An event called ‘Sex In Your City‘, (SIYC) based on St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body (TOB), was held for the youth of the Pune diocese on 26th March, 2017 at Sacred Heart Parish, Pune. This event was organized by the CFCI Singles of Pune for the first time. The various sessions were delivered by experienced young speakers from Project o22 – A Project uniting resource people across lay ecclesial groups, parishes and cities that conducts interactive sessions and programmes based on St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body – for couples and young adults across the country. A number of creative tools like videos, PowerPoint slides, flex banners, dances, skits, songs, teaching aids, personal testimonies, etc., were incorporated. These helped make the sessions engaging and comprehensible, while retaining its depth. The event was made lively with action songs which were something new for most of the participants.
Targeted at young people between the age group of 18 (ideally 21) and 35, the program sought to help them:
- Understand God’s plan for sexuality and for sexual union.
- Understand how that plan has been twisted by the evil one.
- Look at life in the light of this revelation and identify where people stand with respect to it. Chalk out a road map to come back (as might be the case) to God’s plan in the area of sexuality.
- Acquire the tools required to move from sin, to the repression of sexual desires, to the redemption of sexual desires.
The program comprised of 6 sessions. The first session was about identifying the reality of sexual practices and the attitudes which drive them, in today’s world. This included a speculation of the attitudes and practices that exist in daily life. The next session was focused on the definition and meaning of sex. Questions like Why did God create sex? What is God’s plan for our sexuality? And how has the evil one twisted this plan?’ were addressed during the same. Following this was the first open forum session in which young people cleared their doubts related to sex. The fourth session was based on the path to purity. Later, the 5th talk was given, entitled, ‘Achieving redemption: The five weapons our Holy Mother Church has given to help her people make the journey. After this, the second and last open forum was held, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a beautiful homily on the same theme.
The program was a huge success. It gave the participants a positive outlook towards human sexuality. The focus was to get people to align themselves with God’s plan. The intent was to fill them with a sense of hope and joy. It focused on the ‘why’ behind the Church’s teachings on sexual morality, rather than a ‘you shall not’ concerning this subject. It also focused on the ensuing joys in aligning oneself to God, in the area of one’s sexual behavior. The participants could now ensure that their relationship with their future spouses reflects the Holy Trinity, by checking the following:
- Are both individuals in the relationship freely?
- Are both individuals in the relationship giving themselves to each other totally?
- Are both individuals in the relationship faithful to each other in all ways?
- Is the relationship promising to be a fruitful one, that is, do both individuals agree to bring forth children into the world?
The event was graced by the presence of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Pune and the Youth Director of Pune along with many other priests who were pleased by the initiative of CFCI and have requested for more such programs at various other parishes in the city in the near future, promising their full support.