Teens and sexuality

WHAT can we learn from the Church about relationships and sexuality? How are Church teachings on being human relevant in helping us be our best self in relationships?

These questions were addressed, examined and discussed by Year 12 students from Florey’s St Francis Xavier (SFX) College in a seminar about human sexuality and the ethics of the body.

Coordinated by the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation, the seminar was one of a number of pilot projects around the Archdiocese. They are aimed to support teachers in providing students with input and reflection opportunities regarding sexuality, relationships and decision making.

The project trialled at SFX was conceived by the college’s religious education co-ordinator Anne Armstrong, coordinated by Lara Kirk, of the Archbishop’s Office for Evangelisation, and staffed by members of the local believing community.

It involved four guest speakers and 20 volunteer group leaders recruited from the Archdiocese, mostly religious or young adults with youth ministry experience.

Students listened to the experiences of Kate Freeman and gained insight from Mgr John Woods about the Christian perspective on human sexuality.

After a short pizza break, the girls attended a talk by Anna Johnstone.

Ms Johnstone discussed how important it is to understand and value your body in a relationship.

“I think it was relevant and interesting as Anna raised topics that girls don’t necessarily know a lot about, so it was really great to listen and ask questions,” youth ministry worker Zoe Swan said.

The boys participated in a seminar by Steve Proud where he talked about the importance of being confident in faith and personal abilities.

“I think Steve was able to resonate with the boys through his personal testimony, along with his strong talk about how men shield themselves from certain topics in modern society,” student Lachlan Bull said.

“I think his talk was inspiring and was easy to relate parts to my own life.”

Small group discussions, facilitated by student leaders and members of the Catholic community, encouraged exploration of the themes.

A highlight of the afternoon was the Q and A panel with the invited guests which gave students the opportunity to have their questions answered directly, while generating much discussion.

Overall, the seminar helped students develop a personal insight and appreciation for their own creation and at the same time gave them the chance to hear Church teaching on relevant and tough topics.