By Celine Klosterman
Jennifer Troxel and other Clinton pro-life advocates believe Jason Evert’s message could be “life-changing.”
Troxel, co-chair of the pro-life committee at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, has high hopes for upcoming talks in the Davenport Diocese by the nationally known Catholic chastity speaker. Evert will present “Romance without Regret” for youths and “Raising Chaste Teens” for parents in the Davenport Diocese and in Illinois Oct. 5-8. Several of his eight presentations will be open and free to the public.
Prince of Peace’s pro-life committee spent a year and a half working to bring those presentations to the Davenport Diocese. Committee member Mary Jo Dopson said she and Troxel heard Evert speak to a packed room at the 2005 National Catholic Youth Conference, and after reading an article on his work, “we had to have him speak to our youth.”
Troxel also was convinced of Evert’s inspiration after seeing a photo showing dozens of items — Playboy paraphernalia, condoms, birth control pills — youths gave up after hearing him speak. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words; to me, this was worth even more,” she said.
So Prince of Peace began hosting bake sales, selling parish polo shirts and doing other fundraising to help bring Evert to town. Parishioners coordinated efforts with other Catholic parishes and schools; the speaker requires at least three talks to be booked, and more bookings means it’s more likely he’ll accept an invitation, Dopson said.
She said the effort was worth it. Troxel thinks youths will be open to Evert’s message and humor; he told Celebrate Life magazine he doesn’t “come wagging a finger” at teens.
But his message is firm. The 31-year-old husband and father is an apologist with Catholic Answers, has a master’s degree in theology and undergraduate degrees in counseling and theology. A former sidewalk counselor at abortion clinics, he got into chastity ministry to help people choose a lifestyle that prevents unplanned pregnancies.
Now, he’s written several books including “Pure Love” and “Theology of the Body for Teens.” He’s also launched Pure Love clubs for students.
But Troxel said that even with his knowledge and experience, he’ll be most effective if his talk is reinforced by parents, schools and parishes. “We hope it’s not a message that stops after his hour and 15 minutes,” she said. “The key is that it starts at home… there’s a lot students can take from this.”
For more information, visit www.chastity.com.
Jason Evert’s public presentations
Bettendorf – “Romance without Regret,” Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1506 Brown St., Oct. 7, 9:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Clinton – “Raising Chaste Teens,” Prince of Peace Church, 1105 Lametta Wynn Drive, Oct. 5, 7 p.m.
Clinton – “Romance without Regret,” Prince of Peace Church, Oct. 7, 1:15 p.m.
Davenport – “Raising Chaste Teens,” Oct. 6, St. Paul the Apostle Church, 916 E. Rusholme St., 7 p.m.