Catholic Free Press

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Young adults embrace Theology of the Body

Posted By June 20, 2013 | 1:00 pm | Lead Story #3, Local
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By Jessica Valera
CFP Correspondent

WORCESTER – Assumption College played host to a special gathering of young adults on Saturday night. Pure in Heart Worcester, a branch of the international Catholic organization centered around Blessed Pope John Paul II’s teachings of Theology of the Body, had its Summer Kick-Off at the college’s Campus Ministry Center, in order to raise awareness of its presence in the diocese.
Calling young people ages 18-35 to live the virtue of chastity and to respect the sanctity of human life, Pure in Heart encourages its members to live the teachings of Theology of the Body in their own lives.
“Pure in Heart takes Theology of the Body and lives it,” said member Samantha Pegg, 23, of St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury. “Many young adults today are out in the world doing other things. Pure in Heart and Theology of the Body work to center us on what’s important, and to branch it out into the other areas of our lives.”
First started in Ireland, Pure in Heart has expanded to Haiti, Massachusetts cities of Boston and Lowell, and has recently made its way into the Diocese of Worcester, where it has been welcomed.
“I was looking for other people out there my age who wanted to deepen their faith,” Ms. Pegg said. “And Pure in Heart Worcester has done just that.”
She is not the only young adult who feels this way. Stephanie DeLaBruere, 23, of St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, also has found Pure in Heart Worcester to be a positive. “My faith has grown since becoming a member,” Ms. DeLaBruere said. “I’m inspired to be a better Catholic.”
The emphasis on community within the Pure in Heart organization has been a successful element.
“It’s a community of young people,” Ms. Pegg said. “That’s what’s made it fun and special.”
Each Pure in Heart group has a weekly meeting lasting from two to three hours. The meetings consists of Mass, the recitation and praying of the rosary, dinner, a talk on a Theology of the Body topic, small group discussion, the sacrament of confession when available, and eucharistic adoration.
According to Ms. DeLaBruere, this format allows for faith-sharing among members and attendees. “I think connecting with people your own age that are Catholic is one of the best things about Pure in Heart,” she said.
Father Jonathan J. Slavinskas, 29, associate pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, gave a talk at the Summer Kick-Off in which he praised Pure in Heart Worcester for its presence in the diocese.
“I think it’s needed and I think it should be promoted,” he said. “Young people should come together to share their faith.”
He went on to remind the group of each person’s individual call to holiness, encouraged them to use their gifts to grow in holiness, and thanked them for being present at the meeting. “I thank you for being here, for taking the step to come here, and for saying ‘I want this, I want a relationship with Christ,’” Father Slavinskas said.
When asked if she was happy with the turnout for the Pure in Heart Worcester Summer Kick-Off, Ms. DeLaBruere replied, “I’m very pumped with the turnout,” with a smile on her face. “Everyone seemed excited about it,” she added.
Attendee Leanne Cyr, 20, of St. Cecilia Church in Leominster, reaffirmed Ms. DeLaBruere’s positive feedback on the event. “I loved the adoration and the Mass that they had. It was nice that they offered multiple sacraments too,” Ms. Cyr said. “I would definitely come back again.”
There is hope of a bright future for Pure in Heart Worcester among its members. “We hope that we can connect the whole diocese and for us to be a go-to group for young people,” Ms. DeLaBruere said. “It’s something out there for us.” Social events like hiking trips, day trips, and other gatherings outside of the weekly meetings are also being planned, according to Ms. Pegg. “The point is to bring people together in a social event to practice living out Theology of the Body in that way,” she said. “If I was looking to deepen my faith, I know I am not alone. There are other young people out there that want the same.”
For more information visit the Pure in Heart website pureinheartamerica.org or ‘like’ the Pure in Heart Worcester page on Facebook.