‘Made for More’ tour coming to Sauk Centre in April

“Made for More,” a worldwide tour event offered by the Theology of the Body Institute, is coming to the St. Cloud Diocese on Wednesday, April 12.

Sauk Centre will play host to this special evening of music, art and presentations from author and speaker Christopher West, who is president of the Theology of the Body Institute, and singer Mike Mangione.

“The goal of the evening is to affirm the deepest desires of our hearts and to give us hope of their satisfaction. … If we are honest about how deep those desires are, we will recognize that we are made for more than what the world is holding out to us,” West said in an interview with The Central Minnesota Catholic.

The two-and-a-half-hour event beginning at 7 p.m. at the Sauk Centre High School auditorium will feature three acts and an intermission. The night presents more like a “night at the theater” rather than a “boring theology lecture,” West said.

“This is going to engage all of your senses,” he said.

Both West and Mangione, director of events for the TOB Institute, work together on the show, which will feature presentations, live music, movie and video clips, and sacred art. Mangione provides the music while West speaks.

“Christopher is able to use my [music] to exemplify teaching, and then I’m able to use my work to give resonance and reflection,” Mangione explained.

A deep hunger

West co-founded the Theology of the Body Institute in 2004 after being raised on what he called the “starvation-diet gospel.” He said the message that was taught to him was that our natural human desires are bad and thus to repress them.

This led West to become converted to the “fast food gospel” in his teenage years, which he described as immediate gratification, often promoted by the secular culture, of the hunger of our desires.

It was a hunger that he said brought him to his knees in his college dorm room, asking if God existed.

“I didn’t have any major conversion at that moment, but I did hear a still, small voice that said, ‘Seek and you will find,’” he said.

And it was that seeking that led West to find St. John Paul II’s teachings on the theology of the body.

“I discovered that Christianity is not a starvation diet, it’s an invitation to a wedding feast,” he said. “I knew then discovering this theology of the body that I would spend the rest of my life studying it and sharing it with the world.”

What is theology of the body?

St. John Paul II’s teachings on the theology of the body remind us that “our bodies tell God’s story,” West said.

“God speaks to us in sign language, and the main sign he’s given us is our creation as male and female, and the call of the two to become one flesh. St. Paul tells us that that’s a great mystery. … Theology of the body is the recognition that our bodies hold the key to unlocking the entire mystery of the universe, and that’s why the enemy is attacking our bodies. … He wants to blind us to God’s sign language. He wants to turn the great mystery of human sexuality into a great misery, and that’s exactly what he’s done in the modern world.”

The mission of the Theology of the Body Institute is to “tell men and women all around the world how beautiful they truly are and help them rediscover in a very confused world the true meaning of our creation as male and female,” West said.

The institute offers online and in-person courses, a master’s degree program through Pontifex University, a clergy enrichment program, pilgrimages, and live events — one of which is “Made for More.”

“Made for More” tours around the world. Sauk Centre’s hosting of the event is the first time it will take place in the diocese.

For Cheryl Hellermann, a member of Parishes on the Prairie Area Catholic Community, it was a similar type of hunger that West described that inspired her to bring the event to Sauk Centre.

“I am a high school teacher and former confirmation teacher, and in both of those roles I saw a hunger in our young people to know more about God and to truly understand his plan for their lives,” she said. “When I began studying theology of the body, it changed the way I viewed myself and my relationships with others. … My prayer with this event is that others will be brought into that same understanding of who we are, and how, even in this messy world, we can still be the people God has created us to be.”

West encouraged that “if anyone is concerned about what is going on in the culture today, they will discover in this event that the Holy Spirit has already given us the answer to the crisis of our times through the teachings of St. John Paul II.”

“This event will introduce them to those teachings and open the doors for them to have a real impact on their lives,” he said.

For more information and to sign up for “Made for More,” visit https://bit.ly/41v4x1l.

Image: Theology of the Body Institute

Author: Gianna Bonello

Gianna Bonello is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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