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home : features : youth / young adults January 17, 2019

11/6/2018 1:06:00 PM
Young adult program at GCU to facilitate dialogue on sexuality, faith

By David Karas | Correspondent

Young adults and college students across the Diocese of Trenton are invited to attend a special program designed to facilitate an open dialogue around the meaning and purpose of sexuality.

The daylong program – “Your Body and Your Life: Unveiling God’s Love” – will take place Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Georgian Court University, Lakewood.

Related: Bishop proclaims a Year of Youth in the Diocese of Trenton

“The issue of sexuality is one that is enormous in our day and time,” said Cristina D’Averso-Collins, director of campus ministries in Monmouth University, West Long Branch. She said that the program will explore, among other topics, “what we mean when we say that the body has meaning and value.”

The event, one of many being offered specifically for young adults during the diocesan Year of Youth, will feature keynote speaker Gene Zannetti, a former nationally ranked, All-Ivy League wrestler who attended the University of Pennsylvania. He holds master’s degrees in exercise science and sport psychology and clinical psychology. He works with the U.S. Olympic wrestling team and is the founder of Spiritual Strength, a company that provides coaching, workshops and retreats.

“He is very practical,” D’Averso-Collins said. “He gives you tips on how to deepen your spiritual life.”

Later in the day, there will be individual breakout sessions for men and women, during which the groups will hone in on some of the themes discussed at the onset of the program, with some gender-specific discussions. Those breakout sessions will be facilitated by Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Sebastian Kajko and Enza Cerami, founder of Living Stones Inc. – a firm that works with schools, churches, youth groups and organizations to educate about God’s plan for sex and marriage.

The day will also include a discussion about discernment with Father Rick Osborn, parochial vicar in Mary, Mother of God Parish, Middletown. Father Osborn will celebrate Mass at the close of the program.

“Young adults are searching for meaning,” D’Averso-Collins said. “We certainly want to provide some answers.”

Discussions will focus on helping participants to discover the meaning and purpose of their sexuality and how it applies to their unique mission in life – as well as to learn skills to both discover and utilize their talents in order to create and maintain healthy relationships.

Jerry Wutkowski, ministry assistant in the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, which is sponsoring the event, emphasized the broader takeaway he hopes participants will gain through the speakers and dialogue.

“It is understanding who we are in the eyes of God,” he said. “Why has God given me this gift, and what can I do with it?”

All young adults are welcome to attend, regardless of whether they are active in practicing their faith.

Registration is $10. For more information, visit


Related Stories:
• Year of Youth Resource Book a valuable tool for engagement
• Diocesan Year of Youth launches with message of hope by Bishop O'Connell
• Young adult program on sexuality, faith focuses on being honest with God in all aspects of life

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