Theology of the Body for Teens teaches Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Church approved sex-ed

  • June 14, 2013

When Toronto-area residents want to teach teens about God and sex, they call Rose Heron.

Heron is a volunteer with God, Sex and the Meaning of Life Ministry in the Archdiocese of Toronto. The goal of the ministry is to spread Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality. And for the last four years, she and her husband Patrick, coordinator of the teen program, have offered sessions on Theology of the Body for Teens to youth groups and high schools across the archdiocese.

“We want to reach as many young people as possible,” said Heron. “It’s such an important program for them to understand what the Church teaches and why. And it gives them a better understanding of Church teachings around sexuality.”

Heron is currently involved in running the Theology of the Body for Teens middle-school program for Grades 6, 7 and 8 in her parish St. Bernadette’s, Ajax, Ont. She is also involved in running the regular teen program for the youth group at St. Maximilian Kolbe, Mississauga, Ont., and at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School in Oshawa, Ont. She will soon start another teen program in Toronto for the Filipino covenant community of Bukas Loob sa Diyos (Open in Spirit to God) from Our Lady of The Assumption Church.

For high schools, teachers invite Heron to their Grade 9, 10 or 12 class to run sessions during class time. In Grade 11, says Heron, students focus on world religions, so the theology program does not fit appropriately into the curriculum.

For youth groups, Heron and her husband typically present the series of workshops in six, eight or 12 sessions and teach the curriculum in the group’s parish, sometimes over a period of weeks or months. But she finds it more challenging to run the program monthly.

“If they (students) have something every week, they stay engaged with it. If they have it over a weekend, they stay engaged with it. It’s more challenging to have something that is once a month,” said Heron, adding that the challenge is minimal because the program “was made so that young people would be engaged.”

During discussion time with groups with multiple ages, Heron tries to group participants by age. Citing age appropriateness, she says that “someone who is in Grade 9 may have different concerns or different thoughts that somebody who’s in Grade 12.” She also said that Grade 12 students, for example, are not going to be comfortable speaking about certain topics in front of younger students.

Adults can learn how to run a Theology of the Body for Teens by volunteering with Heron. For more information visit

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