The last week in January, Catholic Schools are being celebrated throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. And what a celebration it is — involving 105 outstanding schools and 40,000 students. What makes this year’s celebration even more pronounced is that most of these schools are teaching ROOTED: Theology of the Body Curriculum and some have already gone so far as to plant the banner of their commitment by proclaiming that they are a TOB Campus!
What is a TOB Campus? A community of persons where everybody is seen as a gift bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit — charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity. This is how Catholic leaders are educated and empowered. It’s how saints are formed. What better way to fortify and proclaim the difference that a Catholic education makes in a child’s life and in the world. So this year especially, we have much to celebrate.
Why is Cincinnati ground zero for this commitment to Theology of the Body? Yes, it springs from the authentic ongoing witness of our parents and educators. But this particular movement in building stronger relationships with Christ came from the leadership of our courageous Archbishop Dennis Schnurr ten years ago. A teacher himself, he knew the importance of establishing a biblical worldview before this term was ever made popular. He also recognized the deficiencies of the materials educators had to work with to bring this foundational teaching to light in the classroom. Nearly a decade ago, he called for the creation of a Theology of the Body curriculum for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati – and ROOTED was conceived. In Spring 2019, as the curriculum neared completion, Archbishop wrote to his priests and school principals:
In the Apostolic Exhortation on the New Evangelization, Pope Francis reveals a dream that he has for the Church,
I dream of a “missionary option” that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. (Evangelii Gaudium 27).
The seed of this dream for the New Evangelization was planted by St. John Paul II. It is no coincidence that the same mind that conceived the New Evangelization also gave us the rich teaching of the Theology of the Body. The New Evangelization and the Theology of the Body go hand in hand.
I too share this dream for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In an important step in this direction, I promulgated teaching Theology of the Body in every grade PK-8 and I have plans for this to be promulgated through grade 12.
More recently, Archbishop Schnurr blessed Ruah Woods Press and its work by securing our curriculum and teacher training efforts under the mantle of Our Lady: “I entrust Ruah Woods Press and the ROOTED: K-12 Theology of the Body Curriculum to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May she shelter and protect all who work to uphold and teach the truth of the dignity of the human person.” Reason to celebrate? We’re ready to make a joyful noise.
Written by, Steve Deiters, Director, Curriculum Development
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