Summary of today’s show: Rebecca Hofmann made a decision to put her faith into action by becoming a missionary of chastity. As a member of Generation Life, Rebecca is one of a team of five that travels about the country talking to middle school and high school teens about the beauty of God’s plan for love and sexuality, and for many of them it’s the first time they’ve ever heard about chastity. Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams talk to Rebecca about how she came to this ministry, some of the results she’s seen in the kids she’s talked to, how the missionaries depend completely on God’s Providence to complete their work, and how she’s come to this as her life’s work.
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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams
Today’s guest(s): Rebecca Hofmann
Links from today’s show:
Today’s topics: Generation Life bringing God’s plan for chastity to teens across the US
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed everyone to the show. He said today’s topic is on chastity education to prevent many of the ills related to the sexual revolution. He welcomed Fr. Matt Williams to the show who said Cardinal Seán has made it a priority to teach students even as young as middle school on chastity and respect for human life and dignity.
Scot said God created us with a purpose to love each within the norms established by our loving God and many of us haven’t had that presented to us in its fullness. He mentioned that some parents may want to use discretion when listening to the show when their children are present.
2nd segment: Scot welcomed Rebecca Hofmann of Generation Life to the show. She grew up in Stow, Mass., as a nominal Catholic. She went to college and forgot about her faith. She came back to Boston with a teaching job and got into her faith through young adult ministry. She saw a joy, peace, and happiness in the young adults she met which was everything she’d been looking for and she really enjoyed hanging out with them.
Scot noted that Rebecca was involved with the young adult ministry at St. Clement’s Eucharistic Shrine in Boston. She checked out anything she was invited to, including bible studies, Theology on Tap, and Pure in Heart.
Rebecca said the lack of a personal relationship with Christ and others who follow Christ laid the foundation for lack of religious practice in college. Fr. Matt said rules without relationship mean rebellion. Rebecca said the Jesus in the North End event was her first encounter with Adoration, but she was invited and went anyway.
Scot said her first invitation came from her older sister. He said it’s a wonderful gift for a family member to extend.
Scot asked how she got involved in chastity education. She’d heard about a Pure in Heart meeting and started going. She’d never really heard about chastity and the opportunity so much about chastity and her sexuality. She started becoming a speaker for Pure in Heart on nights and weekends.
Rebecca said the obvious meaning of chastity is saving sex for marriage, but it’s much more than that. It’s about pursuing authentic love and holding on to your self-respect and dignity. Scot said today we’re bombarded with the exact opposite. He said it’s much tougher to practice a chaste life as a teen today. Rebecca said she and her five members of her missionary team of Generation Life are witness to being able to live this lifestyle and be happy. Fr. Matt said it’s important for teens to be told it’s OK not to have sex because they have so much pressure otherwise.
Fr. Matt said chastity is ordering your sexuality according to your state in life. How we express our love is going o be expressed uniquely according to our state in life. This isn’t just about physical love. Even celibate priests need to be chaste. He said husbands are called to see their wives not as objects, but as a unique unrepeatable gift of God. It’s not just about saying No, but about a profound Yes to life and love and the beautiful plan God has in store for all of us.
Rebecca said the responses from youth are very positive because they’re searching for truth. They are in awe and receptive. They get emails from the teens later expressing profound appreciation.
Rebecca said in their presentations they talk about examples of love versus lust and even defining what love actually is, more than just warm feelings, but a total self-sacrifice for the greater good of someone else. They sometimes use examples of pop music with different messages. They give a media talk and help them discern the different messages.
She said they separate the groups into boys and girls and adapt the talks to the audiences. Boys hear more about pornography for example while the girls hear more about dressing modestly in order to receive more respect from guys and to hear the effect it has on boys.
3rd segment: Rebecca said she had originally made a decision between NET and Generation Life. NET is more about general educating about God’s love. She did that for a year but when she came back to Boston she realized she had it on her heart to continue as a missionary for chastity for another year.
She said Generation Life missionaries fundraise their own salaries from friends, families, and others. She had been scared of fundraising but has been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have given and their moral support because they believe in her mission.
Rebecca said they were in Florida for the month of February and it was up to her to find housing for them. At first they stayed in hostels for a few days but then a retreat center came through with an offer to stay for three weeks. They were completely relying on Jesus to provide.
She said she encourages people to get this message to young people as young as possible. Generation Life starts with 7th graders, but they have parent talks first before they give their first talk in a school. she said the message is often brand new to the parents they talk to as well.
One of their messages is that it’s never too late to start over. God’s mercy is abundant and He’s a God of forgiveness. They give the teens commitment cards to fill out as well. Once Generation Life leaves, they hope that parishes and schools will have ongoing support meetings.
The missionaries also treat the beauty of life from the moment of conception until natural death, not just anti-abortion, but respect for all life at all ages and stages. They empower them with steps they can make to take action and be empowered.
Rebecca discussed the common questions they receive, which with girls is usually about dating, but she said she hasn’t been stumped or surprised by any.
Fr. Matt asked Rebecca about what they do in June. The missionaries stay on the Jersey Shore and they go out on the boardwalk and engage strangers in talking about chastity. This is a big “spring break” for teens. For many of these high school teens, parents rented apartments for them and left them unsupervised.
Rebecca said many missionaries come back for a second or third year after their first year commitment. They accept recent college grads and they’re not asked to be experts on chastity, just a desire to be share the message. Rebecca said this year she started in Nebraska, all three dioceses; a few weeks off for Christmas; New York and DC for the March for Life; February in Florida, March on Long Island; and they’re heading out soon to Kansas City.