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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Man Up
Regnum Christi New York offers course in the Theology of the Body for young men

Man Up Program Talk
RC missionary Jona Hoffmaister talks to young men in the Man Up program.

Br. Ryan Harkins, LC, discusses the Theology of the Body course for young men – “Man Up” – for high school students in New York.

Could you explain what “Man Up” is?

“Man Up” is a course on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.  Its focus is on young men in high school and its objective is to give them sound moral principles to follow in their high school lives.  We also want them to form brotherhood through this program – to become friends that help each other to live out their Catholic faith and hold each other accountable.

What is the Theology of the Body?               

The Theology of the Body is a teaching from Blessed John Paul II.  Right after he was elected Pope, he dedicated his weekly Wednesday audiences in the first five years of his pontificate to this teaching which has come to be known as “Theology of the Body.”  The focus of this teaching is on human sexuality and the purpose of human life in the divine plan.  It
Man Up in New York
RC Missionary Luka Christa helps make the principles of Theology of the Body relevant to everyday life.
is a response to the sexual confusion of our day and gives us the principles we need to answer the most fundamental questions in our hearts, namely, “Who are we as persons?”

How did you come up with the idea of “Man Up”?

An RC member in the local area wanted some formation for her two high-school-age boys. When I arrived in early September for my internship, Fr. Jason Smith, LC, the director of the young men’s section here in New York, and I, met with her to go over a plan.  The fruit of that meeting was to come up with a curriculum based on John Paul II’s teaching on the Theology of the Body.  Thus “Man Up” was born.

What does the “Man Up” program consist of?

The program consists of a monthly meeting with around 10 to 15 young men.  It is a two-hour-long session in the evening, run by myself and the RC Mission Corps group. The missionaries are young men out of high school who give a year of their lives, before they go to college, to help other kids come closer to Christ.  They have been trained in the Theology of the Body, so their main focus through the “Man Up” program is to facilitate a group discussion with the young men to make the material relevant to their day-to-day lives.  Also, Fr. Jason and Fr. Stephen Dardis, LC, are the chaplains of the program.

What is the relationship between “Man Up” and the charism of Regnum Christi?

I would say the link between what “Man Up” has to offer (and therefore what the Theology of the Body has to offer) and the charism of Regnum Christi regards the “New Evangelization.”  The Theology of the Body is a teaching given by the Church to counteract the present “Culture of Death” with the type of culture we are suppose to be -- one of life. This is what Regnum Christi is all about -- forming and guiding men and women of all ages, and families, to help create this Culture of Life.  The goal of “Man Up” is to teach these young men what it means to be human so that they can go out and do the same with their friends and peers.  It is to help them go back to the original plan of the Father to be the men He is calling them to be by living a life centered on Jesus Christ, who is the one who “reveals man to himself.”  This is a huge part of Regnum Christi and the way we are serving the Church in the “New Evangelization.”

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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