December 2, 2011

‘Theology of the Body’ workshop highlights NCCC gathering

Jackie Francois, left, and Mary Bielski offer up a prayer before beginning a breakout session on Theology of the Body on Nov. 19 at the National Catholic Collegiate Conference in Indianapolis. The passionate and personal presentation had a strong emotional impact on the young adults in attendance. (Photo by Alea Bowling)

Jackie Francois, left, and Mary Bielski offer up a prayer before beginning a breakout session on Theology of the Body on Nov. 19 at the National Catholic Collegiate Conference in Indianapolis. The passionate and personal presentation had a strong emotional impact on the young adults in attendance. (Photo by Alea Bowling)

By Alea Bowling (Special to The Criterion)

Among the most important features of the National Catholic Collegiate Conference (NCCC) in Indianapolis were the small workshop sessions designed to help Catholic college students live their faith.

Mary Bielski, a youth minister and national speaker for ALL4HIM Ministries, and Jackie Francois, a worship leader and Spirit and Song recording artist, presented a session on “Theology of the Body.”

Francois opened the session with music. She played a medley of current popular love songs, and encouraged the students to sing along.

Bielski said she wanted to help the students understand “Theology of the Body” in the context of their daily life.

Rather than discuss the specifics of Blessed John Paul II’s teachings, she shared stories about her own experiences in high school and college.

Bielski used the image of a dance between a man and a woman to illustrate the idea of the complimentary nature of men and women.

Unfortunately, she said, the dance doesn’t always go as smoothly as we want.

“We’re in this dance, and we don’t know our steps. We don’t even know who we are,” Bielski said.

To remain pure, young adults don’t have to avoid popular culture, stop reading magazines or give up listening to the radio, she said. They simply have to know who they are in Christ.

“You are holy creations, you are set apart, righteous,” Bielski said. “This is who you are.”

With this knowledge, young adults can find the strength to stand out in the college world and live their faith as young Catholics, she added. †

 

Related story: Students grow in faith at National Catholic Collegiate Conference

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