Catholic Missionary Projects in Fiji
Catholic Missionary Projects in Fiji
What most people think of as a tropical destination island for vacation, the local church sees people suffering especially the young people who have been steadily falling away. Without the knowledge of true love young people were falling into the traps of sin and temptation and becoming fully immersed in the culture of death. Regnum Christi missionaries have a plan to combat the culture of death in Fiji with the culture of life.
Teaching Theology of the Body
Teaching Theology of the Body
Changing the Lives and Faith of Teenagers for the Better
This largely Christian country was seeing a huge increase in teenage pregnancies, suicide, HIV AIDS cases, sexually transmitted infections, and child abuse. The Catholic Diocese of Fiji wanted nothing more than to act and prevent the horrors that were unfolding around them, but did not have enough tools to spread the message of Christ and His loving moral teachings.
The answer to the Diocese’s problem came when Mareta Tovata came across the Theology of the Body conference while searching for ways to combat these issues, and inspire young people in Fiji. Mareta learned Theology of the Body (TOB) shows the inner meaning of the Church’s teachings on human sexuality and responsible parenting. Mareta first introduced Fiji to Theology of the Body by the grace of God when Fr. Walter Schu, LC offered to come to Fiji and teach some courses in 2012.
Message of the Mission
Theology of the Body (TOB) answers so many questions young people have with the Church in a moral way that speaks volumes without undermining their “youthfulness,” but embracing them as young people, future adults, who want to love and love well. Theology of the Body teaches people to embrace purity and not to use other people as a means to an end, but to love all people charitably without seeking any personal gain. Theology of the Body teaches people the truth in loving and giving of oneself fully as a gift to another person, and how this is learned through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The program Mareta brought to Fiji also included Natural Family Planning (NFP) courses, which teaches a holistic approach to Family Planning without the use of contraceptives.
The number of people who will benefit from this program in one year is 5,000 people. Parish representatives who came to learn about Theology of the Body (TOB) and Natural Family Planning (NFP) were given the tools to take this beautiful message of the Church to their home parish and teach others. After the two weeks of training one volunteer was asked to speak at a conference the next day where she was able to preach to over 600 women!
One Woman in her Thirteenth Year of Teaching Wrote to us Saying…
“… This year, 2014 has been a real blessing. Mareta Tovata from the Archdiocese of Suva willingly volunteered to take the Theology of the Body (TOB) for Teens to 40 (21 boys & 19 girls) Year 8 students in my class. From the start I discovered myself immersed in all the sessions presented. The good news really was that we were the pioneer group which was even more special.
Mareta came with her tv screen and the videos were too good. She is a woman of faith, substance and believed and taught TOB to greatness. The resource books which were given to me for a very short period were real treasures. As a teacher, they became my top wish list. I wish I had this much earlier; it definitely would be a revolution. Students looked forward to these sessions and the messages dug deep. Each session would begin with a story and these stories set the tone on what became an effective introduction for a successful lesson. The students were engaged as if there was no time to blink. As a teacher teaching Catholic Catechism for the past 13 years, TOB resources have been wonderful, great and touch our very being and existence…
I have seen the significant impact of the lost and ruined in my class. TOB sessions set the tone; it was the answer. Young people learned the truth and got excited about their own sexuality through the lens of TOB which really is about purity. At the end of the session, I made sure that the messages of TOB continue to be revisited and stressed in class. I have seen the difference. To me it is a real gift given to these children as they move from primary to secondary. Stella Maris Class of 2014 is truly blessed. The lessons are effective for all young people in any background regardless of religious affiliations. It worked for the Hindu student in my class, the many non- Catholics and Catholics alike. The messages are real and meaningful. The lessons undoubtedly prove that the messages of contraception are wrong and that life deals with human dignity. My sincere wish is that TOB is made compulsory in all schools and that Years 7 & 8 students are catered for in this Theology of the Body for Teens.”
Some of her students shared:
“Theology of the Body has changed all the way I act around others and the way I live my life now. I have learned that we should surround ourselves with good people and to be a gift to others.”
“I love TOB because it makes me reflect on who I am and how God wants us to be”
“The most awesome thing was when I knew all about myself and what I had to do as a child of God in family, school and church. The most scary thing is that the devil is real”
“The things I learnt were trying to be pure, be careful with what movies/videos I watch, songs I listen to and the pictures I see. These chapters changed my life, it made me a better person.”
Reflections of Some Participants
“Like some of the missionaries said, ‘If only I knew, If only I learnt it earlier my life could have been different.’ Theology of the Body (TOB) has transformed and shaped my life how I came to understand the mystery of God, through our human body, our communion of persons. TOB is so enriching, especially embracing TOB for the young of today. I was wondering why I was called. Now the reason is clearer than ever, to give myself totally to this cause as an educator to reach out and make a difference in the lives of the young people that I encounter. Also to advocate Natural Family Planning with women I come into contact with. TOB has helped me understand my body is not an object. Thank you for enlightening my world to teach especially my children about TOB. I will be changing my plan for my RE classes to the children. I will teach them all aspects of what I have gained. I will be also treating them with more respect.”
Feedback from Natural Family Planning
“This has been a wonderful workshop and a real eye opener for us. This Natural Family Planning with the Ovulation method is now become clear to us. We did hear about this from others but this past week has really made us grasp the concepts and learn the natural way of family planning which is indeed in line with the teachings of the church.
We have come to be aware that the decision to achieve, postpone or avoid pregnancy is in our hands. We don’t need contraceptives or others telling us what to do. We now are equipped with Gods Natural way , which has no side effects or harms our bodies. We see this as enhancing our love for one another as a couple and be responsible in the choices we make regarding our family”. – Eric and Ma Participants in Natural Family Planning Course
“To me Theology of the Body was a very awesome lesson. It was very interesting, because it talks about how we as children should act like and how we should live. It also has some hard hitting parts. It has also changed the way I act now and I know deep down inside that I am a better person. I have seen the change that has happened to my classmates after Theology of the Body. We are all more understanding and kind to each other.” – Student Testimony, 8th Grader from Stella Maris Primary School
Sponsored a Second Trip
In August of 2015, Catholic World Mission sponsored a second trip with Regnum Christi Mission Youth to Fiji to spread the highly popular program! Fr. Walter Schu, LC, Fr. John Paul Duran, LC, Mercedes Wilson, Dr. Paul Byrne, and his daughter Lisa Robbins helped lead the mission and train the volunteers prior to the mission. The program brought trained volunteers to bring the message of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning to the Archdiocese of Suva. Parish representatives from all of the islands came to be trained in the course to bring back to their home parishes. For two weeks over 30 people were trained to carry out Theology of the Body and Natural Family Planning
“The Theology of the Body has changed the way I act and feel. I had learnt so many life lessons.” – Student from Theology of the Body Class