The Certification Program of the Theology of the Body Institute is designed to offer courses in Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body to assist clergy, religious, and lay men and women to learn, live and teach the life-changing message of TOB to the world. We offer six courses a year to not only educate minds with the beautiful truths of human love and sexuality , but also transform hearts through daily Mass, adoration, prayer, confession, and fellowship. Our Lord is changing lives through these encounters with Him.
Your dedication to prayer and financial support of the mission of the Theology of the Body Institute bears eternal fruit in the hearts and minds of so many people each year.
More than 500 students attended courses in 2012
In 2012 alone, more than 500 students enrolled in the Theology of the Body Institute’s weeklong courses. We now have over 130 students registered in our Certification Program, and in 2013, we will graduate our first class of certification students! They will have completed the eight required courses and assessments, and a practicum that integrates the formation they have received throughout their studies. It is a privilege to journey with each and every one of them as the teaching of Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body formed their vocational lives and their personal relationship with God.
Two New Courses and Two New Instructors in 2013
We are excited to offer two new courses and welcome two new faculty members in 2013. Providentially during this Year of Faith, we will debut Theology of the Body III: The New Evangelization, taught by Christopher West in June of 2013. We welcome our newest faculty members, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV, an expert in Ignatian Spirituality, and Fr. Mark Toups, Director of Seminarian Formation for the Diocese of Houma/Thibodaux Louisiana who will be co-teaching Theology of the Body & the Interior Life in October of 2013.
As I close out my first year as Executive Director of the Institute, I am in awe at what marvelous works God has done through the Theology of the Body Institute. There is no question in my mind that we are uniquely positioned - better, now, than ever before - to prepare Catholic and other Christian leaders to help heal and renew our culture through the Theology of the Body.
Students who attend the Theology of the Body Institute’s courses and programs “open their hearts and minds to the desire for God.” With your help, these students will renew our culture, be an instrument of healing to those who are suffering, and help build the Kingdom of God.
Partner with Us in Spreading TOB
I hope that you will partner with us as we move forward. Your tax-deductible gift of $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50, or whatever your means allow, will help us evangelize our culture. We especially need your support as we close out the year of 2012 and prepare for increased programming in 2013.
Thank you for considering a sacrificial gift to the Theology of the Body Institute’s 2012 Year End Capital Campaign. With your help, the Institute’s vision will be increasingly realized with each passing day.
Please be assured that you are in the daily prayers of the TOB Institute.
Damon Owens, Executive Director
By Jen Ricard
When I attended my first Theology of the Body Institute class in June of 2005 I really didn’t know what I was in for. As I sat in class on Tuesday morning, the truth of the teachings began sinking in and I started to panic. If these teachings are really true and I have an understanding of them then I also have a responsibility to share them with others. I need to get out of here! This class was opening my eyes to a new reality that seemed irreconcilable with the world I knew. With tears streaming down my cheeks I shared my concerns with our instructor, Christopher, after class. Our discussion convinced me to stay, but it wasn’t until Mass that afternoon that the Holy Spirit calmed my anxieties and provided a mission.
During the homily the priest explained that this week was our opportunity to just receive the teachings of the Church by opening our minds and hearts and patiently allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us with knowledge. As he asked us to let go of our fears about sharing these difficult teachings with others I remember saying to myself, “How does he know that’s exactly what I am feeling?” He concluded by saying it is not up to us to reconcile those who disagree with the Church, but instead “all things are reconciled through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Those words lifted the burden I had imposed on myself and gave me the freedom to place my trust in Christ and his power to work through me.
The closing Mass of the week had a heightened sense of awe at the sacredness of the Eucharist. Many were filled with emotion, but my clearest memory is of my friend, Joanne, who was visibly trembling as she approached the altar. After she received Christ’s body and blood she ran out the back door of the room. When I found her she said, “Jen, I have been asking God for months to reveal his True Presence to me in the Eucharist and I am so grateful because today he did, but I can’t stop crying because I’m not sure how to explain it to my children.” I was able to remind her, “Joanne, let go of your anxiety and trust in God to provide the opportunity and the words to express these truths to your children.”
I’ve been back to the Institute for six more classes and will be finishing certification after TOB III next summer. Each course has included moments of realizing God’s truth in a way I hadn’t seen it before and it’s always beautifully overwhelming! Encountering truth shakes up our world as we shift our view of reality, but we have to remind each other to “be not afraid” because truth is exactly what we long for. It is the only thing that will really make us happy and get us where we need to be because truth is Christ himself.
Jennifer Ricard has been teaching Theology of the Body for over seven years to adults and teens throughout the Cleveland Diocese. Jennifer has taken seven classes at the Theology of the Body Institute and plans to take TOB III this summer to complete the certification program. Jennifer and her husband, Frank, have been married for 18 years and reside in Hudson, Ohio with their six children.