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‘Gamechanging’ Theology of the Body course to begin in April

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Sydneysiders gathered early for food and live music before the main presentation of Made for More commenced at St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has partnered with the Theology of the Body Institute to bring its most popular course online for Australian Catholics in April.

The Head and Heart Immersion course will be taught by Dr Christopher West and his team from 17-28 April.

It will introduce students to key themes of St John Paul II’s theology of the body, including freedom and the human person, gender and vocation, and Christian ethics and ethos.

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Dr West is a popular communicator of this teaching and drew large crowds in Sydney in January with his Made for More tour.

Director of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation Daniel Ang said that one of the aims of the partnership is to make formation in Christian anthropology available to Catholics, in time zones and with local support that makes it accessible and a shared experience.

“We want to raise up a generation of leaders here in Australia who are formed in that great body of teaching which St John Paul II left to the church,” he said.

Attending the course in the US a couple of years ago was a “gamechanger” for Meadowbank parishioner Marie van Rensburg.

“It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in my life,” she said.

“What it helped me to do was to put a name to those longings I’d felt my whole life but never knew what they were and what it all meant.

“That was the biggest affirmation for me, that I’m made for heaven and that these desires for love and fulfilment and intimacy are not only good but holy and God was pursuing me through those desires.

Audience members at St Mary’s Cathedral College Hall listen as Dr Christopher West, probably the best-known communicator of St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in the English language, speaks. His visit to Australia was arranged by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Centre for Evangelisation. Dr West and colleague Mike Mangione, at right, below, also presented at All Saints Parish in Liverpool. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

“And that there was ultimately a destiny for them, and that destiny was to be found with him in heaven.

“I’d encourage anyone who’s thinking about it, no matter what age you are, to give this as a gift to yourself, to learn who you are and have your identity affirmed, and just to fall in love with the faith again.”

Other local champions of the theology of the body course are current student Stephen Buhagiar, co-founder of the Smart Loving marriage apostolate Francine Pirola, and founder of Fire Up Ministries Simon Carrington.

For the past few years Mr Buhagiar has travelled to the Philadelphia-based institute to access its courses.

He said the online offering is a “wonderful opportunity” that will help people to understand and speak about the sexual complementarity of women and men with confidence.

“Theology of the Body gives us a wonderful understanding of who we are as persons, it speaks to my identity,” he said.

“St John Paul gave us this wonderful gift for our day when the world is so confused about these issues.”

Cost is approximately $1200. A limited number of partial subsidies are available for Catholics of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Registrations at www.sydneycatholic.org/tobi

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