of the ToB will be able to respond appropriately when they encounter persons with issues.

Participants will be encouraged to co-facilitate ToB sessions in twos or threes. Married couples, two young adults, male/female can be facilitators so different perspectives can be captured in explaining points.

After the training, participants will be invited to make a commitment for one year to a particular group they would like to work with. Apart from talks, Syms said persons can advocate for ToB through social media and writing articles.

Episcopal Delegate for Youth, Taresa Best Downes commented that becoming an advocate for ToB can simply mean “you might be the person in your office who when something comes up people feel open to come to talk to you about it because they know you have had some kind of training or heard you talk about it in an authentic way”.

Best Downes advised persons deciding to take the deeper dive to let God help them determine what they will do with the information afterwards. “Maybe it’s Confirmation, maybe it’s youth groups, maybe what God is calling you to do is care ministry, that is, people your own age…we also need people doing ToB for elderly people, ToB for women.”

Jeffrey and Pasqualina Hoford contributed to the session explaining the objectives of the training. —LPG