By Jennifer Mauro| Managing Editor
That’s what’s at the heart of educating young people about the Church’s teachings when it comes to the decisions they will face in their lives.
As such, noted author and abstinence educator Pam Stenzel is returning to the Diocese to present “Because you are Worth It” – a chastity event for parents and teens – open to students in eighth grade through high school as well as those who work with young people in schools and parishes.
“We do this event every year because it is critical for our young Catholics to hear the truth about what the Church teaches and to hear the truth about the consequences [of premarital sex] that our society doesn’t talk about,” said Dan Waddington, director of the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
“[The world] glorifies the act outside of wedlock in a way that can be very damaging. This event empowers young people to embrace the truths of the Church but it also gives them the facts of what the potential consequences are,” he said, citing as examples pregnancy outside of wedlock, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional distress.
Stenzel, founder of Enlighten Communications Inc., has a degree in psychology from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va., and has served as a member of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse Advisory Board. She takes her message to teens and parents in the United States and abroad.
Stenzel will visit six locations over three days, April 8 and April 11-12. Each event will be retreat-like, beginning with prayer and icebreakers, continuing into Stenzel’s talk and ending with a shortened Adoration opportunity meant for a young person “to take the experience to prayer and know that you are loved unconditionally,” Waddington said.
Music will be provided by Gez Ford, youth ministry coordinator and leader of the praise and worship band in St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton.
Waddington said Stenzel is a powerful speaker because “she tells it like it is. She really wants to make the point that God calls you to abstain [from sex] before marriage for a lot of good reasons and that your body, your health, your relationship with God is all worth that choice to wait.”
“Our society challenges our Catholic teaching on premarital sex,” Waddington said. “So much of what’s in the media today promotes things that are really the opposite of what our Church believes. It’s very hard in day-to-day life for young people to discern who it is that they are called to be, and Pam makes this [subject] very real for them.”
Waddington added that parent attendance at the presentations is “the best case scenario” because it allows them to hear the same facts their children are learning about.
“The youth then have the ability to go home and talk about this, to ask more questions,” he said. “A simple question on the car ride home can open the door to a conversation that maybe mom and dad wanted to have for a long time but didn’t know how to get started.”
The presentation is being co-sponsored by the diocesan departments of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and Evangelization and Family Life. For more information, contact Jerry Wutkowski, ministry assistant, at 609-403-7182 or email@example.com.