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Teaching an ‘aha’ moment for couple

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Joe and Alana Pullella: discovering the Church’s teaching on the significance and meaning of who we are created as man and woman in the image and likeness of God has given them a vision for their future as a couple and as a family. Photos: Supplied

Not just some obscure academic theory:  A couple who encountered the Theology of the Body see it as informing their marriage, their
family and their future

New parents Joe and Alana Pullella say that St Pope John II’s Theology of the Body gave them a great foundation for a joyful marriage.

Joe first encountered the former pope’s teaching through local and US Catholic evangelists as a soccer-mad teenager looking for support in living his faith.

He was impressed then, but studied it more as an adult and says it came together and made even more sense once he wed Alana.

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“As a teenager or young adult, you’re pulled from your faith in God’s plan for sexuality by what the world would say is the perfect way to express your sexuality – just to do whatever you want do,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

“A lot of my friends and soccer mates and different influences in my adult life couldn’t understand why I wasn’t living my relationships the way they were.

“It’s this incredibly joyful and celebrated gift of everything you are and who you are to the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with.” – Joe Pullella

“But it really has helped Alana and I to appreciate the gift of one another and to embrace the call to be freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully loving in our marriage.

“It’s this incredibly joyful and celebrated gift of everything you are and who you are to the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with, and the presence of God is so tangible in the Sacrament.

“There’s so much joy in our marriage. Don’t get me wrong, you go through challenges and ups and downs as everyone does, but that closeness and the presence of God so tangibly present in your marriage and your life is just incredible.”

Alana said she “just loved” the teachings when she came across them.

“AS A YOUNG WOMAN IT RESONATED WITH ME BECAUSE I’D BEEN UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN I WAS EXPOSED TO SO MUCH OF WHAT ISN’T GOOD IN THIS WORLD IN THE AREA OF SEXUALITY, AND IT HELPED ME TO REALLY EMBRACE WHO i was as a woman”.

“The Catholic faith can seem quite complex and theology and some teachings can be a little bit hard to understand, but the Theology of the Body just made sense to me.

“As a young woman it resonated with me because I’d been uncomfortable when I was exposed to so much of what isn’t good in this world in the area of sexuality, and it helped me to really embrace who I was as a woman.”

Now doting over nine-week old Annalise, the Sydney couple hope to help her to understand as she grows that her God-given sexuality is a good and precious gift. “A lot of the time when I was growing up the message was along the lines that it was a bit negative, it’s something to be suppressed and so on,” said Joe.

“But I’d just love her to celebrate who she is and come to God’s plan for her life and fully expressing herself with the foundation that she’s loved by him unconditionally.”

At the invitation of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, Dr Christopher West, the world’s most well-known teacher of the Saint John Paul II’s theology, will travel to Sydney in January before visiting Melbourne in a two-city tour.

The founder and president of the US-based Theology of the Body Institute will present the highly acclaimed Made for More event, along with musician Mike Mangione and Theology of the Body Institute’s Jason Clark.

Purchase tickets at www.sydneycatholic.org/TOB/

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