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Evert Shares Chastity Message with over 1000


It began with a simple question. “How much would it take to bring Jason Evert here?” This question, planted as a seed in the winter of 2009, grew roots within host schools and parishes, broke ground through a unified planning committee, and fully blossomed last week in the fields of Petoskey and Traverse City. Jason Evert, a nationally known chastity speaker from California, delivered three thought-provoking presentations to teens and parents in his brief 24-hour visit to Northern Michigan. Jason first presentation took place on May 16 at the Petoskey Middle School Auditorium. The “Pure Life Event” was hosted by St. Francis Xavier (Petoskey) and Holy Childhood (Harbor Springs) High School Youth Ministry and opened with music from the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band, followed by a powerful drama performed by the host’s youth group, and concluded with Jason’s inspiring, relevant and “real” Romance without Regret presentation. The crowd, estimated to be 450 people with the majority being teenagers, gave Jason a standing ovation for his talk imbued with real-life stories, humor, statistics, encouragement to live a chaste life, and the healing truth of Christ’s love for each of us. This standing ovation was reflective, as Jason noted the following morning during a presentation for parents titled Raising Chaste Teens at Immaculate Conception Church in Traverse City, that “young people are hungry for a different message” than what our secular culture offers regarding love and relationships. Jason noted ten points for parents in raising their children and teens with a media and culture so often inundated with messages which conflict with Christian teachings on the truth and beauty of human sexuality. He reminded parents that “love is incarnational” and parents need to praise and physically affirm their children and teens. Since parents are the most influential people in a teen’s life, Jason encouraged parents not to waste any suffering in their lives, but to embrace “redemptive suffering.” He cited St. Monica and her long years of prayer for her wayward son St. Augustine, who eventually became a Doctor of the Church. Other tips for parents Jason shared included:

  • Pray constantly
  • Set high standards
  • Stress abstinence until marriage
  • Be the parent first; not the friend -- not the buddy
  • Delay the onset of dating
  • Network with other parents
  • Keep communication lines open
  • Get over insecurities about talking about sex
  • Chastity is a virtue -- more easily “caught” than “taught”
A social for the parents followed which was hosted by St. Mary Parish & School of Lake Leelanau. Before Jason’s final presentation, students from all four Catholic High Schools in the Diocese of Gaylord (St. Francis High School in Traverse City, St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau, Manistee Catholic High School, and St. Mary School in Gaylord) along with the eighth grade class from St. Francis Xavier in Petoskey and a number of homeschoolers gathered for Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Traverse City. Bishop Bernard Hebda presided with ten priests of the diocese concelebrated. A youth choir provided beautiful music during the Sacred Liturgy, along with youth assisting in various liturgical roles during the Mass. An incredibly enthusiastic crowd of over 600 teenagers and adults welcomed Jason as he reprised his Romance without Regret talk, speaking candidly and enthusiastically. He captivated this audience with his humor and ability to package truth to young people in a manner which reaches their hearts. He challenged young men on what it really means to be a man and to sacrifice for love and Jason challenged young women to understand and accept the vital importance of respecting themselves. Has a new sexual revolution of chastity started in Northern Michigan? Will the seeds of conversion just planted take further root and grow into a transformed and healed generation of young people in our midst? Having witnessed each of these events and with one hundred religious convents specifically praying for Jason and his ministry, I would say, “Yes! Most definitely – particularly because as Jason said, those religious sisters are ‘heavy hitters’ and they bat to heaven everyday.” By: Elizabeth M. Gengle High School Youth Director St. Francis Xavier & Holy Childhood High School Youth Ministry

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