“God, Sex and the Meaning of Life”: Come explore the beauty and power of the Theology of the Body

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The Archdiocese of Denver extends an invitation to explore the beauty and power of the Theology of the Body while bringing healing and sight to the blindness of our modern culture’s beliefs in sexuality at the Theology of the Body Conference, which will take place Saturday, March 14, at Light of the World Parish in Littleton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Early registration ends Jan. 31 and includes lunch and workshop materials for $40.

“God, Sex and the Meaning of life” is a full introduction to Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that will engage the audience with a complete understanding of God’s plan for humanity. The keynote speaker for this conference, Bill Donaghy, will be sharing his own experiences as husband, father, former high school teacher and child of God.

“If you have a pulse, if you’re human, if you’re alive, you should attend,” Donaghy told the Denver Catholic. “I’m giving an introduction. It’s the wide scope, 30,000-foot view of what the teaching [Theology of the Body] is. It’s literally for every man and woman, every vocation, single, married, celibate, divorced, wherever your state in life is, wherever you are right now, this is a day that zeroes in on human identity.”

Donaghy is the Senior Lecturer and Content Specialist for the Theology of the Body Institute, and a well-known international speaker. He worked for nearly a decade teaching theology while giving talks, retreats, and conferences for the institute. Since 1999, he has worked in the fields of mission and evangelization throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

Donaghy will encourage attendees to see the redemption of sexuality as the key to happiness, uncovering the truth behind the lies of lust and pornography and how they can be overcome.

“It’s about getting grounded again in my own incarnation, my masculinity, my femininity. Our culture right now is sort of cerebral, it’s kind of living in the head or maybe just living in the feelings, the outliers,” he said. “[The] theology of our body says, ‘come home to your body, your body is not an alien, it’s not an enemy that you manipulate or change.’ Theology of the Body helps us come home to our own bodies. It’s a beautiful homecoming.”

The conference will also feature a Spanish track with Evan Lemoine, Founder of “Amar al Máximo.” Lemoine is a recognized international speaker on the Theology of the Body, sexuality, courtship, and marriage. He is a graduate from the Master’s Program on Marriage and Family in the John Paul II Institute in Mexico City, where he was later a post-grad professor. He is also a graduate from the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia, where he has specialized on the vision and teachings of John Paul II. He has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University with a Minor in Psychology, and a Masters in Humanities from the Anahuac University in Mexico City.

This one-day conference is intended for all people college-aged and above. A study guide is included and may be used afterward for follow-up adult faith formation Theology of the Body studies.

“Sexuality is literally the image of God, man and woman,” Donaghy concluded. “He created us. Be not afraid. Come to a day that helps you answer fundamental questions: Who am I? How do I live?”

Theology of the Body Conference

Saturday, March 14
Mass with Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at 8 a.m.
Conference begins at 9 a.m.
Light of the World Parish, Littleton
$40 Early bird thru Jan. 31
More information and registration: archden.org/TOB-CONFERENCE/

COMING UP: Transforming quarantine into retreat

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This bruising Lent, in which “fasting” has assumed unprecedented new forms, seems likely to be followed by an Eastertide of further spiritual disruption. What is God’s purpose in all this? I would be reluctant to speculate. But at the very least, the dislocations we experience – whether aggravating inconvenience, grave illness, economic and financial loss, or Eucharistic deprivation – call us to a more profound realization of our dependence on the divine life given us in Baptism: the grace that enables us to live in solidarity with others and to make sense of the seemingly senseless.

If we cooperate with that grace rather than “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14), it can enable us to transform quarantine, lockdown, and the interruption of normal life into an extended retreat, a time to deepen our appreciation of the riches of Catholic faith. Dioceses, Catholic centers, and parishes are offering many online opportunities for prayer, thereby maintaining the public worship of the Church. Here are other resources that can help redeem the rest of Lent and the upcoming Easter season.

* Shortly before the Wuhan virus sent America and much of the world reeling, I began watching Anthony Esolen’s Catholic Courses video-lectures on the Inferno, the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I’ve long admired Tony Esolen’s Dante translation and his lucid explanation of the medieval Christian worldview from which Dante wrote; and there was something fitting about watching Esolen accompany Dante and Virgil through hell during a hellish Lent. Professor Esolen’s explication of Dante’s Purgatory and Paradise (also available from Catholic Courses) are just as appropriate these days, however. For the entire Comedy is a journey of conversion that leads to the vision of God; and that is precisely the itinerary the Church invites us to travel during Lent, as the Forty days prepare us to meet the Risen Lord at Easter and experience the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

* Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was arguably the greatest papal homilist since Pope St. Gregory the Great in the sixth century. The March and April sermons in Seeking God’s Face: Meditations for the Church Year (Cluny Media), help put the trials of this Lent and Eastertide into proper Christian focus.

* I’ve often recommended the work of Anglican biblical scholar N.T. Wright. Two chapters (“The Crucified Messiah” and “Jesus and God”) in The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (InterVarsity Press) make apt Lenten reading in plague time. The fifth chapter of that small book, “The Challenge of Easter,” neatly summarizes Dr. Wright’s far longer and more complex argument in The Resurrection of the Son of God (Fortress Press) and makes a powerful case for the historical reality of the Easter events. Like Wright, Pope Emeritus Benedict’s reflections on the empty tomb and the impact of meeting the Risen One in Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week (Ignatius Press) underscore the bottom of the bottom line of Christianity: no Resurrection, no Church.

* Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism series is the greatest audio-visual presentation of the faith ever created. If you’ve never watched it, why not now?  If you have, this may be the time to continue with Bishop Barron’s Catholicism: The New Evangelization (an exploration of how to put Catholic faith into action) and Catholicism: The Pivotal Players (portraits of seminal figures in Catholic history who did just that – St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Catherine of Siena, St. John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, and Michelangelo).

* Pope St. John Paul II’s centenary is the Monday following the Fifth Sunday of Easter: an anniversary worth celebrating, whatever the circumstances. The first 75 years of this life of extraordinary consequence for the Church and the world are relived in the documentary film, Witness to Hope – The Life of John Paul II. Liberating a Continent, produced by the Knights of Columbus, is a stirring video evocation of John Paul’s role in the collapse of European communism – and a reminder, in this difficult moment, of the history-bending power of courage and solidarity.

* The Dominican House of Studies in Washington and its Thomistic Institute are intellectually energizing centers of the New Evangelization. The good friars are not downing tools because of a pandemic; rather, they’re ramping up. Go to thomisticinstitute.org to register for a series of online “Quarantine Lectures” and an online Holy Week retreat. At the same home page, you’ll find Aquinas 101, 52 brief videos that make one of Catholicism’s greatest thinkers accessible to everyone, free and online, through brilliant teaching and striking animation.

And may the divine assistance remain with us, always.