Everest holds the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person and those of Saint John Paul II’s theology of the body in high regard and transmits their values and truths to our students from their very start in the early years. In a world that leans toward relativism and pleasure-seeking, teachers and parents alike need tools, especially clear language, to help young people discover the truth of who they are as children of God and all that that implies. This summer, two Everest staff members attended a Gender & Sexual Identity Course offered by Ruah Woods, a Cincinnati-based Theology of the Body education center. Catholic educators and parish leaders from around the country gathered for two days of conferences by experts, tackling the topic at hand from various angles: psychological, anthropological, pastoral, moral theological, sociological, and legal.
“I was really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this amazingly informative conference. Each presenter was an expert in their respective field, and brought their expertise to each of the conference topics in a way that was deeply insightful and understandable. In addition to the wealth of information presented they provided us with resources to bring back to our communities. One thing that I personally took away from the conference was affirmation that I am doing the work of the Lord and encouragement to continue with confidence.” -Carolyn Mansour, High School Theology Teacher
“Adolescents are on a beautiful but challenging journey of self-discovery, and we are committed to walking with them, always speaking the truth with love. I care about our Everest students so much, and I know how difficult it is for them to navigate through the confusing messages they receive, especially from media. During this course I was reminded once again that Catholic educators and parents are on the ‘front lines of battle’ but that Jesus – who loves His children more than we do – has already won the victory, so we can put all our trust in Him!” -Jill Swallow, High School Formation Coordinator
One of the messages that the attendees heard at the conference centered on listening: “Conversations surrounding themes of gender and sexual identity can feel like mine fields. We never know when something is going to explode! We shouldn’t avoid the conversation out of fear that it might be messy. There is no “silver bullet”, no perfect formula that can be used in every situation; every conversation is unique. It is important to listen to the other person and ask a lot of questions first, to really understand where the person is coming from and what their story is. We might not know or understand what is behind their confusion, but we need to love through our answers. Truth and charity go together.”